Posted on: April 20, 2020 Posted by: indojapanknowledgecenter Comments: 0
Self-Study II

Genki Vs Minna no Nihongo Vs Marugoto

Welcome to our Japanese self-study guide. There could be many reasons why you are studying on your own. Maybe you are not learning Japanese from an institute and decided to challenge the Japanese language through self-study. It is also possible that you are resorting to self-study due to the current situation.

In our 2nd edition of the Japanese self-study guide, we will compare the Genki Series with Minna no Nihongo and Marugoto. Read on and see which one suits you better.


Genki is a popular Japanese language textbook for beginners. It is mostly used by self learners of the language. It is also used in the classroom environment in the US, but not as much in Japan.

The Genki books have a main textbook and a workbook for both Genki I and II. If you’re interested, you can also purchase the picture cards on a CD and also the answer key, but they’re not necessary. Just the main textbook and workbook is enough.

The grammar pattern in each chapter is learnt topic wise. For example, the first chapter is about friends, the next chapter is about shopping etc. This keeps the chapters interesting and the patterns easier to remember and apply.

The Genki series also focuses on conversations. The book has relatively more illustrations than the Minna no Nihongo Series showing the conversations between the characters introduced in the books. This makes for a fun and interesting learning system.

The Genki Series is not meant for you if you want to work on your Kanji. Furigana (small kana written on top of Kanji) is used throughout the book, and this does not create the environment needed to practice and memorize Kanji since it readings are just there.

The Genki series has English throughout the main textbook in their lessons and exercises, unlike the Minna no Nihongo Series where the main textbook is completely in Japanese and the supplementary book has the Japanese translations. This is detrimental to beginners as you need to start getting comfortable with Japanese without using English as a crutch all the time.


Here are the ratings for all the three books.

ItemsMinna no NihongoMarugotoGenki
Cost of textbooks312
Recommended for Self Study123
Effective for JLPT312
Conversation practice132
Popularity among learners312

This is a general rating for all the three books we have reviewed. This by no means reflect the quality of books. It all depends on how you are learning Japanese. Are you learning at an institute, or you are aiming to self-study?
In case of self-study, are you self-motivated enough to handle an intensive book as the Minna no Nihongo Series, etc. Are you willing to spend long hours on learning the language or just an hour or so a day? You should keep all these things in mind before deciding which book is appropriate for you.

Feel free to drop us a message in the comments section if you have any doubts or questions about the books you should use.

To read the 1st edition of our book review click HERE.

Click HERE to read other articles.

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