No more Splenda.
Don’t give me imitation crab.
And keep that tofurkey far, far away.
I only want the real deal.
On my plate, and in my Japanese learning, too.
To use Japanese like a native speaker, you’ve got to hear how real Japanese people use the language every day. You want to imitate their pronunciations, hear their word choices and understand the issues that are relevant to them.
And you can do it all with the authentic Japanese video resources below.
From on-the-street interviews to language lessons with hand puppets, we’ve got a wide array of videos for Japanese learners—all provided by real-deal native Japanese speakers.
Real Deal Japanese: 6 Japanese Learning Videos with Native Speaking Teachers
Having a knowledgeable teacher is really great, but there’s something even better than that: having a teacher who’s knowledgeable and cute! I mean, come on, what more do you need?
Jokes aside, this channel offers a lot for people who want to study Japanese and the host Misa is very likable and interesting. Everything on this channel screams kawaii (cute and cheerful to the max).
The targeted audience is anyone who wants to learn Japanese—both casual learners and the more serious ones.
Misa is a native Japanese speaker but she also speaks perfect English, so explaining language concepts in excellent English is no problem for her. Having a skilled teacher who’s also a native Japanese person who also has great English knowledge is quite rare, and therefore awesome.
These videos have the feel of laid-back learning, but in fact, they provide strong material to help you learn concepts quickly.
If you like what this channel offers, then you might want to check out these videos:
- A playlist of grammar video lessons for absolute beginners
- Essential Japanese phrases and how to say them the native way
These two playlists cover the basics of learning a language and are therefore meant for everyone who wants to start just that.
I always like to point out that learning a foreign language does not start and end with the language itself. It’s very important to explore the culture of your target language if you ever hope to connect in a real way with native speakers. That’s why this channel found its way to our list.
Yuta covers interesting social and political topics in Japan’s society. His videos allow you to see things from the perspective of Japanese people.
Yuta goes around the street and asks Japanese people interesting questions that can provide very valuable information for language students. Yuta occasionally does videos on topics like pronunciation and such, so it’s not like there’s no language learning content on his channel. His videos also all come with English subtitles.
His channel stands out from other similar ones because he tends to lean toward a younger audience, but not exclusively! He covers topics that can be interesting for any age group.
There are a lot of videos on this channel—here are some that I found the most interesting:
- Do Japanese people want multiculturalism?
- Do Japanese people watch American cartoons?
- Do Japanese people know English?
Yuta does a great job filming his videos and he tries to cover a wide range of questions that should be interesting to non-Japanese folks.
This channel is a fantastic option if you’re interested in the modern Japanese society and its viewpoints. Even if you’re not really into all that, the exposure to authentic, informal Japanese is priceless!
One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, current events and entertainment. You’ll hear how Japanese is used authentically in a ton of different settings, and you’ll have more to talk about with native speakers.
Plus, it’s just a more fun way to learn!
That’s what makes FluentU such an engaging and useful video resource. On FluentU, you can watch real-world Japanese videos, like movie trailers, music videos, news clips, inspiring talks… you name it!
Better yet, each video comes with interactive captions you can click to get an in-context definition and native pronunciation for any word you don’t recognize. There are also tailor-made flashcards and exercises to drill the words from the videos.
That means you’ll be actively boosting your language skills while absorbing Japanese the way native speakers really use it!
This channel, created by a Waseda University alumnus, is so strong it’s practically savage. It has hundreds of videos with extremely detailed language explanations and examples. Be it kanji, grammar or anything else, it’s covered in a wonderfully thorough manner.
The presenters are excellent as well. They speak very clearly, they don’t rush and they give off a nice, friendly vibe.
This channel covers everything you need to know to pass the JLPT exam, from N1 to N4. If you’re looking for heavyweight language lessons, this is the channel for you. I recommend that you take a look at the JLPT playlists to see for yourself!
However, they cover some more relaxed topics and basic concepts as well.
I love this channel and I enjoy watching their videos. To be honest, they’re so thorough they cover subjects that I didn’t even study in college. You could easily upgrade your Japanese language skills to fluent with the help of these guys. Simply amazing.
Like the previously covered channel, this one will help you with the JLPT N1 to N4. Though the JLPT is this channel’s primary focus, that’s actually not why we put it on our list.
What makes this channel great is it’s intended for non-native speakers living in Japan, so it covers topics that are essential to day-to-day life in the country. Along with the JLPT lessons you’ll learn about business manners in Japan or how to talk about food.
Some videos are in English, so a part of the targeted audience has no knowledge of Japanese language. Others are meant for at least mid-level Japanese speakers.
I recommend you watch their videos about business manners as they’re quite interesting!
I suggest you compare this one and Nihongonomori to see the differences in the JLPT series and find out which one suits you better.
The guy who made this channel is golden. His videos cover grammar very thoroughly and precisely. And the presenters are hand puppets!
It’s amazing. He even sets up a kind of studio, creating a scene in which the animal puppets find themselves in all kinds of situations. This is the first time I saw someone using hand puppets to teach a foreign language and I must admit, it’s quite amusing and interesting.
The Japanese subjects covered on this channel are varied, from everyday talk about the weather, to complex grammar structures.
Not every video features the puppets—the puppet videos tend to cover the less difficult subjects while the more serious looking videos are usually on complicated stuff.
We have to give this channel credit, it’s original, informative and friendly!
The channels we reviewed in this post are all unique in their own way. After all, that’s why we chose them in the first place! Since we’ve made this list, our job here’s pretty much done. Now it’s up to you to decide who’ll be your new teacher.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Japanese with real-world videos.