Live Google docs version found here
This is an appendix to the DJT guide. Commonly recommended resources are marked with an ※. There is no "correct" way of learning, so you should try out the resources appropriate for your level and see which you feel are best. An old version of the DJT guide can be found here. An alternative guide to Japanese with a more direct/opinionated approach can be found here.
※DJT Kana - Tests kana recognition. The recommended procedure for learning kana. Just grind until you know them. Optimal for pounding the readings into your head quickly.
Wikibooks - Has stroke order and other resources. The stroke order is quite useful, although the mnemonics are not so much.
※Tae Kim - This site has a ton on kana, includes a video lesson, stroke order, as well as a pronunciation guide.
Memrise - Offers various SRS courses including kana courses which are perhaps the only thing the site does well in regards to the Japanese language.
Remembering the Kana - It only takes about 6 hours to learn both hiragana and katakana alongside it because it provides mental images with the kana to ensure you remember. Download the book and/or follow this video series made by an RTK forum member.
Kana Warrior - A game designed to help you recognise the kana. Best used alongside another method.
Remembering the Kanji (RTK) by Heisig - A book that teaches kanji in an order based on the radicals of each character. It starts you off with simple shapes and gradually goes into more complex ones. It teaches stroke order and makes up pretty fancy mnemonic stories to help you memorize the kanji easier. It does not teach the readings until the second volume nor does it tell you how the kanji are used in context. (Most people do not use the second volume and instead learn readings through vocabulary.) As such, this method expects you to learn all the common characters before even getting started on learning vocabulary. Of course, you can still start learning vocabulary while doing Heisig.
KanjiDamage - Another kanji resource that uses a radical-based order. Unlike Heisig’s method it also teaches the readings and gives you examples of common words that use those kanji (great for adding them to your Anki deck right away). Take the introduction on the site with a grain of salt, as it isn’t very accurate, or is just plain wrong, as is the case with some other areas on the site, but that in no way makes this a bad resource in regards to learning. You may want to simply use the shared deck for Anki (see Cornucopia of Resources) instead of the website in tandem with another vocabulary deck in order to build up a big cache of words quickly.
The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course - KKLC follows in the RTK tradition but differs in several ways. Like RTK, it uses a mnemonic approach and teaches kanji components step by step. Unlike RTK, it teaches the most common kanji first, teaches their meanings through sample vocabulary rather than in isolation, and includes mnemonics for every kanji. (The RTK book stops providing pre-made mnemonics after the few first hundred kanji, but has a large number of community-made mnemonics available online.) Each entry includes 4 or 5 vocabulary words to illustrate the kanji's meanings and readings. These words consist only of previously learned kanji, so you can make sense of the words right away, and also get constant review of kanji studied earlier. Use it with an Anki deck such as this one. The author maintains a website here with information and supporting tools for KKLC users.
Kangxi Radicals - An Anki deck with more accurate meanings for the radicals than other available resources. Comes with only recognition-style cards (radical on the front, meaning on the back) by default, but you can change them to recall-style cards (meaning on the front, radical on the back), because the deck disambiguates variants.
For rote kanji study: Just pick whichever mnemonic deck (RTK/KKLC/KD) takes your fancy and edit the card layout to remove the mnemonics if necessary. The reason for this is that the mnemonic decks give much more concise meanings for the kanji, whereas rote decks often have far too many meanings to be realistically remembered for each kanji. It's worth doing a radical deck first so that if you encounter any kanji which you're really struggling to remember through rote, you can make up a mnemonic using the radicals.
Anki Shared Decks - This is highly recommended to learn vocabulary. Obviously, you will need Anki to use it. There are decks, you may search for them and see which one will best suit your needs. The most commonly recommended vocabulary deck is Core 2k/6k.
※Yomichan’s Anki integration - Yomichan has a companion Anki add-on called AnkiConnect which allows users to automatically create cards in Anki for the words which they hover over. Unlike with Rikaisama, this is done by clicking a button as opposed to pressing a hotkey.
※Tae Kim - This is the most commonly used guide on DJT because it is faster than the others listed here. Use the grammar guide, not the “complete guide” (which is incomplete). Tae Kim only has exercises in the beginning, after which there are no exercises to work on.
※Japanese the Manga Way - This book teaches grammar through examples from actual Japanese manga, breaking down each sentence into its components to explain the meaning. It covers most of the same material as Tae Kim with less technical language, and will teach you enough grammar to begin reading.
※Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar (DOJG) - A collection of three books, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. As the name implies, these are dictionaries rather than guides. It goes in-depth into the various grammar rules, more so than virtually any other resource.
※A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners (HJGP) - A grammar dictionary similar to the DoJG, but with broader coverage.
Genki - A textbook which has exercises that you can practice, which may help drill grammar rules into your mind. The obvious downside is speed, of course. This resource can be found on the bottom of the pastebin.
Visualizing Japanese Grammar - A series of videos by a native Japanese linguist who works as a university professor in the US whichthat lucidly explain the basics of Japanese grammar. Each grammar concept has a quiz to test your understanding. Some basic prior knowledge, is presumed, thus this resource should be seen as a supplement to something like Tae Kim, not a replacement. The videos can also be downloaded from the CoR .
Imabi - Written by a guy with a linguistics degree. More factually accurate and comprehensive than Tae Kim's guide, but its length and abundant use of linguistics terminology may make it unsuitable for complete beginners and/or people who would like to just quickly get basic grammar down and move onto reading. Those who plan on doing Core2K before they start reading, however, should have ample time (~3 months) to get through it before they finish that deck. While it has some flaws as a beginner’s guide, it can be very useful as a reference resource, especially for things which aren't covered in Tae Kim's guide.
Japanese Pod 101 - A free (mostly) castpod-like teaching Japanese grammar, vocabulary and culture. There is a 1 week free-trial to pdf containing tips and other features, like flashcards with lesson’s vocabulary. Good for storing in your phone and listening while in idle activities, buses, walks, etc. A large collection of lessons can be found here.
Sakubi - A guide that aims to be more precise than Tae Kim while using less academic language than Imabi.
Reading List - This is a list of books, games and manga which we have compiled. You can sort through the list by skill, platform, etc. We recommend you have a look, regardless of skill level. Please contribute anything you read as well to it so it can become a better resource. A particularly detailed summary is not needed.
Yotsuba Reading Pack - This pack is designed for beginners who have just started reading. This is an accompaniment to the first two volumes of Yotsubato. This includes a vocabulary list and a pre-made Anki deck. Yotsubato! is a manga that is often recommended to beginners. Note that, if you don’t want to do the deck, following along the HTML file is still very helpful for slang.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - A partial transcript of the first volume of the beginner-friendly manga Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, to make looking up words easy.
Aozora - This site contains a collection of (mostly) Classic Japanese literature. This site is mainly for advanced readers and not recommended for beginners. Here’s some good recommendations of famous Japanese authors.
Asenheim - Another site for playing visual novels. Features older, officially released Visual novels.
Kitsunekko - This site has a selection of Japanese subtitles for popular (anime) shows. The timing often does not match up with most available downloads, but you can try to retime it in a subtitle editing program or just look at it in the editor to compare with what you hear. There is a spreadsheet with shows and their subtitle delay, please fill in whatever you find out while using Japanese subtitles.
Animelon - Stream anime with Japanese subtitles.
D-Addicts - This is a great site to find dorama with subtitles.
Mov3 - A Chinese streaming site specializing in Japanese TV.
Jpopsuki - Great place to get and find any Japanese/Asian music, not just jpop. Requires that you get an account by either applying for one, or by having someone invite you. Sometimes you might be able to ask for a referral either in the threads or on /mu/.
Skypech - Here’s a site for finding some natives on Skype to talk to. This a Japanese site for Japanese people, so do not misunderstand and think that everyone here has an interest in learning English.
Niconico - A site with lots of Japanese videos and also a section for streamers if you want to see what a native sounds like. Ideal if you don’t want to actually commit to interacting with another person.
Radio shows - Radio shows provide a variety of themes and people speaking. But people also speak at a natural or even fast pace. Recommended for advanced listeners or people simply interested in listening to radio. One of the only means of hearing (and practicing listening to) genuine, conversational Japanese without actually going to Japan.
Namasensei's Japanese lessons (YouTube) - Covers fairly little material but is a fun and very motivating introduction to the language for people who are just starting out. You bitch.
Steve Kaufmann (YouTube) - Channel maintained by a Canadian polyglot who knows about a dozen languages and lived in Japan for close to 10 years. Contains lots of useful tips for language learning in general. Some recommended videos: 1, 2, 3
MATTvsJapan - A YouTube channel which has come to the attention of the DJT threads recently (late 2017). Run by a guy who reached fluency following the AJATT method, it contains various videos with tips on learning Japanese and a few about Japanese itself.
nihongonomori (YouTube) - Channel apparently run by a group of Koreans with a bunch of video lessons on Japanese. Quite a lot of them seem to be related to studying for the JLPT exams. According to the anon who suggested the channel "[the] Learn Japanese Grammar 1 playlist is ok. It has a better explanation of particles than [Tae Kim's guide], but the stuff on verbs & adjectives are not given enough time."
Let's Learn Japanese Basic I / Basic II - A video series produced by The Japan Foundation, the first season in the mid-1980s, and the second season 10 years later. Apparently covers similar material to what can be found in Genki and Tae Kim's guide.
Dogen: Japanese Phonetics - A series of videos explaining Japanese pitch accent and pronunciation.
Langfocus (YouTube) - A channel run by a Canadian polyglot living in Japan which, as the name suggests, focuses on various different languages. There is a video on the channel about the history and structure of the Japanese language which would serve as a very good introduction for someone just starting out.
Input Method Editor (IME) - It will allow you to type in Japanese using your keyboard. Required.
(Note: Both Mac and Windows have IME’s already pre-installed but it’s not as featureful as Google IME.)
※Google IME (Windows, Mac OS, Android) - Google IME generally includes a larger collection of words, inclusive of internet slang. The downside, however, is that its handwriting recognition is rather lacking (see ”sljfaq” below). To switch between romaji and kana press alt+` (just above tab key). Ctrl + Caps Lock for hiragana, hold shift while in hiragana mode to type in katakana. Alt + Caps is katakana. Shift + Caps reverts back to hiragana. This does not affect Caps Lock. You can also press F7 after typing something in hiragana to switch it to katakana without changing mode. Protip: Type in kaomoji and hit space. Alternatively: read this article.
Mozc (Chromium OS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, GNU/Linux) - This is a project that stems from Google IME. Unlike Google IME, it does not have a function to report “user metrics” to Google and is available on a greater number of operating systems, but it is missing some features which Google IME has and there is no binary installer provided so Windows users must compile it from source (users of any of the more well-known Linux distros should be able to install it from their distro’s repositories).
If you have any trouble with Mozc for GNU/Linux read this.
Packages also exist in Fedora, Debian, GNU/Linux Mint, and. For Arch, it‘s available in the AtwUR.
iBus - (GNU/Linux) - An IMF through which to use IMEs (e.g. Mozc). If you use (K/X/L)Ubuntu, you probably already have it. You just need to install the Japanese IME packages using the language support in the settings and select iBus as your keyboard input method system. You can select the keys to press to change the keyboard layout or do it manually using the icon on the panel. For the rest of us that don’t use Ubuntu or its variants, you can probably find iBus in the official repositories of your distribution. You can make iBus autostart when you boot by adding ibus-daemon to your ~/.xinitrc. And you will probably want to add & to the end, ala: ibus-daemon & (also your windows manager might have it’s own autostart file, use that instead) that you can find in your Home folder.
Flashcard software. Also available for mobile.
※Anki - Anki is a flashcard program which uses a method called spaced repetition to drill information into your head. It shows you a set amount of new cards each day (default 20) and will show you the same cards again when you are most likely to forget them, which is predicted through algorithms. This program has a lot of features that can’t be covered here, so Read The Fucking Manual if you wish to totally utilize Anki. You can also get this on your mobile device and sync your deck between both versions. The official App Store version costs money (to support the devs) so you might just want to use Safari in that case instead.
There are programs and add-ons that further increase its usefulness, see: Morph Man, subs2srs, and many more. A popular add-on is Kanji Grid, which allows you to visualise your progress through the kanji and may help to keep you motivated in your struggle with them. Some more good add-ons are Timeboxed Answers, which allows you to set a timer on your answers which helps to keep you focused and stops you from wasting undue amount of time per card, and Progress Graphs which, among other things, shows you how many cards you have matured on a particular day.
If you use GNU/Linux and you want to change the size of the Japanese characters, you need to install the appropriate Japanese fonts, if you don’t have them. Two high-quality fonts which should be available in the repositories of most distros are the IPA Gothic & Mincho fonts developed by Japan’s Information-technology Promotion Agency (the package in your distro’s repo should come with proportional variants, IPAPGothic and IPAPMincho respectively, which have kerning and thus should be more visually-pleasing), and the Noto CJK fonts developed by Google (note that the latin glyphs in the Noto CJK font are different from those in the ordinary Noto font). Even Windows users should consider switching to these fonts as Microsoft’s own Gothic and Mincho fonts are quite poor. For more fonts, see the CoR.
Anki is highly customizable, and you may change whatever you see fit to match your learning style, but for a quick start into learning vocabulary with Anki, the procedure in DJT’s Anki start-up guide is recommended.
Core6K/10K/5K index - This site lets you browse the contents of various popular Anki decks online.
Use these to look up words. Jisho and Tangorin also have kanji lookup.
※Yomichan - (Firefox & Chrome) - A browser add-on like Rikaisama which allows the user to hover over words in order to see their meanings. By default, its behaviour is quite different from Rikaisama’s, though it can be configured to behave in a similar manner by disabling the “Middle mouse button scans” option and setting the “Scan modifier key” to “None” (it is recommended if you do this to set the “Popup offset” option to either 0 or 1, else it will become very difficult to mouse into the popup before it automatically disappears). After installation, you need to import JMDict in Yomichan's settings by clicking the arrow next to the input box under the "Dictionaries" section. Has a companion Anki add-on called AnkiConnect which allows users to automatically add words they hover over to their Anki deck. Can be used as an offline dictionary by clicking the Yomichan browser icon and then clicking the magnifying glass button which appears in the pop-up menu.
Rikaisama - (Firefox) - This is a tool that shows you equivalent or close meanings (in English) of Japanese words in plaintext format, by hovering over them. Has many useful features such as audio playback and the ability to save words to a file or import it straight into Anki. Note: Rikaisama is abandonware and no longer works in Firefox since version 57.
Rikaikun - (Chrome) - Essentially an inferior clone of Rikaichan, but still serviceable enough if you just can’t let go of the botnet. No Anki import feature.
※Jisho - Online J>E/E>J dictionary. It also contains information on kanji including a order, readings, etc. You can also search a kanji by handwriting or its radicals if you don’t know the correct stroke order.
※Weblio - Principally a Japanese to English lookup resource, and consequently a decent source for Japanese > English phrases. Also has a J-J version .
goo辞書 - Similar to Weblio. Also has a J-J version. I believe all of its J-E results and example sentences are taken from the professionally-created プログレッシブ和英中辞典 (Progressive Japanese-English Medium-Size Dictionary), so you can probably trust them to be correct.
※Kenkyusha J-E Dictionary - To quote Wikipedia: "Has long been the largest and most authoritative Japanese-English dictionary. Translators, scholars, and specialists who use the Japanese language affectionately refer to this dictionary as the Green Goddess or (GG) because of its distinctive dark-green cover. The fifth edition [...] published in 2003 [comprises] almost 3,000 pages; it contains about 480,000 entries (including 130,000 Japanese headwords, 100,000 compound words, and 250,000 example phrases and sentences), nearly all of which are accompanied by English translations." Download the EPWING version and read it with EPWING viewers like qolibri.
Kojien J-J Dictionary - The Oxford Dictionary of Japanese dictionaries. To quote Wikipedia: "It is widely regarded as the most authoritative dictionary of Japanese, and newspaper editorials frequently cite its definitions." Contains not only definitions of words, but also meanings and explanations of kanji along with their stroke orders. The 6th edition (2008) includes approximately 240,000 headwords. Note that some of its example sentences come from classical Japanese texts. Download the EPWING version and read it with EPWING viewers like qolibri.
Daijirin J-J Dictionary - Another authoritative Japanese dictionary, prefered by some to Kojien. To quote Wikipedia: "specifically created [...] to compete with Iwanami's profitable Kōjien dictionary[...] One of the biggest differences between Daijirin and Kōjien definitions is how they arrange meanings. A dictionary can arrange entries either historically with the oldest recorded meanings first (e.g., Kōjien and Oxford English Dictionary) or popularly with the most common meanings first (e.g., Daijirin and American Heritage Dictionary). Daijirin entries encompass diverse vocabulary, including modern and classical Japanese words, scientific terminology, proper names, alphabetical abbreviations (like NG "no good; outtake, blooper"), and yojijukugo idioms. Some definitions include semantic notes distinguishing homonyms and synonyms." Currently in its 3rd edition (2006) which contains 238,000 entries. Note that some of its example sentences come from classical Japanese texts. Available online for free provided by Yahoo (also contains definitions from other dictionaries besides Daijirin, such as Daijisen - the definition page in question will say which dictionary it is giving the definition from). The EPWING version can be read with EPWING viewers like qolibri.
JEdict - An offline dictionary application. Contains various dictionaries (you can download and add more) and handwritten Kanji lookup. It seems that it’s only available for Mac.
Tagaini Jisho - another offline dictionary program. Contains lots of functionality, including kanjivg stroke orders, much like Jisho.org
ichi.moe - Like a dictionary but with the ablity to split entire sentences into words.
Gogen - An etymological dictionary in Japanese.
Jaded Sound Effects Dictionary - English translations of manga SFX.
qolibri - Probably the best program for reading/searching EPWING dictionaries. Available on Windows, Mac and Linux, though Linux users are better off running the Windows binary via Wine than trying to compile qolibri from source as the most recent version of the program is almost 10 years old and thus depends on long-obsolete software in order to build and run. See here for alternative programs.
Use these to look up kanji.
※Google Translate - Handwritten kanji lookup. Select Japanese and push the pencil button. No matter what kind of abomination you draw, google will recognize it. Amount of strokes and the order in which they are placed is irrelevant, just vaguely sketch what you want to look up and google will recognize it. Unparalleled when it comes to handwriting recognition.
Google translate is a piece of shit when it comes to translating Japanese syntax. Don’t use it for that.
Kanji Stroke Order Font A font that shows the stroke order for kanji. Here is a guide on how to set-up Rikaichan to use it. Not always correct, so be careful. Kakijun is a great website for checking the proper stroke order.
sljfaq - Handwritten kanji search. Just draw the kanji using the correct stroke order and a list of possible kanji will appear. The results will link you to the WWWJDIC project by default, which is where the data for Jisho and most other online Japanese dictionaries comes from. You can go through the options page to redirect to your preferred service. What’s nice about this is that it saves your writing so it will still be there even if you close the page.
Multiradical kanji search - Search kanji by radicals.
※Guide to Convert Aozora Bunko Text Files into Mobi Ebooks and Guide to Convert Mobi Ebooks into Searchable AZW3 Ebooks - two guides very useful for anybody who wants to read Japanese books on their Kindle or other e-reader that accepts books in azw3 format. Using them you can convert txt /mobi file into a searchable e-reader format (Kindle has a free Japanese dictionary available, you can also find some other dictionaries on the Internet and add them to your e-reader).
※JNovel Formatter- Breaks down a .txt into bite-size (your choice of length) chunks and converts it to html. Makes the task of reading LN's less daunting. a utility that will convert Japanese novels (in .txt) to nicely formatted HTML files. It enables you to use text hookers (Rikaisama, Rikaichan) while reading LNs/novels. A massive collection of .txt books can be found in the Cornucopia of Resources ('400+MB assorted books txt file format'). Smaller collections are available in azw3 and html.
NHK Easy News for Kindle - A script that downloads the day’s news from NHK Easy News and converts it to MOBI or PDF format for your e-reader. Download automatically generated files here.
※KanjiTomo - This is an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. Scans for words on your screen and tells you what they are and what they mean. Essentially, it’s like Rikaisama/Yomichan but works on images too instead of just plain text. Success rate varies widely based on image / character quality. Highly recommended for reading manga and light novels.
$ java -jar /path/to/KanjiTomo.jar -run
Capture2Text - Another OCR program.
VN installation guide - Explains how to set-up your system locale to work with VNs. Ignore the parts about English patches.
※ITHVNR - Extracts text from Japanese games as it's being displayed. This is Interactive Text Hooker with the Visual Novel Reader (VNR) engine, allowing it to work with a wider selection of stuff (including non-VN stuff like 32bit media players for watching Japanese subbed anime). It doesn't require hook codes for most things, but if the game isn't hooking properly, you may need to put a hook code in the input box. Back-up link. Latest version requires Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015.
※Firefox Auto-scrolling Rikai/Yomichan VN Texthooking with ITHVNR Setup Guide - A guide on setting up ITHVNR so you can send VN text to Firefox and read it with Rikaisama or Yomichan (and use the convenient word mining function). The recommended method.
Wine - A FOSS compatibility layer that aims to allow applications developed for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems. Almost all VNs are made exclusively for Windows, so if you are a GNU/Linux user you will need this if you want to play any. Unlike virtual machines which consume a large amount of system resources, Windows programs run through Wine are no more resource intensive than they are when run natively on Windows. Note that ITHVNR only works in newer versions of Wine, so if you are stuck with an older version you may need to rely on OCR for word lookups instead.
LANG=ja_JP.UTF-8 wine /path/to/vn.exe
$ winetricks d3dx9_36 dotnet40 ffdshow quartz vcrun6
$ fuseiso /path/to/vn.iso /path/to/mount/location/ -o nonempty
VirtualBox - A FOSS program capable of creating virtual machines (emulated computers within your computer). GNU/Linux users can use this program to create a virtual Windows computer under their system which they can then install and run VNs on. VirtualBox itself does not provide an installation media for Windows (or any other OS), so you will have to secure that yourself. As Virtual machines are resource heavy and generally unreliable when it comes to running anything graphical, it is preferred to use Wine if possible. Be sure to install the Guest Additions on your virtual Windows machine to improve performance and add support for 3D hardware acceleration, among other things.
Google Japanese Input - Input Japanese on Android.
Tae Kim app - Tae Kim’s grammar guide for Android. Includes bookmarks, day/night modes, easy navigation and clickable translations.
Rikaichan for Android - A version of Rikaichan for Android, allowing you to easily look-up words.
Aedict - An offline dictionary for Android.
Akebi - Japanese dictionary for Android with handwriting kanji search option. Useful for studying jouyou kanji too.
Jade Reader - Free open source text reader. Provides instant offline EDICT lookup. Also allows you to conveniently save words from the text you're reading into a list so can add them to Anki later.
OCR Manga Reader for Android - Free and open source Android app that allows you to quickly OCR and lookup Japanese words in real-time. It does not have ads and does not require network permissions. Supports both EDICT and EPWING dictionaries.
Useful things that don’t fit into any of the other categories.
Wikibooks - A small collection of resources for learning Japanese. Does not seem to go into too much depth. Good supplement.
LingQ - Good language learning site with many translated texts + audio. Although you can use it for free for a little while at the beginning, continued usage of the site costs money. An anon has kindly ripped and posted many of the podcasts and so forth which you download here.
Learning With Text (LWT) - An extensive application that seems somewhat similar to LingQ.
Unnamed Japanese Text Analyzer - Takes a .txt file and produces a word frequency list. Uses a better morphological analyzer than the older Japanese Text Analysis Tool.
VN scripts - A corpus of VN scripts.
cb's Kanji Word Association Tool - Will generate a list of words based on kanji already studied up to that point and kana. In addition, words are sorted by frequency, and no duplicates are associated with each kanji.