How To Study Japanese Effectively

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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How To Study Japanese Effectively

The Best Way to Learn Japanese: 11 Proven Study Methods That Work

  1. Take a Class or Computer Course. …
  2. Listen to Language Podcasts. …
  3. Watch Japanese TV With English Subtitles. …
  4. Learn Hiragana and Katakana. …
  5. Read Manga or Children’s Books. …
  6. Get a Workbook. …
  7. Use Flashcards. …
  8. Sing Japanese Karaoke Songs.

So, what’s the best way to learn Japanese? The best way to learn is through practice, repetition, and dedication. If you put in the time and follow these tips, you will be well on your way to mastering the language.

1. Take a Class or Computer Course

If you don’t know any Japanese, a structured class is the best way to start. Find teachers in your area, or sign up for Japanese classes at a local community college or university.

If taking a class isn’t an option, you can buy a language learning program. Rosetta Stone is the most popular option. Pimsleur, an audio language program, is also great to learn the basics.

2. Listen to Language Podcasts

I love language podcasts. When I was in Germany, I listened to podcasts on the way to and from school each day. It helped me learn much faster than my classmates.

There are lots of Japanese podcasts available online. They range from beginner to advanced. For best results, make listening to podcasts part of your routine (listen during your commute or while you do chores).

3. Watch Japanese TV With English Subtitles

I once met an American girl in Japan who spoke impeccable Japanese. She told me that she had been bedridden with a serious illness for almost a year. During this time, she watched anime in Japanese with English subtitles. She never took a class, but her Japanese was phenomenal.

Watch anime (or Japanese movies) with English subtitles. Write down any words you don’t know, and say them into a translation app, like Google Translate, to find out what they mean.

4. Learn Hiragana and Katakana

Hiragana and Katakana are two basic 30-letter Japanese alphabets. They provide two ways of writing the same sounds (the sound ah is あin Hiragana and ア in Katakana). Hiragana is the general alphabet, and Katakana is used for foreign-derived words. Learn these two alphabets before you learn the Kanji characters.

5. Read Manga or Children’s Books

Children’s books and Manga, Japanese comics, usually include Furigana, which are little Hiragana or Katakana characters next to each Kanji character. Stories with Furigana can help you learn common Kanji.

6. Get a Workbook

Kanji workbooks can help you learn to write Kanji characters and understand their meaning. Get a workbook and dedicate a short amount of time to practice each day, even if it’s only 20 minutes.

7. Use Flashcards

Use flashcards to help you memorize Kanji. You can make your own, or use a website to help. Wanikani is a great flashcard site for Kanji memorization.

8. Sing Japanese Karaoke Songs

Learn some Japanese songs, and focus on pronunciation and meaning. It helps to listen to the songs multiple times. Then make your way to a Japanese-style karaoke joint and watch the subtitles as you sing. Japanese karaoke places usually have private rooms for small groups to rent, so you can practice without feeling embarrassed.

9. Use Japanese Subtitles

As you get better at Japanese, try switching the English subtitles to Japanese while you watch TV. My spoken Japanese is very good, but I can’t read well. When I watch TV with Japanese subtitles, I can mentally connect the spoken words with the Japanese characters. If this is challenging at first, try switching between English and Japanese subtitles.

10. Get a Tutor

You can’t get better at speaking Japanese if you don’t practice. A Japanese tutor can help you learn to speak in practical situations.

11. Join a Group

Many cities have groups for Japanese speakers. Even if you’re just starting out, it can help to join a group and listen to other Japanese speakers.

What’s the best way to learn Japanese? Become somewhat proficient, and then make friends with people who speak the language. If you go to a language group once a week, you will get better. The more you practice, the faster you’ll improve. Make some new friends and have fun learning. Your new Japanese friends might even be willing to sing karaoke with you!

what is the best way to learn japanese for free

Learning Japanese is not easy, let alone you are teaching yourself. Without a tutor by your side collecting and summarizing all the knowledge and resources you need for you, whether you can find the appropriate and effective resources on different components of Japanese becomes the most crucial factor in your success in mastering the language. 

But don’t worry! We have found the most helpful and comprehensive resources you need to learn Japanese for you here. And most importantly, they are all FREE! Check this article out for free apps, blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, and even Chrome extensions that cover every aspect of Japanese language. Use these resources to learn Japanese online for free!

While studying Japanese I found a HUGE selection of Japanese online courses and resources. But some were better than others, so I thought I’d share the best free ones. I want to save you spending hours researching and testing all the tools out there!

That way, rather than trying to figure out which Japanese resources are the best, you can dig right in and start spending quality time with the language. And the best part? It won’t cost you a single 円 yen.

Let’s take a look at these free online Japanese language resources and classes.

A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away in Japanese for at least 15 minutes with the “Fluent in 3 Months” method. All it takes is 90 days.

If you’re interested in guided lessons, there is a good selection of free online Japanese courses and systems available. Here are just a few websites that offer online Japanese lessons at no cost:

  • Tofugu are the creators of two popular paid courses for learning Japanese – Textfugu and Wanikani. Their blog, however, is also an incredible resource with thorough posts on different aspects of the Japanese language.
  • Learn Japanese on EdX: The online learning portal EdX currently has three free Japanese language courses. Two focus on the Japanese language and culture while the third is specific to Japanese pronunciation.
  • Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese: This guide is an in-depth look into the Japanese language. It covers all the basics and even gets into complex grammar as you progress.
  • Learn with Oliver: Learn with Oliver is an online flashcard tool that allows you to learn Japanese words or phrases. It offers several ways to test yourself on the content. I personally love their email newsletters and look forward to seeing them in my inbox each day.
  • NativShark: NativShark has two free courses available for Japanese learners – Kana Mastery and How to Learn Japanese. They also have a helpful blog with lots of great content about the Japanese language.
  • NHK Japanese: Japan’s national broadcasting organization, NHK, offers free Japanese lessons on their site. It’s also a great resource for learning about Japanese culture, food, and travel.

how to study japanese effectively reddit

As an example, some may say to not focus on Kanji by itself, but to see it in context. Some may say to start learning grammar immediately, while others may feel it that as one learns the language they will just naturally pick up on the grammar. Some may find that interaction to be really important and so forth.

Obviously it’s important to learn Hiragana and Katakana early on, which I’m sure most would agree with. But the confusing part comes in when trying to decide how to approach learning other aspects of the language.

I’ve picked up and dropped Japanese over the years and there’s a question that just seems to continually bug me “Is this the best method?” The reason for that is because if, for example, I am using one method, but there’s another method that is more efficient then I’d want the more efficient method.

Not all that long ago I was using Kanji Damage (which I’m considering picking up again) as it seems to have helped me memorize Kanji. But my concern is will I be able to apply what I’ve learned from that to real life situations?

Long story short: What is the most efficient and effective way to learning Japanese? I know this will vary from person to person, but I really want to learn Japanese in a way that works instead of spending hours upon hours on a method that will ultimately not accomplish fluency. I’m not necessarily asking for a shortcut method, as learning a language takes work but I would like to know what people have found to truly work for them. Thank you very much for your time! 🙂

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