One of the biggest secrets when it comes to learning a language is that if you do it right, you can definitely enjoy the journey rather than think about it as a mundane mission. And learning Japanese through YouTube videos is an awesome way, don't you think? It's entertaining, free, and you can easily find the content you love on YouTube, be it Japanese culture, language, anime, or politics.
To that end, I'd like to give you a wonderful list of popular Japanese YouTube Channels on a variety of topics to get you started! Read on to find out!
So why learn Japanese through YouTube?
Rich in real-life topics
Every Youtuber is a storyteller. On Youtube, you can find all kinds of content in Japanese, from vlogs, motivational speeches to cool stories of Japanese ninjas, the possibilities are endless. This makes learning so much more real, informative, and exciting than reading textbooks only.
I don’t say that free is the best way to go, but if Japanese courses often cost you a fortune, Youtube doesn’t. So, why not?
Enhances listening skills
The more you watch YouTube videos in Japanese, the better your Japanese listening will get. There is no better way to improve your listening than immersing yourself in Japanese videos.
Enlarges your Japanese vocabulary
In videos, words are used as part of a story which helps you to learn and remember them more effectively. As you already know, videos on Youtube are of various topics, such as entertainment, education, politics, global issues, gaming, lifestyle, science and beauty. You can learn lots of new words in your favorite topics, which sometimes may not come with a textbook or conventional class.
Top 10 YouTube Channels for Learning Japanese
Hajime is one of the biggest YouTubers in Japan and looking at his videos you can easily see why. His YouTube Channel mainly focuses on ridiculously crazy challenges and testing out expensive products. The videos are usually very entertaining and of very high quality. More importantly, most of his videos are added subtitles in many languages, including Japanese and English. Therefore, it's so convenient for those who want to learn Japanese through watching his videos.
Chika Yoshida is a Japanese YouTube celebrity. She started her YouTube channel - Bilingirl Chika in 2011. Chika has gained popularity there for her original comedic sketches, lifestyle vlogs, and those documenting her personal life. She has amassed more than 1.5 million subscribers and 396 million views to her YouTube channel since its beginning. Most of her videos have subtitles in both English and Japanese. By watching her videos and following her daily life, you will learn a lot about Japanese language and lifestyle.
Yuta is another famous Japanese YouTuber. He makes videos about Japanese culture and language from a Japanese perspective. He also does many street interviews in Tokyo on various topics.
Some of his popular videos include ‘Do ‘Foreigners’ in Japan speak Japanese?’ with over 3 million views. If you're interested in learning about Japanese people, this channel is the right one for you.
Yusuke Okawa is a Japanese creator whose YouTube Channel is popular among those who love filmmaking. Yusuke makes a number of Adobe Premiere tutorial videos. His channel is mainly dedicated to anything to do with photography and videography. He also captures his daily life and travel journeys through the eyes of a creative person.
That being said, every single video is high-quality: excellent video, excellent editing, nice music and good content to boot. If you do any video editing or just want to learn how to take a nicer picture, learn how to do it in Japanese with Yusuke.
バイきんぐ (Viking) is a Japanese comedy duo consisting of Eiji Kotōge (小峠英二) and Mizuki Nishimura (西村瑞樹). In each episode the pair take on a new profession, from chefs to detectives to construction workers, finding humor in everyday situations.
Watching Japanese comedy is a great way to learn some slangs, idioms and basically how to be funnier. Imagine being funny in Japanese... I know, right 😍.
If you’re a fan of fashion or makeup, you should definitely check out this lovely channel. Aoi is a Japanese Beauty YouTuber who is known for her engaging videos about these topics.
As a model, Aoi takes a really fun and modern approach to makeup, a great fit for younger viewers who may prefer a more natural look that isn’t overly polished. Her videos are also beautifully edited and a pleasure to watch. Isn't that great when you can learn about makeup while practicing your Japanese?
Troom Troom JP is a perfect YouTube channel for those who love science and DIY. The channel is dedicated to small experiments that you can do at home. The videos are relatively high quality and uploaded regularly. The voiceover is very slow and clear. This is a great channel to start with if you’re a beginner!
Bright Side Japan is a pop-science channel that is both huge and well-funded, putting out regular videos on a wide variety of content about history, knowledge and how-to trivia. The channel focuses on releasing animated videos with general content about facts and riddles.
Every video is quite sensational and very bingeable, meaning that you can very well settle down with some ice cream on a Saturday night enjoying the videos and call it a productive study session.
からわかラボ (Karawakarabo) is another science YouTube channel that focuses on explaining useful "scientific knowledge" such as study methods, sleep, and the body of living things. The videos are co-created with a doctor and laid out in the form of a running presentation so that each new idea is accompanied by some sort of a visual. "What is an efficient way to study?", "Is it true that I catch a cold when it's cold?" , "What is the tattoo mechanism?"
These various questions are solved through this channel. By watching the videos, you will definitely learn various Japanese vocabulary, specifically relating to science.
With over 4.8 million subscribers, Hikakin Games is surely the top subscribed Japanese gaming channel on YouTube. The channel is run by the excitable and enthusiastic Hikakin.
On this gaming channel, Hikakin plays a variety of child-friendly games including Zelda, Super Mario, Pokémon, and Minecraft in a series that he calls “Hikakura,” a play on his name and the Japanese nickname for Minecraft, “Maikura.”
His video content is intended for Japanese people, not learners, but Hikakin is very expressive and tends to subtitle the gist of what he’s saying, so rest assured that your Japanese will only get better if you regularly watch his videos.
Some other Japanese YouTube Channels that are worth checking out!
- もしもしゆうすけ: The channel shows what everyday Japan and Japanese is really like
- Nephrite【ネフライト】: This channel is run by a professional Japanese fortnite player who regularly uploads gameplays and stream footage.
- ライフハックアニメーション - 心と体の健康チャンネル: This channel is a simple animated video that provides you with the knowledge to lead a stress-free, motivated, healthy and positive life.
- JapanThing: This channel is run by Dominic, an English YouTuber that creates content in and about Japan! He creates videos focusing on Japanese News, Teaching and Entertainment, as well as Vlogs exploring some of the most interesting places in Japan.
- Kazu: Kazu runs a YouTube Channel documenting his experience as a Japanese guy living and working in Shanghai. This is more of a lifestyle channel where all of the focus is on life.
- Sasakiasahi: This YouTube channel is owned by Asahi Sasaki from Japan. She makes video tutorials about how to do makeup, fashion, hair and nails.
- LoL Esports JP: The LoLeSportsJP channel is a channel covering cup-level professional League of Legends games.
So we've just looked at over 10 YouTube Channels for Learning Japanese. For better learning, it’s recommended that you watch them with a purpose in mind and make sure you learn something new everyday by watching Youtube.
A step-by-step guide to learning Japanese through videos effectively
Below is our brief guide on how to actively learn Japanese with movies or videos
Step 1: Watch the desired video with bilingual subtitles or the subtitle in your mother tongue.
Step 2: Pick a favorite part to practice (it should be shorter than 3 minutes)
Step 3: Study the selected part actively. Remember to:
- Watch it a few times with the Japanese subtitle on.
- Look up and save new words or phrases
- Imitate the way the actors speak Japanese
Step 4: Revise your vocabulary
I suggest that you checked out GlotDojo, a free extension that allows you to watch Youtube videos with dual subtitles, customize your learning experience with shortcut keys (to repeat, slow down, auto-pause and MANY more) and look up words definition directly from the subtitles.
Another great thing about this extension is that it provides an advanced Japanese dictionary, called PRO Japanese Add-on. It can detect compound words, provide full definitions, Kanji, mnemonics, grammar and tons of useful examples, which is even better.
Now it's time you chose your favorite ones and started learning Japanese with joy! Don't forget to share with us your Japanese learning stories in the comment section below!