Skip to main content

Resources review for Japanese

I recommend, if you haven't done it before, find your learning style. Taking the vark-learn questionnaire can be a guide.

Programs, addons, plug-ins

SRS

Don't "kill yourself" with it. It's to review and not study (although some people do it). Just use it for a couple of minutes.

For beginners it's very helpful for the lack of texts in that level, poor grammar and vocabulary. As you advance, decrease the usage and do more reading/listening.

Anki
URL

http://ankisrs.net/

Platform

Multiplatform.

Code

Open

Storage

SQLite

Clients

desktop, smartphones, web

Price
Free
  • Highly popular
  • Many plugins and decks.
  • Community very focused on Japanese
  • Sync with Ankiweb.
  • Very flexible and customizable.
  • Graphics and statistics
Mnemosyne
URL

http://mnemosyne-proj.org/

Platform

Multiplatform.

Code

Open

Storage

SQLite

Clients

desktop, android, "web" (activate the webserver), phones with J2ME

Price
Free
  • No so popular, but has been around for a while
  • More generic than Anki.
  • Shared decks and plugins.
  • Graphics and statistics
  • Sync with devices (no web, one device acts like server).

Dictionaries

Tagaini Jisho
URL

http://www.tagaini.net/

Platform

Multiplatform.

Code

Open

Storage

SQLite

Price
Free
  • Dictionary + kanji lookup + learning tool/asistant.
  • Can tag, add notes to entries and organize them in lists.
  • Flashcards (no SRS) which highlight the entries based on the score (from red to green).
  • Basic export to TSV (Anki) and booklet making

Cons:

  • Can't search inside lists (only in study lists)
  • Can't separate the studied kanji from vocabulary
  • You can only export the word, pronunciation and definition. Notes are exported when you create a booklet. Tags and lists can't be exported.
Rikai-family

Popup dictionaries for browsers

  • Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey: rikaichan or rikaisama fork that adds audio, more dictionaries, word frequency, pitch accents, advanced exporting/saving, export to Anki, specify the words you know/want to learn and more.
  • Chrome: rikaikun
  • Opera 12/legacy: Rikaisan
JED
URL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.umibouzu.jed

Platform

Android.

Ads

No

Price
Free

Offline dictionary. Doesn't seem to be updated anymore.

  • Search while you type (in readings, meanings).
  • Can search in romaji and kana/kanji.
  • Japanese to many languages (english, spanish, french).
  • Tags.
  • Export to GDocs or Anki.
  • Copy to clipboard.
  • Sentences examples.
Akebi

Offline dictionary.

  • Stroke-order independent handwriting recognition
  • Example sentences (320k+)
  • Character mask (to filter words, using radicals)
  • Free search form: characters appear in any part of the word
  • Word lists: collect words for easy access, flashcards or exporting
  • Inbuilt Japanese Keyboard (can be disabled)
  • Kanji info
  • Search in English-Japanese; Japanese-English
  • Kanji practice
  • Deconjugation: search a conjugated verb and shows results in its plain form.
  • Holo theme

If you can't download the dictionary, download from https://www.mediafire.com/?qm4mitknkxxa77o and uncompress it in sdcard or internal/Android/obb/. You must end up with something like: sdcard/Android/obb/com.craxic.akebifree/main.33.com.craxic.akebifree.obb

Note: I upload it because the official site (to download) is "dead" (http://craxic.com/akebi/files/)

Jisho.org
URL

http://jisho.org/

Platform
Online
  • Shows example sentences
  • Shows common words
  • Shows JLPT levels and WaniKani
  • Play words audio
Tangorin
URL

http://tangorin.com/

Platform
Online
  • Shows example sentences
  • Can create word lists to export
  • Shows common words

Practice

Obenkyo
URL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Obenkyo

Platform

Android.

Ads

Yes: Ads and Analytics. However, can be disabled in settings.

Price
Free

Android app to practise/learn kana, kanji and vocabulary (incl. numbers).

  • Kanji: 2300+ (1-5 JLPT level or Jouyou 1-7), stroke animation, readings. Flashcards/writing.
  • Vocabulary: 14600+ from EDICT with flashcard.
  • Particles: experimental (about 100 sentences)
  • Tae Kim Japanese Grammar guide.

OCR

Capture2text
URL

http://capture2text.sourceforge.net/

Plataform

Windows

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • OCR from many languages (by default comes with japanese, english, french, chinese, german and spanish)
  • Speech recognition via Google
  • Copy to clipboard, popup window, where the cursor is, to a window (ex. Notepad++, Sublime Text)
  • Graphically and command line.
OCR Manga Reader
URL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cb4960.ocrmr

Plataform

Android

Ads

No

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • Comic/manga reader with OCR to search words in a dictionary, popup style.
  • Formats: CBZ, CBR, ZIP, RAR, PNG, JPG, BMP
  • Vertical or horizontal text.
  • OCR'd text can be sent to clipboard, Aedict, AnkiDroid, many online dictionaries, Google and Google Images.

Reading

Programs that help you read texts: load it (usually .txt) y mark the words you know or want to learn and export them. The unknown words can be searched with the "popup" dictionary provided, can be clicking or hovering.

Yomichan
URL

http://foosoft.net/pages/yomichan.html or Anki plugin repo

Platform

Multiplatform.

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • Anki plugin
  • Included dictionary searching (EDICT, KANJIDICT).
  • Very confortable if you save the vocabulary/sentences to anki. You can also copy them to the clipboard.
  • Doesn't highlight the words you know.
  • Only for Japanese
LWT (Learning with Texts)
URL

http://lwt.sourceforge.net/

Platform

Multiplatform

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • Installs to a server with PHP and MySQL
  • For many languages
  • Must configurate dictionaries to use (you have some included) and appears as popup.
  • Statistics page.
  • Export to TSV: words and expressions
  • Import known words in CSV/TSV.
  • Words highlighting (known or not), by grade (different colors)
fltr (Foreign Language Text Reader)
URL

https://code.google.com/p/fltr/

Platform

Multiplatform

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • Like LWT but in Java and plain files.
  • No built-in dictionary (opens browser with the assigned dictionary). You have some included.
  • Highlights the words (known or not) with different colors by grade.
  • Export to TSV.
  • Importar a CSV with known words or load a text and click in "I know all of them"
  • For many languages
  • Basic statistics.
  • The logo is a 招き猫
Jade Reader
URL

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zyz.mobile

Plataform

Android

Code

Open

Price
Free
  • Plain text reader (.txt)
  • Offline Japanese-English dictionary
  • Export words or copy to clipboard
  • Horizontal/vertical mode
  • Automatically de-inflect verbs, adjectives

Others

iAnnotate PDF
  • PDF reader with option to annotate, manage and search documents
  • Can save annotations to Box Onecloud
  • Open multiple files (in tabs)
  • Can highlight text, write and comment on the document

Kana, Kanji

Kana

Any book to learn kana is not worth it

  • There aren't many: 48 hiragana and 48 "official" katakana.
  • Vocabulary tought can be learnt in another textbook.
  • It's better to learn them by rewriting/memorizing them with SRS/Flashcards (or both).
  • Few + highly used = you learn them quickly.
  • If you use a textbook, you can learn them with it.

Kanji

Remembering the Kanji
Method

Mnemonic

Kanji count

2042 kanji, including 常用漢字 + 965 from the third, add up 3007

Vocabulary

No

Excercises

No

Metadata

http://books.google.com/books?id=TtEaylKrGaMC

Price
Paid
  • You can use it to not fear the kanji and don't panic when you see one with many strokes.
  • Kanji are presented as building upon previous already learnt kanji
  • Doesn't teach readings (RTK 2). RTK 3 has some kanji that, if you get the new version (6th), shouldn't be so necessary, because includes some obscure kanji.
  • No so recommended if you don't care the how-to-write part (You can learn the basic rules and write most of the kanji with that).
  • Not all the characters have stories, about half-way onwards you have to create them yourself.

It's recommended (if you have old versions from the 6th): delete unnecessary kanji of the first and third version or download the anki deck.

Kanji Damage
Method

Mnemonic

Kanji count

1,700 kanji in a funny way ("Yo Mama jokes")

URL

http://kanjidamage.com/

Vocabulary

Yes

Excercises

No

Price
Free
  • Alternative to RTK
  • Aids to tell apart similar kanji.
  • Readings
  • Learn with radicals
Smart Kanji Book
Method

Mnemonic

Kanji count

most 732 important/popular kanji.

URL

http://smartkanjibook.com/

Vocabulary

Yes

Excercises

No

Price
Paid. There's a free sample of 140
  • Alternative to RTK
  • Funny stories and all the characters have.
Basic Kanji Book
Method

Rote repetition: write X times

Kanji count

500 (both vols.)

Vocabulary

yes

Excercises

yes

Metadata

http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/4893580914

Price
Paid
  • Learn kanji with reading and stroke order
  • Explains a bit of grammar.
  • In basic kanji shows the image that was based on.
Kanji in MangaLand
Method

Mnemonic

Kanji count

240 in the first

Vocabulary

Yes

Excercises

Yes

Metadata

http://books.google.com/books?id=q_lqefFs8EcC

Price
Paid
  • The "Remembering the kanji" but manga oriented: has a "drawing" explaining the kanji, associated story and stroke order.
  • Similar kanji list and reading.
  • Vocabulary manga oriented ("fantasy" words)
Kanji De Manga
  • Like above but poorer.
  • kanji and stroke order
  • Vocabulary
  • Cartoon with a dialogue using the kanji you're learning.
  • Skip it, doesn't worth it.
A Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese
Method

Repetition

Kanji count

1945

Vocabulary

Yes

Excercises

No

Metadata

http://books.google.com/books?id=c8X-BxJUpZYC

Price
Paid
  • The most 1006 essential kanji broken into six grades.
  • Readings (most common) and meaning
  • Word examples
  • Stroke order and count.
  • Kana tables
  • I don't recommend it

Grammar

Japanese in Mangaland/Japonés en viñetas 1
  • You can use it as a introduction to the language or as a companion to another textbook.
  • Basic stuff like writing, greetings, conjugations, a bit of vocabulary (with kanji), cultural notes, etc, with cartoons to illustrate examples.
  • The vocabulary, being manga oriented, will have words not common for everyday usage
  • Some typos and corny humor.
  • Workbook (first book): plain and manga oriented.
  • 160 kanji
  • Good to learn "informal" Japanese.
Genki
  • Focus on grammar and basic vocabulary.
  • Listening and workbook.
  • Good book to study by yourself, but you have to skip the group excercises.
  • Vocabulary: school oriented.
  • Story about Mary as a student.
  • "Many voices" in the listening (like 3-4 for Japanese); it's basically in English: this can be good in the beginning.
  • In the listening of the workbook, sometimes, you have to answer in English.
Japonés con Yumiko
  • Don't even bother.
  • The only thing that can be worth is the travel guide, but you can get it somewhere else.

Reading

The Great ChokoChoko Library

Free texts to practise reading accoring to JLPT level. Recommended.

Japanese Graded Readers

URL

http://japanesegradedreaders.com/

Price

Paid

Level
All

Audio-books in different levels (JLPT). Recommended. Also has iPad versions.

Other resources

Guía práctica de conversación: español - japonés

  • Quick guide, basic grammar and much vocabulary.
  • It's not so bad for the vocabulary/sentences.
  • "spanish" ("españolizado") romaji
  • Typos in romaji, kanji, pronunciations, etc.
  • Seems that the back dictionary is not complete with all the used words in the book.

Tanos

URL

http://tanos.co.uk/jlpt/

Price

Free

Content
JLPT lists
  • Not official lists for JLPT
  • Lists for kanji, vocabulary and grammar points
  • Links to examples
  • Lists can be downloaded as .pdf, .doc, .mem and .anki

My grammar notes (spanish)

URL
http://aquinzi.github.io/jp-wiki/

My japanese grammar notes in spanish

Changes

  1. misc fixes; add online dictionaries (jisho, tangorin); add my grammar notes; add Japanese Graded Readers
  2. Add Tanos, A Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese; reorder; links to metadata
  3. Update info.
  4. Add Akebi, Jade, iAnnotate.
  5. Add OCR.