Education About Asia: Online Archives

Web Gleanings: Japanese Language

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Title: MIT Japanese Language Program


Although there are some broken links and restricted entry to cer­tain pages, the first and second year online materials for this lan­guage program may be useful to beginners. The “Quiz Review Materials” cover many grammatical points and include exercises relevant to these points.

Title: A Logical Japanese Grammar


While these pages are still “under construction,” there still is enough material for the new learner, especially about verbs, nouns and adjectives. There are many charts and tables, some easier to comprehend than others.

Title: Teach Yourself Japanese


This site provides the very basic concepts of Japanese, giving clear preliminary explanations to each section. There is good use of Java programming for many subjects such as numbers (and counters) and for verbs, interactively showing the present, the neg­ative, the past, and other forms.

Title: The Quick and Dirty Guide to Japanese


This is a classic Internet document, first having been published more than ten years ago. There are admitted omissions, but for one who’d like information on particles and verb conjugations, this document can help. For a kana version of this guide:

Title: Collin’s Guide to Japanese Self-Study

URL: methodology.html

This is an essay of one man’s quest to learn Japanese on his own. His insights, experiences, and description of the materials and techniques he has used may assist other learners of Japanese.


Title: Outline of the Japanese Writing System

URL: writing/outline.htm

Jack Halpern, editor of Japanese-English dictionaries, has written an article that includes information on the origin of Chinese char­acters and their introduction into Japanese. He also discusses the function and meaning of kanji.

Title: Learn Hiragana


In addition to the basic forty-six hiragana symbols, this site pre­sents the compounds, the extended hiragana characters, and the pronunciation of the symbols. On the flashcard page, the stroke order, hiragana in words with translation, mnemonics, and pro­nunciation files are given.

Title: Katakana Lesson

URL: language/katakana.htm

On one page all basic katakana plus the combination symbols appear in convenient table form. The sounds of katakana are pro­vided in small groups by a native speaker. There is also a link to the hiragana page where the same format and features are offered.

Title: Japanese Writing


This site covers hiragana, katakana, and a limited number of kanji. The highlight of these pages is the animated brush that stroke by stroke draws the symbols; readings and translations for the kanji as well as usage in compounds can be found.

Title: Java Kanji Flashcards


500 flashcards which can be browsed or searched or used for drills are presented in a user-friendly format. On the front of each card are the readings (on-yomi and kun-yomi), the number of strokes with an animated rendition of the character, and some common compounds; on the backs of the cards are translations of the indi­vidual kanji and the compounds. The cards can be printed when desired.

Title: Kanji Site


The kanji contained on this site consist of 1,000 of those required for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test.) The test has four levels of difficulty; to date this site has compiled the kanji for three of the four levels. The kanji for each of the three levels appear in a frame, and after clicking on a kanji, the detailed view appears in an adjoining frame. Details include the readings, trans­lations, compounds, and other kanji similar in form.


Title: Reading Tutor


The interface is at times confusing, but with practice one can use either the reading materials on the site or the “dictionary tool” page to paste in Japanese text. Thereafter, the kanji readings and the translation into English are given alongside the body of the Japanese text. There is also the option of obtaining only the furig­ana (reading of the kanji placed above it) without translation for those who wish to translate on their own.

Title: Kanji Furigana for Japanese Learners


Ignore everything else on this page and simply insert the URL for a Japanese Web page in the space provided, making sure that you include http:// and then the rest of the address. What you’ll get is a reproduction of the entire page with the kanji reading (in kana form) above each character, i.e., “furigana.”


Title: Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC


With this dictionary one can look up Japanese or English words, translate short text fragments or Japanese words on Web pages, and find kanji through a “look up” function.

Title: Bi-Directional English-Japanese Dictionary


This dictionary has a very simple interface; one enters either an English or Japanese word to obtain a definition in the other lan­guage. For Japanese to English translation, kanji or kana must be used in the entry; romanized script is not accepted.

Title: Jeffrey’s Japanese-English Dictionary


The hodge-podge of options and the overuse of color make this page unappealing to the eye. However, it is a good source of infor­mation for those who need to find the meanings of words in Japan­ese or in English. Entry may be made in romanized script for Japan­ese words; results are given in kanji, kana reading, and English.

Title: Rikai


Type in the Web page address for a page written in Japanese or in English, click the “Go” button, and by passing the mouse over indi­vidual words, the translation to English or Japanese respectively will appear. This is especially useful when reading Japanese text, eliminating the need to look up kanji and translations. One can also paste in a body of text to get the translations for specific words.


Title: Jim Breen’s Japanese Page


For those who wish to explore the Web on their own, looking for pages about the Japanese language, there is no page better than Jim Breen’s comprehensive compilation of sites.

Title: Keiko Schneider’s Bookmarks


The author describes her creation as a one-stop site for those who study and teach Japanese and Japan. It is regularly updated, and is an excellent omnibus site.