Japanese Resources

Learning resources I have collected over the years. Categorized, and with comments or mini-reviews.

I’ve used almost all of these at least a little throughout my studies. Share the link to this content to anyone who may find this useful!

DISCLAIMER: I won’t claim these are definitive, top resources. I may praise some of them but there could be better sites out there. These are simply what I’ve come across and have indeed found useful and worth keeping.


General Resources & Linguistics

hisnibs.com: Uranus 2018 Multifunction Pen
– Affordable pen, one side ballpoint, the other foam brush. Not the exact feel of authentic calligraphy, but a great portable option that can give great results.

Wikipedia: Phonetic Correspondences Between Modern Chinese & On-yomi
– The relationships between Japanese and Chinese pronunciations of Chinese Characters.

Debunked: “OMG Japanese has Three Writing Systems!
– Points out the misconception of 3 writing systems. There is only ONE writing system for Japanese. The three that people usually point out are actually character sets – English uses two.

How-To-Learn-Any-Language.com Forums: Mandarin or Not Mandarin?
– Discussion on Kanji readings, Chinese readings, due to a question on learning Chinese when the person has already started Japanese.

The Kanji Hanzi Hub
– A (no-longer updated) blog on Kanji / Hanzi. Not a lot on here, but has a few interesting posts that compare Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Japanese characters, and some character break downs.
KanjiHanzi Blog: Kanji Lesson 1 – Same blog, covering the Kanji for the phrases of meeting someone for the first time, as taken from a JapanesePod101 lesson.

– Various articles on Japanese culture. I probably found a few good ones so as to decide to keep the link.
Tofugu.com: Japan’s other Languages – A short article on the lesser known languages of Japan.
Tofugu.com: All You Need to Know about-Japan’s Weirdest Dialect, Tohoku-ben – I’m guessing this isn’t the most politically correct site; not sure why they’d choose to call it “weird.” Regardless, it’s a decent article the covers some of the characteristics of Tohoku-ben.
Japanalicious.com: Japanese Dialects and How to Recognize Them – I actually don’t think it does enough to really get you to recognize them, but it’s still an informative article at least.
The World of Japanese Husband Salaries – A little article on how savings and spending allowances tend to work for marries couples in Japan.

Writing & Pronunciation

Youtube User: daiquirikiss – Various good videos about learning Japanese, for example:

Japanese pronunciation
– Some general but crucial hints to Japanese pronunciation. Note: Japanese DOES have intonation (called pitch accent), but it is merely up and down (2 tones), and she does mention that for Japanese (a-ME vs A-me). English doesn’t have the strict tones, but it is a “stress-timed language” and so words have stress / accents (which tend to also have a higher tone). She confuses the two concepts. English has no official tone / pitch accent, but it has stress. Japanese does have tone / pitch accent, but no stress. Regardless, her advice on keeping things very flat is good – as is the rest of her advice.

The Kanji SITE: JLPT Kanji
– JLPT Kanji Lists. Ad-ridden, but may be helpful. Especially nice is that the vocabulary is shown as pictures that change to roumaji when you hover the mouse over each Kanji.

Wikibooks.org – Japanese Pitch Accent
– Brief explanation on pitch accent patterns.

Against Marking Accent Locations in Japanese Textbooks
– A paper discussing usefulness of pitch patterns in dictionaries, serves to explain the nature of its manifestation.

Pitch Accent in Japanese
– A relatively thorough overview of pitch accent.

Hiragana42 eBook
– Free eBook to learn Kana through visual mnemonics. Not bad, but there are a few that are quite a stretch…or plain weird. Don’t forget; if you don’t like a mnemonic, make up your own.

– Simple quiz to test your knowledge of kana. No sound, but I recommend it because you can choose to test on partial sets or the FULL set of kana!


Tangorin.com: English < > Japanese Dictionary – (also a Kanji dictionary) has example sentences; will say if verb is godan or ichidan)
2019 Update: While the website is still fine, the app seems gone from the app stores and my installed one doesn’t work. See app list below for a new recommendation.

Denshi Jisho — Online Japanese dictionary – can use Edict (general), compdict (computer terms), engscidict (eng/sci), or JMnedict (names/places)

Goo Jisho: Japanese <> English <> Chinese Dictionary
– has pitch accent but the site is all in Japanese.
GONE – Japanese.Nciku.com: Online English Japanese Dictionary – (also Kanji dict). Acquired by LINE dictionary and the Japanese seems gone. Horrible, I loved this one. Old info:
“has handwriting input and sound for the entry. Known for their Chinese dictionary.”


Kanji Radicals
– Radical list at a professors page at New Mexico Tech. Similar lists should be easy to find; maybe it’s simple organization and look is why I saved this one in particular.
GONE – Online Shop Saiga: Japanese Kanji Dictionary – This thing was my FAVORITE kanji dictionary especially for when you’re on your road to lean all your major kanji. Sadly, the site is gone but the database was at least temporarily made available somewhere. Old info:
This online store of “Cool Japan Gifts / Traditional Arts & Crafts” has my favorite Kanji dictionary. Has sounds for most readings, as well as many examples, that usually seem to fit with the various readings.
GONE – Nihongo101.com – [DO NOT VISIT, LINK REMOVED, VISIT AT YOUR OWN RISK] last time I checked, I was redirected and I was asked to download some media player.] I’m keeping the listing just in case the website reappears. I hope so, but I had this Kanji dictionary marked as seeming good for listing nanori readings (rare reading, such as those used in names). If anyone knows of a good dictionary for nanori readings, let me know.

Verb dictionaries

SayInJapanese: Has lists of verbs and their conjugations. The neat thing is that you can look at the plain listing of conjugations, or you can click the roman numeral and see the same thing briefly explained in English. For example: “Polite: 会います(aimasu)” vs “it can be converted to 会います(aimasu) for the polite form. To turn it into its negative form…”

The verbs are organized by group: Group 1 (-u), Group 2 (-ru), Group 3 (-suru).

The Ultra Handy Japanese Verb Conjugator
– Should be first Google results for “Japanese conjugator.” Type in the verb and it will give you the table of conjugations. Neat, simple, works. Only annoyance: you MUST type roumaji / latin alphabet.


Takoboto (iOS, Android, Windows Store, Kindle): Since the Tangorin app is gone (for Android at least), I’ve switched to this one. It actually seems a LOT like Tangorin (probably using the same dictionary databases) so I’m happy and don’t miss Tangorin, so the same info applies:

(also a Kanji dictionary) has example sentences; will say if verb is godan or ichidan)

Structured Lessons / Courses

NHK World’s business-oriented Japanese lessons: Japanese lessons in 17 languages, downloadable MP3, supporting PDF. Episodes also rotate as an iTunes podcast. With 17 languages to choose from, you can choose to use a language you’re learning to learn Japanese. Additionally, the format is standardized, so if you are or have actually learned 2 or more, you can get some good listening practice while by listening and comparing 2 or more of them while learning Japanese!
JapanesePod101 – A website (one of many; “LanguagePod101” has expanded to a multitude of other languages) with audio podcasts and accompanying PDFs, some supporting videos, and a “learning center” with other tools you’d normally have to find on other websites. I find them to be of excellent quality, though it may vary depending on the series, host, etc., as well as you yourself, since they may vary a bit in design. There’s a lot to listen to for free, although they may be hard to find or follow as a serious option; the free podcast will only let you download a few previous episodes, and the new ones will be of any level of Japanese. The paid content, however, is relatively cheap; the Basic subscription, which I think is enough for most people, can be had for no more than $4 a month if you sign up for 2 years (assuming they have not raised prices). They have levels such as Newbie, Beginner, 2 levels of Intermediate, and Advanced. In addition, they have audio blogs, lessons on 4-character idioms, culture, and more. They have various hosts and native speakers, and I don’t believe they take down their old content, so there’s a lot to check out. Some series or lessons are very relaxed and informal in their approach while others are much more scripted, rigid, and time-efficient.
My personal experience is with the Newbie Nihongo Doujou series, Season 2 – 3. If I remember correctly, they are from the site’s 2nd and 3rd year of existence. The lessons are relatively informal and unscripted – which I love. There’s no concern of “wasting” time with a little chit chat, poking fun at each other, discussing something in depth, or speaking of culture and topics related to the lesson. Not only is this good because unless the speakers are used to radio and good at acting, scripted lessons sound unnatural, but it’s also good because the extra talk on culture or Japan in general, along with opportunities for the native speaker to say extra things in Japanese, is simply invaluable. The PDFs were also quite adequate, useful, and helpful.

Takanori Tomita’s Japanese Lessons on Youtube
– Some good basic video lessons for beginners. Don’t remember much else; will check them out again, then update this description.


Tim Sensei’s Corner is my top recommendation for learning Japanese grammar. It’s a website with articles that teach Japanese grammar (and a little more, such as numbers), most notably though a set of over 60 lessons on verbs:

Tim Sensei’s Corner: Japanese verbs – Teaches the different verb forms but goes beyond that by teaching related grammar in relatively short but clear lessons. Looks excellent; you’ll learn a lot if you go through all 60-ish of them. While it may sound like a lot, they are on verb conjugations as well as constructions. In other words, not only “Here’s how to do the past tense,” but also “Here’s how adding “koto ga aru?” makes “Have you…before?” Quite useful stuff.

Random, Unstructured Lessons

Here, comments: yes. Reviews: not so much They’re here because I approve.

Yahoo! Answers: How do you say “I’m sorry for replying so late” in Japanese? – apologizing for late reply

How to Apologize in Japanese – 4 Common Ways to apologize in formal / polite speech. Not much of a lesson or explanation, but make sure you know these!

Hararie-japan-tokyo-tokyo.com: Different Ways to Say I’m Sorry – Apologizing (Dead link; will keep in case it returns)

How to say, “I Think So…” in Japanese – A pretty well-written lesson on “I think that…” as well as “Someone says that…” constructions.

Telling the Time in Japanese -A quick reference on how to tell time. Part II


Start Learning Japanese on ‘About.com’ – Kudasai vs onegaishimasu

Difference between 【する】 and 【やる】 – Difference between suru and yaru

Expressing Uncertainty on ‘About.com’ – Deshou/darou & tabun (uncertainty)

Japanese grammar practice for “after verbing” – C0nstructing sentences such as “I think I’ll sleep after reading a book.”

Japanese Grammar – A collection of articles on basic concepts of Japanese grammar .

Small Assistance in Learning Japanese – requests (as as “could you __ for me?”) using kureru.

http://onjapanese.com/questions/469/past-progressive-actions – (Dead link; will keep in case it returns)

E-mail in Japanese to teacher? on ‘Yahoo! Answers’
– A person posts to confirm his email format. I wouldn’t base anything completely off this, but you may want to start here. I have little or nothing else better at the moment.

Quick-How-To for Japanese Adjective Conjugation
– Adjective conjugation; includes the special conjugation of ii.

– こ・そ・あ・ど – Systems of Directional Words

JapanesePod101.com: Conjunctions
– Discussion on conjunctions, primarily those with the sense of “because” or “since,” but includes a list of conjugations you may want to know.

– goro vs gurai (goro = about a specific time; gurai = about a length of time)

Sentence Starter Pack 1
– Just some sets of example sentences (3 of them). Might be worth taking a quick look at. First one is based on different words, the 2nd is based on the word for danger / dangerous, and the 3rd is on the word love.

Comparisons in Japanese (Review Post 1) 日本語の練習
– comparisons: A more than B; which more, A or B

Using 「方」 and 「よる」
– comparisons – X is more/better; A more than B; X hou ga; depending on A; según X.

Japanese Comparisons
– comparisons using hou ga, hodo, and ichiban

Japanese Grammar Guide
– various grammar lessons; already download as PDF; it is a good, nicely-formatted PDF.
Tofugu.com: Japanese Punctuation – A quick overview on basic Japanese punctiation. It all mostly works the same way as in English, but there are a couple of things to watch out for.
LearnJapanese.com: Particles – Nice list of particles with brief explanations for them.
TokyoKawaiiEtc.com: Kureru, Morau, & Ageru after Verbs – How to use these words when talking about someone doing something for you or vice versa.
MaggieSensei.com: 〜そう=looks (like) 〜, going to ~ – Explanation of the usage of “sou.” Doesn’t detail the usage that means “they say” / “I heard” / “it is said,” but it’s briefly mentioned so that you can tell the difference.

Counter Words

About.com: Counting in Japanese
– A brief article on what counters are, how they are used, a list of common ones.

Japanese Numbers and Counting – An overview on numbers, counting, and counters, from “Tim-sensei.”

LanguageRealm.com: Japanese Counters
– A list of common counters.

Trussel.com: Japanese Numeral Counters – A list of about 500 counter words.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_counter_word – An overview of counters, including a list, and it explains how the way they come together with number creates some variances, such as how “ichi + 回 kai → 一回 ikkai.”

PDF file: Japanese Counter Words – I believe this is much of the Wikipedia information organized and formatted into a PDF.

123Japanese.com: Counters
– Yet another overview of counters; has a few more examples.


Sing-Japan: Ichidan Verbs – Ichidan & past tense (Just in case, it was originally here.)

Sing-Japan: Yodan/Godan Verbs – Yodan/Godan & past tense (Just in case, it was originally here.)

LearnJapaneseQuickly: Yodan Verbs in Japanese – Different conjugations of Yodan verbs, in aiueo vowel order.

Epochrypha.com: Japanese Verbs – An at-a-glance view of the verb lessons covered at Tim Sensei’s Corner, mainly in terms of verb bases and stems.

Epochrypha.com: Godan Verbs Ending in -iru / -eru – A list of godan verbs ending in iru/eru.

Casual Verb Constructions 1 – Brief explanation of the dictionary form as used in casual speech.

Casual Verb Constructions 2 – Continuation; dictionary form for negative and interrogative sentences.

Casual Verb Constructions 3 – Casual/Polite form – affirmative pattern

Vocabulary and Phrases

Tim Sensei’s Corner: Numbers and Counting – A great overview of the numbers, counting, counter words, etc. However, all text is romanized.

– big vocab list; verbs, nouns, and business words, in groups. Very straightforward layout. Browse list or do a quiz through them.

Bad Japanese Words
– slang phrases & words.

Japanese Slang
– more slang.

Name suffixes
– concise but pretty complete summary of honorifics

: Particule en japonais – Japanese particles at French Wikipedia.

Five Japanese words that don’t mean what you think they mean
– Five Japanese words that don’t mean what you think they mean due to their use in English.

Family on ‘About.com’
– Words of family members.

Easy Japanese Phrases for Restaurants
– Another video lesson, same teacher.

Learn Japanese Language
– Someone’s blog on studying Japanese. Has a few interesting articles, may be worth a look.
YouTube: Learn Japanese Phrases and Abbreviated Words – It was from this blog that I found this video.
JLPT prep
Yoshida Institute: Learning Kanji for the JLPT – Kanji overview for the different levels of the JLPT. Use the navigation on the left to pick the JLPT level.

JLPT Level N5 Kanji List
– kanji list with example compounds

5 Step JLPT Study Method Using Japanese Newspapers for Kids
– Provides the links as well (such as 毎日小学生新聞). Definitely aimed at learning Kanji.

JLPT Listening Tips
– Tips on preparing for and taking the listening section of the JLPT.

Misc., Cultural, Etc.

Japanese Emoticons (or Anime emoticons)
– nice list of emoticons
Facemark.jp – Huge list of emoticons; Japanese site.

Guide to Japanese Text Emoticons and Chibi Facial Expressions!
– An explanation of Japanese emoticons with pictures.

A hole-in-one in Japan can cost you $10,000
– An American newspaper reports on hole-in-one insurance

Japanese Tongue Twister
– 39 Tongue Twisters

Lingualift.com: 70 Best Japanese Non-Pop Music Artists
– Top picks for non-pop artists; includes a few Youtube videos.

Learning Characters

All About Radicals (1) – radicals

Radical Index – seems like full list of radicals (overboard?)

Practice Listening, Reading, etc.

KeyHole TV – Watch Japanese TV live (ignore password protected channels; they’re private channels, not the ones most people watch on TV).

– Various resources for reading, writing, listening, kanji, dictionaries, etc.

JLPT Listening
– links for radio, TV, free audiobooks, and more
FengYunZhiBo.com: Music Japan – A stream of Music Japan TV, a music video channel. It’s just a stream, so if you don’t catch the name of a song at the start of the video and you end up liking it, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Lucky, the official site should help!
EastAsiaStudent: Putting WordPress into Chinese, Japanese, or Korean – If you use WordPress for your person website, here’s how to change the language.

Kanji Etymology

Note: I could write a whole essay discussing whether or not it’s worth learning etymologies. It is less useful now that people are learning simplified, and thus may not help as much as one would like, so mnemonics are more commonly used and taught rather than etymology – keep that in mind, because a lot of people may “explain” a character to you but it’s actually the mnemonic and not really how it was derived. So it’s up to you how much etymology you look up, but at least check it out once in a while; it’s cool stuff. If you do, always check out more than one source because different places may sometimes claim different things.

KanjiNetworks.com’s Etymology Dictionary – Best, hands down. Most clear explanations. Includes pictures.

Wiktionary.org – Seriously; sometimes has etymology.

YellowBridge (see Dictionaries section of this email) has an etymology section, but it is NOT real; it’s more of a visual look at the character’s components.

Unreviewed Resources

http://www.japanippon.com/japanese/classroom.htm – lessons, may be worth checking out; seems to be decent, yet concise, for teaching grammar points. (BROKEN LINK, keeping in case it returns)

Learning pitch accent
– Will look at it later

Lingualift.com: Best Japanese Learning Resources
– This webpage is much like what you’re reading right now – only it’s just for Japanese and covers both print, online, paid, and free resources. A very good list that includes most of my own top picks, and even better: most resources are marked with a graphic that shows what level of JLPT the content corresponds with.

Kanji IME (input method editor)

On your computer

How to Type Japanese Characters on PC or MAC
– Setting up Japanese entry on your computer.

You should be using Japanese input on your own computer; you type roumaji and then hit a number or space bar to pick from the pop-up list. if you have the right one installed (might be hard to find), it supports drawing with mouse as well, using an “IME pad.” Luckily, if you’re not at your own computer, and just want quick temporary access, now you can use….

Google Translate
– if you pick Japanese as input language, you are now able to “type phonetically” (toneless pinyin), so you can write full sentences in hanzi with this.

– Google’s Japanese IME

Software and Other Learning Programs

These will later be put on a different page dedicated to learning software.

Skritter – (Paid service) Learn and practice drawing characters and learn a few words along the way.

Information about educational institution purchases – For institutions

JapanesePod101 App – jp101 chrome app

New Chrome Plugins: JapanesePod101Google Chrome extensions

Yale Anime Society’s list of the 100 Most Essential Words in Anime.

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