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Here are some questions frequently asked about Genki.

Revisions in the Second Edition

What are the main changes to the revised edition?

The second edition has been thoroughly enhanced with various revisions, particularly through the following four major changes.

・A “Culture Note” sidebar has been added to each lesson to provide information on Japanese culture.
・The audio material of the original 6-CD sets has been recompiled into MP3 files on a single CD packaged with each textbook and workbook.
・Outdated words and expressions have been replaced with other terms used more frequently in contemporary Japanese.
・The grammar items, practices, and readings have been thoroughly reviewed and enhanced.

For details, see “The New GENKI”

I’m a long-time user of GENKI. Can I still use the handouts and other classroom material I prepared for the first edition?

Although the second edition has been thoroughly revised, it still retains the first edition features listed below. As a result, you should be able to use most of the classroom material that you prepared for the first edition, but be sure to carefully check the vocabulary terms for changes.

Lesson themes (Dialogue content)
Overall, the dialogues have the same content as those in the first edition, except that outdated expressions have been replaced with contemporary alternatives. All audio material has been re-recorded spoken at a speed closer to that of natural conversation.

Grammar items studied in the Dialogue and Grammar section
Every lesson features the same grammar items that it covered in the first edition. Some changes have been made—such as breaking up a particular item into two separate points, altering the order of items, and adding detailed explanations—but no grammar items have been relocated to a different lesson.

Kanji studied in the Reading and Writing section
The kanji studied in each lesson are exactly the same as those appearing in the first edition. To enhance student understanding, the vocabulary presented for each character in the kanji list has been augmented with many more words.

Targeted Learners

Who is GENKI designed for?

GENKI is designed for beginning learners of Japanese. As the textbooks are divided into two volumes, students who have completed roughly 100 hours of study can start with GENKI 2. Since grammar explanations, vocabulary translations and exercise instructions are given in English, users are expected to have an adequate understanding of English.

Can GENKI be used for self-study?

The grammar explanations have been written in plain English with minimal jargon so that students can prepare for lessons on their own. Because of this straightforward design, solo learners should have no difficulty in using GENKI for their Japanese studies. However, since many of the exercises involve classroom-oriented work in pairs or larger groups, self-guided learners will find that having a partner or a tutor will make their studies more effective. Also, the audio material for the second edition (MP3 files on CD) is now bundled with the textbook, so we encourage solo learners to actively use this material to increase their opportunity to hear Japanese spoken.

Is GENKI suitable for use in high school classes?

Although GENKI was developed with university students in mind, it is already being used with success at high schools in the USA. High school instructors can use GENKI effectively by adapting their teaching methods to match GENKI with their curriculum, utilizing supplementary resources or incorporating other creative ideas. The main character in the dialogues is an American university student, but since the story is about her doing a homestay while on a study program in Japan, the subject matter will likely be of interest to high school students.

Time Requirements

How much class time is needed to complete all 23 lessons of GENKI?

Generally speaking, in each lesson 6 hours should be allotted to the Dialogue and Grammar section, and 3 hours to Reading and Writing, so completion of all 23 lessons should take approximately 200 hours of class time. (See Contents and Time Requirements.)

As a suggested lesson plan for Dialogue and Grammar, the first 3 or 4 hours should be spent explaining the grammar points, doing the exercises and introducing the new vocabulary. The fourth or fifth hour should be used for practice focused on the dialogue, and the sixth hour should be used for reinforcement exercises on the overall lesson.

In Reading and Writing, the instructor could use the first hour for introducing and practicing the 15 or so kanji targeted by the lesson, the second hour for going over the reading comprehension passage(s) and the third hour for kanji and composition writing practice.

At many universities GENKI coursework is paced at 4 or 5 hours a week for 30 to 32 weeks in a year, so GENKI 1 is used for the first year, and GENKI 2 for the second. However, this is simply a rough benchmark for course planning. Since the quantity and difficulty of study points and the size of reading passages vary from lesson to lesson, instructors need to remember to match the lesson tempo with the students’ speed of acquisition.

Can GENKI still be used if the suggested amount of class time is not available?

As mentioned above, the standard allotment of class time in each lesson is 6 hours for Dialogue and Grammar, and 3 hours for Reading and Writing. However, instructors who have less time available can tinker with the lesson structure to make it fit their class schedule. For example, they could have the students study the grammar points at home, and start the class off with the exercises. Other ideas include skipping certain exercises or focusing solely on Dialogue and Grammar. The bottom line is that GENKI can be used effectively without covering every single part of the textbooks and workbooks; instructors are free to adapt the content and their teaching methods to go with the curriculum.


How many kanji are studied in GENKI?

A total of 317 kanji are studied in the Reading and Writing sections: 145 in GENKI I and 172 in GENKI II. These include 254 of the 284 kanji subject to appear in Level 3 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.(See Kanji Introduced in the Reading and Writing Section.)

How many vocabulary terms are studied in GENKI?

Approximately 1,700 terms are covered throughout all 23 lessons. In order that students can immediately put the grammar and expressions they learned into use in real situations, the vocabulary selections are predominantly words frequently used in everyday life. Broken down by part of speech, the selections encompass approximately 930 nouns (including pronouns and proper nouns), 360 verbs, 80 i-adjectives, 40 na-adjectives and 230 adverbs, adnominals and other expressions.

Should “Dialogue and Grammar” and “Reading and Writing” be studied at the same pace?

Since the grammar points studied in the Dialogue and Grammar section also appear in Reading and Writing section, the latter should be studied after going over the Dialogue and Grammar section of the same lesson. However, since both sections are independent of each other in terms of content, it is possible to study Reading and Writing at a pace slower than that of Dialogue and Grammar.

What material is contained on the GENKI CD?

The CD that comes with the textbook contains MP3 files of audio material equivalent to that of the first edition’s separate 6-CD set (approx. 6 hours). Excluding some vocabulary and practices, the audio material has been re-recorded for the second edition.

The CD that comes with the workbook contains MP3 recordings of the listening comprehension exercises of each workbook lesson.

I can’t play the audio files on the GENKI CD.

The audio material on the textbook and workbook CDs is formatted in MP3, not the standard audio CD format, so it cannot be played on CD players that do not support MP3. To listen to the material, play the files on a computer or a MP3 player.

→How to use the GENKI CD

If you need audio CDs for use in classrooms or other such purposes, contact The Japan Times Publications Department.

Miscellaneous Questions

What sort of teaching materials should be used after completing GENKI?

GENKI introduces all the basic grammar of beginning Japanese (see Syllabus of the Dialogue and Grammar section), so after completion, the students should advance to an intermediate-level text, such as An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese.

Are there any supplemental resources that you recommend?

GENKI Plus: Kanji Look and Learn is a kanji study resource that makes it fun to learn beginning-level kanji based on mnemonic illustrations. It presents 512 kanji, including all 317 covered by the GENKI series. For those who want to boost their understanding of Japanese grammar, we recommend A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, which covers 200 grammatical expressions/patterns, their meanings, how to make sentences with them, and how they differ in usage from similar expressions, while offering numerous example sentences to make learning easier. For details on these resources, visit The Japan Times Publications Department website.

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