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Free Japanese Lessons and Courses

Free Japanese Lessons and Courses
We have gathered together here a number of free Japanese language lessons and language courses for those learning Japanese, along with some other Japanese language resources, such as Japanese online courses and exercises, podcasts, video lessons, alphabets, dictionaries, lexicons, verb conjugations, language communities, newspapers, articles, and books. Most of these sites will be in English, although a number are multilingual in nature. Note: most of the pages will require the installation of Japanese fonts.

  Video Lessons

    Learn Japanese Language - Katakana Symbols

Japanese Class (iPod video)
Kyoto Center for Japanese Linguistic Studies - Kyoto Japanese Language School presents "Japanese Class" a Japanese language educational video podcast.
Learn To Speak Japanese Symbols
Learn To Speak Japanese is for those who want to learn Japanese for conversation; yu will also learn how to write Japanese symbols such as Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana symbols.
Learn Japanese on YouTube
Find an array of Japanese video tutorials on Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji and even Japanese phrases (with grammar) and Japanese numbers. You will also find an instructive and entertaining post on Japanese origami.

  Courses

Absolutely Learn Japanese-Online
Since 1996, Japanese-Online.com has been providing free learning services to people who wish to study the Japanese language. We also now provide a means for Japanese learners to find and talk to one another, as well as seek language exchange relationships with Japanese speakers.
Advanced Japanese Listening Exercises
15 lessons in advanced listening comprehension, using audio conversions in QuickTime format, with questions about the content in kana.
Apologies in Japanese
In apologizing, the speaker recognizes the infraction or offense caused through his/her fault and attempts to repair the relationship with the hearer. What are some routinized patterns in apologies in Japanese and what strategies work most effectively to repair and maintain a good relationship with the hearer? With MP3 audio of Japanese apologies in various situations.
Bab.la Language Portal
"The bab.la language portal offers you dictionary translations, language quizzes and games, vocabulary lessons for learning and much more. bab.la is interactive: You can enter your own translation, create your own language test or your own vocabulary flashcard set. babla - Loving Languages!". Quizzes, games, vocabulary learning and dictionary aids for English, Chinese, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Language Study Materials
A large listing of free-to-use online materials that Kelly developed to help people study Japanese.
eLanguageSchool.net Japanese Lessons
With a basic introduction, Japanese grammar, words and phrases, introduction to Kanji, Haragana, and Katakana, audio lessons (requires registration), and reading comprehension exercises.
Elementary Japanese Language Course
34 lessons with text in kana/kanji and romaji, translation, vocabulary lists for every lesson; listening comprehension with the mp3 audio files for every lesson, and a host of other tools. First 25 visits to the site are free; afterwards a donation (of any amount) plus a postcard is required.
Free Japanese Lessons
Ten lessons in Japanese: "The Japanese language is actually very simple but so unlike English that many English speakers find it difficult to learn. The goal of this page is to teach you the basics in a way that is, hopefully, easy to understand. "
Free Learning Resources: Japanese
Comprehensive listing of free learning resources for the learners of the Japanese language. All are freely available on the web - no payments, no logins, no subscription requirements.
Japanese Language Study Materials
Japanese language course study materials for classes at MIT.
Japanese Listening Comprehension Exercises
12 lessons in listening comprehension, conducted with audio conversations in Real Audio, then tested with a number of questions (in English) on the content.
The Japanese Page
Large site with sections on grammar, language lessons, vocabulary, hiragana & katakana, kanji, culture, dioms and phrases, and much more.
Japan-Studies.com
Eight beginning lessons, and sections on hiragana, katakana, kanji, conjugations, constructions, transcription, pronunciation, and useful phrases. Part of a larger site that is still under development.
Japanese Through Anime
Learn Japanese From Anime? Yup, learning Japanese from Anime really is possible. And if you stick around the website long enough you'll soon find out how...
Japanese VAL Balloon
Site includes basic sounds, grammar and basic conversations exercises.
JP Net - Japanese Language and Culture Network
Various Japanese language resources for teachers and students provided at MIT.
Learn-Japanese.net
Japanese is considered by many to be the most difficult language to learn. However, you have taken the right set by coming to Learn-Japanese.net, where we provide the most comprehensive Japanese language lessons on the web.
Learn Japanese Adventure
Learn how to speak and write Japanese online with free lessons, and increase your Japanese words, phrases and general vocabulary. Teaches Japanese characters - hiragana, katakana, kanji and romaji, with lessons on adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs and grammar, the various forms in Japanese verb conjugation, how to count with Japanese numbers, and more.
Lesson/J Dictation Quizzes for Japanese Speech
The contents included here are quizzes using Java applets for learners of Japanese to train themselves for hearing spoken sentences, words, syllables, special morae and accent.
Nihongo o Narau (Learn Japanese)
Nihongo o Narau is a site dedicated to teaching Japanese to speakers of English, and has sections on vocabulary, grammar, writing, pronunciation, and common expressions
Nihongo Resources
Site with a number of resources for learning Japanese, including a grammar textbook and a series of Japanese lessons.
Online Japanese Lessons
The first set of Japanese characters you will learn is katakana, the set used for imported words. Lesson 1-13 covers all the katakana characters. Exercises involve surfing over to Japanese Internet sites to look for characters and identify words you learn in a given lesson.
Phrasebase Japanese Language Learning Resources
The Phrasebase website is the ultimate environment allowing you to read an Japanese Alphabet based phonetic spelling of common and useful everyday phrases in effort to memorize it and it's meaning. Phrases are accompanyed by sound files allowing you to listen repetitively and repeat out loud to practice pronunciation. And lastly, there are thousands of other members who can help you with your target language. With a live webcam audio/video chatroom, Japanese language exchange pen-pals, Japanese online phrasebook, country information, and language information.
Practice Japanese Online
With practice sessions in first and second year Japanese, vocabulary and kanji practice (with stroke order), useful phrases, numbers, etc. Requires Flash and QuickTime for some exercises.
Reading Tutor
The Reading Tutor was designed to help JFL/JSL learners improve their reading skills in Japanese. Just paste (or write) a document or text in Japanese into the box and press a Tool button
Rikai Reading Tool
Enter a web-address or paste some text in the box to the left; Press Go!; then move the mouse over any Japanese word to see the reading and definition.
Shin Nihongo no Kiso: Japanese-English Vocabulary
A list of basic words in Japanese, in kanji and kana, with their English definitions.
Survival Japanese
Survival Japanese is for people who are interested in communicating in Japanese but have no knowledge of the language. If you plan to visit Japan, this site make your stay much more interesting and enjoyable. Survival Japanese is an on-line textbook. It has four categories: Communication Tools, Situational Conversations, Grammar and Vocabulary.
Talk Japanese
BBC materials for learning Japanese, meant primarily to be used by teachers in conducting a course of lessons.
Teach Yourself Japanese
This site contains a textbook for learning Japanese by oneself, and also includes files in ZIP format to download the contents.

  Kanji and Kana

Benjamin Barrett's Hiragana Lessons
A ten-week course in hiragana.
Charles Kelly's Kanji Study
Flash quizzes and reference and vocabulary lists on kanji.
Charles Kelly's Japanese Kana Quizzes: Hiragana & Katakana
A variety of quizzes, flashcards, newspaper vocabulary, and games testing and teaching hiragana and katakana.
Charles Kelly's Today's 36 Kanji
36 kanji in nine levels of difficulty; putting the cursor over the character results in a pop-window of information about it; clicking on it takes you to a page of more detailed information.
Dartmouth Kanji Practice
Kanji with example sentences in Japanese, with stroke order as Quicktime movie files and listening practice available, along with English translations.
The Japanese Writing Tutor
This page is meant to help students of Japanese practice their writing skills. By following along with the motion of several animated GIF files, you can hone your writing skills, making your katakana, hiragana, and kanji more legible. As of now, it does not deal with transliteration, dipthongs, why the characters are organized the way they are, or any other writing conventions; it is only meant to help learn individual characters.
Java Kanji Flashcards
Welcome to the Java Kanji Flashcards homepage. This Java applet will help you learn the 500 most commonly occuring Japanese Kanji. If you would like to use an online dictionary to learn more and study other Kanji, please try Kiki's Kanji Dictionary which has thousands more Kanji, definitions, and compounds in an easy to use, browsable dictionary format.
Jdrill Kanji Quiz and Lookup
Downloadable Java program for kanji drills, which should run on any system that has support for both java and Japanese fonts. It is a standalone application, not meant to be run in a browser. If you absolutely positively must see it running in your browser right now, you can try the applet demo. However, it is extremely limited, to ensure all browsers can view it. There are many many more features in the full version.
Joyo 96 - Understanding Written Japanese
Includes a number of listings for kanji resources under the headings of Indexed Kanji References,Quick Look-Up, and Primers.
Kanji-A-Day
Displays a new kanji character each day, with a list of frequent compounds using it. Also contains lists of kanji, vocabulary, hiragana, katakana, and kanji quizzes. Requires a free registration to access the other parts of the site.
Kanji Cards
Kanji Cards is a flash-card style database application specifically designed for learning japanese kanji letterforms, but which may be adapted for general use in memorising almost any set of symbols. The download below includes predefined databases containing a complete set of japanese kana letter forms and another containing all the Joyo grade 1 kanji symbols, but you can also create your own personal database adding the symbols which you come across during your particular course of study. Runs only on Macintosh systems.
KanaChart
Kanachart.com is a free kana (japanese symbols) reference site for English speakers learning Japanese at the beginner level. KC the 'kana cat' offers help along the way with tips about specific Japanese symbols. With Kanachart.com you can learn hiragana, katakana and (some) kanji from scratch, but the site is designed more for looking up the symbols you're learning when you don't have a Japanese text book handy. In fact it was the lack of a good simple online kana chart that led us to build this site.
Kanji Clinic
Kanji Clinic is a column appearing the third Tuesday of every month in The Japan Times. Its purpose is to provide practical advice and inspiration to non-Japanese adults striving to achieve literacy in Japanese by learning the 1,945 general-use kanji ("Chinese characters"). The site includes the latest installment, plus an archive of previous articles.
KanjiLearn
KanjiLearn is an electronic set of 2135 two-sided flashcards, which is as easy to use as paper flashcards. It is Web-based (nothing to download, install, or configure), all you need is Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 (IE4) or later, with the Microsoft IE4 Japanese Language Pack installed.
The Kanji Site
Site with a number of resources for studying kanji, katakana, and hiragana.
Kiki's Kanji Dictionary
Kiki's Kanji Dictionaryis very different from the other online kanji dictionaries, such as WWWJDIC. because you can "browse" through pages, just like flipping through an expensive paper dictionary. Learn about related words and their meanings, rather than searching for a single kanji and viewing it out of context. Each entry has clickable kanji and radicals that link you to other kanji entries.
Learn Kanji Everyday
New kanji every day - add this kanji page to your favorites or make this your start page. Also includes kanji dictionary.
Memorising the Hiragana and Katakana
This website introduces a powerful way of remembering the Japanese kana alphabets. For a novice Japanese learner, knowing these from the outset is a great boost to ones confidence. The mnemonics outlined here will allow you to learn each alphabet in just a few hours.
Outline of the Japanese Writing System
Jack Halpern's (Editor in Chief of the Kanji Dictionary Publishing Society) history and exposition of the kanji writing system.
Rikai Kanji Flashcards
Interactive flashcards for learning Japanese vocabulary in number of formats and settings.
Rikai Kanji Map
Kanji map displays a kanji character and shows its relationship to other kanji in pictorial display. Refreshing the browser results in a map with a new character; one may also type in or paste a character into a message box.

  Vocabulary

Charles Kelly's Japanese-English Quizzes in Romaji
Javascript and Flash-enabled vocabulary quizzes in Romaji, the spelling of Japanese in European script.
Charles Kelly's Japanese Language Proficiency Test Vocabulary Lists
Lists of vocabulary for the JLPT tests in increasing order of difficulty.
Charles Kelly's Randomly Chosen Japanese Words
Randomly presented words in kanji and kana with English definitions; refreshing the web page results in a new list of words presented.
Charles Kelly's Words from Japanese Newspapers in Order of Frequency
This is a set of quizzes and flashcards based on a Japanese newspaper word frequency list, and require the Flash plugin.
English-Japanese Vocabulary Quizzes
A wide variety of vocabulary quizzes and exercises contributed from various sources.
KA Japanese Vocabulary
This site displays the lists of vocabulary, by lesson, for a number of popular textbooks, (as well as for the SL course 'Japanese ab initio' of the IB.) In addition, the lists can be searched, and vocabulary can be practised using the method of flash-cards.
Japanese/English Flashcard Generator
Online FlashCard program developed by Chez Schei Productions, using the Edict dictionaries available from Monash University in Australia. Questions are generated from a number of specialized databases, including a general database with 10,000 entries. The flashcards can be used to study either English or Japanese, depending upon the order of presentation.
JLPT Vocabulary Lists
These are the complete JLPT vocabulary lists in UTF-8 format, as printed in the official specification book (Japanese Language Proficiency Test: Test Content Specification, The Japan Foundation and Association of International Eduation, 1994-1997)

  Grammar

A Guide to the Functions of Structural Particles in Japanese
Structural particles are the central aspect of the Japanese language, as there are no "sentences" in Japanese in the sense that there are in English. Basically, the Japanese language is a series of utterances that are linked together by structural particles along with verbs and a few connecting words. Structural particles act as guideposts to the structure of Japanese utterances and indicate to you how each part of an utterance relates to the other parts. Therefore, if you acquire a firm grasp of the functions of Japanese structural particles, you will be well on the way to acquiring a competence in speaking and understanding Japanese.
A Japanese Guide to Japanese Grammar
This site explains Japanese grammar in a systematic step-by-step process and is released under the Creative Commons License (2.0). It was created as a resource for those who want to learn Japanese grammar in a rational, intuitive way that makes sense in Japanese. The explanations are focused on how to make sense of the grammar not from English but from a Japanese point of view.
The Japanese Language
History, characteristics, and varities of the Japanese language.
Japanese for the Western Brain
On these pages, I present some of the basic principles of grammar and usage in a way that probably doesn't resemble your textbook. Most Japanese tutorials and textbooks I've seen make no attempt to explain the fundamentals of Japanese grammar. I have tried to walk a middle path in my tutorial. I have written it so that people who have a working knowledge of English grammar (such as what you learned in school, even if you've forgotten some of the details) will be able to compare and contrast English and Japanese grammar.
A Logical Japanese Grammar
Japanese has a strange grammar that is quite different from most European languages. However, you can easily understand and be familiar with it after you know the simple and logical grammar of Japanese. It has a few exceptions and uniform rules. With a downloadable PDF version of the grammar.
Nihongo Resources
Site with a number of resources for learning Japanese, including a grammar textbook and a series of Japanese lessons.
The Quick and Dirty Guide to Japanese
The Quick and Dirty Guide to Japanese is a canonical classic of the Internet community. Posted years ago on the sci.lang.japan newsgroup, this guide appears in a multitude of pages written by folks such as myself, devoted to the learning of the Japanese language.
Some Notes on Japanese Grammar
Short introduction to the grammar of Japanese.

  Language Communities

Polyglot
Polyglot is a non-profit community dedicated to language exchange. Polyglot allows you to find the right person ready to exchange languages with you. You will search for penpals according to age, gender, location, hobbies, etc. Polyglot is fully customizable. You will choose your own icons, styles or post your own Polyglot translations, so that more people speaking your language can become a member.
Speak Any Language Online Community
Speak-Any-Language.com is a web-based, global community dedicated to making the world a smaller place through understanding of languages and cultures. Our Forums area gives each of our users the opportunity to communicate with each other. Our Chat area gives everyone the opportunity practice speaking in the languages of their choice. Best of all, the services on these pages are free.
UniLang Community
The main purpose of the UniLang Community is to provide an online site where people interested in languages can unite, openly discuss, and find resources related to language(s), linguistics and translations. We are an open non-profit organization, meaning that everything on our site is publicly accessible at no cost, and membership is also free and open for everybody. All data, unless otherwise stated, is licensed under an open licence, the UniLang Public License, as opposed to a restrictive copyright.

  Other Japanese Resources

Japanese Dictionaries Online
Comprehensive listing of Japanese dictionaries, technical reference, grammars, and other language aids.
Japanese Internet Radio and Online News Radio
Large directory of internet radio programs with conversation and music in a number of different audio formats.
Japanese Newspapers Online
Directory of online Japanese newspapers.
Jim Breen's Japanese Page
Jim Breen's comprehensive of links to matters Japanese.
Jim Breen's Online Japanese Dictionaries and Glossaries
This page is a collection of annotated links to online Japanese dictionaries, compiled by Jim Breen of the JDIC project.
Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Japanese-English Dictionary Server
The JDIC project is perhaps the most widely used Japanese software dictionary resource around, and this is the official web interface to it.