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My translations have inspired some people to want to learn Japanese and, since I'm self taught, I've tried out all sorts of apps and books. Here's some stuff that I've found useful or at least helpful. Good luck! Learning Japanese is very time consuming and I hate studying flashcards so most of the materials here try different approaches. Unfortunately, I can't really verbally speak Japanese and the materials here will focus more on reading/writing than speaking.


Kana and introductory grammar — Beginners start here.


Tofugu’s mnemonics system and study sheets are amazing. There are study sheets for every vowel set in the following articles and the way they're broken down into sections makes it easy to study a few hiragana at a time then come back to study another set later. I did them with my tablet in an art program, but they can be printed out too.

The hiragana writing system is the one you’ll end up seeing the most (and needing the most) while learning Japanese. It’s used for native Japanese words, in most dictionaries, and the furigana (small hiragana over a kanji character). I highly recommend learning hiragana before katakana.

Katakana are used for foreign/loan words, manga sound effects, and to add emphasis to Japanese words in printed text (like italicizing/bolding words in English). You'll see these the most in manga because, even if it’s been translated into English, a lot of the time the sound effects are left in katakana. Katakana shares some characters with hiragana so you’ll already know a few characters if you study all of the hiragana beforehand.
  • tofugu.com/japanese/learn-katakana/
  • Additional Kana Study Tools

    Grammar + Vocabulary

    Studying from a book outside of a classroom setting is very hard for me, I get distracted too easily and had to find a way to gameify learning grammar and vocabulary. While these following websites are very helpful, you'll still need some sort of guide at least for grammar to supplement the information on these sites/apps. Duolingo should be avoided for Japanese study. The way their app teaches does not work well for a language as complex as this and the general quality of the site itself has nosedived in recent years. Using it will only waste your time.

    Grammar + Vocab Supplements

    == KANJI ==

    There is no easy way to study these, I'm sorry.

    Kanji are the next step. There are a LOT of kanji (2,200+ are needed to read a newspaper) but, thankfully, with computers it’s not too bad if you can at least read the kana. I’ve had the best luck studying with Wanikani but it is only free up until level 3. Those 3 levels are good at giving an idea of how kanji work and teach a good chunk of some of the most common kanji. You will need to know at least hiragana for everything from this point and onward.

    Kanji Supplements/Resources


    Random study tools and advanced materials that didn't fit in the above sections.