You may already know that I like to learn Japanese online, but I’m not sure if you do.
Then there are times when it’s better to have a paper copy or an ebook. Maybe your Japanese tutor has told you to pick a textbook to study from, or maybe you just prefer to study from a book and want to pick one that fits your needs.
As for Japanese textbooks for people who want to learn the language on their own, there are a lot of them out there! The books I think are the best ways to learn Japanese are shown in this list.
Japanese books for beginners
As a beginner, you should look for a textbook that covers grammar structures, vocabulary, pronunciation, and listening in depth.
To be sure, it should cover useful words and expressions to use in your daily life or on trips to Japan. It should also teach you how to read and write (hiragana and katakana are a must to start with, then the book should also introduce basic kanji).
This is a list of some good books for people who want to learn Japanese.
A popular series of Japanese books for beginners called Genki is very well-known. Easy to read and with cute pictures, the books are a good way to learn English. The same people appear in the book, so you can follow their stories.
In the beginning, the books were meant to be used in university classes. They cover a lot of situations and words that are relevant to students. This could be good or bad for you, depending on your situation!
It was made for classrooms, so there are exercises like group discussions that can be hard to do if you’re learning on your own and not in a class. It is still very easy to use, though. If you want to learn how to do things like grammar and vocabulary on your own, you don’t have to ask anyone.
CD: It comes with a CD so that you can learn how to listen to music There is also a workbook that comes with the course for extra practice.
Books 1 and 2 are part of a series that has two books in it. The first is for people who are completely new to the game, and the second will get you to a lower intermediate level.
A good all-around book for people who like to learn the old-fashioned way. Especially good for people who are in college.
Japanese From Zero
People love the Japanese From Zero books because they’re easy to read and understand.
Books that aren’t very old have examples and words that are modern and up-to-date.
There are four books in the series, and each one is about a different person. The first is best for people who have never done anything.
It takes a little longer to read than some of the other books on this list. The first book in the series only teaches hiragana, which is the only Japanese writing system that is shown. It is shown slowly, with a few characters per chapter, through the textbook. They don’t teach you how to write with the katakana and kanji until later in the book. They mix hiragana characters with English letters (romaji) in the sample texts in the book. Then, more and more Japanese is added.
As you look at it, this could be good or bad. The speed of this book may be too slow for you if you already know some Japanese words. However, if you’re a little afraid of learning to read and write Japanese and want to take it slow, this is the perfect way to start.
Japanese From Zero is also a great Japanese textbook for kids or people who want to learn Japanese at home.
Best for people who are younger or who want to go slowly:
Minna No Nihongo
This is a good set of textbooks for people who are really interested in learning Japanese.
One of the most interesting things about Minna No Nihongo is that it is all written in Japanese! If you want to buy a companion book in English with the translation and notes, you can do so. It comes in 14 different languages.
This might seem like a lot of work, but if you want to learn Japanese quickly, it’s great. From the very start, you’ll be immersed in Japanese. This means that your reading skills will improve much faster than if you used a mostly-English text book.
There is an English companion book that you can look at any time you need a translation. Because of the extra step, you will first try to read the book in Japanese for yourself.
There are a lot of people who want to learn Japanese that want to learn Minna No Nihongo because it helps them learn Japanese very well.
Of course, this book will also help you improve your reading skills. It will teach you grammar, vocabulary, listening, and conversation. That means it is more in-depth and goes over more ground than the other books on this list.
Before you start this book, you should know how to read hiragana and katakana. But don’t worry, they don’t take long to learn (click here for tips).
Don’t forget to buy the companion (English) book on its own.
It’s best for people who are willing to work hard and want to learn Japanese quickly.
Japanese for Busy People
Another book that helps people learn Japanese is Japanese for Busy People, which is a lot of people like.
It’s for people who work in the business world, so you’ll learn a lot of words and phrases about that.
There are two: the romaji version and the kana version. The romaji version has all of the English characters in it. The Japanese texts in the kana version are written in hiragana and katakana, which are two different types of Japanese writing. The book doesn’t teach you about kanji at all.
There are answers to all of the quizzes at the back of the book, which makes it easy for people to study on their own. For listening practice, it comes with a CD.
There is an app for it so you can study while you’re on the go.
Business people who need to learn Japanese for their jobs should use this app, not this app.
Best intermediate Japanese textbook
When you start learning Japanese, there are a lot of books you can choose from. At the intermediate level, it can be a little more difficult to find the right book.
Most of the beginner’s textbooks on this list have at least two books in the series, so if the first book worked for you, you can always move on to the next book in the series.
So when you’re at an intermediate level, you might think about taking your JLPT tests. There are a lot of good books out there that can help you pass the JLPT. We’ll talk about them down below. But if you don’t want to take any exams right now, here are some ideas I have for you:
Minna No Nihongo
Yes, we already talked about these books in the beginning section. I’m going to talk about them again here because there are four books in the series that do take you up to a real intermediate level.
You can get two books at the intermediate level. They are called Chukyu 1 and Chukyu 2. You start with Chukyu 1 and work your way up to Chukyu 2. Chukyu 2 takes you up to the level of JLPT N2.
Books about Japanese called “Minna No Nihongo” are all written in Japanese. You can buy a book with translations and notes in English (or any one of 13 other languages, if English is not your native language).
A good book for people who want to learn a lot is because of this. When you’re at the intermediate level, you should be able to read simple Japanese. Speed is most likely your biggest problem. This book has a lot of Japanese text, which means that your reading skills will improve a lot.
This isn’t the only thing these books cover. They also give you a very good understanding of Japanese grammar.
Read Real Japanese
It’s important to read more Japanese at this level so that you can read faster and learn more vocabulary and grammar. The Read Real Japanese books are great because they have real Japanese texts that were written for Japanese people, not for students.
There is a Japanese text on the other side of this page, as well. This page has notes in English. In contrast to some people, you don’t get a full translation. This is good because it stops you from being lazy.
There are two books in the series: one is fiction, and the other is an essay. If you buy both, you’ll be able to read a wide range of texts.
Besides that, they also come with CDs so that you can learn to listen to them