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Some of the best online Japanese language and culture resources

Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links

We've scoured the Internet and screened and reviewed hundreds of sites to find only the best Japanese web links. If you'd like to recommend a URL for our site, use our feedback page.

Japanese Language Resources

Dictionaries & reference tools

Jim Breen's Japanese-English Dictionary Server [Japanese/English]: A multifaceted bi-directional reference tool with translate and search, kanji search, kanji draw functions, and more.
Denshi Jisho [Japanese/English]: Uses the same WWWJDic databases but has an easier interface for searching for words, sentences, or Kanji.
Jeffrey's Japanese-English Dictionary [Japanese/English]: Customizable, searchable bi-directional dictionary with multiple user options.
jTango [Japanese/English]: Simple bi-directional Japanese-English dictionary with search function.


Grammar resources

Guide to Japanese Grammar: Well-organized and systematic introduction to Japanese grammar. Includes sections on basic, intermediate, and advanced topics.
Wikipedia Japanese grammar: Wikipedia's concise yet thorough overview of Japanese grammar.
The Japanese Page Grammar: Japanese grammar in managable chunks.
Japanese for the Western Brain: Narrative explanation of Japanese structures that looks beyond tables and patterns.


Vocabulary resources

Langexpress Japanese Vocabulary Guide: Basic vocabulary in kana with images and audio pronunciation.
Japanese Vocabulary Flash Cards: Interactive online flash cards to test and practice vocabulary; word database customizable, includes word lists from 5 different books.
Vocabulary Quizzes: 344 English > Japanese interactive quizzes based on Charles Kelly's "4,480 Words You Should Know" (English > Japanese). Japanese > English quizzes are also available.
Wikibooks: Japanese Vocabulary: List of basic vocabulary words in common categories in kanji, kana, romaji, and English.
Japanglish: English words in the Japanese language with some very peculiar meanings!


The writing system: Katakana, hiragana, & kanji

Learn Kanji: Downloadable freeware for learning to read Japanese kanji characters.
Japanese Writing Tutor: Kana and kanji tutor with animated .gifs to show stroke order.
Hiragana Lessons: With flashcards and mneumonic devices for remembering characters. From The Japanese Page.
Real Kana: Study and practice naming the Hiragana and Katakana characters.
Kanji jouyou index: All 1945 kanji characters taught in Japanese schools, organized by grade level.


Free online Japanese language courses & practice activities

Studyjapanese.org: Free basic Japanese lessons with interactive activities, flashcard vocabulary trainer, and grammar explanations.
Elementary Japanese Language Course: 34 lessons with readings, vocabulary lists and vocab. trainer, MP3 audio files, grammar explanations, and interactive exercises.
A Select List of Japanese Language Study Sites: Comprehensive collection of sites for learning and studying Japanese.
Teach Yourself Japanese: Text-based introduction to Japanese writing, grammar, vocabulary.
MIT Japanese Language Program: 4 courses with lots of online study and practice materials.
Japanese Language Reading Tutor: Reading materials for learners of Japanese.
Easy Kanji: Graded, interactive reading passages for beginning, intermediate, and advanced Japanese learners.


The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT):

About the JLPT: Overview of the test levels, up-to-date information on how to apply and where the test is administered. From the Japan Foundation, the organization that administers the test outside of Japan.
JLPT basics: Test levels, cost, process, and more. From The Japanese Page.
JLPT Kanji: Kanji study tools oriented to each of the four JLPT levels.



Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links


Contemporary Japanese Culture

Japanese culture & customs

Web Japan: Reliable and useful info on Japanese culture and society, history and geography, travel tips. Sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Japan-Guide.com: About Japanese life and culture, travel to Japan, working and studying in Japan.
The Japanese Page: An array of articles on Japanese culture, ranging from practical to hilarious.
Contemporary Japan: Culture & Society: Video segments of Harvard University experts speaking on a variety of topics in modern Japan.
Famous Personages in Japan: Short biographies of well-known personalities in modern Japan in all areas of life. Put together by students at Kyoto Sangyo University. In English.
What Japan Thinks: A collection of interesting, and sometimes funny, public opinion polls conducted across Japan.
Japan Trends: The latest in business, technology, fashion, entertainment, and more.
Kid's Web Japan: Interactive introduction to Japan, its people, culture, history, and language for kids between 10 and 14.
Rob's Japan Photo Gallery: Some annotated photographs from everyday life in Japan.


Japanese cuisine

Tokyo Food Page: In addition to being a restaurant guide for Tokyo and the Kansai area, includes information and images of Japanese cuisine.
Japanese Cooking: A modest primer on Japanese foods and cooking with recipes and a glossary.


Japanese business culture

Breaking Through Japanese Corporate Culture: Excerpts from the book Rice Paper Ceiling, about making it as a foreigner working in a Japanese cultural context.
Rational Japanese: In-depth exploration of characteristic cultural behaviors of the Japanese with case studies.


Japanese-American relations

National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS): Non-profit organization offering educational, cultural and business education programs about Japan and U.S.-Japan relations. Perhaps even more useful are the links to all of the state and regional Japanese-American member organizations.
Japan Digest: Background information on a wide variety of topics related to Japan and U.S.-Japan relations.


Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links


The Country of Japan: Past & Present

About Japan

Japan: Current country profile from the CIA World Fact Book
Statistics Bureau of Japan: Current demographic statistics and data on Japan.
Web Japan Statistics: Demographic data of a wide variety on Japan's population.
Prime Minister of Japan: Official website.


Geography & travel information

Japanese National Travel Organization: Up-to-date information on travel to and around Japan, with maps, practical tips and travel advice, in-depth information on each region, current events, more.
Japan's Cities: Links to the official websites of Japan's cities and towns with a map of the towns and regions.
Japan for Visitors: About.com's Japanese travel page.


Japanese history

History of Japan: Wikipedia article on Japan's history.
Ancient Japan: Richard Hooker's comprehensive narrative of ancient Japan and its language and culture.
Japan History 1800-present: Teaching units on various aspects of Japanese history from 1800 to the present.
Internet East Asian History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall's collection of resources.



Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links


Japanese arts & media: Literature, music, television, film

Literature

The Japanese Text Initiative: Free access to numerous works of Japanese classical literature, some accompanied by English translations. Text are indexed by author or title and full-text search is also available.
Japanese Literature: Wikipedia article provides a good overview of the history of literature in Japan.
The Japanese Literature Homepage: Brief biographies of over 100 Japanese authors and a short overview of literary periods.
Japanese Mythology: Around 300 entries on Japanese mythology in the Encyclopedia Mythica.


Art & music

Japanese Traditional Music: History of traditional music and instruments in Japan with timeline, numerous images, audio.
Japanese Music Facts: A brief history of Japanese music from traditional to contemporary.
Japanese Pop Music: About Japan's music scene in the past 5 decades with profiles of popular artists.
Wikipedia: Japanese art: An overview from 10,000 BC to the present.
Art History Resources: Japan: A comprehensive list of rich and useful web resources on Japanese art and architecture.
Kyoto National Museum: A tour of the museum's collection of artifacts, paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, metalwork, textiles, and more.
Rei's Anime and Manga Page: An array of resources and articles about Japanese anime and manga.


Film & Television

Japanese Film: Information on contemporary Japanese film with reviews, features, interviews, more.
Guide to Japanese Films: Alan G. Chalk's guides for teaching Japanese culture, society, and history through film.
Jdorama: Active forum site on Japanese television dramas, with additional channels for discussing Japanese language, culture, and entertainment.
Japan's leading TV stations: [Japanese] TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS)


Online & print media & current events

News on Japan: News feeds from multiple sources providing up-to-date information from Japan on topics from politics, business, and the economy to science, education, and sports.
The Japan Times Online: Online edition of Japan's leading English-language newspaper with news, opinions, entertainment, sports, society in Japan.
Asahí Shímbum: Japan's leading national newspaper online edition, covering national and international news and including editorials and sections on politics, arts and entertainment, sports, and lifestyle. In Japanese or English.
Nikkei net Interactive: Financial and business news from Japan. In Japanese or English.


Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links


More Japanese web links

Thankfully, there are some excellent generalist sites with lists of links to Japanese-related sites:

JGuide: Stanford's annotated directory on all things Japanese.
About.com's Japan and Japanese language pages.
Google Directory: Japan
Yahoo! Japan


Language resources | Contemporary Culture | Japan: Past & present | Arts & media | More links


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