At the time of a pandemic, when travelling is restricted, language classes are closed and meeting foreign friends is impossible at some point, it obviously isn’t easy for many language learners and to be specific, Japanese learners to be in the best condition to immerse in the language.
Yet, it doesn't mean our dream of reaching language perfection has gone stale. This is literally the best time to test our self-learning capabilities, isn’t it? With the help of the Internet, we can definitely learn Japanese without going out there, at least for this moment.
In this article, I'd like to share a list of online resources that are perfect for practicing your Japanese at home. It includes various news websites, YouTube channels and movie websites that I have collected for a while now. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Learning Japanese Through News
First thing I would like to share with you is a list of news sites to practice our reading skills. Some are daily sites that Japanese people actually visit, some are made specially for Japanese learners.
- NHK News Web Easy: This site is pretty much an online newspaper with articles about recent events written in plain and easy Japanese.
- Yomiuri Shimbun covers current events in Japan and around the world. From pop culture to editorials, you can get information on anything newsworthy.
- News on Japan: From food and culture to entertainment and technology, News on Japan gives you a lot of insights into what's going on in Japan.
- Watanoc: Watanoc offers a variety of articles of different lengths and different levels, so it’s suitable for all types of learners. Watanoc covers topics on food, culture, events and funny news.
- Hirogaru: Hirogaru is a cute site for Japanese learners. Here you will find short texts and videos on various topics. You’re sure to learn so much about traditional Japanese culture through reading articles about calligraphy, tea ceremony and martial arts.
- Matcha: Matcha is a cool Japanese travel and culture magazine. Like NHK News Web Easy, it does have kanji but always with furigana (pronunciation guides) above.
Read more about Japanese News Websites here:
While reading news, it’s possible that you would bump into a lot of difficult words, especially if you are still at beginner level, since news are written in formal Japanese and often target advanced topics like politics or business. You can install the GlotDojo's Japanese Add-on on Chrome to look them up in advanced dictionaries and get all the information needed for learning Japanese effectively like Romaji, components, stroke writing guide, grammar, mnemonics, etc…
With the Japanese Add-on by GlotDojo, you can easily:
- Look up words instantly with shortcut keys
- Translate INSIDE the text instead of opening a separate translation window
- Learn Romaji, Hiragana
- Break down components to radicals
- Practice writing
- Learn related grammar topics, from basic to advanced
- And many more….
(To download Japanese Add-on, you will need to have GlotDojo extension on your Chrome browser first. It helps you translate anything on webpages & videos to 70+ languages and is 100% FREE. Install here.)
Learning Japanese with YouTube
Youtube is a great source to learn Japanese through visuals and videos. This is my favorite way to learn Japanese when I’m lazy to read, plus, the endless amount of entertaining channels means learning doesn’t have to feel like a burden.
Best YouTube Channels for learning Japanese
- はじめしゃちょー（hajime）: Hajime is one of the biggest YouTubers in Japan. His YouTube Channel mainly focuses on ridiculously crazy challenges and testing out expensive products.
- バイリンガール英会話 | Bilingirl Chika: Chika Yoshida is a Japanese YouTube celebrity. Chika has gained popularity there for her original comedic sketches, lifestyle vlogs, and those documenting her personal life.
- That Japanese Man Yuta: 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.
- Yusuke Okawa大川優介: 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.
- アオイの。: 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.
- Troom Troom JP: 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.
- ブライトサイド | Bright Side Japan: 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.
- からわかラボ: 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.
- バイきんぐ: 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.
- HikakinGames: 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 and perfect for gamers.
If you struggle to understand the subtitles, you can install the Japanese Add-on* to slow the video down, repeat any sentence with just one shortcut key, or watch with double subtitles, one subtitle in Japanese and one in English or any language you’re fluent in, with Romaji on top.
You can also hover over any words in the subtitles to look them up in advanced dictionaries and get all the information needed for learning Japanese effectively like Romaji, components, stroke writing guide, grammar, mnemonics, etc…
(*: To download Japanese Add-on, you will need to have GlotDojo extension on your Chrome browser first. It helps you translate anything on webpages & videos to 70+ languages and is 100% FREE. Install here.)
Learning Japanese through movies
Best movie sites for learning Japanese
- Netflix: Netflix is a well-known streaming service that allows its members to watch a wide variety of award-winning TV shows, movies, documentaries on different devices.
- Nico Nico: Niconico Douga (Niconico) is a video sharing platform from Japan. As one of the country’s most visited sites, it still trails the Japanese version of YouTube. But Nico Nico is catching up very quickly.
- FMOVIES: This is one of the greatest Japanese movie streaming sites to watch every kind of latest and old movie. Along with movies, the videos of various TV episodes are also available there.
- Fandor: You may consider Fandor as one of the biggest sources of watching Japanese films online. This site contrails almost all movies from 1894 till now
- Hulu: For unlimited streaming of anime, Hulu is one of the most famous video on demand services worldwide, founded in the United Stated in 2007. The video streaming site provides you with tens of hundreds of anime covering both classic popular titles and recent anime series.
- Viki.com: Owned by the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Viki offers more than 1,300 shows and movies, including originals, from Hongkong, China and Taiwan.
Similar to Youtube, you can also watch movies with dual, Romanized subtitles, slow the video down, repeat any sentence with just one shortcut key, look up words in our advanced dictionaries with grammar, component breakdown, HSK ranking, mnemonics and more with GlotDojo’s Japanese Add-on. It’s one of the best online tool to master Japanese on your own, absolutely hassle-free!
So that wraps up the list of online resources for learning Japanese. Each resource is helpful in its way and it's up to you to choose the ones that suit your needs, Japanese level and interests.
Don't forget to share with us your favorite Japanese newspaper or movies, we’d love to hear! ;)