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Resources to Learn Japanese

Quick Links [Index]

Helpful App to Learn Japanese
   • Easy Learn Japanese Android & IOS App
Recommended Self-learning Textbook
   • TRY!
   • Shin Nihongo 500 mon
Common Staple Textbook
   • Genki
   • Minna no Nihongo
Recommended Dictionary
   • Grammar Dictionary
   • Electric Dictionary (Denshi Jisho)
Books for Listening & Conversational Purpose
   • Shadowing
   • Yasashii Nihongo
Books for Beginner’s Reading Practice
   • Ghibli’s Picture Book
   • Easy Manga
   • Bilingual Comic

Resourceful Android & IOS App to learn Japanese

Easy Learn Japanese
One of the most resourceful app to learn Japanese. Phrasebook with lots of functions to learn.
Easy Learn Chinese
Chinese version of the Japanese app. Phrasebook with lots of functions to learn.

Try Series [Recommended]

While most course will recommend you to use/buy the genki & minna no nihongo series, we believe that this book is more cost effective and better for self-learning. This is because the book is focusing in grammar pattern, one at a time and give you enough short English explanations that help you to understand the pattern you’re currently learning about. But this book doesn’t cover in-depth explanation about the pattern, in some case, you might need supplementary grammar dictionaries at the beginning to help you. Click to see more detailed review.

Becareful though since this series are also provided in Thai & Chinese. These links below are links for English version.

Try N5
Recommended Japanese textbook
based on JLPT material.
N5 & N4 are beginner levels
Try N4
Recommended Japanese textbook
based on JLPT material.
N5 & N4 are beginner levels
Try N3
Recommended Japanese textbook
based on JLPT material.
N3 & N2 are intermediate levels
Try N2
Recommended Japanese textbook
based on JLPT material.
N3 & N2 are intermediate levels
Try N1
N1 is the highest level of JLPT
(intermediate to advance)

Shin 500 Mon JLPT Series [Recommended]

This book is filled with questions categorized into 3 section (kanji,vocabulary and grammar). It is best used with Click to see more detailed review.

Shin 500 Mon JLPT N5 & N4
Recommended practice book to be
used together with TRY series.
N5-N4 are beginner level.
Shin 500 Mon JLPT N3
Recommended practice book to be
used together with TRY series.
N3 & N2 are intermediate level.
Shin 500 Mon JLPT N2
Recommended practice book to be
used together with TRY series.
N3 & N2 are intermediate level.
Shin 500 Mon JLPT N1
Recommended practice book to be
used together with TRY series.
N1 is the hardest level of JLPT.

Recommended Dictionaries

Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar
It’s not really a dictionary but easy to read and cover most essential grammar. If you never learn Japanese, this book is recommended.
Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Great supplementary for self study. Written technically, filled with lots of example & thorough description. Best used as supplementary book for Try & Shin 500 mon.
Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar
Great supplementary for self study. Use it
together with Try & Shin 500 mon.
Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar
Great supplementary for self study. If you just started to learn,just the basic (yellow book) is enough.

Denshi Jisho (Japanese Electronic Dictionary)

This is a very helpful tool when you want to start increasing your vocabularies by reading manga or playing games. Most manga and games have very few furigana, and you will have trouble identifying the kanji. You can draw the unknown character on the denshi jisho to identify them easily. Not all denshi jisho worth the same. The best & only one you need is the one with Kenkyusha dictionary. Below is some of model you can choose. Click here to read more details. Or here to learn how to use it.

Casio XD-D9800 (Model D)
Equipped with kenkyusha. Older model than U & K
Casio XD-U9800 (Model U)
Equipped with kenkyusha. Older model than K
Casio XD-K9800 (Model K)
Equipped with kenkyusha. There are newer models, but older models do just great and have lower price.
Kenkyusha Japan-English Dictionary
Big physical kenkyusha book with over 3000 pages. It’s better to buy a denshi jisho packed with this instead.

Common Japanese Staple Textbook

Genki & Minna no Nihongo are two major staple textbook used in a lot of Japanese courses.
Genki 1
Easier to read than Minna series. If you do self-study, make sure to get the answer book too.
Genki 1 (Workbook)
Workbook for Genki 1. If you do self-study, make sure to get the answer book too.
Genki 2
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Genki 2 (Workbook)
Workbook for Genki 2. If you do self-study, make sure to get the answer book too.
Genki Answer Key
Answer key for all questions in all Genki 1 & 2 and their workbooks. You need this if you’re going to do self-study.
Minna No Nihongo (Beginner 2)
Common Japanese course’s staple textbook
Get English translation version too
if you’re going to a self-study.
Minna No Nihongo (Beginner 2)
English translation

Same book written ALL in English
to help people who do self-study

Books for Listening & Conversational Japanese

You can live in Japan without able to read hard Japanese sentence. If you want to focus on studying conversational Japanese, be sure to get The First Japanese Textbook for Foreigner in English, then move on to Shadowing series. Use Yasashii no Nihongo book when you’re ready to hone your listening skill. Click for more information about learning for conversational purpose.

First Japanese Textbook for Foreigner
Easy & fun to read. Packed with essential material for survival conversation & basic Japanese grammar pattern.
Shadowing (Basic to Intermediate)
Book filled with practical conversational sentences & translation. Imitate the sound files until you master the sentence.
Shadowing (Intermediate to Advance)
Book filled with more complex practical conversational sentences & translation. Imitate the sound files until you master the sentence.
Shadowing (Interview)
Book filled with practical conversational sentences for job / part time / university admission interview. Great for interview practice.
Yasashi no Nihongo (Listening Comprehension)
Great book which explains common mistake in comprehension. Have lots of listening practice to increase your listening skills.
Yasashi no Nihongo (Pronunciation)
Great book for listening practice on distinguishing correct pronunciation. Have lots of listening practice to increase your listening skills.
Onomato Pera Pera
Explains Japanese onomatopeia (sound words such as “goro goro” or “don don”) with comic strip. A great reference book since sound words are used a lot in daily conversation.

Books for Japanese Beginner’s Reading Practice

Note that you need to have at least basic knowledge about Japanese grammar before starting to use these book to practice. Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar is a great book if you just want to read one book before you start jumping into reading manga / children books.

As a beginner, you want to read something which equipped with furigana, use everyday language with as little made up word as possible (most fantasy manga will be hard to read). Children books are your best bet. One of the best children book series is Ghibli’s picture book. They are very thick (over 150 pages) and really worth the price. If you prefer manga though, you can try easy to read manga such as >Bilingual books are for intermediate learner since they don’t have furigana. You will need electronic dictionary to help you read.

Ghibli’s Movie Picture Book

Big picture book with over 150 pages with scene from the original movie. Really worth the price. Especially if you’re a fan of Ghibli’s! If you plan just to buy one book for Beginner’s Japanese reading practice, get one of these books 😀 This is also a great book as a gift for friend.

These books use elementary level kanji and aided with furigana so you can search for the kanji’s meaning on dictionary easily. Check out the detailed review here.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Spirited Away
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Ponyo
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
My Neighbor Totoro
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Laputa: Castle In the Sky
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Princess Kaguya
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Arrietty
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Princess Momonoke (Part 1)
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Princess Momonoke (Part 2)
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Part 1)
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Part 2)
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice
The Wind Rises
Great picture book with over 150 pages for beginner’s reading practice

Easy to read Manga for Beginners

If you just started to learn Japanese, you can’t simply pick any manga to learn. In fact, most manga will not be a good learning material. Click to read more about this.

If you want to use manga as your reading practice material, you can pick these mangas below. They are all equipped with furigana and have simple everyday conversational sentences with funny & adorable characters!

Yotsuba! 1
Easy manga with everyday language and equipped with furigana (kanji reading).
Yotsuba! 1 [English]
Same book but in English version. You can use it to help you confirm the Japanese meaning much easier.
Shirokuma 1
Easy manga with adorable characters and equipped with Furigana. Great as gift.
Shirokuma 2 (Strawberry)
Easy manga with adorable characters and equipped with Furigana. Great as gift.
Shirokuma 3 (Mango)
Easy manga with adorable characters and equipped with Furigana. Great as gift.
Shirokuma 4 (Melon)
Easy manga with adorable characters and equipped with Furigana. This is the last book of this series.

Bilingual Manga for Reading Comprehension Practice

This bilingual manga is made for Japanese people who wants to learn English. But it can also be used other way around. For beginners though, easy manga equipped with furigana is better since this bilingual book isn’t equipped with furigana. To read the kanji you will require a denshi jisho to help you.

Doraemon Selection [Comical]
Best selection of funny stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Selection [Witty]
Best selection of witty stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Selection [Scary]
Best selection of scary stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Selection [Fantastic]
Best selection of adventure stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Selection [Touching]
Best selection of touching stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Selection [Love]
Best selection of love stories.
Great as gift.

Doraemon Bilingual 1
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 2
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 3
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 4
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 5
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 6
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 7
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 8
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 9
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Doraemon Bilingual 10
Billingual book with no furigana.
This series have a total of 10 books.

Jungle Emperor Leo (Bilingual)
Billingual book with no furigana.
This book is an incomplete stories.

Mighty Atom (Bilingual)
Billingual book with no furigana.
This book is an incomplete stories.

The Salesman Returns (Bilingual)
Billingual book with no furigana.
This book is an incomplete stories.

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2 comments

  1. Hello
    I have a question. I am beginner in Japanese & I want to learn this language, Could you tell me which book is better??
    “Genki” or “Japanese from zero”??
    ありがとうございます

    1. Genki has a better content but Japanese from zero really starts from 0. For self learning, it’s better that you start to learn from site like this then after you have a good grasp, get Genki. You could also use app such as this which teaches basic Japanese.

      We hope it helps! Happy learning~

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