Have you thought about learning Japanese with YouTube?
Yes, YouTube’s great for turning your brain off.
But there are also tons of channels dedicated to helping you learn Japanese.
Here are some awesome YouTube video channels that will set you on a course for Japanese success.
- Learn Japanese from Scratch
- Learn Japanese from Zero!
If you like to walk on the wackier side of life, then Tofugu is definitely for you. The fun English-language videos on aspects of Japanese culture posted here are as entertaining as they are jam-packed with information.
They’re primarily short documentaries about some of the weird and fascinating places the host has traveled to in Japan, such as Hokkaido, one of Japan’s largest islands. The host’s unique style is lighthearted, quirky and highly informative.
Situated among these slices of Japanese life are some Japanese language learning lessons. They focus on Japanese characters and how to pronounce them, and there is lots of amusing imagery to help you remember them.
For example, the host reckons the character “ka” looks like a Can-can dancer and that “ku” resembles the mouth of a bird.
Studying Japanese on YouTube is always an excellent idea, but FluentU has taken the experience one step further.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Numerous studies have shown that music can help you to study languages. Not only can melodies relax your mind, but when it comes to lessons they can help fix words in your brain.
That’s certainly the hope of GenkiJapan, which has produced a number of video lessons set to songs.
Whether you like the chosen tunes or are totally irritated by them, one thing is for sure: you’ll be humming them and singing the lyrics for weeks. And that’s a good thing.
Repetition will force you to remember the lessons, which cover all the basics like numbers and months.
GenkiJapan’s YouTube channel also features a mixed goody bag of short videos on various topics, although most are about food.
The channel now also posts tons of videos about travels and culture around the world. While you may have to dig a bit for the Japanese content, all the videos are extremely entertaining!
Learn Japanese from Scratch
Learn Japanese from Scratch will give beginners an excellent grounding in the basics.
The channel is a collection of short and simple videos covering a range of topics including compound sentences and long vowel sounds. There is a strong and welcome emphasis here on pronunciation. Without a host in sight, the videos concentrate on the Japanese characters and their English translations.
The pace of each lesson is quite slow, so it’s fairly easy to keep up. Of course, if you find anything baffling, you can hit the rewind button and play it again. Many of the videos are between three and five minutes in duration, although there are some longer ones.
Although this channel no longer posts videos, the lessons make up a fantastic and visual introductory course for absolute beginners.
Dive into a wide world of Japanese learning resources on JapanSociety NYC’s YouTube channel.
The Japan Society is a long-standing American organization that fosters greater understanding between Japan and the USA. The channel is like that crazy cave from Aladdin—full of goodies.
There are many lessons that cover the fundamentals such as greetings, common words, numbers and colors. Many of the lessons have an on-camera host who expertly guides you through each video, helped along by some nifty graphics.
In addition, JapanSocietyNYC also hosts videos devoted to the Japanese culture, cooking recipes, learning to read and write katakana, and Japanese culture in and around New York. There are even some clips from modern and indie Japanese films for you to enjoy and even some full movies, as well as many other types of videos posted frequently.
There’s no set order, so just dive into any of the videos as and when you like.
Whether your intention is to speak fluent Japanese or you just want to master the basics for a forthcoming trip, JapanSocietyNYC’s got you covered.
Learn Japanese from Zero!
We’ve all got to start from somewhere, but to those who feel daunted by the task of learning Japanese, this channel has a clear and simple message: you can learn lots of powerful grammar and words in just five minutes.
That’s how long each video lesson lasts and, during that time, Learn Japanese from Zero works its socks off to deliver insightful, entertaining and educational lessons.
Most of the shows are hosted by fluent Japanese speaker George Trombley, whose passion for the language is infectious and whose presentation style is bubbly, friendly and engaging.
All things considered, the videos cover a lot of ground and include such concepts as turning verbs into nouns, taboos to avoid in Japan and how to pronounce various words.
And if you like the videos, check out the book series by the same name.
If you want to learn quickly, effectively and have a little fun on the way, turn your eyes and ears towards JapanesePod101’s YouTube channel.
There’s a slew of useful video lessons for beginners, covering such areas as language basics and learning how to write in Japanese. There’s a huge amount of variety here so if you’re struggling with a particular grammar topic, you’re likely to find it here!
Most of the videos follow a similar format with a presenter on camera and some simple graphics. There’s no need for big Hollywood production costs here, as the knowledgeable and friendly presenters are engaging enough to command your attention. Occasionally, there are dollops of humor which helps to make the lessons even more enjoyable.
In response to user suggestion, JapanesePod101 has a number of enhanced videos created by taking the best parts of its audio podcast series and putting them in video form. They’ve called this video series “Innovative Japanese” and it features an entertaining host, cartoons and lots of opportunities for personal interaction.
Loving their awesome YouTube channel? Then you should swing by the official JapanesePod101 website and see their full program—the audio and video lessons here are complemented with interactive learning tools. While the full program requires a paid membership, you can take it for a spin with the free trial.
So, when you feel like you’re getting tired of the same old Japanese language practice sessions, learn Japanese on YouTube, instead.
I mean, you were probably going to get sidetracked watching videos there anyway—only now instead of watching hilarious fail videos, skateboard bailouts and dancing dogs, you will put your time surfing the Tube to good, practical use—learning Japanese with the awesome videos and channels we recommend above.
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