Well, I guess it’s time to end this blog.
There’s nothing left to write about.
We’ve already given you our best tips.
Like how you can make the most of language exchange.
Actually – there is one more thing.
Yes, YouTube’s great for turning your brain off.
But there are also tons of channels dedicated to helping you learn Japanese.
Want me to prove it?
I’ve got 8 awesome YouTube video channels that will set you on a course to Japanese success.
Oh, but before we head over to YouTube, there’s something else I want to share with you. Studying Japanese on YouTube is always an excellent idea, but FluentU has taken the experience one step farther.
FluentU is an innovative site that takes real-world videos—like commercials, anime, music videos, TV shows and home videos—and uses them as powerful Japanese learning tools. And all of these videos come directly to you from YouTube! There’s just one big improvement on this learning platform—all the videos are made approachable for any learner at any skill level.
FluentU has amassed a broad range of contemporary videos—just take a look at one small sample:
You’ll get reading practice too, as every video is subtitled. FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive captions. These interactive captions will show you the definition of a word (and simultaneously pause the video) whenever you hover your mouse over it.
All definitions have multiple in-context usage examples, and they’re written for Japanese learners like you. You’ll also find audio pronunciations, synonyms, helpful images and more. Tap again to add words you’d like to review later to your running vocab list.
And that’s not all. FluentU’s learn mode lets you learn Japanese even better by turning your selected videos into personalized language lessons. You’ll go through exercises that show the video clips as the prompts, multimedia flashcards, quizzes and fun activities like “fill in the blank.”
The best part?
Every time you use FluentU, the site keeps track of the grammar and vocab you’ve learned and the words you struggle with, personalizing video suggestions and learning sessions based on your unique set of knowledge.
It’ll then recommend the natural next step in the progression of your learning. You’re delivered a 100% personalized experience.
8 YouTube Channels You Don’t Wanna Miss for Learning Japanese
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 are 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.
Bobby Judo has a popular YouTube channel and it’s easy to see why. He has a genuinely engaging presence and uses it to provide a numerous, diverse videos with different formats. In some of the videos, he speaks entirely in Japanese. If you can’t follow exactly what he’s saying, there are English subtitles to help. Before paying a visit to Bobby, brush up on your Japanese listening skills and learn how to use subtitles for language learning.
Some of the videos may not be suitable for absolute beginners, but for intermediates and advanced speakers, they provide some challenging opportunities as well as a way of checking progress. For example, by seeing if you understand everything without looking at the subtitles. There is no lesson structure as such as each video features Bobby talking about a different topic or experience in his life.
In other videos, Bobby converses in English about numerous topics such as being a foreigner in Japan and eating eel to combat summer fatigue in the hot weather. These are good vignettes about life in Japan and they include a smattering of Japanese words and phrases.
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. Consistent repetition will force you to remember the lessons that cover all the basics, such as numbers and months. GenkiJapan’s YouTube channel also features a mixed goody bag of short videos on various topics, although most are about food.
There’s never a dull moment on Gimmeabreakman, an eclectic YouTube channel dedicated to the weird, the wonderful and the entertaining. There are Google Hangouts, festivals, short travelogues, interviews on Japanese streets and video lessons. All are conducted in English sprinkled with a mix of Japanese words and phrases. Among the attention-grabbing video titles you’ll find “The Japanese Naked Festival” and “How Japanese Women ask Men to Make Love.” Some of the videos are seriously popular with hundreds of thousands of viewings. The channel also has a series of lessons called “Japanese for Morons” that covers all the basics of Japanese. The host is a somewhat zany character and has a seriously “in your face” attitude which you will either love or hate.
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.
Dive into a big wide world of Japanese learning resources on JapanSociety NYC’s YouTube channel. The Japan Society is an American organization that is now in its second century and 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. The most common format is an on-camera host who expertly guides you through each video, helped along by some nifty graphics. In addition, JapanSocietyNYC also encompasses a few sub-channels devoted to cooking recipes, learning to read and write katakana, and Japanese culture in and around New York. 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 has got you covered.
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.
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 downright useful video lessons for beginners, covering such areas as language basics and learning how to write in Japanese. Most of the videos follow a similar format with a presenter on camera and some simple graphics. There is 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 more enjoyable.
Recently, JapanesePod101 has listened to suggestions from users and enhanced videos 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.
So, when you feel like you’re getting tired of the same old Japanese language practice sessions, take a break on YouTube. 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.
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.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Japanese with real-world videos.