Japanese from Zero! 1: Progressive Edition

    photo of the japanese from zero book on a table

    The Japanese from Zero! series is well-known for its easy-going style when it comes to teaching Japanese. A key feature of books in this series is the "progressive" layout, which entails mixing in Japanese characters you're supposed to know after you've been introduced to them in previous lessons. This means you will see words written in mixed romaji and hiragana in book 1, romaji and katakana in book 2, and hiragana with kanji from book 3 onward. Some people find this style of learning very intuitive while others do not. Chapters are highly organized, and the overall style feels light and fun – recently-upgraded illustrations include cute, line-drawn animals and characters. There are plenty of exercises and games inside the text to promote practice. An answer key, glossary, and even Japanese name guide can be found in the back as well.

    The material covered by this book does not follow the typical progression of most big-name textbooks and really excels at doing its own thing. Some chapters include:

    Most people see the difficulty of this book as most appropriate for younger learners because it really takes its time with presenting content. On the other hand, this style may actually be more appropriate for older learners considering the fact that learning languages tends to get harder with age. In any case, this book makes for a fantastic, light introduction to the Japanese language – truly a "from zero" approach. You can read the full review here.