Learning Japanese from textbooks and articles on the internet are great but sometimes your brain isn’t taking in the words and you need a change of pace. Watching and anime or dramas is good to give your brain something different but it’s not exactly pushing you unless you’re watching it without subtitles and really concentrating on learning the words. You might be an auditory learner rather than a visual learner and would prefer videos and audio tracks to books. So why not use YouTube to learn Japanese?
If that’s the case there are a number of lessons on Youtube that are great for learning Japanese. There are lots that really aren’t that great, but I’ve had a look through and picked some of the best videos and channels for beginners teaching themselves Japanese.
This is great for beginners, especially those who want grammar lessons. They have videos on readings Japanese, Japanese phrases, for complete beginners and beginners who have already learnt some Japanese. They’ve divided all their videos into various playlists which you can see here which makes it easy to find lessons you want to learn rather than trawling through their long updates list.
The reason I like this channel is because it explains things very clearly and simply, and has clear text on the screen rather than a person talking into a camera (which personally I find off-putting).
One problem is that the person who makes the videos has an American accent, which make associations like the pronunciation of “a” from “aunt” different if you speak British or Australian English. But that’s a minor thing and it still gives you a good idea of pronunciation when watching the videos.
This is a channel that has more of a classroom feeling with a Japanese teacher showing you words and phrases with a white board or text on the screen. It is actually a really good substitute for beginners lessons if you’re poor as it covers the basics in the exact same way every other Japanese teacher I’ve met does.
What’s great is they’ve got a wider variety of lessons that’s more vocabulary and phrase based (rather than grammar based). They have a number of lessons on learning Japanese through Japanese culture, learning Japanese using dramas, counters, and some basic kanji. You can see all of these on their playlists page here.
NOTE: Use their YouTube channel but do not waste your money on their website. Here’s a review explaining why.
This is their first video that teaches you how to introduce yourself:
You may have heard this name before, Tae Kim’s made a massive grammar guide for Japanese learners and is a very popular way for people to teach themselves Japanese. He doesn’t have many videos but the ones he has uploaded focus on grammar, particles and learning hiragana and katakana, and they are fantastic! I really like the simplicity of the videos and how clear they are for new learning. He also doesn’t waffle on like some videos I’ve found. He also has a great video on how to learn Japanese as a beginner.
Here is his first video on learning the Japanese alphabet to give you an example:
This channel is another classroom style with a Japanese teacher showing you vocabulary on a screen. The lessons are mixed mostly with activities and events this society holds and attends, so if you want just Japanese lessons it’s best to use their Japanese Lessons Playlist.
I personally don’t like these videos as much as the other but I think they might be suited to some people. They don’t have much Japanese text on the screen as the lessons are mostly taught through a speak and repeat method. Like the video below:
As I mentioned all these videos are mostly for beginners, which is great as most advanced learners will have found their own ways to learn Japanese and are more likely to invest in Japanese teachers than specialise in advanced Japanese.
If you are a more advanced learner there are some kind of useful videos on youtube but most of them are tips on learning Japanese rather than Japanese lessons like the above. I also found that most of the videos are of people giving their own experiences, so take from those what you will.
Such as this video which gives a great tip for intermediate and advanced learners (it’s just annoying it takes him 10mins to say what could be said in 2):