Kanzen Master Series Review (新完全マスター) Level up your Japanese

kanzen master seriesLet’s talk about the Kanzen Master series. It’s well known for getting you ready for the JLPT, but is it really worth the hype? Let’s find out.

My first experience with Kanzen Master

old kanzen master n2 grammarI first heard about Kanzen Master when I was attending a lecture from a person that went from zero Japanese knowledge to passing the JLPT N2 in ONE year. For those that don’t know, that is simply amazing and took an enormous amount of effort and dedication.

The guy that gave the lecture recommended to me the Kanzen Master N2 Grammar book. The next time I was on Amazon, I bought it and it came swiftly in the mail. And then I didn’t look at it for about a year to a year and a half. Why?

The answer is simple. I was intimidated and somewhat lazy. The N2 book had no English at all and I didn’t know the majority of vocabulary words in the grammar sentence examples. I wasn’t willing to work hard and bust my way through it.

That all changed after I started cramming vocabulary with StickyStudy Japanese and Memrise. After a while, I knew a lot of vocaulary, and I had made it my goal to go after the N2 certification.

I truly regret not looking more deeply inside Kanzen Master sooner. It’s one of the best study books you will find for the JLPT and will most certainly prepare you for whatever will be thrown at you.

What kind of books are there?

The Kanzen Master series covers all categories of study that you would need. Kanji, Vocabulary, Listening, Reading Comprehension, and Grammar.

Which books do you recommend?

I don’t like all the books in the series, but I’ll say which ones were the most effective/useful for me. You definitely want to get the Kanzen Master Grammar and Kanzen Master Reading Comprehension books. Those two books will help you tremendously.

I can’t recommend the Kanzen Master Listening Comprehension because it didn’t do much for preparing me. Instead, I recommend the Nihongo Sou Matome series of listening books. They have a better layout and are some of my favorite books for JLPT audio practice.

The Kanji and Vocabulary books are not needed in my opinion. You can pick up new vocabulary words and kanji through other methods and tools.

Why I recommend Kanzen Master

I’m only recommending the Grammar and Reading Comprehension books, so I’ll explain why they’re effective.

Kanzen Master Grammar (新完全マスター文法)

kanzen master grammar n1 kanzen master grammar n2

kanzen master grammar n3 kanzen master grammar n4

This is going to be your best friend when studying grammar. For N5-N3 levels, you can probably get away with other books, but these are a MUST for N2 and above. Every grammar point has several examples using sentences and patterns that are sometimes identical to the JLPT. The series does have books for N5-N3 and I believe there are English explanations in the book, but I have not personally used those.

The N2 books and onward do not have any English explanations, so you have to make an effort to read the Japanese explanations of the grammar points. This is going to sting at first, but it will make a man (or woman) out of you by the time you finish.

kanzen master grammar n2 preview 2  kanzen master grammar n2 preview 1
Each section introduces anywhere from 6 to 10 new grammar points accompanied by example sentences. After you get through understanding these, you turn the page and are quizzed on what you just learned. This is great for reinforcing what you are learning and you can track your progress.

You definitely want to go back and read over each section more than once. In my case, I’ll soon forget the grammar if I read over it and don’t review it after a few days.

Throw out your other grammar books and go for the Kanzen Master grammar series. Even if you aren’t ready for them yet, buy and keep them until you grow into them. They can be sort of a motivation for you to get to that level.

Kanzen Master Reading Comprehension (新完全マスター読解)

kanzen master reading comprehension n1 kanzen master reading comprehension n2

If there is a first love for textbooks, this would probably be in my top 3. The reading comprehension books for Kanzen Master are the best things out there. The reading comprehension book covers all kinds of example Japanese reading you will encounter on the JLPT and also in real life. There are going to be so many vocabulary words you don’t know, but don’t give up. This is preparing you for the JLPT or for real Japanese academic reading.

kanzen master reading comrephension n1 booklet kanzen master reading comprehension n1 preview 1

kanzen master reading comprehension n1 preview 2 kanzen master reading comprehension n1 preview 3

What I love about the reading comprehension books (I used N2 and N1) is they include a separate booklet of explanations for each of the reading passages. After you make your answer choices, you can go back and first check the answers. After that, you can read the explanation for why the chosen answer is the correct one. It also explains why the other options are not correct, which is great for someone like me.

By going through the reading books, your Japanese reading speed and ability are going to improve rapidly if you attempt to study with them on a regular basis. I couldn’t believe how much I could understand/read after I studied really hard. It happened without me realizing it.

 

Where can I buy them?

I recommend buying your Japanese study books from White Rabbit Press. They’re a really great store that has all sorts of stuff from Japan. I’ve bought several books from them as well as some high-quality flashcards.

Shin Kanzen Master Reading Comprehension

shin kanzen master n3 dokkaiShin Kanzen Master N3 Reading

 

shin kanzen master n2 dokkaiShin Kanzen Master N2 Reading

 

shin kanzen master n1 dokkaiShin Kanzen Master N1 Reading

Shin Kanzen Master Grammar

shin kanzen master grammar N4Shin Kanzen Master N4 Grammar

 

shin kanzen master grammar N3Shin Kanzen Master N3 Grammar

 

shin kanzen master grammar N2Shin Kanzen Master N2 Grammar

 

shin kanzen master grammar N1Shin Kanzen Master N1 Grammar

 

I would recommend the reading books the most because they will really help you with the challenging reading that you’ll face on the JLPT.

Final Thoughts

Have you found textbooks that you feel are better? Have a question about which book is right for you? Drop me a comment down below!

10 thoughts on “Kanzen Master Series Review (新完全マスター) Level up your Japanese

  1. Hello! I study for the JLPT N3 and have the Try! N3 book. I use it mainly for learning grammar (Nihongo Sou Matome for reading, vocabulary and listening). Do I need to buy Shin Kanzen Master Reading and Grammar in addition to that? Will that be useful considering the books that I already have?

  2. Hey, I am preparing for N2 this coming December 2016.

    I find that the N2 comprehension has tons of Kanji/Vocab/Grammar that are totally brand new and keep popping out, and because of this I find it difficult to understand the passage. At least these tells me there’s lots more to memorize for the N2 paper. Do you have any study tips for N2 Comprehension?

    My study strategy is:
    [1] September – attempt Kanzen Masters: Vocab, Grammar, Comprehension, Listening
    [2] October – attempt Soumatome: Vocab, Grammar, Comprehension, Listening
    [3] November – revision and commit to memory

    Regards

    • What I found extremely helpful when studying N2 reading was learning new kanji/vocabulary through news stories from NHK’s website. I liked their news because the articles were not too long compared to other places.
      http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/

      I usually preferred entertainment, crime, IT, and international news. (Sports puts me to sleep!)
      After learning a lot of vocabulary through news, I ended up putting it all into a Memrise deck and hammering it out daily so I didn’t forget.

      It took me a really long time to get through an article at first. There were so many words/kanji I didn’t know. However, I read a new article or two every day. I slowly started to build up my knowledge of vocabulary and kanji. I couldn’t believe how much it helped me on N2.

      I feel like Soumatome is a lot easier for Reading/Listening, so you may want to try that series before hitting Kanzen Master.

      Try to read Japanese every day, no matter what. The more you read and improve your vocabulary and reading speed, the more it will help you on the test.

  3. Hi there! I have a question. I just finished the Tobira textbook (that should put me up to N3)
    I’m going to start studying for the JLPT N2 this february and plan to take the test in december, so i have 10-11 months to study for the N2, using the kanzen master books.
    I am working so when i am working i can only study 1-2 hours a day, but longer in weekends.
    Is this possible/do -able? And will i be fine if i only get the grammar, vocab and reading comprehension books?

    • If you’re consistent and study frequently, I think you can do it. I would start on Kanzen as soon as you can but also try reading news articles from Japanese websites. I used to print one out every day and circle/highlight words I didn’t know. In the beginning it took a lot of time, but I became faster and had to look up less words each time I did it. After doing this for months, I picked up a lot of N2 vocabulary naturally which really helped.

  4. Hello. I just found you blog through some curiosity and I found it really helpful. I just have a question. I’m planning to take JPLT N2 or N1 (I have no idea which one I am capable of) in 2020. So I have about 2 and a half years to study for it. I can only understand a little bit of Japanese by hearing, and some hiragana. I also have this app called Human Japanese which is really helpful for a beginner like me. So, my question is do I buy all the Kanzen Master books N5-3 plus the grammar and reading just to review? Then buy the N1-2 books to further learn? I have no idea what I should do because I don’t know the N2 JPLT is like (though I do know the level of difficulty it is). Please help me.

  5. Nevermind. I have decided to get all of the books from N5-1 plus grammar and reading and also the whole entire Sou Matoume series. I know that I won’t pass with just a N2 book (or maybe I will but I probably won’t). But it’s better to be safe then sorry. I would rather waste all my money to pass the JPLT exam and learn Japanese more efficiently then to rush then fail. Or I could spend all my money and fail but that’s another thing. Anyways your review was very helpful. Thank you very much 🙂

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