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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 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). 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:'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


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.'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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