The Total Walkthrough of Anime Song Lyrics for Japanese Learners

If you say you’re studying Japanese, the first question you might hear is “Oh, do you like anime and manga?”

Anime, derived from the English word “animation” and written in katakana as アニメ, is usually one of the first things people think of when Japan is mentioned.

Whether you like to watch anime or not, it’s a big part of Japanese culture and, due to the vast range of genres, everyone has at least one kind of anime they’d probably like.

As well as watching anime shows in Japanese with subtitles for extra listening, how can studying anime lyrics help improve your Japanese?


A Quick Intro to Anime for Japanese Learners

  • There’s a large selection of anime for adults as well as for children. Although children’s anime does, of course, exist, lots of genres are for adults only; there’s even some anime that’s strictly 18+. This can be because of violence or sexual content.
  • Most anime shows have theme songs or songs included in them that are as popular as any pop song on Japan’s Top 40. They often become popular outside their anime shows as well. For example, Japanese versions of songs from the Disney movie “Frozen” are often played in shops and department stores, having grown to be as popular as stand-alone pop songs.

Anime song lyrics can help you better understand anime shows and, even better, learning the song lyrics can be a huge help in learning Japanese. Here are a few reasons why.

6 Things You’ll Learn from Anime Song Lyrics

1. You’ll pick up lots of useful vocabulary in context. 

Popular words that appear often in anime include things like:

(あい) — love

覚える (おぼえる) — remember

(ゆめ) — dream

ありがとう — thank you

頑張る (がんばる) — try, work hard, do one’s best

Depending on the anime you’re watching, you can pick up vocabulary and even full phrases from a song that’s describing the plot or characters you enjoy watching.

2. If you’re an audio learner, you’re especially lucky.

Learning a song packed with useful vocabulary can be just as useful for you as studying the traditional way with textbooks.

3. You can learn new kanji from songs.

With new vocabulary comes new kanji, as a lot of song videos include the lyrics below. If there are new words that interest you, the kanji is available for you to research and learn.

4. Learning Japanese anime songs can help your pronunciation.

Have you ever heard a non-native English speaker sing an English song? Even if they have a foreign accent when they speak normally, their pronunciation is often perfect when they sing. They can usually pronounce it well because they listened to or practiced singing the song many times, using drilling and repetition.

5. You’ll hear your favorite anime songs every time you watch an episode.

Whether you watch one episode a week or marathon the whole series in two days (Netflix and chill, anyone?) you’ll hear the song multiple times, and will probably recognize the tune, and perhaps some of the lyrics, after a couple of episodes.

6. If you learn to sing the song at a fast pace, this will help you with your pronunciation and intonation.

As you get used to speaking Japanese quickly and fluently, this will help prevent you tripping up next time you have a conversation.

Anime Song Lyrics to Get You Started

In addition, don’t forget that if you go to Japan, you can also sing the anime songs you know at karaoke and impress your Japanese friends!

  • Nightmare — “The World” (“Death Note”) — This is a catchy J-rock song performed by Japanese rock band Nightmare. “Death Note” is an extremely popular anime about the battle of wits between a genius detective and a student with the power to kill anyone by writing their name in a notebook. For mature audiences. Lyrics here.

Found an anime you love? Great! Here’s how to study using anime lyrics.

5 Superbly Simple Steps to Learn Japanese from Anime Song Lyrics

  • Figure out what your favorite anime song is. My personal favorite is 1000 words from “Final Fantasy X-2,” which is available in both Japanese and English. You might choose your favorite song because it’s catchy, or simply because it reminds you of your favorite show.
  • Enjoy listening to it often and learn the lyrics. This will be easy if there are a lot of episodes—you’ll hear it every time you watch the show! There’s usually an extended version of the song available too, so make sure you check.
  • Practice the song, focusing on pronunciation and intonation. See if there’s an acapella version on YouTube so that you can practice singing it alone. Your aim is for your pronunciation to sound as close to the original as possible.
  • When you’ve learned it well, sing it at karaoke when you’re in Japan!

You’ll often find that you come across the new words the next time you have a conversation in Japanese. For example, I recently heard 幻 (まぼろし) which is “illusion” or “phantom,” which I had already learned from “素敵だね” from the video game “Final Fantasy X.”


Anime song lyrics really do help you pick up new Japanese phrases and vocabulary, as well as reinforcing the words you already know and giving them some context. Not to mention that you get to enjoy some fantastic anime shows whilst you’re learning! It’s a win-win situation.

With a large array of anime songs in your music library, you can enjoy picking up more Japanese than ever, as well as possibly introducing yourself to your new favorite TV show or video game. Good luck, and have fun exploring the fantastic world of anime!

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe