learning japanese

the japanese language education center once posted an average of 2000 study hours needed to pass the jlpt n2 language proficiency test. by this estimate, if studying two hours every day it would take about three years


word lists

favorite links


  • use the material linked under "favorite links" above, which is roughly ordered by when it is needed
  • learn hiragana, katakana. memorise pronunciation, copy write from picture, write down in gojuon order from memory
  • use this list of the format (kanji, meaning, readings, words) as follows

    • memorise all information line by line over the next few years
    • over time, remove meaning and readings from known lines until the format (kanji, words) is left for review. move known lines to a second file of known content to review. open the file in a browser and use rikaichamp if you need to re-check items
    • write down a few times any kanji for which you dont yet know how it is written. use the correct stroke order. sometimes characters look complex but seem simpler after writing
  • collect interesting phrases and new words and review occasionally
  • write essays. find something to write about
  • write down as many words as you can remember ordered by initial
  • choose learning exercises you can do right now and mix it up if progress is lacking
  • in general: read, talk and listen as much as possible

more links

  • jisho online dictionary for english, japanese, romaji, kanji and components
  • google translate
  • weblio dictionary
  • furigana.info shows how common or likely different readings of kanji words are
  • learn japanese adventure lessons
  • imabi free lessons
  • human japanese intermediate
  • satori reader reading and listening practice with contextual meaning on click/tap on words. artificial stories not clearly graded. in my opinion, readers should be jlpt n5 or n4 at least. explains grammatical items casually without much rigor and depth
  • pass jlpt5 4 3 vocabulary
  • anki is a spaced repetition flashcard software for mobile and desktop. only shows flashcards once at a time in increasing intervals, cant do much else to help with learning. my tips:

    • always include reverse cards. for example kanji->meaning and meaning->kanji. i skipped the reverse cards and had a hard time, because i never really learned the question when i saw the answer
    • dont use anki alone, use it together with lists to review and other material to learn the tested subject. learning from lists is different, it gives more freedom, one can skim over the words and review any time in any order
  • kana

    • wanakana.js convert from latin characters to kana on the example page of this code library
    • kana.pro website that quizzes you on kana with a helpful progression system
    • kana dojo android app. flashcards, quiz for learning kana and a character recognition game
  • kanji

  • data

more subtopics


  • the dictionary of basic/intermediate/advanced japanese grammar three part book series. for lookup of usage notes and examples, but not explanations of how the expressions came to be. it has an english expression to japanese index, a relatively large preamble and appendix with detailed and useful information about general topics, and it lists grammar elements alphabetically. ~$50 per volume. would benefit from being digital with clickable links