This page contains links, software, and information that I have found useful for learning Japanese.
My basic learning philosphy
- It will take time. A LOT of time. Use your time wisely by developing habits to study or use Japanese daily.
- At the very beginning, memorize all the kana, and use a good textbook or some other type of structured course.
- Use SRS (Spaced Repetition Software) to memorize things. Don't make it your main focus. Actually using Japanese should be your priority.
- Don't put full sentences in your SRS. Don't put single words. Instead, use short phrases.
- When you are feeling somewhat comfortable with the language, start using it. Try to read, watch, listen, or communicate however you can.
- Find material that is only slightly difficult. It's hard to learn if you can barely understand something. It's also important to reinforce what you already know by going through the same content multiple times.
- watanoc: Has a lot of Japanese articles written in easy language specifically for learners.
- Hirogaru: More articles written in easy language for learners.
- KC Yomu Yomu: Some short readers for beginners.
- Little Charo: A Nintendo DS game that has massive amounts of easy reading content. It is a bilingual game intended to teach English to Japanese people, but it works fairly well for learning Japanese, too. I have created a huge amount of content to help you learn from this game. Follow the link for more information.
- ehonnavi: Has lots of children's picture books. Many of them can be read in their entirity for free (but only once!). Here's a guide someone made showing how to register and read the books.
- hukumusume: Lots of traditional Japanese stories and fairy tales for children. More for intermediate learners than for beginners. This site has a good run-down of how to navigate it. I have created a script that links to a new story every day. Just bookmark this link to use it.
- Shonen Jump+: Read Shonen Jump manga. Most titles have at least the first few chapters available for free. Some titles may be completely free.
- Twitter 4-coma: Lots of 4-panel comics that you can read for free.
- MangaZ: Lots of free manga to read (most of which you have never heard of), but a lot of them are erotic titles.
- JapanesePod101: A subscription service with a ton of audio lessons. They have a lot of lessons of varying quality. You can see a list of the lessons I found most useful here.
- GoGo Abe Kaiwa: A mixed Japanese/English conversation podcast.
- News in Slow Japanese: A podcast with news stories read in slow Japanese. A good resource, but kind of boring.
- JLPT Stories: A podcost with short audio dialogs, aimed at various JLPT difficulty levels.
- Erin's Challenge: A great free course for beginners featuring videos and manga. I have also created an Anki deck using the audio.
- Japanese Quest: A twitch streamer who teaches Japanese through video games. Youtube channel here.
- Organic Japanese with Cure Dolly: She explains Japanese grammar in a way that most textbooks don't. Even after years of studying, some stuff just never "clicked" until after I saw her perspective on it.
- animelon: Streaming anime + Japanese subtitles + some features to help studying
- anjsub: Similar to animelon
- Netflix: Netflix has quite a few Japanese shows, and many of them include Japanese subtitles. If you go into the account settings and change your account language to Japanese, it should make Japanese subtitles available for more shows. Use the Subadub browser extension listed below to help study.
- Kokonacchan: A Youtube channel where toy dolls have adventures. Tons of videos and good listening practice.
- QVC Japan: Surprisingly decent if you just want something on in the background.
- Aniki: My preferred SRS. I create content on the PC version, and review on the Android app.
- PotPlayer: A good media player that is useful when you have video files with Japanese subtitles. It has a lot of subtitle features that can make it easier to study. I made a video showcasing some of these features.
- subs2srs: A tool to create Anki flashcards from a video and a subtitle file.
- Subadub: A browser extension to make it easier to study Japanese on Netflix. Chrome version. Firefox version.
Reference / Other
- Tae Kim's Guide To Learning Japanese: A pretty decent free starting point to Japanese grammar.
- IMABI: A more comprehensive grammar guide than Tae Kim.
- Natsume: Search for words, and it will show you what other words are frequently used together with it. I made a video showing how to use it.
- kitsunekko: A huge repository of Japanese subtitles for anime.
- Japanese in Anime and Manga: A flash site that teaches some language that you might find in anime and manga. Not that great of a resource, but I created some Anki decks from the content. Grammar deck. Phrase deck.
- Common Japanese Collocations: A book which has some really good phrases that you can type into an SRS to memorize. You can also find a spreadsheet containing the phrases here but it may contain some errors.
- What you need to know to learn a foreign language: A free e-book by Professor Paul Nation about how we learn languages. Includes specific exercises that you can do to improve.