Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apps for studying Japanese

I've been interested in what kind of Apps are used among Japanese learners and asked a question on Twitter. 

"I'm making a list of Apps for learning Japanese. Does anyone have any recommended Apps for studying Japanese?" 

AND! I had so many response to my tweet. (Thank you very much, my Twitter friends!)
I checked all of those 27 Apps/websites on the internet. 
Some of them are only for iOS or Android. Some of them are not App but you can use them online. 

I was going to choose some popular ones, but I decided to put all of them here on my blog instead. 
Each person has each way of studying Japanese and I don't think there is any "best way" or "wrong way".
Every App/website looks very interesting and I imagined how people use/study each of them.

OK, here is a long list of "Apps for Japanese learners" and let me write how I think about studying using App. 

First, those three Apps look very famous, user-friendly and popular among my Twitter followers. 

(The descriptions are copied from each website, NOT my comments.) 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/imiwa-japanese-dictionary/id288499125?mt=8 (iOS)
This application is a multilingual Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPod touch devices. It offers dictionary/kanji and example sentences full offline use. The dictionary contains 170000+ japanese entries and corresponding english translations, almost 15000 are translated in french, 94000+ in german and 7000+ in russian. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iknow!/id417713473?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cerego.iknow (Android)
Study at any time, on a PC or mobile device. Bite-sized learning chunks personalized for you. Official courses are offered for studying Japanese, Chinese, and SAT English. The Japanese Core 6000 covers the 6,000 most commonly used words in Japanese, and the Chinese Core 2000 covers the 2,000 most commonly used words in Chinese. All words have sample sentences and audio. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/midori-japanese-dictionary/id385231773?mt=8 (iOS) 
Midori is a Japanese-English, English-Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPad. It's a comprehensive tool for studying Japanese, with 146,000 entries, 150,000 example sentences, and many advanced features for serious learners of Japanese. 
Review by Tofugu http://www.tofugu.com/japanese-resources-old/midori/ 

The following two Apps are online Japanese dictionaries.  I use the first one EOW a lot, too. 

EOW (英辞郎 on the web) 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/ying-ci-lang-on-web-for-iphone/id365874160?mt=8 (iOS) 
E-J J-E online dictionary 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/da-ci-lin/id299029654?mt=8 (iOS) 
Japanese dictionary. 「大辞林」は、App Store での販売が27万本を超えるiPhone用国語辞典のベストセラーです。 

This one is an App (quiz game) for advanced kanji learners. 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/han-zi-li5000/id286722527?mt=8 (iOS) 
読みにくい漢字や、間違いやすい漢字の読み方を入力し、楽しみながら”漢字力”を身に付けることができる漢字クイズゲーム。 問題数は5000問、問題の種類は一般、植物、魚介類、動物、四字熟語、外国や日本の地名、超難問があります。 

And even more specific usage... App for searching Japanese years (!) 

https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/yuan-hao/id288968943?mt=8 (iOS) 

and App for writing Japanese letter beautifully. 

Japan Penmanship 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japan-penmanship/id474439562?mt=8 (iOS) 
Japan Penmanship improve your Japanese writing. Japanese is interesting language that has meaning on a letter. Don't you want to write Japanese letter beautifully? 

Here are more Apps for studying Japanese.

JA Sensei
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.japanactivator.android.jasensei&hl=ja (Android) 
Complete suite to Learn Japanese designed for phones AND tablets ! JA Sensei provides clear Japanese lessons and numerous interactive exercises to learn Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Japanese vocabulary, Japanese phrases for your trips, numbers, verbs, etc. Take audio, multichoice, self-validated or drawing quizzes (draw kanji to answer questions!) to memorize what you learn. Simply curious about Japanese, studying Japanese, or willing to take the JLPT, JA Sensei will become a priceless assistant. 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese/id290664053?mt=8 (iOS) 
More than a dictionary Look up words. Discover the language. Create vocabulary lists. Study using flashcards. 
Review by Tofugu http://www.tofugu.com/japanese-resources-old/japanese-ios-app/ 

Learning Japanese (Tae Kim’s app) 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/learning-japanese/id377785100?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alexisblaze.japanese_grammar&hl=ja (Android) 
Here you will find a wealth of information that will help you learn Japanese, all for free. This site has two guides to aid you on your way to full Japanese fluency with no compromises.

iKanji touch - Japanese Kanji Study Tool 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/ikanji-touch-japanese-kanji/id311920885?mt=8 (iOS) 
iKanji touch is a powerful kanji study and training tool covering over 2,000 JLPT and school grade jouyou kanji. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.rodriguez.kanjisenpai.android&hl=ja (Android) 
Kanji Senpai will help you learn Japanese vocabulary and kanji. By using a spaced repetition system (SRS) you can memorize the different aspects of each vocabulary: meaning, pronunciation, reading, listening, writing, etc. Included it's the N5 level of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) vocabulary list and you can download (for free!) all the levels (though N1). Ah! This app assumes you've already mastered hiragana and katakana. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Obenkyo&hl=ja (Android) 
Learn japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji, and test yourself by drawing, or multiple choice.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ankimobile-flashcards/id373493387?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ichi2.anki (Android) 
Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it's a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. 

https://itunes.apple.com/app/id635966718?mt=8&&referrer=click%3Da500c5a9-6ec9-4ad1-a461-e43d556fd6f8 (iOS) 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.memrise.android.memrisecompanion (Android)
There are thousands of courses on Memrise - all free and all created by other members of the community. Courses are available in many languages, for many languages and other subjects. If we don't have what you want, join in and make your own! 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.umibouzu.jed&hl=ja (Android) 
JED is an offline Japanese Dictionary. 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ichi2.anki (Android) 
Memorize anything with AnkiDroid! AnkiDroid lets you learn flashcards very efficiently by showing them just before you will forget. 

kanji box 
http://kanjibox https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/kanjibox/id322311303?mt=8.net/ios/ (iOS) 
KanjiBox is your one-stop iOS app to mastering Japanese. It provides a complete set of simple, yet powerful, drill-based exercises to help you improve and evaluate your skills in nearly all aspects of Japanese studies: kanji, vocabulary, reading, kana, grammar etc. 

Simple Kanji Flashcards 
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/simple-kanji-flashcards/id702449884?mt=8 (iOS) 
Learning kanji starting with 来, 週, 行 and 今? If so, this is the app for you. There are dozens of kanji apps, but most teach you in the order favoured by the Japanese education system - which is quite different to the one often used when teaching English speakers. Simple Kanji Flashcards groups the kanji in the order you'll recognise, starting with 来 and 週. 

Japanese Verbs Free 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese-verbs-free/id463430024?mt=8realkana.com (iOS)
 Learning Japanese? This app provides a simple way to learn the conjugation of essential verbs via on-screen flashcards. 

http://quizlet.com/https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/quizlet/id546473125?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&hl=ja (Android) 
Study anything, anywhere. Flashcards familiarize you with new vocabulary (with fullscreen images and audio). Learn mode tests what you know and don't know. Match makes studying into a fun and competitive game. Take all of your study sets and your classes on the go with offline support (even for audio). 

Kanji LS 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/kanji-ls-touch-writing-learning/id304848819?mt=8 (iOS)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jb.asials.kanjils (Android)
practice all Kanji with system or handwriting font - strokeorder guidelines for all 5012 Kanji in the program’s database - 10.000 sample words (all have reading, english, german & french translation) 

jlpt study 
https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/jlpt-study-1-5-level-kanji/id330922255?mt=8 (iOS) 
This application will help you study the vocabulary for the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT), level N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 (N5 being the easiest and N1 the hardest). 

Next, these are not App but you can use them online. 

http://lang-8.com/ (website) 
Let our community of native speakers support your language learning. A new language learning platform where native speakers correct what you write. 

Real kana 
http://www.realkana.com/ (website) 
Hiragana and Katakana Practice 

https://addons.mozilla.org/ja/firefox/addon/rikaichan/ (Firefox Add-ons) 
Japanese to English/German/French/Russian dictionary. Just hover the mouse on top of a word, and a popup appears. Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives. 

Denshi Jisho 
http://jisho.org/ (website) 
Online Japanese dictionary 

Youtube review about iOS Apps by a British man Top iOS Apps for Learning Japanese.

Have you used any of those Apps/websites?
Or is there anything you want to try?

Some people believe writing (on a paper) practice is the most important for Japanese learners.
Very important for learning grammar, vocabulary in addition to remembering kana and kanji.
I still think writing is an important practice but I think using those Apps is very helpful and effective, too now.
I encourage my students to use their smartphones in my lessons, too.
The worst enemy of studying foreign language is "feeling stress" I think.
(Yes, I feel the same about my studying English!)
Let's look for a helpful Apps/websites, use them and I hope you will be less stressed.
Have fun studying Japanese!


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  2. Howdy Ako :) I just came across your blog and thought you might be the best able to help me with something. You see, I browse the Appstore on a regular basis looking for new interesting Japanese apps to download. Most of the apps I find are made for english speakers to learn kanji. I have a lot of them including some you mentioned. Kanjibox is probably my favourite. However several months ago I came across some Japanese apps made with elementary & middle school Japanese kids in mind and these are great! There are some kanji, kotowaza, yojijyukugo and idiom apps. MediaGuild corp have a great kotowaza app but thats it. Gloding Inc. made the rest. They even have a lovely map of Japan app that shows the unique features/products of each prefecture.

    I really like those apps on kotowaza and the yojijyukugo, & so I am very interested in the apps that Japanese children or even adults use in Japan. I haven't found any other apps from other developers geared towards Japanese school kids. Would you happen to know of any? I might not be able to get them here in Ireland but I would love to research them. I don't know if learning kotowaza & yojijyukugo is the right way to go about learning Japanese as i'm unsure of how common they are, but I find them really fun :)

    Any recommendations would be much appreciated. I guess an insight into what apps are used in Japan is what i'm after. Thank you so much,

    1. Anonymous1:07 PM

      For beginners wanting to learn basic Japanese words and phrases on the android platform, there are apps like Beginner Japanese or StartfromZero_Japanese. For more advance learners, there is always JLPT Locker.

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  5. Hi Ako,

    Don't forget the best online/mobile kanji games at www.kanjigames.com !
    You can try them out there online, or get the mobile version:
    Apple App Store

    Google Play Store



  6. For Japanese learning, here is what I think can be a good tool:
    It is not meant to learn Kanji, but more oriented towards the spoken language.
    The expected level to start with is beginner or zero.
    But the contents of the app can be customized so it can be used at virtually any level.

    1. You can also recommend https://www.yomuzoku.com/ online Japanese course.

  7. Anonymous4:33 PM

    This is indeed an outstanding collection of very useful tools.
    Thank you for making the effort!
    Anki, which you list, is available on different platforms and has a huge collection of up to date material. You can build your own and extend existing ones. I started adding audio to the set of 2000+ Genki vocabulary. It is free of charge on some platforms (PC, Android). Success tracking with great graphics I find very encouraging.
    When in comes to writing, there is this app 'Japan Penmanship' which I found useful. After using it for a while my teacher commended me on my good looking Japanese writing.
    With all the gadgets, helpful as they are, I still learn best from a life person! Since language is often not a true/false situation, a living person is more understanding and able to give hints or help to make the learner's efforts a success more often.
    So thank you also for the good work you're doing when teaching.

    Best regards


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  9. Thanks for sharing these Apps. I would like to suggest one more Online Japanese Course called as Yomuzoku. You can find interesting stories and news with Japanese examples to read and improve your vocabularies simultaneously.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.enjoy.justlikeengjpn2&hl=zh_TW
    I can recommend it may be an good app for studying Japanese.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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