Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese pop culture has become more popular in the U.S than it was before. As a result of this, many people ended up feeling inspired to learn Japanese and went as far as to download Duolingo to learn. The only problem is, it ended up being too difficult and they lost their Duolingo streak.
For English speakers, Japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn, which is obviously because it has numerous differences; from its alphabet to its grammatical structures. Japanese isn’t like English in the slightest. As someone who is currently in her 5th year of learning Japanese at school, I understand how difficult it is to get a hang of the Japanese language. This is why I’ll be sharing the top 3 YouTube channels that I always found helpful in my journey of learning Japanese.
- Japanese Ammo with Misa: Misa’s videos are incredibly thorough, and she teaches in a way that will make you speak like a true native speaker. She explains nuances and appropriate situations for whatever grammar point she is teaching, and it feels like a really interesting classroom lesson, except it’s not. She also covers numerous vocabulary words along the way, and makes her videos really easy to follow with subtitles and images. She also creates mini skits for listening practice, JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) prep videos, and Japanese cultural information videos! My favorite videos form her, aside from her Japanese grammar point lessons, are her Kanji Etymology videos. The best part is, given that it’s on YouTube, it’s all free! She also has a Patreon where she offers extra resources, so please be sure to support her and all the amazing material she provides!
- Miku Real Japanese: Miku’s videos are not as long as Misa’s most of the time, which make her videos great for not only learning new concepts, but also refreshing them. She covers a variety of topics, from beginner Japanese like particles, all the way to advanced Japanese grammar concepts like Passive Form. What’s more is that she also posts subtitled videos of her conversations with her Japanese friends which are great for listening or comprehension practice! I think my favorite videos from her channel have to be these videos. I love being able to listen to natural native-level conversations and test myself on my ability to understand them. Not to mention that it is a great way of picking up how to use grammar points in real life conversations instead of essays or short answer responses in class.
- Okaeri SCHOOL: When I look for channels on YouTube that teach Japanese, I try to find the ones that are different from my experience in the classroom. What I mean by this is, I try to find ones that don’t use a textbook or a slideshow because I feel like it becomes redundant for me. However, if you haven’t taken any Japanese lessons in an academic setting, then this channel simulates that perfectly. What I like about it is that the lessons are relatively straight to the point and the slideshows they use aren’t overwhelming. They explain grammar concepts pretty well and it isn’t too fast paced, which I feel is perfect for beginner learners (although this channel does cover grammar lessons that range from beginner level to advanced level). Something that really caught my eye is the way their videos are organized. They are numbered and titled according to difficulty of the lesson they are teaching. If this wasn’t enough, they have a whole playlist of Japanese culture lessons!
One last thing:
Just like anyone who took the time out of their day to read this article, I too am learning Japanese. I feel like this journey will never end because I always find out that there’s something new for me to learn. I’m not saying that I’m fluent, but I’m sharing my recommendations because I wish someone had told me about them sooner. What works for me may not work for another learner, and that’s okay! Everyone’s learning styles are different, and just because our ways of learning aren’t similar, doesn’t mean you should give up. There’s plenty of good resources that maybe I have yet to find, it just takes a little bit of digging to find your cup of tea.