Ahh, 2020! It’s the beginning of a new decade, and this year is full of new Japanese learning apps and websites that are just to die for! We’ve scoured the web in search of the best of the best, and today we deliver you the top 10 new Japanese learning resources of the year!   

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1. Duolingo

This app has increased in popularity over the years, and it is well deserved!! For one, it covers not only Japanese learning, but other languages as well. It also teaches lessons by theme so that you have some context for what you’re studying rather than just rifling through flashcards. One helpful feature is that it tests your Japanese proficiency at the very beginning to ensure that you’re not studying things you already know and that you’re not overwhelming yourself with a ton of words and phrases beyond your level. 

2. LingoDeer

From the basics to intermediate level, this app is rich with detailed grammar points. It also lets you choose among ten different quiz options at the end of a lesson to test what you’ve learned. LingoDeer is also equipped with a silent mode so that you can study on the go without having to be in a quiet room for the speaking parts. No internet? No problem! Off-line mode is also a convenient feature. 

3. Japanese (by Renzo Inc.)

Do any kind of search for a good English-Japanese dictionary, and what do you get? Hundreds of options to choose from. 

“But which one is the best?” you ask yourself.

The answer is “Japanese” by Renzo Inc. Some of the great features this app offers is a flashcard function to help your memorization, handwriting recognition for writing out kanji characters, a built-in long text translation (Sayonara, Google Translate!), and to top it all off, it syncs up with other learning resources such as Imiwa, Midori and Nihongo, Rikaichan. 

4. Learning Japanese with Tae Kim

What do you do when you have a massively popular Japanese language learning site? Why, make an app to go along with it, of course! Whether you’re an app addict or more of a web surfer, Tae Kim will introduce you to their unique teaching method that approaches Japanese grammar from the point of view of a native Japanese speaker—rather than just easy-to-translate English to Japanese. If you want to build a rational and intuitive foundation of Japanese grammar like real Japanese people, then the Tae Kim method is the way to go!

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5. SpeakEasy Japanese

Traveling to Japan and just want to know how to ask where the bathroom is? De nada! This app has over 1,000 phrases organized by category that cover topics ranging from meeting people, eating out, transportation, sightseeing, shopping and many more! Each phrase has a Japanese translation and an easy-to-understand phonetic pronunciation guide. And just in case that doesn’t work, SpeakEasy also features audio recordings of native Japanese speakers so that you can get your point across without any miscommunication. Also, as an added bonus, they also include a flashcard function to help you memorize new phrases!

6. JapanesePod101

Over 2,950 audio and video lessons for free? Now, that sounds like a bargain to me! Weekly lessons from this site cover all levels of Japanese learning. They supply quizzes, printable worksheets for practicing hiragana and katakana writing, and lessons for JLPT test takers focusing on grammar, kanji, and other vocabulary. They also feature detailed PDF lesson discussions and notes. JapanesePod101 also boasts fun, modern, and culturally relevant lesson topics that won’t put you to sleep like all of the dry and outdated textbooks out there! You literally have nothing to lose by checking this site out!  

7. Lang-8

This is a really important one! Sure, there is a plethora of language learning resources out there, but how do you know if you’re doing it right? With Lang-8, you can test your Japanese out by submitting writing samples for real native-speaking Japanese people to correct! In turn, you can give back to the community by correcting their language mistakes in your language! Think of it like having a penpal with the added bonus of feedback on your language learning progress! 

8. Watanoc

Let’s not forget about Japanese reading! Watanoc is a free site written in simple Japanese for upper-beginner to lower-intermediate learners who can read hiragana and katakana. The site is pretty quirky in general with topics that include food and popular culture. Hovering your mouse over an underlined word will produce a pop-up window that gives the furigana reading of kanji characters, the English translation, and the level the vocabulary ranks at on the JLPT.

9. iKanji

This useful study app packs in over 2,000 daily-use kanji for your JLPT (or just daily life) needs. What really sets this one apart from the pack is that apart from grouping the kanji by JLPT level, it also lets you group them by Japanese school grade level. In other words, you have the option of studying kanji the same way real Japanese people do while going through school!

10. Imiwa?

I’m including this Japanese dictionary and study aid because it was created based on the unprecedented work of Jim Breen and his EDICT project for the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group. Jim Breen and his fossil of a website WWWJDIC is how many fluent Japanese speakers of today got their start. Imiwa? is the continuation of all of this man’s hard work and research. This app is not one to pass up!

Now that you’ve got 10 new learning resources at your fingertips, get out there and start studying! Ring in the new decade by becoming proficient in Japanese!

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