A resource companion for japanese learning

Document Structure

The document is broken into 2 sections: Stage-Specific Tools and Native Content. 
Stage-Specific Tools includes things like vocabulary decks, simplified beginner content, and good language parents.
Native Content is a library of interesting content organized by type and genre. 
Note: it is ok to duplicate content between the two sections.

Tools By Stage

Stage 0

  • Mindset
  • Core Practices

Stage 1: Lay the Foundation

1A: Tools and Habits

1B: Building Blocks

  • Note: that the above resources contain language learning advice which the Refold method considers ineffective. We recommend that these resources be used only to learn kana.

1C: Jumpstart Comprehension

Stage 2: Build Comprehension

2A: Overcoming the Curve

    • 2A: Simplified Video Content
      • Streaming Services
        • Animelon: Website to learn directly from anime with matching subs. Also has built-in immersion tools
        • Netflix: Paid streaming service. Use with “Language Learning with Netflix” chrome addon. (see above) also allows access to Japan Netflix for greater access to Japanese subtitles.
        • Nyaa.si: Torrent download platform for raw anime (japanese dub without any subs – recommended)
      • Comics/Manga
        • Bilingual Manga: Has a wide variety of beginner friendly Manga
        • Learn Japanese with Manga: Reading manga excerpts,listing and explaining vocabulary. Recently I started playing games while doing the same. All videos have links to transcripts as well
      • Native with matching subs
        • Soft Subs
  • CaptionPop: Search for YouTube videos with human-generated subs.
  • Bilingual dictionaries
    • Jisho.org: Commonly used website based on JMDict. 
  • Subs2Srs Premade Deck resources
    • Mediafire pack: 500+ show decks
    • JP Immersion Wiki : Tons of amazing resources, including hundreds of premade subs2srs decks. (also has subs, dictionaries, books, condensed audio and more)
  • Immersion-enhancing video players
    • mpv: Free and open source video player. Comes with features that are useful for language learners, very customizable and it supports user-made scripts. Matt made a great video on how to install it, configure it and use it.
    • Voracious: Desktop video player with easy dictionary lookups, powerful subtitle modes and instant Anki export for Windows, Mac, Linux
    • jidoujisho: Android video player with language learning tools, Jisho.org in-app dictionary lookups, custom J-J dictionary and YouTube with JP subs support, and instant AnkiDroid export with image and sound. I recommend reading the github page to understand how the app works and how to use it.

2B: Increasing Difficulty

  • Comics
    • よつばと: The quintessential starter manga
  • Monolingual Dictionaries

2C: Mastering a Domain

  • Pure Reading
    • Everything (Repositories)
      • Itazuraneko: Thousands of novels, light novels, manga, and visual novels available to be read
      • Aozora Bunko: This site has thousands of classic novels available for download in text format. These novels tend to be older and thus also a bit harder.
    • Leveled Reading Resources
      • Reading for every level: List of websites that are sorted into approximate levels for reading. News, blogs, websites and more.
    • Blogs
      • Feedly: A site that allows you to turn blogs, news sites and even twitter accounts into an endless personal feed
      • Watanoc: Range of articles graded by JLPT Level. 
      • Matcha JP: Short and digestible magazine articles about Japan and travel, that are graded. 
      • True Buddhism: Articles on buddhism. Usually references psychology and philosophy as well.
      • Nihonsi Jiten History: History articles sorted by time period. 
      • Bunsuke’s Newsletter: Short excerpts from modern and classic Japanese literature. Each article has a vocabulary list and some difficult grammar explanations.
    • Guided Readers

Note: Guided reading can be a good intro to reading, but it is not recommended to use the crutch of english explanations for too long.

  • Pure Listening + video (if video doesn’t help much)
    • Narrative
    • Single Topic, Single Speaker, Structured
    • Single Topic, Multiple Speakers, Unstructured
    • Audiobooks
    • Multiple Topics, Multiple Speakers, Unstructured


Stage 3

  • Parents
  • Male
        • Age
        • Accent
  • Female
      • Age
      • Accent


Stage 4


Native Content


    • Netflix: Full catalogue
      • I”s: Live-action high school drama. Netflix has JP subs for it. Typical accent/dialogue
  • Terrace house Reality series: Natural japanese with social commentary, has jp subs and audio descriptions. Great for all levels.
  • Crunchyroll: Anime & manga streaming service. Does not contain Japanese subtitles or manga in Japanese. 
  • Animelon: Website to learn directly from anime with matching subs. Also has built-in immersion tools
  • Funimation: Anime shows that feature both English and Japanese speaking shows like Crunchyroll (does show ads, but can be avoided by watching on phones). No manga, no JP subs, but still a great place to watch. 
  • Drama Google Drive:  A Google drive with a lot of j-drama and some subs.(Not updated for about 2 years but there are hundreds of dramas). Some of the files require a password to open, the password is “bagikuy”.

Reading: Comics/Novels

  • Comics
      • ココロコネクト(Kokoro Konekuto, Kokoro Connect):Manga about a group of high school students who go through a series of supernatural events, such as swapping souls temporarily. Has an anime adaptation.
      • よつばと!(Yotsuba to): Manga about the daily adventures of a young girl and her adoptive father, their friends and neighbours. Good for beginners
    • Novels
      • 火花(hibana): Novel about an up and coming manzai duo, written in regular japanese, but characters sometimes speak in kansai-ben. Has a TV adaptation on netflix.
      • 小説家になろう: Website where Japanese people can publish their novels (web novels). Web novels like  Re:Zero, KonoSuba, The Rising of the Shield Hero…
      • また、同じ夢を見ていた (I Had That Same Dream Again)
      • キノの旅 (Kino’s Journey)
      • おまえをオタクにしてやるから、俺をリア充にしてくれ (I’ll Make You into an Otaku, so Make Me into a Riajuu!)
      • GJ部 (Good Job Club)
  • Visual Novels
      • Tools and Tutorials
        • Visual Novel Tutorial: Very user-friendly tutorial on how to get started with Visual Novels
        • Asenheim Project: Visual novel repository (in browser emulation of 30+ Japanese visual novels)
        • The Moe Way: Full tutorial for learning Japanese with visual novels and installing them. 
  • News

Listening: Podcasts/Audiobooks

  • Listening Services
      • radiko.jp Listen to Japan’s FM/AM radio stations. Wide variety of programs ranging from news, music, comedy and variety programs.
      • TuneIn Radio (app for mobile) has regional options to find local stations based on location (such as Japan/Tokyo), and some stations also have lots of talk segments like BanBan or ChofuFM in Tokyo.
  • Personal Development:
  • Nerd/Weeb content
      • Game Nantoka: Light hearted podcast about video games.
      • Rebuild: Tech, game and hardware news and discussion. Has transcripts for early episodes.
      • Sokoani Podcast: Anime podcast that has been running for almost 13 years now. Talks about currently-running anime.
      • 噂ノのろいちゃんねる: Japanese scary stories and creepypastas narrated by a V-Tuber.
  • News
  • Sports
  • Talkshows
      • 虫も殺さないラジオ – Radio show/podcast by a member of the popular YouTube channel. He speaks quickly (but clearly) and there aren’t many difficult words. This is good content for making the transition to understanding Japanese with no visual context.
      •  ひろゆき: Long streams (1h-4h) talking about different topics
      •  大愚和尚の一問一答: Buddhist Monk talk show
      • Tenga Presents Midnight World Cafe: Podcast/radio show that has 4 people talking about Japanese culture and society. They are super hilarious and have a unique, lively atmosphere which helps to keep each listening experience fun for the non-Japanese speaker. 
  • Business
  • Paranormal, stranger than fiction
  • Gardening
  • History

Videos by Genre/Interest

  • Tech
    • 吉田製作所: Computers, Consoles, Phones, 3D Printing, Cameras & more)
    • さっさん: Laptops, Monitors, Keyboards, Microphones & more)
  • News/Documentary
  • Talk Show
  • Literature
      • 文学YouTuberベル: Book reviews and misc. videos about literature and reading. Very well spoken.
  • Education
  • Photography 
      • 大野朋美:  Teaches how to take photos in different themes. Occasional uploads of events and photography classes.
  • Various Entertainment Topics
  • Comedy
  • Online Gaming
        • Archipel: Very high-quality documentaries relating mostly to the Japanese video game industry and Japanese artists
        • Minecraft stream: 9-hour minecraft stream with virtual host
        • 凪白みと: Long streams with a lot of various game play through.
        • SANNINSHOW: A group of three friends playing various games.
        • 牛沢: Let’s plays of various game genres. Has really clear pronunciation.
        • 花江夏樹: Professional voice actors playing various video and board games.
        • タイショウ: A youtuber with a plethora of videos featuring him and his friends playing various games.  His videos have a very distinct editing style, and he never ceases to find new ways to make his viewership laugh.
  • Anime/Otaku
  • Self Help
        • フェルミ漫画大学
  • Culture
  • Japan in Motion: a Japan introduction channel where you can find different videos about Culture, Tourist Info, Gourmet, History.. and many more things
      • Cars
        • NOBLESSE: Car related content, frequent uploads.
  • Music 
  • Cooking
  • Chess
  • Travel
  • Vloggers
  • Movies / Film
      • Art
        • Manga Materials: Really excellent art channel(Hard and Soft subs).
        • Watercolor by Shibasaki: Relaxing painting channel hosted by master watercolor painter and  “Japanese Bob Ross” Shibasaki San.   
      • Streamers
        • FPS_Shaka : Popular Japanese twitch streamer who mostly plays FPS Games, and also variety games.
        • Stylishnoob : Another popular streamer who also plays FPS games and various variety games. Sometimes plays with Shaka and other friends. Content is usually very comedic.
  • Live TV 


Japanese Equivalents

  • Websites/apps for socializing and sharing
      • Streaming Platforms (like Twitch)
        • twitcasting.tv A lot of Japanese people on here just talk about stuff. There’s also a mobile app
      • Message board Platforms (Like Reddit)
      • Social media (Like facebook and Twitter)
      • Blog Platforms (Like blogger)
        • note.com
      • Messaging Platforms (like WeChat)
        • Line: A very popular Japan messaging app for iOS and Android
  • Online Stores
  • Online Stores (Like Amazon)
        • Rakuten: Is basically the Amazon of Japan (other than Amazon)
  • Services
    • Driving and rides (Like Uber, or Rent-a-car)
    • Food Delivery (Like doordash or Uber-eats)


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