Here at Japanese SE, we see many questions along the lines of "Do you know any books/programs/websites that would help me learn XYZ in Japanese?", even though we (and the stack exchange network in general), are specifically not set up to handle those questions well. Inspired by Chinese Language and Usage's method for handling resource information, we decided to try it here. The idea is to provide a go-to list for those interested in resources while the discussion about whether to allow resource questions is ongoing.

Please do not create resource questions on the main site asking for websites, books, courses, word-lists, or other "shopping recommendations", the question will be downvoted, closed and possibly deleted. Resource related questions are off-topic for Japanese SE.

If you are looking for a particular resource that you do not see on this list, the appropriate place to ask is almost certainly the Japanese SE Chatroom.

Likewise, ask in the chatroom if you have a resource you would like to add to the list, or if you have other questions. The small group that maintains this list overlaps quite a bit with those you will likely find in the chatroom.

Organization

  • Each answer covers a particular category.
  • Where relevant, state whether the material is suited to a beginner, intermediate or advanced audience.
  • Don't include links to any illegal/copyright violating content, or sites that host such content.
  • Follow our community rules on self-promotion.
  • Keep your entries as succinct as possible to maintain a easy-to-follow list format.
  • Add the resources in alphabetical order so they're easier to find.
  • Please avoid using comments for questions or comments here. If you have something that needs to be said, please discuss it in the chatroom and we'll edit an entry if we need to.

Index

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18 Answers 18

Corpora

  • Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese - A balanced corpus of contemporary (1971-2008) written Japanese with over 100 million words. A site called 少納言 allows you to query the data online for free, but only allows basic text matching. For more advanced work, you can subscribe to 中納言 or purchase an offline version on DVD. A page describing the corpus in English is also available.
  • Oxford Corpus of Old Japanese (OCOJ) - A long-term research project which aims to develop a comprehensive annotated digital corpus of all extant texts in Japanese from the Old Japanese period. Old Japanese is the earliest attested stage of the Japanese language, largely the Japanese language of the Asuka and Nara periods of Japanese history (7th and 8th century AD).
  • CHILDES Database - Transcripts of children's speech. Files are also available for download to use in their original program, CLAN. XML download is also available. (License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA)
  • Tanaka Corpus - Japanese example sentences. Please note that this corpus is now maintained by the Tatoeba project and it's generally recommended to use it over this file. (License: Public Domain)
  • Tatoeba - Includes much of the original data in the Tanaka Corpus plus a bit more available for download. (License: Creative Commons BY)
  • WikiCorpus - Provides some matching English translations from Japanese Wikipedia. (License: Creative Commons BY-SA)
  • 日英対訳文対応付けデータ - Provides matching English/Japanese translation sentences from books from Project Gutenberg, 青空文庫, プロジェクト杉田玄白 etc. (License: Creative Commons BY-SA)
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Online Dictionaries


Monolingual Dictionaries

Bilingual Dictionaries

Bilingual Example Dictionaries

Accent Dictionaries

Other Dictionaries and Tools

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Online Courses

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Websites

(see also the "Online Courses" section)

English

  • About.com Japanese - Japanese learning resource, including lessons for writing Hiragana and writing Katakana etc.
  • Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Study Materials - a variety of online quizzes, and other resources such as photos of Japanese signs for reading practice.
  • Imabi - A collection of lessons covering many aspects of the Japanese language, including a section on classical Japanese. More rigorous and accurate than similar resources like Tae Kim's guide and NihongoResources.
  • KanjiBox - Online drill/quiz-based application using SRS to train on kana, kanji, vocab and reading. Keeps detailed stats by JLPT level and allow sharing of scores using Facebook. Kanji and Vocab drills partially available in non-English languages (French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Turkish...). Created and operated by one of our users
  • Nihongo no Mori - A site that has a great deal of videos that explain grammar points in Japanese. Also has an 教えて section where you can ask the instructors questions on what you don't understand. Ranges from basics to N1. Videos are also uploaded on their YouTube channel.
  • Nihongoresources - An excellent introduction to the language. The author also wrote a freely available textbook. The site is currently undergoing a long-term redesign.
  • POPjisyo - Allows adding popup definitions on Japanese text or websites.
  • Real Kana - A clean and simple site dedicated to hiragana/katakana practice using flashcards.
  • Reddit's LearnJapanese sub - A reddit community dedicated to learning Japanese. Somewhat less structured than here.
  • Remembering the Kanji - An online flashcard system for users following the "Remembering the Kanji" book.
  • Renshuu - Has study material for grammar, kanji and vocabulary. You can do quizzes and track your progress.
  • Rikai - A similar tool to POPjisyo.
  • sci.lang.japan FAQ - An older site, but it's still a wealth of information. Has some excellent information on counters/numbers/dates, grammar and slang etc (be aware the slang section has some offensive content.) Also includes a Handwritten Kanji Search, allowing you to look up kanji by drawing them.
  • Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese - Includes both a grammar guide (completed) and a complete guide to Japanese (still a work in progress).
  • University of Virginia Library - Japanese Text Initiative - A collection of online texts in Japanese.
  • Wikibooks Japanese - A collaborative project to create an online textbook for Japanese.
  • Zanzou - Flashcard type kana learning website that prioritizes specific flashcards based on success and groups similar kana symbols to decrease logical elimination of wrong answers. Created by one of our users

Japanese

Conversation Exchange

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Textbooks

Unless otherwise listed, assume these textbooks include or offer CDs for listening practice.

  • Genki - Arguably the most used Japanese textbook for classrooms. Textbooks have matching audio CDs with native speakers reading the vocabulary, dialogues, and some of the activities. There are also matching workbooks that focus mainly on practicing new grammar concepts from the chapters, but there are also listening pages and writing practice pages. Volumes 1 and 2 are for beginners; there is also an intermediate level text.
  • Minna no Nihongo (3a Corporation) - The MnN series focuses on daily life conversations, avoiding overly focusing on both exchange students and business Japanese. The main text is translated into several languages, and there is a blizzard of supplementary texts available. At times, MnN can have a 'workbook' feel, and it lacks some features one might expect of a beginner text (like a dictionary of words in the text).
  • Japanese From Zero - A complete course from YesJapan with good content and examples
  • Japanese for Everyone (Gakken) - A short all-in-one course suitable for either a short course in Japanese or self study. Somewhat oriented towards a business traveler.
  • Japanese: The Spoken Language - Often controversial for it's use of a non-hepburn romaji and complete lack of kanji coverage. (observe the review histogram at amazon) The positive points are an unusually deep coverage of major grammatical points and a strong focus on, as the title says, the spoken language. All three books in the series cover everything at least up to the JLPT N2 level (except kanji).
  • Situational Functional Japanese (Tsukuba) - Classroom oriented.
  • Tobira - Intermediate textbook
  • Japanese for Busy People 1, 2 and 3 - A concise course for 'busy' students who want to learn natural spoken Japanese as effectively as possible in a limited amount of time. Volume 1 is available in Kana and Romanized versions.
  • Japanese the Manga Way - A more 'fun' approach to Japanese. Covers beginning to intermediate Japanese, with kana/kanji/romaji throughout. Unlike most textbooks, JTMW introduces both polite and plain form right from the beginning and focuses more on the spoken language.
  • Bojinsha's Basic Kanji 1 and 2, and Intermediate Kanji 1 and 2 - This series focuses exclusively on the kanji use and different methods of mentally organizing the kanji. Note that the intermediate books are written almost entirely in Japanese, and expect some familiarity with the language. (No Audio)
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I'd recommend checking out YesJapan and their 'Japanese from Zero' book series. Both have been tremendously helpful for me so far, with good content and examples. –  Xeo Jun 3 at 15:18

Dedicated JLPT preparation materials

Note: Questions about the JLPT test format, times, statistics and difficulty level are explicitly OFF TOPIC on japanese.stackexchange.com and will be closed and deleted. Questions about the japanese language that is used on the test, or that involve the underlying language concepts that are tested on the test are on topic.

Books

  • 完全マスター - A series of books that cover the grammar needed for each level
  • 日本語総まとめ - A fairly complete lesson series with different books covering each needed learning component. (Kanji, Vocabulary, Reading, etc)

Websites

  • J-CAT - An adaptive JLPT-like test site
  • JGram - A Japanese Grammar Database. Has materials for all levels of the JLPT.
  • JLPT Official Site - Includes scheduling and sample tests
  • tanos.co.uk - provides resources for the JLPT N5-N1. It includes help for, reading, listening, grammar, kanji, vocabulary, and has past papers. It even has a skill checker that can mark how far you've come/need to go to pass.
  • thbz.org - provides lists for JLPT vocabulary.

(Please note that the JLPT FAQ states that there will not be a list of vocabulary, kanji and grammar items released for the new levels, so many of these are based on the previous JLPT 1-4 lists before the new JLPT N1-N5 came out.)

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Podcasts

  • Japanesepod101 - has Podcasts for Japanese learners of all levels. You can listen to a couple each day for free, or subscribe at various levels for access to more materials.
  • 全国{ぜんこく}こども電話相談室{でんわそうだんしつ}・リアル! - is a call-in radio show for youth to discuss their problems. It may be useful to Japanese language learners because it balances simple language with interesting discussion.
  • Prende AUDIO - a site which provides free audio dramas (radio dramas). Series can be downloaded from Prende (requires an account), in addition to which some are available as podcasts through iTunes. Good listening practice for upper intermediate+.
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Is this section reserved only for Podcasts that teach Japanese, or can we add links to Podcasts that could serve as listening practice for more advanced learners? –  zakvdm May 7 '12 at 13:24
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@zakvdm If the podcast has some kind of merit or benefit that makes it particularly useful to learners compared to the average Japanese podcast then I'd say it's postworthy here. –  ジョン May 12 '12 at 14:27

Audiobooks

  • Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text - This book is geared towards English-speaking Japanese learners, at an upper-intermediate or advanced level. Includes several short stories written by Japanese writers for a Japanese audience, read by Japanese voice actors, with English parallel text and a custom dictionary on each page.
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Remember! Don't include links to any illegal/copyright violating content, or sites that host such content. –  atlantiza Apr 20 '12 at 4:26

Japanese resource lists

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Data and Japanese Analysis

Character Information

  • CJK Composition Data - Provides a graphical analysis of the approximately 75,000 Chinese/Japanese characters in Unicode. (License: Apache/LGPL/Creative Commons BY-SA tri-license)
  • Kanjidic2 and Kanjidic - Provides a large amount of Japanese character information including readings, meanings and indices for many textbooks etc. Kanjidic2 is the more extensive XML format and Kanjidic is an older format generated from Kanjidic2 for compatibility with older programs. (License: EDRDG)
  • KanjiVG - Provides stroke data in SVG format. (License: Creative Commons BY-SA)
  • RadKFile and KRadFile - Breaks up Kanji into multiple radicals to allow easier searching. (License: EDRDG)
  • Tomoe - Includes stroke data for a few thousand Japanese characters which can be used for stroke recognition or animations. (License: LGPL)
  • Unihan - The English definitions are usually for the Chinese language, and the Japanese readings are in Romaji, but it provides a much greater coverage than Kanjidic2. More detailed documentation is available here, and can be searched online here.

Dictionaries

  • JMDict and Edict - A Japanese to English dictionary. JMDict is the more extensive XML format and Edict is for compatibility. (License: EDRDG)
  • JMnedict and Enamdict - A Japanese name dictionary. JMnedict is the more extensive XML format and Enamdict is for compatibility. (License: EDRDG)
  • WordNet Japanese - Includes Japanese/English example sentences, and categorizes words to also allow use as a thesaurus. Doesn't include readings for the Japanese. (License: English data under the WordNet license, Japanese data under a license similar to BSD)

Japanese Morphological Analyzers

  • Kakasi - Converts Kanji characters to Hiragana, Katakana or Romaji. (License: GNU GPL)
  • Mecab - A Japanese morphological analyzer. (License: New BSD/GPL/LGPL tri-license)
  • KyTea - The Kyoto Text Analysis Toolkit, a general toolkit developed for analyzing text with a focus on Japanese, Chinese and other languages requiring word or morpheme segmentation.
  • Kuromoji - Morphological analyzer written in Java. For very small bits of text, you can run kuromoji in your web browser at the link.
  • ChaSen is a morphological parser developed at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology.

There's many more dictionaries, frequency data etc at Jim Breen's Monash Nihongo ftp Archive.

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Books

(Not including dictionaries, textbooks or the books in JLPT prep materials)

  • A Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar - Very good coverage, does a good job filling in gaps left by most of the popular textbooks/classes.
  • A Dictionary of Japanese Particles - The title is self-explanatory. Goes in depth and provides examples for over 100 particles. Particularly useful for explaining different meanings/usages of the same particle.
  • Kanji Look and Learn - An alternative to Remembering the Kanji, this book focuses more on illustrations with short mnemonics to help remember kanji instead of written stories. From the same people who made the Genki textbooks.
  • Remembering the Kana - From the author of Remembering the Kanji, this book has mnemonic devices that it claims allow you to learn hiragana and katakana in three hours each. (free sample chapter)
  • Remembering the Kanji - Always controversial. Presents a "story memorization"+"single keyword" technique to memorizing kanji meaning and writing/recognition, while ignoring readings/compounds. A free sample is available for the first ~250 characters. Volumes two and three add coverage for some pronunciation and "beyond Jouyou" characters, but are less popular than volume I.
  • The Structure of the Japanese Language - Susumu Kuno presents very deep explanations of very tricky common issues (particularly particle confusion) facing mid-level Japanese learners (N2-N3) and above. This is a linguistics book, so non-linguists may need to consult wikipedia for some vocabulary.
  • Words In Context: A Japanese Perspective on Language and Culture - Takao Suzuki investigates the differences between languages based on sociological and psychological differences of people from different cultures and gives sociolinguistic insights on why the Japanese language behaves a certain way. Investigates the logic behind uses of personal pronouns in the Japanese language.
  • 2001.Kanji.Odyssey - Kanji learning books/e-books, with audio and some online material (some available free). Contextual (i.e. with compounds/sentences) method.

Readers

(Books to improve Japanese reading skills)

  • New Penguin Parallel text: Short stories in Japanese - Eight stories of varying length and difficulty, all by well known writers all born after WW2. Edited by Michael Emmerich
  • Rapid Reading Japanese - Will re-introduce basic skills you already use unconsciously in your native language in enjoyable exercises. Second edition was recently published with significant revisions to bring it up to date.

     

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Software

Lesson Software

  • Rosetta Stone - A popular learning program that focuses on recognition and situational associations.

Study Software

  • Anki - A popular free spaced repetition flashcard program. Available on nearly every OS, including iPhone, android and maemo. Also has a web version. Very Japanese focused (has many pre-built decks & addons).
  • Mnemosyne - Another spaced repetition flashcard program. Offers a slightly different spacing system as well as user interface from Anki.

Japanese IME's (Input Method Editors)

Fonts

Please do not ask questions related to using or setting up any of the software in this section on JLSE.

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Remember! Don't include links to any illegal/copyright violating content, or sites that host such content. –  atlantiza Apr 20 '12 at 4:26

Tablet & Mobile Apps

Note that several of the dictionaries are also available on these platforms. Many of the programs listed in software also have iOS or Android variants.

Android

  • Aedict - Japanese <-> English EDICT-based dictionary with example sentences. A paid version, Aedict3 adds functionality and upgrades the interface.
  • Google Japanese Input - Based on Google's IME for computers. A little more intuitive than Simeji, but still in beta so it might have more bugs too. Allows traditional 12-key tap, flick, tap+flick together, and QWERTY touchscreen input as well as hardware QWERTY input. Kaomoji is easier to access and better organized than Simeji's.
  • Go Keyboard - along with the Japanese for GO Keyboard add-on, provides a Japanese input with flick, toggle and QWERTY support.
  • JED - Japanese <-> English EDICT-based dictionary similar to Aedict.
  • Obenkyo - Practice writing kana/kanji with proper stroke order or just do flashcard tests of kana, kanji, words, and particles. Also has a section for reading numbers in either kanji, hiragana, or romaji.
  • Simeji - Japanese input method. Allows traditional 12-key tap, flick, bell, and QWERTY touchscreen input as well as hardware QWERTY input. If you have Android 1.5 or earlier, then you need to use Simeji Classic.
  • WebDicLauncher - Provides a simple search interface to online dictionaries and resources such as Eijiro, Yahoo and Wikipedia.
  • A variety of other EDICT-based dictionaries are available: Midori, Makimono and Kabuto are three examples.

iPhone/iPad

  • KanjiBox - iPhone/iPod/iPad app offering drill-type exercises and flashcards (both using SRS) for kana, kanji, vocabulary and reading. Extra modules use touchscreen to drill on kanji/kana drawing. Gives out detailed stats and global scores. Links with online version. Created by one of our users.

  • Imiwa? - Free J<->E dictionary app, with example sentences, kanji stroke orders, conjugations and several kanji lookup methods. Uses the free EDICT dictionary and the Tanaka/Tatoeba corpuses. (This app replaces Kotoba! on the iTunes Store)

  • ジーニアス和英・英和辞典 - The official app for the dictionaries. Included in many 電子辞書, this pair of dictionaries include example sentences and images, and are among the lowest-cost commercial dictionaries. Note that the dictionaries and app are aimed towards Japanese-speakers learning English, but are also suitable for intermediate-advanced students of Japanese.

  • JSensei a series of lessons, gradually increasing in difficulty. Seems to be using the dictionaries/word-lists from smartfm (see the websites section)
  • Midori - EDICT dictionary app

Cross-Platform

  • JiShop Kanji Dictionary - Features a simplified "by-radical" lookup that works extremely well and quickly. Dictionary is not "yet another kanjidic skin". Also available for iOS, Android and WindowsMobile.
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Television

  • ChannelJ - Mostly official video releases from around Japan. (Also has an English interface)

Japan Only

*It's possible to get around the regional block through use of VPN, see section on VPN

  • GyaO! - Free streaming service with dorama, anime, comedy, variety shows, sports, and Japanese movies. Foreign movies and shows with Japanese subtitles or Japanese dubbing (not all have these I think). Gyao!ストア offers other shows and movies which you have to pay for.
  • Hulu Japan - 980 yen per month fee. Anime and dorama. Also has American, British, Chinese, and Korean shows with Japanese subtitles.
  • ニコニコ動画【どうが】 - Has some anime which is available to stream for free, as well as foreign films and shows with Japanese subtitles which you can pay to either "rent" for 2 days or pay more to keep indefinitely. Also streams Japanese baseball.
  • ShowTime - 294 yen per month fee. Some videos (especially first episodes) are free though. Dorama, anime, variety shows, sports, gravure, and Japanese movies (including 18+). Foreign movies and shows and with Japanese subtitles, Japanese dubbing, or an option of either one. Also has a separate site for kids' shows.

US Only

*It's possible to get around the regional block through use of VPN, see section on VPN

  • Hulu - Free streaming service. Has both movies and anime. English subtitles are optionally provided.

Various Countries (but not worldwide)

  • Crunchyroll - Free streaming service with a lot of anime and a few dorama and movies. English subtitles are provided and can be turned off.
  • Niconico - Only anime. Free streaming service. English subtitles are provided but cannot be turned off. To disable the scrolling user comments, click the speech bubble near the bottom right of the video player.

VPN Information

If you wish to access Japan only, or US only content, you can bypass this block through the use of VPN. Here is a list of VPN providers you can use:

Additionally, if you have ssh access to a server in Japan, or US, you can use ssh tunneling to bypass the regional block.

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Remember! Don't include links to any illegal/copyright violating content, or sites that host such content. –  atlantiza Apr 20 '12 at 0:47

Newspapers

Here is a site with links to many Japanese newspapers: Japan Newspapers. This is useful for finding more specific or regional newspapers.

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Add-ons (browser)

Chrome

  • Rikaikun - When activated, just put your mouse over a Japanese word to see its phoenetic reading and a translation to English. Based on the rikaichan add-on for Firefox.

Firefox

  • Itadaki is a browser addon that simplifies adding furigana (ruby tags).
  • Perapera Japanese - Put your mouse over any Japanese words on a webpage and it gives you the pronunciation and definition. Alternative to Rikaichan.
  • Rikaichan - When activated, just put your mouse over a Japanese word to see its phoenetic reading and a translation to English (or German or French or Russian).

Opera

  • Rikaikun - When activated, just put your mouse over a Japanese word to see its phoenetic reading and a translation to English. Based on the rikaikun add-on for Chrome. If you're running legacy Presto based Opera (up to version 12), you want Rikaisan.
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Paper Dictionaries

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