PURPOSE: Minimally invasive gastrectomy (MIG), including laparoscopic distal subtotal gastrectomy (LDG) and robotic distal subtotal gastrectomy (RDG), is performed for gastric cancer, and requires a learning period. However, there are few reports regarding MIG by a beginner surgeon trained in MIG for gastric cancer during surgical residency and fellowship. The aim of this study was to report our initial experience with MIG, LDG, and RDG by a trained beginner surgeon. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between January 2014 and February 2015, a total of 36 patients (20 LDGs and 16 RDGs) underwent MIG by a beginner surgeon during the learning period, and 13 underwent open distal subtotal gastrectomy (ODG) by an experienced surgeon in Bundang CHA Medical Center. Demographic characteristics, operative findings, and short-term outcomes were evaluated for the groups. RESULTS: MIG was safely performed without open conversion in all patients and there was no mortality in either group. There was no significant difference between the groups in demographic factors except for body mass index. There were significant differences in extent of lymph node dissection (LND) (D2 LND: ODG 8.3% vs. MIG 55.6%, P=0.004) and mean operative time (ODG 178.8 minutes vs. MIG 254.7 minutes, P<0.001). The serial changes in postoperative hemoglobin level (P=0.464) and white blood cell count (P=0.644) did not show significant differences between the groups. There were no significant differences in morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the operative and short-term outcomes of MIG for gastric cancer by a trained beginner surgeon were comparable with those of ODG performed by an experienced surgeon.