Genki I & II are designed for those who are studying Japanese at a beginning level. Typically, colleges that use this textbook series use them for the first two years of study, and so Genki II makes for a decent textbook to use in a high school Japanese class preparing for the AP Japanese Exam. (For my personal review of Genki I & II, click here.) In many of the exercises, Genki focuses pair or group work making it ideal for classroom settings. However, Genki has been designed to be straightforward and can also work well for the self-learner.
Format of Book
The book is split into to sections: Dialogue & Grammar AND Reading & Writing.
- The Dialogue and Grammar consists of:
- Dialogue – The dialogue revolves around a foreign exchange student named Mary who is studying in Japan. Each lesson covers things situations that occur in everyday life as a foreign exchange student. Each dialogue contains two or three relatively short conversations that introduce new and reinforce previously learned vocabulary and grammar concepts. A recording of each dialogue can be found on the CDs.
- Vocabulary – In total, the Genki series teaches approximately 1700 terms which focus on phrases that can be used in everyday life. If you break down the vocabulary by parts of speech, a student can expect to learn around 930 nouns, 360 verbs, 80 i-adjectives, 40 na-adjectives, and 230 adverbs, adnominals, and expressions.
- Grammar – Grammar explanations are included in each chapter and are designed so that students can read the explanations before class for self-preparation. Generally speaking, Genki I & II introduces enough grammar concepts to cover most of what can be found on the AP Japanese Exam.
- Practice – This section reinforces what is learned in the previous sections through exercises involving pair work, pictures, and role play.
- Supplement – Cultural notes and smaller explanations of grammar and vocabulary are included in this ection. It provides many helpful hints for what a student may come across in daily conversation.
- The Reading and Writing portion consists of:
- Kanji List – Approximately 15 kanji are introduced in each chapter in a way teaches its reading, meaning, stroke order, and several useful compounds.
- Kanji Review – This reinforces previously learned Kanji compounds and introduces new compounds.
- Readings for Comprehension – Each chapter contains reading passages with questions in Japanese at the end to test comprehension.
- Writing Practice – The writing exercise at the end of each chapter can be assigned as homework or in-class writing practice.
Contents and Time Requirements
It is suggested that you spend 6 hours on each Dialogue and Grammar Section and 3 hours for each Reading and Writing Lesson. Approximately 200 hours is suggested to complete all 23 lessons.
Like most Japanese textbooks, the text is written using mostly hiragana and some of the most commonly used (300+) Kanji appearing in the official list of Joyo Kanji. In the Dialogue and Grammar section, the pronunciation of every Kanji is listed above it using furigana. A romanization method is also used in the first two chapters while introducing Hiragana and Katakana. In the Reading and Writing section, Kanji pronunciations are not indicated to promote recall ability and retention.