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Japanese [日本語]

Japanese is a language spoken virtually exclusively in Japan, and some enclaves in other countries around the world. Around 130 million people speak Japanese. It is a member of the Japonic language family.

This page gives access to online courses, Japanese/English/Japanese dictionaries, grammar, vocabulary activities, writing forms and characters - Hiragana & Kanji, tutorials, podcasts & blogs, current events, cultural information, free and fee-based software, other resources and information.

Courses/Tutorials

Language Courses

Free

  • Easy Japanese
    Basic introduction via grammar, the writing system, useful structures, more.
  • Elementary Modern Standard Japanese
    Course run at York University in Canada. Access videocasts, lecture notes, dialogue, reading/writing [PDF, HTML], exercises, cultural material [Quicktime Video], more.
  • Japanese I
    MIT OpenCourseWare. Syllabus, online resources, download course material.
  • Japanese Audio Flashcard Lessons
    ‘Check out the 31 Japanese lessons that are available to download on this page. In addition, you may download a complete transcript of all the lessons, as well as several Japanese grammar guides’.
  • Japanese for Beginners
    Learn through sections on hiragana, katakana, kanji, vocabulary, grammar, other lessons, listening, reading, writing. For beginners.
  • Japanese Lessons
    For multiple languages. ‘In each lesson, you can learn a useful expression through an audio drama’. Japanese Syllabary, more.
  • Japanese Online
    Free lessons, maths lessons, dictionary links, newsletter, audio support.
  • New ! Learn Japanese Online
    ‘Learn Japanese online free with audio flash cards, review games, and free Japanese lessons’. Includes dictionary, Culture, Language Learning Blog, more.
  • Learn Japanese Online for Free [japanese-lesson.com]
    ‘Online self-study programs produced by a native Japanese language teacher’.
  • Study Japanese Online Or Wherever
    ‘Enjoy our many free downloads to help you learn Japanese ! E-books, podcasts, study lists and more’.

Fee-based

  • Japanese Lessons Online
    ‘Easy & effective way for anyone to enjoy interactive online Japanese language lessons with some of the best native speaking Japanese teachers from around the world’.
  • Online Japanese Lessons
    ‘Affordable Skype Japanese lessons to students from all over the world. Our Japanese lessons on Skype are a full 60 minutes and can be taken almost anytime and almost anywhere’. Free Trial.

Tutorials

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Language Tools

Alphabet & Writing Forms

Writing Skills

Hiragana

  • Hiragana Japanese Online Keyboard, LEXILOGOS
    Links also to Katakana and Kanji keyboards and a conversion from Hiragana to Rōmaji.
  • Hiragana Lessons
    ‘Following is the complete list of my hiragana lessons’. 18 Lessons are provided plus links to others. Includes how to write characters.
  • Japanese Alphabet for Beginners
    ‘Learn the basics of the Japanese language with this series of colouring pages’. Good for younger students.
  • Japanese Writing Tutor, Hiragana
    ‘Click on any box and you’ll see an example of how to write using the Japanese writing system called hiragana’.
  • Learning Hiragana
    Yoshida Institute. ‘Click on any of the characters in the table below to see how to write it correctly’.

Katakana

Kanji

  • Japanese Kanji - Characters
    ‘created to help students of Japanese learn the proper form and stroke order for several fundamental Kanji characters’. Requires iTunes.
  • Japanese Kanji Symbols
    ‘The history and use of Japanese kanji characters, images of popular kanji, plus kanji links’.
  • Kanji Alive
    ‘A free study tool for reading and writing kanji’.
  • Kanji Dictionary
    Search by ‘English meaning, Rōmaji, Kana reading or Kanji’.
  • Real Kanji
    ‘Click the “Kanji” tab and choose which of the five levels you’d like to practice. Then, click “Practice”. As you are presented with each word, type its Rōmaji equivalent’.

Other Sites

Sites related to characters, calligraphy and other writing information.

  • Cracking the Code
    The Learning Federation. Activities to develop understanding of Japanese characters [and also Chinese characters].
  • Real Kana
    ‘Click the “Hiragana” and/or “Katakana” tabs and choose which characters you’d like to practise’.

Videos

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Dictionaries

  • Japanese
    Alphadictionary.com. Links to both basic and special Japanese dictionaries.
  • Bi-Directional English Japanese Dictionary
    Type either English or Japanese words to find the translated version.
  • Denshi Jisho
    ‘An easy-to-use and powerful online Japanese dictionary. Find words, kanji, example sentences by searching in many ways’.
  • Diku
    Search by Rōmaji, kana, kanji or English. Multiple responses for each search. Monash University
  • Free Japanese Dictionary
    ‘translate Japanese to English and English to Japanese. “More Translation” means there is more than one translation’. Alphabetical listing and search box.
  • Online Japanese Dictionaries and Glossaries
    ‘Annotated links to online Japanese dictionaries’ Monash University.
  • Online English Japanese Dictionary [Babylon]
    ‘Database of over 3 million words. Recognition of all inflections and derivatives. The Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana forms of writing are all recognised and displayed’.

Software

Apps

  • iKana touch - Hiragana and Katakana
    Apple, Not Free. ‘Will make learning these much easier and more fun than traditional methods’.
  • iKanji touch - Japanese Kanji Study Tool
    Apple, Not Free; In-app purchases. ‘Kanji study and training tool covering over 2 000 JLPT and school grade jouyou kanji’.
  • Japanese
    Apple, Not Free. ‘More than 174 650 entries and 52 000 examples, as well as stroke order animations for kanji and kana’.
  • JA Sensei - Learn Japanese
    Android, Free; In-app purchases. ‘Japanese lessons and numerous interactive exercises to learn Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Japanese vocabulary, Japanese phrases’, more.
  • Mirai Japanese
    Apple, Free; In-app purchases [some expensive]. ‘Will teach you Japanese using a highly effective tutor-based approach. Try the first 20 lessons for free’.

Free Software

  • Learn Japanese Free [Byki]
    ‘Play games, use flash cards, perfect your Japanese accent with native speaker sound, test yourself, and take your learning with you on MP3 audio’.
  • Zkanji
    ‘zkanji is a free, open-source Japanese language learning tool and also a kanji and word dictionary software providing many useful features for those who are interested in the Japanese language’.

Other Sites

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Language Usage

Grammar

  • A Guide to Japanese Grammar
    ‘Explanations focus on how to make sense of the grammar, not from English but from a Japanese point of view’.
  • Easy Japanese Grammar
    ‘Find short video tutorials here explaining Basic and Intermediate Japanese Grammar patterns in clear and easy to follow English’.
  • Japanese for the Western Brain
    ‘Basic principles of grammar and usage in a way that probably doesn’t resemble your textbook. I have written it so people who have a working knowledge of English grammar will be able to compare and contrast English and Japanese grammar’.
  • Tim Sensei’s Corner
    The Japanese Language section has multiple sections on aspects of Japanese grammar.
  • Visualising Japanese Grammar
    ‘Animations of various grammatical structures in Japanese and 12 downloadable appendices’.

Vocabulary

Other Sites

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Other Information

Culture

  • A Day with Kentaro
    Follow the life a young boy before and after school. Done in time blocks with text and images.
  • Japanese Culture
    ‘Over 220 pages of Japanese culture including traditional Japanese culture plus modern Japanese culture’.
  • Japanese Culture [2]
    Performing arts, contemplative arts, royalty, cultural events, costume, foods.
  • Japanese Culture [Inside Japan]
    ‘Pages, packed with information that will enrich your experience and understanding of Japan’.
  • Japanese Reference - Culture
    Religion, Lifestyle & Relationships, Cultural Issues, Traditions & Etiquette, more.
  • Web Japan
    ‘Choose the sites best suited from the content titles listed’.

News

Other Sites

  • Free Japanese Lessons and Courses
    ‘Free language lessons and courses for those learning Japanese, other Japanese language resources relevant to the student of Japanese’.
  • Japanese Language
    Geographic distribution, sounds, grammar, vocabulary, writing system, history, see also, references, external links. Wikipedia.
  • Japanese Language Links
    Books, food, grammar, lessons, kana/kanji, more.
  • Japan Foundation
    Based in Sydney. Courses, articles, newsletter, journal, resources for loan, more.
  • JGuide
    Stanford Guide to Japan Information Resources. Well annotated and maintained links for learning Japanese.
  • JLTAV - Links
    Lists several organisations as well as resource sites which are well annotated.
  • Jim Becker’s Japanese Page
    Links for Japanese. Culture, grammar, games, dictionaries, search engines, more.
  • Jim Breen’s Japanese Page
    ‘Links to some of the resources available on the WWW on Japanese matters’.
  • Language Teaching Resources
    Use tithe menu on the left to select resources for areas from dialects to words, dictionaries to sign language.
  • New South Wales HSC Online, Japanese
    While for the HSC, it provides revision on all aspects of senior secondary Japanese.
  • Sweets : Japanese Language Resources
    ‘Focus on the Japanese content of the Sweets exhibition, in the Community Gallery of the Immigration Museum. Designed to be used in conjunction with either a staff led or self guided visit to the museum. Teachers can download the work booklets for students working at beginner, intermediate or advanced level of the language’. Victoria.
  • WordReference
    Lists of briefly annotated links covering aspects of the Japanese language. Some more recent than others.
  • Wikijunior : Languages - Japanese
    Writing system used, how many people speak the language, where it is spoken, the history of the language, some famous authors or poets using the language, basic words in the language, a song/poem/story to learn in this language.

Podcasts, Blogs, Video Broadcasts

  • Japanese Lessons in English
    50 lessons. Audio, video, text.
  • JapanesePod101.com
    ‘A painless and free way to bone up on the language and culture in a relevant, real world way’
  • Learn Japanese Pod
    ‘A podcast and website for learning Japanese for free in a fun and easy way’.
  • News in Slow Japanese
    ‘Intermediate to Advanced Japanese Listening Lessons’.
  • One Minute Japanese
    ‘The absolute basics of Japanese. Introduces the listener to basic greetings, introductions, numbers, language problems and common words and phrases’.

Japanese Proficiency Test

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