Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

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Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by apostrophe_catastrophe » Fri 03.03.2006 2:26 am

I've heard a lot of good things about Genki Series on the forum and was thinking that maybe it is the right textbook/workbook for me. I know hiragana (pretty fluent by now) and currently working on my katakana (is it just me or is hiragana far easier?).

I started with ty Beginner's Japanese, but I don't quite like the direction I'm going with it. I also read a lot of posts about how you should wean yourself off romaji and go straight to kana.

Before I heard about the Genki Series, I was planning on using the Minna no Nihongo series. They're both kana-based and I've heard good things about both and now... I just can't choose!

The only problem is that the Minna no Nihongo series confuse me as there are so many books :o (textbook, kana version, English version, etc) and I'm not quite sure on which I need. I like the Genki Series as it is pretty obvious which books to get. But really, which should I get? Any thoughts on this?

By the way, I'm new here. I hope it's all right to start a new thread about this as I haven't been able to find a lot of information on the Minna no Nihongo series. Hope someone could shed some light! Thanks! :)

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RE: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by keatonatron » Fri 03.03.2006 3:34 am

I would recommend the Minna no Nihongo series if you are serious about studying. I haven't used it myself, but have heard good things about it. If you're not that serious, but have an interest in the language, Genki would be good.

My feelings about the books can best be described as such:

When I was in college, I took a Japanese course. The class met 2 times a week, 2 hours each (i.e. 4 hours week) and used the Genki books. The Genki book explained everything in English, and the class was really for people with a passing interest in the language (for me, it was a bit too.. shallow).

Now I'm in Japan, attending a full-time language school. The class meets 5 times a week, 6 hours per day (i.e. 30 hours a week). The goal of the program here is to take people who don't know anything and make them fluent enough in 2 years or less to be able to attend a Japanese university. The program here uses the Minna no Nihongo books for the first year students.

Without a teacher, Minna no Nihongo might be a bit confusing. So, it's really up to what you want to do: American university elective style, or Japanese pre-university hardcore style.

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RE: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by apostrophe_catastrophe » Fri 03.03.2006 6:48 am

Wow. That is hardcore! Thanks for your input! I'm definitely serious about studying Japanese. I'm planning to get as far as JLPT level 3 by self-studying, continuing onwards by entering a language school full-time.

Right now, though, I'm studying about 1-2 hours each day, everyday except Saturdays, and I'm starting to think that this isn't enough! Wow! Six hours a day five days a week sounds pretty jarring! :o

Now, I'm all for the Japanese pre-university style, but seeing as I'm quite at the beginner level, I'm a bit afraid to jump into the Minna no Nihongo series, in case I couldn't quite catch up. I don't mind getting the extra books (say, the grammar explanation notes), but is it possible for me to go through this route without a teacher?

I have seen the Minna no Nihongo series in my local Kinokuniya, so I'll leaf through that to see if I'm in way over my head. If I am, I'll probably go with the Genki Series. But if not, I'll work my way slowly through with Minna no Nihongo.

Thanks again! :D

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RE: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by joeymui » Fri 03.03.2006 7:08 am

Both books are good but here are the differences..


Each lesson starts with 会話 (dialog)、then vocabulary from the dialog and some other related vocab (usually quite a lot for one lesson) followed with lots of grammar discussion and a HUGE session of excercise (about 10 pages of practices each lesson). Eventually you will remember everything you learn from the dialog at the beginning of the lesson through the many repetitive excercise. Then finished off with a dialog/passage and yet another list of vocabulary.


Each lesson starts with a list of new words, with indication of the intonation (you know, the higher pitch and lower pitch in Japanese words, I don't know what it's called in English) e.g. あぶなく、はし which I think it's important esp for those who don't get to talk to Japanese often, so you can still practice the proper sound of the word. Then a small section of some 例文, a small dialog and some exercise. It usually comes with a CD as the last section of the exercise involve listening to the CD and answering the questions.

If this is your first book, I would recommend 皆の日本語, it's easier to follow and not too overkilled in one lesson. Each lesson is small enough it's possible to do one a day. However, I feel that this book lack discussion in any 文法 which is very very well covered in the genki book. However, some students may get discouraged by genki as each lesson is quite large and it tends to shower you with lots of new vocab every few pages.

Hope all that helps.

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RE: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by rodegia » Fri 03.03.2006 7:48 am

I've never used Genki, but I did use the second part of Mina no Nihongo, and I loved it, it had many samples, the vocab was used repeatadly throughout and was really well put together. You can also buy an English explaination book to go along with it. My Japanese was not coming along at all until I started using it and if you finish it (with competency) I can almost gauruntee you'll ace 3級

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RE: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by apostrophe_catastrophe » Sat 03.04.2006 12:03 am

Thank you for all the input! :)

Wow, seems like I should just go ahead with Minna no Nihongo, huh? Especially as I've already seen it in my local bookstore. I was hesitant about the fact that it's kana-only, but I probably will get the English version as well (isn't this the book with the grammatical notes in it?). As far as it being confusing without having a teacher/tutor, I suppose that's when I'll put the forum to good use. :D

Thanks a lot, guys.


Ah, I forgot to ask. For kanji, should I get the optional Minna no Nihongo kanji book or go with the Basic Kanji Book (a lot of people here mention this as a good way to learn kanji)?
Last edited by apostrophe_catastrophe on Sat 03.04.2006 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by Moogiechan » Sun 12.30.2012 3:23 pm

A warning to everyone who looks at Minna no Nihongo and says, "It's Japanese only!": There are two books -- 1 is Japanese only and the other has grammar and vocab and is available in a variety of languages (English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, etc.).

For the text to reach beyond English speakers, this is actually a good design. The Japanese portion is the same for everyone.

The downside is you have to get two books (at least -- there are other supplemental books for drills, kanji, listening exercises, etc., as well) and carry them around.

It is black and white and there is one error I've found. But if you have the CD's, it's a workable self study series.

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Re: Genki v.s. Minna No Nihongo?

Post by sampaguita » Mon 12.31.2012 7:38 am

I haven't used Genki, but I hated Minna no Nihongo. I felt it was too slow. However, I study Japanese for recreation (my aim is to converse fluently in Japanese), not for entering Japanese university, so I'm not sure if your needs are the same as mine. I preferred to use Japanese for Everyone (which had a lot of lessons for a single volume) and A Guide to Intermediate Japanese.

If you're intent on getting Minna no Nihongo, I suggest getting the English version together with the workbook.

As for Genki vs. Minna no Nihongo -- my university used to prescribe Minna no Nihongo, but now they're using Genki. So I guess Genki's better? :D

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