Updated: Oct 19
Anime goes beyond being a source of entertainment; it serves as a doorway to explore culture, language, and storytelling techniques. Regardless of whether you enjoy action-packed sagas or emotional dramas, anime can be effectively utilized to learn Japanese. Yes, you read that right! So here's your guide designed to provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to learn Japanese through anime.
Why Anime is an Excellent Tool for Learning Japanese
Anime encompasses a range of genres and styles. It offers a selection of romance, action, fantasy, slice-of-life stories, and so on. This diverse variety allows learners access to a spectrum of sentence structures and cultural nuances.
Selecting the Suitable Anime: Recommendations for Beginners
Your task is to choose an anime series that matches your level of language proficiency and personal interests. Here are the top 12 animes that are particularly suitable for beginners;
1. Chi’s Sweet Home (チーズスイートホーム - Chīzu Suīto Hōmu):
This is a family series featuring sentences that are perfect for beginners. Very cute and comforting anime.
2. Polar Bear Café (しろくまカフェ - Shirokuma Kafe):
This anime is popular for its slow-paste conversations, making it perfect for beginner learners. Another cute anime that is beginner-friendly.
3. Studio Ghibli films (スタジオジブリ):
Studio Ghibli films generally strike a balance in their dialogue pace. They are neither too fast nor too slow, allowing beginners to easily follow and understand what the characters are saying. This moderate speed helps learners comprehend the conversations while also grasping word pronunciation and intonation. These are some of the Studio Ghibli classics that are ideal for beginner Japanese learners;
Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便 - Majo no Takkyūbin):
This is a coming-of-age tale that focuses on daily conversational language. It's a choice for beginners as the characters engage in dialogues, providing learners with a wide range of phrases and vocabulary commonly used in everyday life.
My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ - Tonari no Totoro):
A family fantasy anime, that uses straightforward language that beginners can easily access. By following the dialogues in this film, learners can grasp sentence structures and learn everyday vocabulary.
Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し - Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi):
This Oscar-winning fantasy adventure anime from Studio Ghibli is another classic for beginner-level comprehension. Its captivating story can be understood by beginners who want to delve into the world of animation. Despite the complex and mythical setting, the dialogues employ standard conversational Japanese, providing a balance between specialized and daily terms.
4. My Love Story!! (俺物語!! - Ore Monogatari!!):
This romantic anime has easy-to-understand dialogues, making it suitable for those starting their journey with the language.
5. Natsume Book of Friends (夏目友人帳 - Natsume Yūjin chō):
This series revolves around a schooler's interactions with spirits and it is beginner-friendly.
6. Silver Spoon (銀の匙 - Gin no Saji):
Set in a school, this anime provides a unique range of vocabulary while still being accessible to beginners.
7. Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘 - Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso):
If you love music, this series is a choice as it features conversations alongside its musical theme.
8. Erased (僕だけがいない街 - Boku Dake ga Inai Machi):
A suspense, detective series that uses straightforward language making it easier to follow along.
9. Bunny Drop (うさぎドロップ - Usagi Doroppu):
This series focuses on day-to-day conversations. It is perfect for beginners looking to improve their skills.
7. Doraemon (ドラえもん):
A classic anime targeted at younger audiences but can still be enjoyed by beginners due to its vocabulary and straightforward sentences.
8. Anpanman (アンパンマン):
Designed for children, Anpanman is a choice for learning basic vocabulary and sentence structures. The language used in these anime shows is straightforward and easy to understand, making it perfect for learners of Japanese at any age.
9. Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン - Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn):
It does not only provide entertainment but also utilizes simple language that is particularly suitable for beginners.
10. Pokémon (ポケットモンスター. Poketto Monsutā):
Given its global popularity, many people are already familiar with the Pokémon universe, making it easier to focus on language learning.
When Watching, Pay Attention to These Tips
When choosing an anime to watch, prioritize those that align with your interests while also being beneficial for language learning purposes.
Here are some effective strategies for learning Japanese through anime;
Engage in listening by concentrating on the dialogues. Consider repeating after the characters to improve your pronunciation and intonation skills.
2. Vocabulary Building:
Create a list. Use flashcards to keep track of words and phrases you come across. Utilize apps like Anki for review and revision.
3. Sentence Patterns:
Pay attention to how sentences are structured in the dialogues. Practicing sentence forms will enhance your understanding of the language.
4. Cultural Learning:
Anime often provides glimpses into culture, traditions, and social norms. Take note of these details as they play a role in real-life conversations. But be careful! Not everything you see in animes is considered normal in real life. Make sure you do your research outside of the anime too!
Remember these Dos and Don'ts:
1. Make watching anime a part of your language-learning routine.
2. Experience a Multi Approach: Engage your senses by listening, reading subtitles, and practicing speaking.
3. Embrace Diversity; Explore genres to expose yourself to styles of language usage.
1. Relying Solely on Anime: While anime can be a learning tool, it should be complemented with methods such as textbooks, language apps, and conversation practice.
2. Neglecting Grammar and Vocabulary: Components of language like grammar and vocabulary are essential for communication.
3. Giving Up: Challenges are a part of every language learning journey. The key is to stay motivated and persistent.
Learning Japanese through anime can make the educational process enjoyable and engaging. Choose an anime that matches your proficiency level and interests. Listen while taking note of vocabulary and immerse yourself in the cultural aspects of the language. With practice, you'll soon find yourself conversing confidently in Japanese!