How to improve in Japanese reading with Browser Extensions

It is said that there over 50,000 kanji and out of which around -2000 kanjis are commonly used for daily life. For a Japanese learner like you, this may seem like a terrifying thought to remember all the kanjis to survive learning Japanese.

Do not worry, in this article, we introduce a 5 reading websites that can help you to read Japanese websites, news articles smoothly online.

1. Japanese IO

Japanese IO features are fairly easy to use. Download the chrome extension and click on the extension to activate its features. Simply hover over an unknown kanji, and the a blue highlighter will pop up, helping you to read the kanji. The reading and English translation will appear when you click on the kanji.

When you hover over the word (left) and when you click on the kanji (right)

It also provides other kanji examples, the associated JLPT level and more information of “kun” and “on” reading of kanji. There is a tab called “examples” next to “kanji” that provides more example sentences of the highlighted kanji. This feature is very beneficial in allowing Japanese learners to gain the skill to use the vocabulary naturally .

Another highlight of this extention is that you are able to make a star on the top right corner. Doing this adds the kanji to your list of vocabularies you have interacted with. You can access this list when you sign into Japanese IO website, in the vocabulary section.

Chrome extention download

2. GakuMei Dictionary

In order to activate GakuMei Dictionary, you will have to click on the extension and switch to “on”. This extension sets a difference compared to others in multiple ways, starting with the function to add 3 dictionaries that provides definitions when you hover your cursor over an unknown kanji.

The 3 dictionaries are:

  1. Edict2 – vocabulary dictionary
  2. Kanjidic – Kanji dictionary
  3. Enamdict – name dictionary

Another superb feature is the ability to add kanjis you have encountered into flashcard. The flashcard tests you on the kanji reading, and when you have answered the quiz, the extension gives you a survey to answer how well you have remembered the answer, for future reference of how often the vocabulary should be seen.

Chrome extension download

3. rikaikun

Simply click on the extention to activate this feature. When you hover over the kanji, rikaikun translates the kanji and spells it out for you.

When you type “d” whilst hovering over the word, it removes the English translation.

Whilst hovering, click “shift” or “enter” to switch the dictionary to a kanji dictionary where it provides information on the individual kanji.

Chrome extention download

4. IPA Furigana

Do you wish to be able to read Japanese articles and news online? IPA Furigana is the perfect extension for you. Targeted to intermediate to advanced Japanese learners with the skills of JLPT N2~N1, the simple activation of this extension turns on the furigana for all the kanjis. This allows anyone to read Japanese texts without any obstacles. The great thing about this extension is that when you want to print out the article, the furigana is printed out together with the article for those that prefer physical copies.

Without IPA Furigana


With IPA Furigana

Chrome extention download

5. Subadub

The Subadub extension is a great tool for Netflix addicted Japanese learners. If you like watching Japanese shows and want to learn Japanese more effectively at the same time, why not kill two birds with one stone? The addition of this extension allows you to select any word or kanji you come across while watching your favorite show. Simple pause the video, select the unfamiliar word and the definition of the word will be displayed.

Another advantage of this extension is that the subtitles are displayed as a selectable text, meaning that you can copy and paste the words and use hand in hand with the Rikaikun extension for more definitions.

Picture taken from Subadub chrome web store

Chrome extension download

All of the extensions were tested on our JLPT N4 Grammar: 〜しよう blog article

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