Japanese--Best comprehensive courses?

I want to learn Japanese. I’m a rank beginner.

There are literally hundreds of Japanese Memrise courses available. How can I find out which are the best and most comprehensive courses and weed out the rest? How would I know which ones are the official Memrise courses? Are they always listed at the top? Do the official Japanese courses go all the way to Level 7? I was only able to find levels 1, 2 & 3.

Japanese is a special case because of the kana and kanji. I would like to learn those first. Is there a Memrise course based on Heisig’s RTK or on Kanji ABC that will teach all 2136 common kanji? (Not just bits and pieces.) Which Core vocabulary courses are best at 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 word levels? Which are the best JLPT prep courses? Which are the best Genki courses? Speaking of Genki, I’d like to sequence these courses to follow the complete texts and workbooks. How can I determine which Genki courses will do this and in what order? I don’t want to waste time on the wrong courses in the wrong order.

To summarize my study plan:
Learn Kanji and Kana first, using a course based on Heisig’s RTK or Kanji ABC.
Learn Core 1000 or 2000 words.
Learn basic grammar.
Expand vocabulary and grammar to fluency and beyond
This will take a long time, so I want to select only the best courses. I don’t want to waste time on miscellaneous small courses. Eventually I want to know all the kana and the 2136 common Kanji, and an active vocabulary of at least 10000 words and 10000 sentences, and a passive vocabulary at least double that.


こんにちは :slight_smile: Hello

I am not sure if I have any useful advice for you, but I would like to wish you good luck on your Japanese learning journey.

I am a little bit over 1 year student, got the basics well, basically I finished the things you have planned, but not the “beyond” part.

This year my goal to familiarize myself with as many vocabulary as possible.

Although you describe yourself as a beginner, you are very specific about exact content and sequence of the course you are looking for.

Memrise is pretty flexible - you could construct.assemble your own course based on that exact specific learning sequence.

But if you are looking for course sequences that already exist, your post doesn’t exactly invite responders to recommend a Memrise course sequence that differs from your plan.

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I would recommend not doing the official Memrise courses. They aren’t well designed, they also don’t teach Katakana in them and they’re just bad.

The best courses for Japanese I’ve found is by @Nukemarine who has created a lot of courses in learning progression of each other. Currently the beginning ones are the only ones up. But that is still 10+ courses of content (and they’re all big courses) . Intermediate and advanced stuff is coming eventually.

This post will introduce you to the courses and you can join the group from there.

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Thank you Xephers, I’ll check out the @Nukemarine courses.

Dear person,

I have bad news for you. Learning language is a whole of different parts. Each is important and connected to everything else. I sense a lot of delusion in your thought process about language learning. I am no expert but you seem totally fixated on learning [INSERT NUMBER] words while that has little relevance to actually speaking and understand the language.

What you are trying to do is to become a guitarist, but before you start playing you want to right the perfect song to play. This is futile. You’ll be totally deaf and illiterate of the language while you know 2000+ kanji. You’ll demotivate yourself incredibly fast if there’s no sign of progress with the language. You’ll probably feel incredibly frustrated at some point too. Learn some nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns and adverbs. Let’s say you learn 50 of each. You’ll have 250 Kanji for that. Once you have that, learn about the grammar rules through some solid course. You’ll probably have to follow the course and learn their used Kanjis anyway. This way you’ll get familiar with the language and learn Kanjis along the way. After one year you’ll actually be able to speak the language, have a ton of Kanji’s, write proper sentences etc.

You have to put your language to practice if you desire to be fluent. Fluency isn’t done by studying. Anyone can remember something, fast or slow. Please make this a natural process of language acquisition rather than making this an academic doctorate study. Have some fun mate! Improve your own learning process and you’ll get there quicker than you’d think!


Thank you for your concern and advice, but I think you are responding to a query I made over a year ago. Since then I’ve settled into a study and practice routine and have no illusions of learning to speak the language fast. I’m in it for the long haul. I don’t expect that I achieve fluency for another two years yet, since Japanese is an inherently difficult language for native English speakers.

Hi there @Locutus59
Perhaps you can tell me which courses you used in particular to assist your Japanese learning so far? I am extremely interested in following the same route you have taken, so a reply would be appreciated greatly.

Thanks in advance.

I’m using the SGJL series (by Nukemarine), Genki 1 Vocabulary & Kanji (by Sputnik1220), and Joyo Kanji by Grade (by Smashaa). I was using the Ultimate Kanji Course and one of the Genki 2 courses but stopped because I found it annoying to have to keep switching between English alphabet and Hiragana for my response input. The Joyo Kanji course is a work in progress: the author is still working on the multiple choice (some have multiple correct choices) and he hasn’t added voice yet. This will be important since the course is primarily about the Onyomi and Kunyomi pronunciations. If you haven’t already done so, set up your computer to use the Japanese AME because not all of these courses allow you to use Romaji (English alphabet) input. It will be much faster than clicking on the Japanese characters once you get used to it.


Also, I recommend getting Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji and working your way through that before you do anything else. Actually, the first thing would be learning Hiragana and Katakana, then RTK. Getting the textbooks that the Memrise courses you’re using are based on, and working through them as you do the Memrise courses, is also recommended.