I see 初級 Written mostly in books which means beginner or elementary level, the other two were written on the same page for a drawing course I found online as "入門者向け" and "初心者向け", but I don't see any difference between the 3 and how to properly use them.

2 Answers 2


"入門者向け" is used when you should be instructed by teacher , instructor, person who can teach properly.

"初心者向け" can be used by when you have just started to practice sports, video games, etc. When you use it, you do not need a person who certify your level of sports, video games, etc.

"初級者向け" is used when the level of something already set, such as books of kanji handwritings, ski courses and so on.

  • That was very clear and to the point.
    – haisu
    Jul 19, 2019 at 12:03
  • Your question might be better than my answer if it has never been asked before here... Jul 19, 2019 at 12:50

The nuance naturally reveals itself by considering the core meanings of the individual kanji.

We can consider 者向け first because it is common to all these terms, and quite straightforward.

[向]{む}け is basically just a suffix meaning "intended for", and [者]{しゃ} is a suffix for "person" (i.e., someone who is described by the rest of the noun phrase).

[入門]{にゅうもん}: the core meanings are "enter" + "gate", so the sense is really "introductory", rather than "beginner(-level)". Metaphorically, this seems to describe the entrance to some sort of academy; a 〜者 who 入門 is therefore one who has become a disciple or pupil.

[初心]{しょしん}: 初心者 is probably the most common word for "beginner". 初 is related to 始, and the core sense is "begin" or "first". 心 is literally "heart", more metaphorically "spirit; true nature; inner strength". A 〜者 who 初心 is one who has metaphorically set out on a journey of improvement, who has that initial intent to develop a skill or learn a concept. This can therefore include someone engaged in self-study.

[初級]{しょきゅう}: 初 is as before. 級 is commonly rendered as "grade", in the sense of graded study material. It's part of the kyu-dan rating system seen in competitive sports, board games such as go and shogi, etc. Therefore, a 〜者 who 初級 is one who has begun the process of certification through various [級]{きゅう} ranks that signify understanding of the fundamentals, before reaching [段]{だん} ranks that honour increasing levels of mastery.

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