How to Learn Japanese: The Guide to Learning Through Japanese Media

With the global surge in popularity of Japanese culture, more people than ever are turning to anime, manga, movies, and TV shows not just for entertainment, but as a unique and engaging way to learn the Japanese language. Today, we offer you a pool of suggestions to make learning Japanese easy and fun.  In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits of learning through Japanese media and provide practical tips for making the most of this learning approach. Enjoy! 

Coto Academy is a Japanese language school located in Tokyo and Yokohama. With its small class sizes and flexible course schedule, we ensure the students find their community here in Japan and learn practical and useful daily-life Japanese by focusing on conversational practice.

Here are some Japanese Media for Language Learning

Anime & Manga

For beginners:

Anime and manga such as Shirokuma Cafe” offer simple language and everyday scenarios that are easy to follow. More advanced learners might enjoy the challenge of series like “Shingeki no Kyojin,” which offers complex themes and a richer vocabulary. Check out more Anime and Manga to learn more: 

  • My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) – While technically a film, it’s an excellent introduction to spoken Japanese in a natural setting, with simple, clear language.
  • Anpanman (それいけ! アンパンマン)—Aimed at children, this series uses very basic language and repetitive themes, ideal for language learners.
  • Doraemon (ドラえもん) is a classic series that, despite being aimed at a younger audience, uses language and scenarios that beginners easily understand.

For Intermediate Learners:

These selections offer a slightly more challenging language level, richer plots, and more nuanced dialogue.

  • Naruto (ナルト) – Offers a good mix of dialogue and action, with language and themes that are a bit more complex than those found in beginner manga.
  • Death Note (デスノート) – Features more sophisticated language and complex themes, suitable for learners looking to challenge themselves.
  • Fruits Basket (フルーツバスケット) – A mix of everyday language and supernatural elements, with a variety of emotional and situational vocabulary.
  • Haikyuu!! (ハイキュー!!) is a sports anime with a lot of specialized vocabulary related to volleyball and plenty of dialogue that reflects high school life.
  • K-On! (けいおん!)—This episode revolves around high school girls forming a band and offers a mix of casual dialogue and music-related terms.
  • Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘) combines everyday school life with musical terminology, wrapped in an emotionally rich storyline.

Lastly, the Japanese used in anime is usually not the same as in real life. Pronunciations are often exaggerated, words can be made up, and characters may use stronger words and expressions than socially acceptable ones.

Thus, anime isn’t a great guide for properly speaking Japanese. Our article about avoiding anime phrases provides some examples.

Dramas and Movies

Japanese dramas and movies are excellent for hearing the language spoken by a wide range of characters. As a beginner, you can start with modern dramas that use everyday language, while advanced learners might explore historical dramas for a more complex linguistic experience.

  • Good Morning Call (グッドモーニング・コール) is a romantic comedy series about high school students living together. It’s great for learning everyday vocabulary and expressions.
  • Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu (逃げるは恥だが役に立つ) – Also known as “We Married as a Job,” this series uses simple language to explore themes of love and societal expectations.
  • Terrace House (テラスハウス) is a reality TV show that’s perfect for beginners because it uses everyday language as participants interact in a shared house.
  • Sweet Bean (あん) – A heartwarming drama about an elderly woman with a unique culinary skill featuring simple, everyday language.
  • Kamome Diner (かもめ食堂) is a film about a Japanese woman opening a diner in Finland. It offers a gentle story with straightforward dialogue.
  • Confessions (告白) – A psychological thriller with complex language and a gripping storyline, suitable for advanced learners.
  • Love Exposure (愛のむきだし) – A four-hour epic that delves into themes of love religion and family、 with a wide range of vocabulary.
  • Harakiri (切腹) is a classic samurai film that provides insight into Japan’s feudal era and challenges viewers with archaic language and complex social customs.

News and Youtube Channels 

For those at an intermediate to advanced level, Japanese news broadcasts and documentaries offer insight into the more formal aspects of the language and specialized vocabulary.

Bonus Tips!

Actively listen and watch to catch new vocabulary and understand grammatical structures. This makes learning dynamic and effective.

Start with subtitles in your language, then switch to Japanese to enhance reading and listening skills.

Use Supplementary Tools, and complement your studies with apps to learn

And remember, it’s daijobu, if you don’t understand it in the beginning. Learning through Japanese media is not only effective but also incredibly rewarding. Try also Online Courses to increase your vocabulary. If you’re more interested in having Cultural  Japanese Experience to enrich your Japanese language learning try out this, this applies for you

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