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on 21 December 2009
The learning curve here is perfect for almost anyone. The book breaks topics down in to bitesize chunks and builds incrementally on them as you progress.

Book 1 will;

* Teach you Hirigana
* Introduce verb conjugation
* Build an excellent vocabulary base (some 800 words, I personally retained about half that after my first time through the book)

and teach you

Numbers, counting, asking for things, colours, nouns, questions, dates, times

If you are serious about learning Japanese I can't recommend this series enough, truly the best books I have found.

You can pay a monthly subscription on the YesJapan website which gives interactive and audio support based on the book contents. Some may ask why should I pay a monthly subscription when other guides provide audio cd's inclusive?


1. I was serious when I said these were the best books
2. The subscription is not expensive, atleast not if you are serious about learning £12~ a month
3. Subscription includes access to tons of videos, support as well as interactive lessons, forum, chat, online dictionary and more.

If anyone is interested. Completing the whole series will probably prepare your for the Japanese Language Proficiency test (JLPT) at level 3

So there you have it. what are you waiting for
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on 28 January 2017
If you came up to me and told me that I could learn Japanese's Sentence structure, Basic verb conjugation, counting, and the entirety of Hiragana in 13 days just for £20 (one lesson a day w/ constant practice) as well as read and write it, I would've thought that you were scamming me. However, this book managed to pull it off. Not only that, but it makes understanding the basic premise of Japanese grammar unbelievably simple.

Adding on to this, the book seriously makes an effort to violently jam the information you learn into your brain and paired along-side with George's JFZ YouTube series, it's an absolute goldmine of information. You would probably feel mentally exhausted after just one lesson but if you push through it, you'll unintentionally remember every single piece of information you work with.

I did find minor typos within a couple of lessons but it's honestly nothing to worry about. In fact, catching these typos just prove that you're actually learning. Either way, this is in my opinion, literally one of the best language books that I've ever bought. I plan on continuing through the entire series as well as the Kanji from Zero lineup after I'm finished with book 4. I'm currently halfway through book 2 and it still does not disappoint. :D
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on 6 July 2014
A fun way to learn japanese. The cover of the book doesn't lie. You get everything what the book promises. I really liked the "progessive" method to learn hiragana although there are some little mistakes which may confuse the learner, for example the book likes to use the hiragana that you didn't learn before only after the lesson and if you are studying the new words it can confuse you but if you look further in the book you can easily review the problem. To sum up: I really liked the book, probably the best you can buy but it has some mistakes and some misstypes and as a non native english speaker such as me (i'm hungarian) who has to know english quite good it can misslead you sometimes, but if you also use their website you can get all the benefits that the book doesn't include especially the course 1 on yesjapan.com is completly free so you can get all the audio support and all the other stuff that you may missed in the book because course 1 = book 1 and they always keep their website up to date and you can find mistakes there very unlikely. To learn japanese as a foreigner you will enjoy this book very much with its fun activites and I also recommend you to use their website for the audio support.
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on 17 September 2007
Japanese from Zero 1 is the first book in a five part course in Japanese (although only the first three are available now, parts 4 and 5 are due for next year), and is aimed at the complete beginner.

I had been searching (for a while) for a good book/set to help me learn the language, but most titles either completely ingore teaching any hiragana katakana etc (like the japanese for busy people series) or force you to learn all of them in one go before commencing actual lessons.
However, Japanese from Zero does something neat called progressive learning - starting in completely safe looking romaji (English characters), and with each lesson introducing 5 of the basic hiragana. Once taught in a lesson they swap in these new Japanese characters and gradually the romaji dissappears. It is very sneaky, but it works. By about two thirds of the way through you will have learned all the hiragana and won't bat an eyelid when confronted with paragraphs of Japanese script.

That said, this book ONLY teaches hiragana (katakana is tought in book 2, and Kanji begins only in book 3). It is also not a travel or holiday phrase book, nor will it help you read sushi menus, and with a couple of hundred pages it won't fit in your pocket!

So what else is in this book - well basic grammar, counting, time, colours, asking where things are etc (all the usual suspects).

Myself, having finished the 13 lessons in this book I can read and write all hiragana and know a heap of grammar too! For someone looking to learn the Japanese language I can't think of a better book to start with.
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on 12 September 2015
Absolutely brilliant. I've heard other reviews that this book is aimed solely at children, but I disagree. It's laid out like a school textbook, but it's far more fun!

The book progresses from Romaji to Hiragana which, although a good idea in theory, works better if you have some knowledge of Kana beforehand (Kana is the collective name for Hiragana and Katakana) as this makes you think more about what you're reading (though it absolutely isn't necessary, if you want to get started as soon as possible).

Also, this is definitely a book that teaches 'from zero'. The authors assume you know absolutely nothing about Japanese, even if I do feel a basic understanding of Hiragana is beneficial. Anyone can learn Japanese from this book!

Of course, you'll still need to supplement reading this book with practising your writing and listening to examples of pronunciation, but that's the same with any Japanese book. Also, the Japanese From Zero website isn't necessary if you're using this book; sure, it's useful for learning pronunciation, but I don't feel it's worth the subscription fee if you've got the book already.
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on 8 May 2012
A couple of mistakes in the book but over all its a good workbook, for beginners, it kind of jumps from topic to topic throughout though.
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on 5 February 2007
It is probably best to learn a new language by taking a course with a qualified teacher but if, like me, you prefer self-study this is definitely the best way to go.

This book covers all the basics from everyday vocabulary and grammar to counting, days of the week and time etc., and it's all presented in a very understandable way. It will also teach you the Hiragana alphabet quickly and efficiently.

In the past, I've been frustrated with the slow pace some self-study language courses move at so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book moves at a good pace without being overwhelming. The 'culture clips' about Japanese customs and the more colloquial ways of speaking are useful too.

Obviously, since it is just a book, it won't teach you much about pronunciation so I would definitely recommend exposing yourself to spoken Japanese somehow, but that (and the fact that there are a couple of minor typos), is basically the only criticism I can think of.

Highly recommended.
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on 26 February 2012
The Japanese from Zero set of three books is, in my opinion a must have if you want easy to understand language tuition. After buying the set for my son I have been told by him that he has gained so much from the books, he said that they make learning Japanese so easy as everything is on a step by step approach and that writing Japanese, shown in the lessons, is an invaluable tool.
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on 21 January 2016
I was given this book, along with Japanese from Zero 2 & 3, as gift a few years back and i haven't really touched them until recently when i started studying Japanese with a bit more momentum. It's clearly set out, and i find it great for building vocabulary, or for dipping in and out of when i want a quick study session. I also have a Japanese teacher so when i actually came to use the books i had already learned hiragana and a few basic grammar points. For me, the progressive teaching method of Book 1 is the only downside, i find it switching between romanji and hiragana whilst trying to concentrate on learning new vocab and grammar points, but just because that didn't work for me, doesn't mean it can't work for others. I actually found some of the hiragana points quite useful in the sense that it show the difference between the handwritten characters and the typed, which in some case can be quite different. I have yet to really move onto Book 2, but i'm hoping to find the progressive way of teaching more useful when i move on to Katakana.
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on 9 December 2016
I have been DYING to get my hands on Trombley's book for ages now and they really didn't disappoint. The teaching style is perfect (in my opinion!), the teaching method is a little child-like at times BUT IT WORKS. It makes you remember everything. The built-in workbook is great with sections to practice hiragana handwriting, they have characters that talk to each other to show you sentence structure and build-up and they ask you questions about the characters that force you to back through the book so you have to recap to be able to answer the questions. I find this great because with so many language books I find I read through it all once and that's that. The glossary in English, Japanese and hirigana is good with a graph of all the hirigana you learn and the map of Japan in the back was a nice touch :)
Check out his YesJapan channel on YouTube too, I started with his lessons there, he follows the book and they're just the best too.
Arigatou gozaimasu sensei!! 🙇
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