Can you name one Japanese movie you have watched? I bet you can name more than one, from animes like One Piece, Dragon Ball, and Studio Ghibli classics like Spirited Away, to the famous horror sequence Ringu - which rose to global fame and inspired the American remake The Ring. Ah, memories...😌 Many of us have grown up watching Japanese movies even before we started having an interest in the beautiful Japanese language.
As there are so many Japanese movies on all topics and with such good storytelling, learning Japanese with movies has been one of the most common and immersive ways that many learners use to improve their Japanese skills.
Learning Japanese through movies, why?
Great self-learning tool
Not many people find motivation to study when they leave the classroom. If this is you, you can try watching some movies as a way to learn while entertaining and keep your mind fresh. Learning doesn’t feel like learning if you actually have fun doing it!
Enhance your listening skills
This is the most obvious benefit if you watch Japanese movies regularly. Whether you watch movies to improve your Japanese skills or relax after a hard day at work, your listening skills will improve more or less. That’s why we call the movie time “the ear training time".
Improve your speaking skills
By listening to and imitating the way movie characters combine their words, sentences, and body language, over time you will be able to speak Japanese fluently and naturally.
Enlarges your Japanese vocabulary
Movies/ videos on the websites mentioned below are of various topics and categories such as entertainment, education, politics, global issues,… The more you watch movies/ videos, the more your vocabulary size will expand.
And by paying attention to what the actors are saying, not only will you be able to learn new words, you will be able to understand how they are said as well.
If you plan to learn Japanese this way, there are of course many Japanese movie sources on the Internet for you nowadays. Long gone the day when you had to wait till the next episode on Disney or TV Japan 😎
So, check out the list below for 10 popular movie websites for learning Japanese that sure hit the spot if you want some easy-peasy access, a wide variety of Japanese movies, AND full Japanese subtitles!
Top 10 Video Streaming Websites For Learning Japanese
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. Did you know that Netflix is a perfect destination for those who are learning Japanese? There are a great number of Japanese movies on various topics and genres on Netflix, so it's super easy to choose some movies that suit your needs and interests.
Amazon Prime Video is an American on-demand video streaming service that is developed, owned, and operated by Amazon. It first launched in Japan 11 years and has become super popular in Japan.
Amazon Prime offers television shows and films for rent or purchase and Prime Video, a selection of Amazon Studios original content and licensed acquisitions included in the Amazon's Prime subscription. It has tons of movies that Netflix may not offer and is a great substitute to Netflix, especially for Japanese learners.
Owned by the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Viki definitely strong background when it comes to understanding the great movie market in Japan, compared to Netflix or Amazon.
Viki offers an ever-growing collection of award-winning series, movies, variety shows, music performances. This movie streaming site is sure to have everything you need to entertain and learn Japanese at the same time.
Niconico Douga (Niconico) is a video sharing platform from Japan. It is one of the country’s most visited sites today. Although the user interface need some improvement, Nicovideo.com is actually rich in user-uploaded content and videos in so many genres. That alone is enough, we would say.
The biggest feature of Nico Nico is that you can post comments on the video screen. When you play the video, you will see comments from other audiences that flow from the right to the left. By these comments, you can enjoy a sense of realism and unity with the people who are watching the video.
If one were to say, it's like going to a bar and watching a game with others.
Fandor claims to offer "more than 4,000 of the best independent, documentary, foreign and classic movies from all around the world". We love that they try to categorize movies in a bit more specific, movie-centric way rather than just labeling them with commercial, generic labels like "Best-seller" or "Comedy".
You can find avant-garde, rockumentary, or hand-drawn Japanese movies on Fandor. Although the collection is quite limited, it is a decent collection. For vintage & independent movie lovers, Fandor is simply a paradise.
Dramamate is an amazing site to watch Japanese movies and dramas online. For the convenience of viewers, most of the movies also contain subtitles. Dramamate has all trending movies and shows. The movies on the site are available along with star rating that can help you decide if you want to try a movie or not.
Hulu, founded in the United States in 2007 is one of the best destinations for high-quality Japanese anime, . The video streaming site provides you with tens of hundreds of anime covering both classic popular titles and recent anime series.
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. FMOVIES is a feature-rich portal where you can find TV serials and movies based on genres, country, top IMDB, or alphabetical A to Z list.
One annoying thing about FMOVIES is that it's literally filled with ads, and they pop up every time you try to click a category or a movie. Well, I guess it's because you can watch movies here without paying for subscription. Instead, you pay by watching their ads. If you can get past that, congratulations, these movies are free and ready to be explored.
Last in the list is U-Next, aother Japanese-based online television platform that provides subscribers with thrilling anime, dramas, documentaries, and movies. It focuses on the procurement of domestic and foreign movies and dramas, and has some 200,000 videos, including over 3,000 anime videos and TV anime series available.
I’ve just shown you 10 movie streaming sites that are perfect for improving your Japanese skills. No matter which level you are at, there should be one movie that suits your needs. To better your result, it’s recommended that you watch them with a purpose in your mind and make sure you learn something after every movie.
Below is our brief guide on how to actively learn Japanese with movies or videos.
A quick guide to learning Japanese through Videos effectively
Step 1: Watch the desired movie/video with bilingual subtitles or the subtitle in your language.
Step 2: Pick a favorite scene to practice (it should be shorter than 3 minutes)
Step 3: Study the movie scene actively:
- 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
If you have decided to learn Japanese with movies, I also suggest that you took a further step and install GlotDojo to turn on Dual subtitles and look up words in the Japanese dictionary instantly from the subtitles. With GlotDojo, you can also check out a word’s grammar function, stroke writing guide, or save it to your vocabulary to review later.
Download GlotDojo for free
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