Opinions on only using bunpro for grammar and ditching textbooks?

Hi, so, I have reached chapter 7 in genki, but ended one month not studing japanese. So, two weeks ago, when I was ready to continue, decided it was a good oportunity to use bunpro to review all the grammar I learned.

So, I discovered that I knew worst the grammar point from genki than I thought (ended having 100 ghosts in bunpro after adding all the grammar I learned in genki). I also discovered that bunpro grammar explanations are great, seriusly, I went from not being hable to differenciate when each particle should be used へ で に, to have a good understanding with bunpro. Also, it takes a lot less time to cover the same amount of grammar points.

So, right now, with 50 grammar point in bunpro and chaper 7 finished in genki, I am wondering why spend so much hours studying from a textbook, if I can learn faster, better, and a longer retention rate with bunpro than with a textbook. All the extra time I would have, I could use to learn even more vocabulary, or eventually, have more time for native japanese content

So, what do you all think I should do? Ditch genki/textbooks and go the bunpro only route, or there something I missing since Im still just at the beginning of learning the language, and should still use textbooks?

(self learned, dont have teacher or classes to assist with textbooks)

edit: I forgot to mention another good thing about the bunpro only route would be I dont need to learn how to handwrite to be able to keep learning japanese, so that also would give me more time to use in other things in the early stages, and when I have a good grasp of the language or want to move to japan, then learn to handwrite


It all depends on what you want, and what gives you joy. I never really got very far in Genki I, and I skipped Genki II entirely. I did the Bunpro grammar for n5 and n4, and then I started using Tobira, when my Kanji knowledge was up to par. I used the Bunpro Tobira path to solidify the grammar knowledge from Tobira. I am now almost finished with that book, and will go back to the Bunpro path: finish up N3, then move on to N2.
If I were to go take a jlpt test, I would get one of the books that are recommended for that (is it Kanzen Master?). All the while enforcing my knowledge with Bunpro.
What I like about textbooks (especially Tobira) is that they give me reading practice at exactly the level I am at. But I am not exactly using them to truly study grammar points. That’s what we have Bunpro for!


My opinion might be biased because I work at Bunpro, but we are specifically writing the grammar explanations so that you shouldn’t (hopefully) need any other resources at all for the grammar that you are learning. Of course, there will be some things that are a little more tricky than others, but they can be handled on a case by case basis.

Use whatever resource works best for you, but if you decide to choose the Bunpro-only path, feel free to ask questions on the forums whenever you need, or swing us a message through the feedback! We will constantly be altering our grammar explanations throughout the foreseeable future, to make them as simple as possible. :blush:


I follow the bunpro path for N5 and N4 making extensive use of the resources they attach to the write-ups (which are being overhauled & replaced with their own which I have found to be very readable). I often find myself reading the TaeKim explanations. I prefer this option as I can only study grammar for about 15minutes before my brain decides to wander; this combination of a grammar lesson and 20min read/video works well for me. I have tried both Genki and TaeKim first and then BP, but very quickly I glaze over. Getting to typing as quickly as possible to reinforce works for me…


You’re in a unique position, as a lot of us here kind of wish we could start from the beginning with all the new updates bunpro put into place.

How did you find yourself remembering the vocab and kanji from Genki? If that went fine but other things tripped you up and bored you, I believe you’d be perfectly fine starting here full time. I think at the start the explanations and sentences should be enough to get you on your way as a learner. If there’s anything missing, the external resources should help fill in any potential gaps

If you liked some of the exercises in Genki like practicing telling the time, etc. then I can link you the online workbook practice website some guy made that’s super helpful. This will help you refresh (and learn?) some of the things that bunpro can’t really shine light on at this point. Regarding listening, the sentences here should realllly help out if you use them properly.


I think with Bunpro + some exercises (such as workbook or online) you might have enough if you start from the beginning.

You will definitely need something additional for vocabulary (at this stage Bunpro is not enough), kanji, and reading comprehension (again, Bunpro at this stage might not be enough but in the future who knows)


My 2¢: If you’re learning something trivial, you only need one resource. If you’re learning something nontrivial, use more than one resource. Just seeing a slightly different approach can make things click in your brain.

In the case of grammar, you can compare the descriptions and the example sentences, and also look at how they contrast the related grammar points to help avoid confusion.
Now, it will depend on you what is trivial vs nontrivial. Sometimes you’ll learn grammar point A and think it’s trivial, but it all becomes a mess in your head once you’ve also learnt grammar points B and C.

Having said all of this, the strength of Genki books does not lie in their grammar explanations. In my mind, that might be the weakest aspect of the books.


For additional grammar resource just to compare different approaches I’d recommend the Dictionaries of Grammar published by the Japan Times. They come in handy Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.

I have “A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners” coming probably on Monday, it’s been recommended by multiple people, but I haven’t taken a look at it myself yet.

You get more detailed grammar because the books don’t have to focus on a methodology and teaching everything else.


Well, I used this memrise course as my SRS to learn genki vocab, I also use wanikani. I usually first got a 80-90% understanding of the vocab before starting a chapter

Right now I use wanikani and genki 1 SRS in memrise, but if I decide to go only bunpro for grammar, I first would complete genki covab, and then I would search for some other SRS deck.
For listening, personally, I think genki was not enought. I dont have a good plan for this part, maybe just listen to nihongo con teppei, but I feel like its more like lots of content little learning quiality, but IDK

So, your opinion, bunpro is enought for your grammar needs, and you only use textbooks as a way to get reading materials for your level? I had tried to find reading materials for my level, but there is not a lot, but I would have imagined that in your level you could start finding enought reading material in easy mangas

For the people recommending additional resources, while I would like to use some extra resources, like for listening and reading, too many resources would make me slow down, and could end up taking the same amount of time or more of the time I would have gained not using genki. If I really need that many resources, maybe I would be better using bunpro and textbooks and reduce amount of resources


For listening, indeed I recommend multiple sources. Anime, podcasts, drama cds, audiobooks, TV Programs (This can be a bit hard depending on the topic).

There’s this topic if you want to give passive listening a go too:

Although it might not be for everyone, I think it’s worth a try and see if it works for you.

Have you tried Graded reads?


Thats native material that I can’t understand at my level and if I try to force it, I would not enjoy it and my mind would disconnect. But my main objetive right now is to get to a good enoght level so I can read simple manga or watch slice of life anime so that I can use that type of material as practice and enjoy it.

I know of them, but they seems so expensive compared to the amount of reading they seem to have, at least the basic levels ones. Maybe is worth it to buy at least one of them


I think I will first try to do 2 chapters of genki with bunpro the last days of 2021, the first one first studing genki first then bunpro, and the second one first bunpro and then genki. I will decide after that. Thanks for working in this awesome website, probably will end up getting the lifetime subscription


Good luck! I hope you find the method which suits your study style best. :blush:


There are a ton of free graded readers online as well.


Personally I don’t like textbooks because textbooks are designed in a specific way. To have a teacher teaching you while the book just presents what is being taught. Or at least that’s how I view them. And I’ve tried a couple grammar text books (mind you I am still an idiot) but the problem with them is the second you close the book it’s gone. And it’s just so much information at once because that’s what textbooks do it’s really hard to remember anything even when you want to. Then you obviously can’t ask a textbook a question or for clarification one something you have an issue understanding.

BUT if you already have the grammar books you shouldn’t abandon them, but what I started to do is use them as a reference book. In other words when I don’t understand a lesson on bunpro I check the books I have if it’s there. And 90% of the time they still don’t help so I ask the forums. But occasionally the books have it explained pretty well. But as far as buying new books…I mean I don’t see the point


For the JLPT this month I used a combination of textbooks, Bunpro, and Memrise. Memrise was for vocabulary, Bunpro was to remember the grammar and its meaning, and I used 新完全マスター for the fine details of the grammar.

I feel like Bunpro is a really good tool for recalling a grammar point, but there are points on the JLPT which try to trip you up with two really similar words and that’s where I feel the more detailed explanations come in handy.


You certainly dont need textbooks for grammar explanations but the reason to use textbooks would be the exercises and drills that force you to think a little differently to how Bunpro makes you think about grammar. Personally I think Bunpro + Kanzen Master is a good combination.


Textbooks can be kinda rough for self-study, especially things like Genki that really want you to be in a classroom environment to make full use of the exercises. Which isn’t to say you can’t still do them, but you’re not getting the full package as intended. I find the same with Tobira.

However, I still think they have merit. Having a variety of ways to practice - be it writing exercises, solo speaking or whatever - certainly has its place. I use Bunpro a lot more than Tobira, but I still go back to it to reinforce stuff.

Textbooks can be good references but as previously recommended here, I’d give a shout out to the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series too as being great references. I use 初級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック more, but it’s entirely in Japanese so it’s a bit less digestible than the Dictionaries.

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Reading textbooks gives me more joy than reading easy mangas. So that is what I do.

I can imagine some people’s eyes glaze over when ploughing through an essay about food culture written for an upper intermediate learner. But that is exactly what happens to me when I try to indulge in pictures of sad schoolgirls with big eyes or spiky haired adolescents brandishing swords and screaming their lungs out. To each their own, right?


Surprised to be the first to really say it: I learn grammar only with Bunpro, and for me it’s more than enough, and the most efficient tool I can imagine.
I have Bunpro for grammar, Anki for vocabulary, and extra SRS for kanji (Wanikani+Anki, where I’ve already learned 2100+ Kanji, so I’m pretty much covered there).

The rest of my time I spend on immersion: reading, playing video games in Japanese, etc. - and that works well for me. I can see the value in going through textbooks like Genki on the side besides Bunpro, but I’d rather just go through native material (texts/games/video) instead and enjoy that time much more. Of course I look up a lot of things there as well (and sometimes add them to Anki), so it’s not just for fun.

I’ve gone through some textbooks before Bunpro, but now I can hardly see myself going back. Even if I did, I would create flashcards from things I want to learn from them, and then I can just use Bunpro. Books aren’t great for repeating and memorizing specific bits of information, that’s what SRS is made for.