Japanese Primer

If you’re confused by the huge amount of resources and options available to you and just want to learn Japanese, here’s what I recommend.

As always, this is just my personal opinion. There’s no best way: what works for me might not work for you. Don’t stress it, if something is not working out then use something else.

If you disagree with what I’ve written here, that’s okay too. I’m not the ultimate authority on Japanese learning.



Learn Hiragana and Katakana.


Learn Grammar + Vocab + Kanji

Do NOT skip ahead, do kana first. Japanese will still be there after you’re done with them don’t worry.


  • Read Sakubi if you value independence and just want to read native material as soon as possible.

  • Read Genki if you want a textbook.


NOTE: Don’t burn out on anki, stick to ~10 new words a day for a few weeks to see how it goes. Also read Better Anki Settings.


You don’t need to worry about kanji, they can wait for later. Focus on learning vocab (words) and you will learn to recognize kanji as you go. You’ll figure out what to do about it later, trust me.

It is much easier to learn kanji if you already know a lot of words, so just learn those words. No need to rush it. Read stuff with Furigana at first so you won’t have to worry about it. Use yomichan to read on the web. See also: Practical Tips to Facilitate Early Reading#


Thumbs Up You’re done! Good luck and have fun.


If you disagree with anything I’ve written here or think you can do better, then come fight me in #japanese_study on EJLX, I’m not afraid.