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Learning Japanese

Last updated Jul 11, 2019

(This collection of notes is based on an article I wrote a couple years ago)

Japanese is arguably the most difficult language for English speakers to learn,1 yet the relatively recent popularization of Japanese media has resulted in a disproportionate number of learners on the Internet. Consider the number of subscribers to the various language-learning subreddits,2 which puts Japanese at more than two times as popular as the next-largest language, French. The explosive growth of the Japanese-learning community has produced a large number of free online resources, albeit of varying quality, and beginners are likely to be completely overwhelmed. The goal of this collection of articles is to provide an overview of the language and link resources that I have found useful. Although I am not an expert,3 I have studied the language since 2014 and hold the JLPT N1.

relevant yojijukugo:
下学上達 (kagaku jōtatsu) starting from the basics but eventually standing atop a distant pillar of knowledge


  1. The US Foreign Service Institute considers Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin to be the five most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. See this page (scroll to the bottom). ↩︎

  2. This post is from 2018, but the results are valid at the time of writing. ↩︎

  3. You are taking advice from someone who spent more than three thousand hours studying a complex language spoken on a distant volcanic archipelago in order to watch cartoons more effectively. ↩︎