Whether it’s because you don’t have the money to shell out towards hulking textbooks, don’t have the time to fit a Japanese course into your schedule, or just because it’s convenient for on-the-go learning and practice, you’re probably looking for some solid apps to get your Japanese skills up and running. Or maybe you just need some type of review material to keep your retention up to par. Over the years of self-study and interaction with other learners of Japanese, I’ve come across a variety of different apps to aid in the process (though you should really consider getting a textbook anyway; they’re so useful!). Here are my top 3 picks for apps dedicated to learning or practicing Japanese language. -NOTE- The apps referenced are all used on Android.
Memrise is a wonderfully polished app that lets you choose many topics and languages, not just Japanese. With that said and with regards to Japanese, Memrise has many different categories. You can choose kanji, vocab, N5-N1, Japanese as a whole and more. The app includes ways of memorizing what you’re learning that other users have come up with to help themselves remember the item at hand. It also has done a great job and game-ification in that it rewards you with points and goals each step of the way. It makes learning feel more fun and sometimes rather addicting. I often find myself saying in my head, “just one more category before bed”. Seriously, this is one comprehensive app that I can’t recommend enough. Also, it’s free, need I say more?
2. Human Japanese
This app is more of an introductory app for those just starting out. It was an excellent jumping off point for me. The app developer made everything very clear and easily understandable for beginners. This app is how I memorized, and memorized well, all katakana and hiragana characters. It also teaches sets of related vocab, grammar points, and even cultural notes on Japan to break up the hard knowledge. After each lesson there are quizzes and memory games to put your new knowledge to the test which you can always go back to in the future. There’s a catch with this one; it is a bit price-y. Coming in at the steep price of $9.99, it may dissuade most people. You have options though, you can try out Human Japanese Lite, a free version that limits the amount of lessons but keeps all or most of the features. Just trying this out convinced me it was worth the purchase and I definitely plan on purchasing the Intermediate level soon as well. If that isn’t a testament to its simplicity and effectiveness than there’s no persuading you.
Jsho means dictionary in Japanese and the app by the same name fills your dictionary needs well. It allows both English and Japanese word inputs to translate to the other language. It will look up kanji as well as kanji compounds giving thorough descriptions of the individual kanji involved. The best feature of all is being able to look up kanji based on their appearances with a feature that lets you pick multiple kanji particles until you’ve made the kanji you’re looking for. I use this app just about every day to look up different words or kanji, and it is very hand in particular if you plan on being in Japan for any length of time.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imiwa-japanese-dictionary/id288499125?mt=8 (This app is not Jsho however is a good substitute for Iphone Users).
I hope you find these apps helpful towards your progress in learning Japanese as they have all certainly helped mine.