JapanesePod101.com Blog
Learn Japanese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Japanese Phrases' Category

Japanese Hand Gestures and Body Language


Every culture has its own unique body gestures when speaking to express certain feelings or situations efficiently. Japanese hand gestures and body language are no exception and there are a variety of body gestures in Japan—many more than you’d expect!

Most Japanese body gestures are particular to the Japanese culture and foreign people may wonder what they stand for, or even get the wrong meaning from them. Learning the body language in Japan will not only help you understand the Japanese culture better, but also make you feel more comfortable communicating with Japanese people.

If you’re a beginner in the Japanese language, you can express and communicate much more with Japanese body gestures without lengthy explanation. If you already know much about spoken Japanese, using Japanese body language and hand gestures while speaking will make you look more natural and fluent than you actually are!

Here’s a list of common Japanese gestures and other Japanese body signs. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Japanese Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Table of Contents

  1. Body Gestures
  2. Hand Gestures
  3. Face Gestures and Facial Expressions
  4. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. Body Gestures

1- Bow

Bowing is one of the most important things in Japanese etiquette for any occasion, in both formal and informal settings. It’s also one of the most common Japanese body language gestures. Bowing can represent a number of things, such as greetings, gratitude, and apologies.

1. Bow with upper body to 15 degrees (会釈 [Eshaku]) : [Informal]

– Meaning: Saluting; light greeting; slight bow

– How to do:
From the beginning posture of standing straight and facing toward the person you wish to bow to, bow and tilt your upper body forward 15 degrees. Your eyes are kept on the person you greet. In informal settings, you don’t need to use your hands; however, it’s more polite if you hold your hands in front of you.

– When/where to use:
This light bow or Eshaku is usually used for an informal and light greeting, gratitude, or apology. This is a casual greeting and not a proper greeting. However, this can be used in business settings in some cases. Japanese people sometimes do this even after finishing a proper greeting as a repetition of a proper greeting.

– Example situation:
When you pass by someone you know on the street, in the office, at school, etc., you bow Eshaku and say “Hi” or “Hello.” However, you don’t always need to include the actual greeting words when you greet with Eshaku.

Eshaku: Smile to someone whom you greet as you bow. Holding hands is polite but not necessary in most cases.

2. Bow with upper body to 30 degrees (敬礼 [Keirei]): [Formal]

– Meaning: Respectful saluting; greeting

– How to do:
From the beginning posture of standing straight in line and facing toward the person you wish to bow to, bow slowly and tilt your upper body forward 30 degrees. Make sure you keep your back straight and don’t just bend your head when you bow. As you bow, you naturally look at the floor. Your arms and hands are placed straight along your body, or in some situations such as in hospitality, hands are placed in front your body, covering one hand with the other. This hand position is suitable for women.

– When/where to use:
You use this gesture in formal settings when you greet, thank, or apologize to someone whom you should communicate with respectfully, such as a client, customer, boss, etc. This is a Japanese gesture of respect.

– Example situation:
This bow or Keirei is used when staffs welcome customers at a luxury hotel or restaurant, and when you apologize to your boss for something at work.


Keirei: Make sure your back is not arched when you bow and do not move too quickly.

3. Bow with upper body to 45 degrees (最敬礼 [Saikeirei]): [Formal]

– Meaning: The most respectful saluting; greeting; deep apology

– How to do:
Do basically the same action as Keirei, but in this case you bow and tilt your upper body deeper, to 45 degrees.

– When/where to use:
This gesture is used when you greet or apologize with respect at the highest level of seriousness or severity. This is a very formal style and is used at work and for other official occasions.

– Example situation:
The president of a company which produced defective products apologizes with this bow or Saikeirei at a press conference.


Saikeirei: Your back is kept straight and you bow deeply and slowly to show respect.

2- Expressing that You’re Embarrassed or Upset

– Meaning: Embarrassed; upset

– How to do: Raise one of your arms and put a hand behind your slightly tilted head.

– When to use:
This is one of the most common Japanese body language and gestures to use when a person is embarrassed about something, or is upset by something that another person said.

– Example situation:
You’re likely to see this gesture when a father finds a huge mess made by his children after he was asked by his wife to take good care of them. He would be thinking, “Oh what should I do with this mess, my wife would get angry if she finds this out…” Or, you do this gesture when your friend asks you if he can use your car. Instead of directly saying “No,” you can use this gesture to show him that you’re upset and you don’t feel like lending it.

Woman scratching her head

Japanese people usually show embarrassed/upset expressions on their faces often with awkward small smiles.

3- The ”No, no” Wave

– Meaning: “No, no”; something is different

– How to do:
Wave your arm and hand in front of your body or face. The position of your elbow is fixed and not moving around.

– When to use:
This Japanese gesture is used when you want to deny something that has just been said. Japanese people often say, chigau, chiagu (“no, no”) while doing this gesture.

– Example:
A: Is he your boyfriend?
B: No, no. *wave*

Wave when you deny something in casual situations. Shaking your head left and right emphasizes more denial.

2. Hand Gestures

Hand Gestures

1- Pointing to Your Nose

– Meaning: “Me?”

– How to do:
Put the tip of your pointing finger on your nose.

– When to use:
Wondering about pointing in Japan? While Western people place an index finger on their chest, Japanese people place it on their nose when they indicate themselves.

– Example:
Teacher (from a distance in a class): You answer this problem.
Student: Me? *points to his nose*

Usually you point to your nose facing straight.

2- Put Hands Together

– Meaning: Asking for forgiveness or favor; thankful for a meal

– How to do:
Put your palms together in front of your body.

– When to use:
Western people may think this is the “praying” posture. However, Japanese people do this gesture when they casually say sorry, ask for a light favor, or before starting to eat a meal.

– Example situation:
Itadakimasu (I thank for a meal)! *Put hands together and start to eat*

Can you fix my computer? Please! *Put hands together*

Putting hands together is a very common gesture in Japan. You also see people do this in front of a shrine for praying.

Woman Putting Hands Togeteher

3- Crossed Index Fingers

– Meaning: “Check/bill please” (at restaurants)

– How to do:
Cross your index fingers in front of your face.

– When to use:
When you ask for a bill at a restaurant, you show your crossed fingers to a waiter/waitress. Please keep in mind that this is a very casual sign and you shouldn’t do this at very nice restaurants!

– Example:
(At a restaurant)
“Can you bring water and the check, please?” *Cross your fingers*

Woman Crossed Fingers

This gesture is often seen in Izakaya, Japanese style restaurants, often by men.

4- The “Come, Come” Hand Wave Toward You:

– Meaning: “Come, come!” or “Come here.”

– How to do:
Raise your hand in front of you and wave it toward you (the palm faces the person you’re calling), and move your fingers quickly up and down.

– When to use:
This hand gesture is used when you call someone over. This gesture is the other way around in other cultures, with the palm facing up and pulling it towards you. So, make sure your palm is facing toward the other person when you wave your hand to call someone over in Japan.

– Example:
1.) “Hey! We are here. Come over here!” *Wave*

2.) “My baby, come here! Come, come.” *Wave*

Please keep in mind that this gesture is used in casual occasions and it would be impolite if you do this to someone you’re supposed to respect or older people.

5- Chopping Hand While Walking:

– Meaning: Let me pass through; I’m cutting through

– How to do:
Hold your one hand up and chop the air in front of you repeatedly. The position of your elbow is fixed.

– When to use:
This is a gesture for when you want to make your way through the crowd, and is often used by older men. Japanese people say Chotto sumimasen (“Excuse me”) while walking through a crowd with this gesture.

– Example:
Chotto sumimasen, tōshite kudasai (“Excuse me, let me pass.”) *Chop chop*

Chotto Sumimasen

Please don’t forget to say Chotto sumimasen (“Excuse me”) when you do this gesture and pass through.

3. Face Gestures and Facial Expressions

1- 目礼 (Mokurei) — Eye Contact

– Meaning: Greet with eyes; nod

– How to do:
Look the person in his/her eyes and nod by slightly pulling your chin.

– When to use:
This is another way to greet people, apart from the three forms of bowing mentioned above. Japanese people use eye-contact greeting in situations that require you not to make noise or when you can’t move. This sign indicates that you notice someone’s presence. Smiling while greeting with Mokurei is a bonus point.

– Example situation:
You make eye contact with someone when you want to greet them but they’re talking to someone else. You can also use it when there’s some distance between you and this person and your voice can’t reach them because of the crowd.

Woman Looking Towards Viewer

Mokurei: Eye contact is important. Japanese people are used to read feelings from facial expressions and implications through eyes.

2- Nodding

– Meaning: Yes; I agree

– How to do:
Pull your chin toward your throat.

– When to use:
As you may notice, Japanese people often nod with this gesture repeatedly and say Un un (“yes, yes”) while they’re listening to someone. This gesture indicates that you understand the person who’s making a speech and that you’re not against him/her. Making the atmosphere of Wa (“harmony”) and avoiding conflict is very important in the Japanese culture.

– Example:
[While listening to someone]
Un Un, naruhodo (“Yes, yes, I see.”) *Nod nod*

Two People Talking

Japanese people often say Un Un (“Yes, yes”) casually, or Hai hai (“Yes, yes”) formally.

3-Tilting Head

– Meaning: I’m not sure; (indirect way to say) no

– How to do:
Tilt your head to either side.

– When to use:
This gesture is used when you’re not sure of something and are wondering what it is. Your eyes are likely looking above toward either side. Japanese people often do this gesture to show “No” without directly saying so. In this case, the eyes are usually looking down towards either side. Harmony-loving Japanese people tend to avoid saying “No” directly because it would hurt the person’s feelings.

– Example:
A: Do you want to go for a drink tonight?
B: Mmm.. (“No, I don’t want to.”) *Tilt head and look aside*

Woman Crossed Arms

People often look away and say “Mmm” when they do this gesture. It’s not necessary to cross your arms.

Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article about Japanese gestures and body language is helpful and you have a better understanding of Japanese gestures and culture now. Be sure to continue practicing these Japanese body signs so that you can use them like a native and master Japanese nonverbal communication!

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. Of course, you can learn more about Japanese gestures. While you learn basic Japanese, daily Japanese conversations, 100 Japanese phrases for beginners, how to be an effective Japanese speaker, and much more, you can apply the Japanese gestures you’ve learned to them for the best results.

Please visit our YouTube channel for a fun learning experience! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Japanese Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

The Complete Guide for Japanese Internet Slang and Text Faces

Do you know the Japanese slang ググる (guguru)? It means “to search on Google” and is one of the most-used Japanese internet slang terms.

If you chat with your Japanese friends online or use social media such as Facebook, you might be struggling to understand Japanese internet slang terms. However, most common Japanese slang words aren’t exclusive to the internet, as you may have found them in anime and manga as well.

The problem is that your teachers and textbooks won’t teach you those slang terms, because they aren’t official Japanese language. Japanese text slang terms might be very confusing for Japanese learners because they developed very uniquely. Japanese people also use many kinds of 顔文字 (kaomoji) or text face, such as “(*^_^*), (^_^;),(TдT).

We’ll provide you with a complete guide for popular Japanese internet slang terms and emotional text faces. Don’t worry! You don’t need to memorize it all. Even we, Japanese people, don’t know all of them. You can just add this page to your Favorite list and use it as your Japanese slang dictionary so that you can look up new slang words whenever you find them.

  1. About Japanese Internet Slang and Text Faces
  2. Top 11 Internet Slang
  3. Short and Very Short Abbreviations
  4. Text Slang for Social Media
  5. Text Slang Terms Using the Alphabet
  6. More Alphabet Slang Terms
  7. Japanese Internet Slang Using 漢字 (kanji)
  8. Slang Words for Both Conversation and Internet
  9. Emoticons: Japanese Text Faces
  10. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. About Japanese Internet Slang and Text Faces

“Internet slang” is ネットスラング (netto surangu) in Japanese. ネット (netto) is a shortened form of インターネット (intānetto) and it’s the Japanese way of reading the English word “internet.” スラング (surangu) is also the Japanese sound for the English word “slang.”

“Text face” or “text emotions” is 顔文字 (kao moji) in Japanese. 顔 (kao) means “face” and 文字 (moji) means “text” or “character.”

Today, internet and social media are very important tools, especially for young generations. If you have Japanese friends on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, you might find it difficult to figure out what they’re saying most of the time.

What makes it so difficult? A big reason is that we have three kinds of letters, 平仮名 (hiragana), 片仮名(katakana), and 漢字 (kanji). In addition to that, we use ローマ字 (rōma ji) or the Roman alphabets, for text slang terms. Of course, there are some simple abbreviated slang words, though we have many other kinds as well. In this article, we divided Japanese internet slang terms into six types to make it easier to understand. Before we list those six types, we also listed eleven popular Japanese internet slang words. Take a look!

2. Top 11 Internet Slang

If you’re searching for the most useful Japanese internet slang, here’s a list of the top eleven most popular internet slang terms. Hopefully this list of Japanese slang words helps you find your footing in this often confusing world of foreign internet talk.

1- w (wara)

Meaning: to laugh

“w” or 笑 is the shortened form of 笑う (warau) and it means “to laugh.” It’s usually used at the end of a sentence. 笑 is a more mature way of saying this and “w” is often used by guys.

Since “to laugh” is one of the most useful Japanese text slang terms, there are many similar words. For example, “www” means “lol” in English. Sometimes, people use more w’s as in “wwwww” to express how hard they’re laughing.

Similar words:

  • 笑 (wara)
  • 草 (kusa)
  • 草生える (kusahaeru)
  • 藁 (wara)
  • ワロタ (warota)
  • ワロス (warosu)
  • 爆 (baku)

Some heavy internet users use a 漢字 (kanji) letter—草 (kusa)—to express their laughter. 草 (kusa) means “grasses” and they use this character because “w” looks like grass growing in the ground. The word 爆(baku) or 爆 (baku) is short for 爆笑 (bakushō) meaning “to burst out laughing.”

2- JK (Jēkē)

Meaning: high school girl

JK (Jēkē) is the abbreviated word for 女子高生 (Joshikōsei). 女子 (joshi) means “girl” or “younger woman.” 高生 (kōsei) is a shortened form of 高校生 (kōkōsei) that refers to a high school student. It’s often used as a sexual expression and there’s no word for a high school boy.

Similar slang words:

  • JD (Joshi Chūgakusei) 女子中学生 or junior high school girl
  • JS (Joshi Shōgakusei) 女子小学生 or elementary school girl
  • JD (Jyoshi Daisei) 女子大生 or female college student

There’s another way of using “JK” and that’s the shortened form of 常考 (jōkō) or 常識的に考えて (Jōshiki teki ni kangaete), meaning “that’s common sense.”

3- ググる (guguru)

Meaning: to google

This is a combination of グーグル (gūguru) and する (suru). グーグル (gūguru) means “Google” and する(suru) indicates the verb form. This is a very common Japanese internet slang and you might even hear it in real conversations.

The imperative form of ググる is ググれ (gugure). There’s another popular slang using ググれ and it’s “ggrks” or ググれカス which means “Google it, idiot!” This slang is used when someone asks you a really stupid question, that he/she should not ask others.

4- 乙 (otsu)

Meaning: good job; good work

乙 (otsu) is the shortest text slang for お疲れ様です (otsukare sama desu) or “Thank you for your hard work.” This is the Common Japanese slang phrase to use when thanking someone for their hard work or good work. Japanese people use it very often, even as just a way of a greeting, like “Hi!”

There are some other short ways of saying お疲れ様です (otsukare sama desu):

  • お疲れ様 (otsukare sama)
  • おつかれ (otsukare)

The shorter word is the more informal way of saying this. The kanji 乙 doesn’t have the meaning of お疲れ様です, but people use it anyway because the pronunciation is おつ (otsu).

5- 888 (pachi-pachi-pachi)

Meaning: clap, clap, clap

The sound of a number of “8”s is はち (hachi) or ぱち (pachi) in Japanese and the sound of clapping hands is パチパチパチ (pachi-pachi-pachi). Therefore, the sound of “8” and the sound of clapping hands are the same. It’s usually used with three characters of 8, like “888.” If you want to denote more clapping, you can write more 8’s like “88888.”

6- orz

Meaning: disappointment

The word “orz” is an ASCII art which represents the shape of a person bowing down, showing a feeling of disappointment. The letter of “o” is a head, “r” is hand and body, and “z” is the bent legs.

Since this is an ASCII art, there’s no fixed way of reading “orz.” Some people read it as オーズ (ōzu) and others as オルツ (orutsu).

Same meaning: crz; OTL; or2; on_

7- DQN (dokyun)

Pronunciations: D=Do; Q=kyu; N=n
Meaning: stupid, idiot

“DQN” is not an abbreviation word. It means stupid or an idiot who acts without any thinking. This word is spread from a popular Japanese textboard “2ch” or “2ちゃんねる (ni channeru).” You need to be careful when you use it because it’s a very offensive swear word.

8- 飯テロ (meshi tero)

Meaning: food terror

飯テロ (meshi tero) is a very popular and well-known Japanese internet slang. 飯 (meshi) means food or meal and テロ (tero) means “terror” or “terrorist.” 飯テロ (meshi tero) expresses the act of uploading pictures of an appetizing meal on social media such as Twitter, especially late at night. It makes people angry because they’ll be hungry and want to eat the meal.

9- リア充 (riajū)

Meaning: fulfilled person in real life

リア充(riajū) is a very popular slang word that spread from the internet. It’s the abbreviated form of リアルが充実している (riaru ga jūjitsu site iru). リアル (riaru) means “real world” and the antonym is “internet world.” 充実している (jūjitsu site iru) means “one’s life is fullfilling.”

リア充 (riajū) people have a girlfriend/boyfriend as well as many friends who hang out at school or a workplace. They also have good hobbies and are very active.

Antonym words: 非リア充 (hiriajū)

10- KY (kēwai)

Meaning: A person who cannot read the mood

KY (kēwai) is a very common Japanese internet and text slang that people also use in real conversations. You might see it on TV shows and in movies and books. It’s an abbreviation of 空気読めない (kūki yomenai). 空気 (kūki) means “air” or “mood” and 読めない (yomenai) is “cannot read.”

11- ディスる (disuru)

Meaning: to insult somebody

ディス is an abbreviation of the English word “disrespect” and する means “to do” in Japanese. The word ディスる (disuru) means “to insult somebody.” This word is also a very popular Japanese slang that’s used often in daily conversations.

3. Short and Very Short Abbreviations

There are some simple Japanese text slang terms such as おめ (ome) and あり (ari), and they are just a very short form of Japanese words. There are no complicated rules.

These words are usually spread by gamers and teenagers, because they want to type as fast or with as few characters as they can when they chat online.

1- おめ (ome)

Abbreviation of おめでとう (omedetō)

Meaning: congratulations

  • Example:
    • 誕生日おめ! (Tanjōbi ome!)
  • Meaning:
    • Happy birthday!

2- あり (ari)

Abbreviation of ありがとう (arigatō)

Meaning: thank you

  • Example:
    • A: 誕生日おめ! (Tanjōbi ome!)
    • B: あり!(Ari!)
  • Meaning:
    • A: Happy birthday!
    • B: Thanks!

3- おこ (oko)

Abbreviation of 怒る (okoru)

Meaning: to get angry

Sometimes it’s written in 片仮名 (katakana) as オコ (oko), but in 平仮名 (hirakgana) おこ (oko) is very popular. When young Japanese people use おこ (oko), it’s usually as a joke.

  • Example:
    • 無視されたよ。おこだわー。(Mushi sareta yo. Oko da wā.)
  • Meaning:
    • She/he ignored me. I’m angry.

Young people also use 激おこ (geki oko) and 激おこぷんぷん丸 (geki oko punpun maru). 激 means “extremely” and therefore, 激おこ means “to get very angry.” 激おこぷんぷん丸 (geki oko punpun maru) is the more extreme version of 激おこ (geki oko).

4- りょ (ryo)

Abbreviation of 了解です (ryōkai desu)

Meaning: OK! or roger

了解です (ryōkai desu) is a business term and it means “I understand.” But the slang word りょ (ryo) is very casual and can be used only with friends.

Some people use a much shorter version and use only a single character り(ri). “りょ (ryo) spread from online game players, but now young people also use it at LINE. There are many LINE stickers using this word.

  • Example:
    • A: コーヒー買ってきて。(Kōhī katte kite.)
    • B: りょ
  • Meaning:
    • A: Can you buy a coffee for me?
    • B: OK.

4. Text Slang for Social Media

When you use social medias like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you need the knowledge of text slang terms, because it’s everywhere. They’re common especially on Twitter, because there’s a character limit and phrases need to be made shorter. Here, let’s look at Japanese text slang terms which are often used on the internet.

1- △ (sankakkei)

Meaning: Mr. ~ is cool

△ stands for a triangle shape and it’s 三角形 in Japanese. The pronunciation of 三角形 is sankakukei but people often pronounce it sankakkei. The sound of san is the same as さん, which is the most common honorific for other people. For example, Mr. Tanaka is 田中 (Tanaka) san in Japanese.

The sound kakkei is very similar to かっけー(kakkē). かっけー(kakkē) is a slang word of かっこいい(kakkoii) that means “cool” and is often used for males. △ is used with someone’s name, usually a celebrity or popular anime character.

  • Example:
    • 本田△ (Honda-san kakkē)
  • Meaning:
    • Mr. Honda is cool.

2- なう/ナウ (nau)

Meaning: doing it right now; being there right now

This is a very popular Japanese slang, used even by some elderly people. なう or ナウ is almost the same sound as the English word “now.” This word is often used on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. When they post something on those social media sites, it means that they’re doing something at exactly that moment.

  • Example 1:
    • カラオケなう (karaoke nau)
  • Meaning:
    • I’m singing karaoke now.
  • Example 2:
    • 京都なう(Kyōto nau)
  • Meaning:
    • I’m in Kyoto now.

3- ようつべ (youtube)

Meaning: YouTube

If you type ようつべ in the Roman alphabet, you’ll easily know what it means. ようつべ (youtube) is Japanese slang for YouTube. This is very casual slang that only a limited number of people use.

4- オワコン (owakon)

Meaning: out of date; old items

This is an abbreviation for 終わったコンテンツ (Owatta kontentsu). 終わった (owatta) means “out of date” or “too old” and コンテンツ (kontentsu) means contents such as websites, anime, YouTube, TV programs, and movies. It’s originally spread from animation fans. Today, it’s very popular and is even used in real conversations.

5- ツィ (tsui)

Meaning: tweet on Twitter

It’s just an abbreviation of ツイート (tsuīto) which means “tweet” in English. It’s also used as a short form of ツイッター(tsuittā) which means Twitter. This slang is especially used among young people under the age of twenty-five.

6- サムネ (samune)

Meaning: thumbnail image

It’s a shortened form of サムネイル (samuneiru) and means “thumbnail images.” This is a frequently used Japanese slang phrase on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

7- クラスタ (kurasuta)

Meaning: fun group

クラスタ (kurasta) means a fun group of something, such as animes and idol groups. The word クラスタ is originally from the English word “cluster.” It originally spread from 2ch; however, people don’t use it at 2ch anymore. Now, it’s used more on social media.

8- ずっ友 (zuttomo)

Meaning: friends for life

ずっ友 (zuttomo) is an abbreviation of ずっと友達 (zutto tomodachi). ずっと (zutto) means “forever” and 友達 (tomodachi) means “friends.” It was originally used by teenage girls when they took photos in a プリクラ (purikura) which is similar to a photo booth.

9- 炎上 (enjō)

Meaning: to go up in flames on social media

炎上 (enjō) is “flaming” and when people use this as an internet slang, it means that someone’s flaming on social media, or criticized by many people.

10- バズる (bazuru)

Meaning: to make a buzz on the internet

バズる (bazuru) means to make a buzz on the internet, usually Twitter and YouTube. バズ (buzu) is originally from the English word “buzz” and する (suru) is “to do.” As you can see, the popular Japanese internet slang バズる (bazuru) is a combination of those two words.

11- ラブリツ (raburitsu)

Meaning: Like and retweet on Twitter

ラブリツ (raburitsu) is only used on Twitter and usually by young teenage girls. ラブ (rabu)” is “love” in English, and it means “to press the Like button.”

Why do we use “love” instead of “like”? It’s because the Like button on Twitter is a love heart shape. リツ is a shortened form of リツイート (ritsuīto) and it means “to retweet.” If someone writes ラブリツ on Twitter, it means he/she wants you to press the Like button and retweet the tweet.

12- リプ (ripu)

Meaning: to reply

リプ (ripu) is a simple abbreviation for リプライ (ripurai). It means “to reply” and it’s usually used by teenage girls on social media like Twitter and LINE.

13- 拡散希望 (kakusan kibō)

Meaning: please share or retweet the information

You see 拡散希望 (kakusan kibō) on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. 拡散 means “to spread” and 希望 (kibō) means “hope” or “wish.” When you combine those two words, it means “Please share the message.”

5. Text Slang Terms Using the Alphabet


On the internet, Japanese people also use alphabet slang words, because many of them use the Roman alphabet for typing. One of the most unique Japanese text slangs using alphabet is to write only the consonant letters, with vowels omitted. This type of Japanese text slang spread from 2ch.

You need to be careful since this alphabet type of text slangs are only used on the internet. Therefore, it’s not as popular as other slang terms we introduced above.

1- wktk (wakuteka)

Meaning: very excited

“wktk” is an acronym of the onomatopoeia words ワクワク (wakuwaku) which means “exciting” and テカテカ (tekateka) which means “shining.” It spread from 2ch and it’s well-known among heavy internet users, such as gamers. However, you need to be careful when using this slang, as it’s not very popular among other people.

2- gkbr (gakuburu)

Meaning: to tremble for fear

“gkbr” is an acronym of the onomatopoeia words ガクガク (gakugaku) and ブルブル (buruburu). Both onomatopoeia words describe trembling for fear, so this Japanese internet slang describes someone’s fear. This word is also spread from 2ch and is used by heavy internet users.

You need to be careful because some people use “gkbr” as an acronym for ごきぶり (gokiburi) meaning “cockroach.” Popular internet slang for cockroach is “G()”, and using “gkbr” is a rare case.

3- ksk (kasoku)

Meaning: Faster!

“ksk” is an acronym for 加速 (kasoku), which means “accelerate.” This frequently used Japanese internet slang word is also spread from 2ch and used at textboards and the video distribution site ニコニコ動画(niconico dōga). It’s usually used when someone wants people to write comments faster.

4- kwsk (kuwashiku)

“kwsk” is an acronym for 詳しく (kuwashiku). The word 詳しく (kuwashiku) means “in detail,” and “kwsk” means “Explain the detail, please.”

6. More Alphabet Slang Terms

We’ve gone through a lot of Japanese slang words already, but our list of Japanese slang words wouldn’t be complete without the following. Hang tight!

1- ktkr (きたこれ) (kita kore)

Meaning: It’s here!; Something exciting happened.

“ktkr” is an abbreviated form of キタコレ (kita kore) which is also an internet slang word. キタ (kita) is 来た in kanji form. It’s the past tense form of 来る (kuru) which means “to come.” The official form of コレ is in 平仮名 (hiragana) form—これ (kore)—and means “this” or “it.” In this popular Japanese slang, これ (kore) means “some event or occurrence you expect” and 来た (kita) means “happened.”

2- mjk (まじか) (majika)

Meaning: Really?

“mjk” is an abbreviated form of マジか (majika). マジ (maji) is a very popular Japanese slang which is especially used among young Japanese people and it means “Really?” or “seriously.” There are several forms of マジ (maji). When you ask a question, you use マジ? or マジで? マジか isn’t usually used as a question, but it’s more likely to be used to express surprise.

3- (ry (略) (ryaku)

Meaning: OK! or roger

“(ry” stands for 略 (ryaku), and 略 is an abbreviation for 省略 (shōryaku). It’s used when you want to shorten a sentence, which others may already know.

4- kaos (カオス) (kaosu)

Meaning: chaos

“kaos” is an abbreviation for カオス (kaosu). The Japanese word カオス (kaosu) is originally from the English word “chaos” and it has the same meaning.

5- おK (オーケー) (ōkē)

Meaning: OK

The alphabet “o” is おー in 平仮名 (hiragana) form. The macron “ー” is omitted.

6- うp (アップ) (appu or upu)

Meaning: to upload

Japanese people often use the English word “up.” “u” is the Roman alphabet form of the 平仮名 (hiragana) letter う, and う is used instead of “u.”

7. Japanese Internet Slang Using 漢字 (kanji)

Some internet text slangs are only used in 漢字 (kanji) or Chinese characters. Some of them are abbreviation forms of words using only kanji. There’s also some kanji slang which uses the same sound of kanji, but with different meanings as a kind of joke. Here, we list popular kanji slang words and their meaning.

1- 誰得 (daretoku)

Meaning: Who benefits from it?

  • Abbreviation of 誰が得するんだよ (dare ga toku suru n da yo)

2- 情弱 (jōjaku)

Meaning: People who are left behind by information on the internet

  • Abbreviation of 情報弱者 (jōhō jakusha)

3- 胸熱 (muneatsu)

Meaning: to become fraught with emotion

  • Abbreviation of 胸が熱くなる (mune ga atsuku naru)

4- 禿同 (hagedō)

Meaning: strong agreement

  • Abbreviation of 激しく同意 (hageshiku dōi)
  • 禿 means “bald” and plays a word game by using the same sound of kanji

5- 今北 (imakita)

Meaning: I’m here, now.

  • 今来た is the correct kanji. 北 (kita) means “north” and shares the same pronunciation as 来た. 今北” looks like someone’s family name.
  • There’s also the slang 今北産業 (imakita sangyō), which sounds like a company’s name. But it means “I’m here, now. So please explain what is happening in three sentences.” 三行 (san-gyō) which means “three sentences” is the same sound as 産業.

6- 鯖 (saba)

Meaning: internet server

  • The kanji of 鯖 means “mackerel.” It’s used because it has a similar sound.

8. Slang Words for Both Conversation and Internet

Person Messaging on Phone

Some common Japanese slang phrases have become very popular so that they’re also used in real-life conversations, especially among young people. The opposite is also true: Sometimes slang terms from real conversations spread to internet text conversations. Here’s a list of some popular Japanese slang terms that are used both on the internet and in real-life conversations.

1- ガチ (gachi)

Meaning: earnestly

  • Abbreviation of ガチンコ (gachinko)

2- クソゲー (kusogē)

Meaning: stupid game

  • ゲー is the abbreviated form of ゲーム

3- メシウマ (meshiuma)

Meaning: to get happy for the misfortune of another

  • メシ is “meal” and ウマ is a shortened form of うまい that means “taste good.”

4- ドヤ顔 (doyagao)

Meaning: smug face

5- 神ってる (kamitteru)

Meaning: heaven-sent; out of this world

6- チキる (chikiru)

Meaning: to chicken out

  • チキ is the abbreviated form of チキン (chikin) or “chicken” in English

7- それな (sorena)

Meaning: express sympathy to others

8- 推しメン (oshimen)

Meaning: favorite member of idol group

  • Abbreviation of イチ推しメンバー (ichioshi menbā)

9- イケメン (ikemen)

Meaning: good-looking; hottie

9. Emoticons: Japanese Text Faces

If you search 顔文字 (kaomoji) or 絵文字 (emoji) on the internet, you’ll find several kinds of them. In Japanese, sometimes expression tends to be unclear, not helped by the fact that there are some words that have the same meanings. Therefore, it’s sometimes difficult to express exact emotion. In those situations, text faces help to express emotions. Text emotions are usually used at the end of a sentence. Many people use them in their emails and when chatting online.

Those text faces are largely used by teenagers, but are also used by a broad age group. However, you can’t use those text faces in business emails.

Here’s a list of Japanese text faces:

  • Smile : (^^), (^_^), (^o^), (^-^),(●^o^●), (*^_^*)
  • V sign: (^_^)V, (^o^)V
  • Crying: (T_T), (;_;),.・゚゚・(/ω\)・゚゚・.
  • Be excited: o(^o^)o
  • Love: (*♡∀♡),╰(*´︶`*)╯♡
  • Bowing or apology: m(_ _)m
  • Goodbye: (^_^)/~~~
  • Embarrassment: (^^;),(^_^;),(*ノωノ)
  • Joy: \( ̄▽ ̄)/, (⌒▽⌒)☆, ヽ(o^ ^o)ノ
  • Troubled: (>__
  • Sleeping: (-_-)zzz
  • Confused: (°_°),
  • Wink: (^_-), (^_-)-☆
  • Deflated: (´・ω・`), (‘A`)
  • Angry: ( ` ω ´ ), (#`Д´)

10. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In summary, we’ve listed popular Japanese internet slang terms and text faces. We hope you enjoyed it and that it helps you communicate more effectively with your Japanese friends online.

If you liked this article, feel free to get more fun lessons of Japanese expressions and cultures on JapanesePod101. We provide over 2950 audio and video lessons and help you study Japanese with a 360° approach. We make your Japanese learning fun and easy! Study with us!

In the meantime, make good use of your newfound knowledge in common Japanese texting and internet slang. Good luck!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

Japanese Untranslatable Words: Let’s Talk like a Native!

Japanese Untranslatable Words

When learning a new language, people encounter words and expressions which can’t be clearly translated into that language. Japanese is no exception. Japanese has various untranslatable words which need to be explained with concepts, contexts, or situations in order to grasp the true meaning and nuance these original words have. Japanese phrases with no English equivalent are both fun and important to learn during your language studies.

Reasons to Study Japanese

Much like in other languages, Japanese untranslatable words reflect the Japanese culture. By learning untranslatable Japanese words, you’ll also gain insight into unique Japanese views, values, and philosophies. Japanese words that are untranslatable often prove interesting to other cultures, and in fact, there are quite a few beautiful untranslatable Japanese words for you to discover!

Here’s our list of Japanese untranslatable words with no direct English equivalent (though these are just our favorite untranslatable Japanese words).

Table of Contents

  1. いただきます (Itadakimasu)
  2. ごちそうさま (Gochisō-sama)
  3. お疲れ様 (Otsukare-sama)
  4. おじゃまします(Ojama shimasu)
  5. もったいない (Mottainai)
  6. 懐かしい (Natsukashii)
  7. よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku onegai shimasu)
  8. 侘寂 わびさび (Wabi Sabi)
  9. 高嶺の花 (Takane no Hana)
  10. ありがた迷惑 (Arigata Meiwaku)
  11. Summary of Untranslatable Words in Japanese
  12. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. いただきます (Itadakimasu)

  • Literal Translation: I eat/receive. (In a humble and respectful way)
  • Meaning: “I’m thankful for food and I start to eat.”
  • Example Situation:
    • Before you start to eat a meal (whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner), you say Itadakimasu.
  • Example:
    • 美味しそうなラーメン!いただきます。
      Oishisō na Rāmen! Itadakimasu.
      The Ramen looks yummy! Itadakimasu.
  • Additional Notes:

In formal Japanese, there are three forms of honorific languages with different levels of politeness: Teinei-go (it shows politeness), Sonkei-go (it respects, honors, and increases the status of the person you’re talking to), and Kenjō-go (it lowers your status with humbleness and respect). Itadakimasu is “I eat” in the form of Kenjō-go which express your humbleness to eat.

Itadakimasu is different from “Bon appetit.” Itadakimasu is used by a person who starts to eat with gratitude for the food and for the person who cooked it, while “Bon appetit” is used by a person who serves food and means “enjoy food.”

Japanese Food

2. ごちそうさま (Gochisō-sama)

  • Literal Translation: Delicious food; treat; feast; banquet; etc., in a respectful style.
  • Meaning: “I finished eating and thank you for the food.” (With respect) Sama is the term used to express respect.
  • Example Situation:
    When you finish eating a meal, you say Gochisō-sama.
  • Example:
    Gochisō-sama. O-kā-san, kyō no yūshoku wa totemo oishikatta yo!
    Gochisō-sama. Tonight’s dinner was really good, mom!
  • Additional Notes:
    This is one Japanese word with no English translation that people around the world can actually relate to. You can say Gochisō-sama when you’ve finished eating your meal at home, in a restaurant, or really for any occasion. If you want to say it more politely in a more formal situation, you add deshita to the end: Gochisō-sama deshita. It’ a good Japanese table manner to say Itadakimasu and Gochisō-sama during meals.

3. お疲れ様 (Otsukare-sama)

  • Literal Translation: “(You must be) tired.” (With respect)
  • Meaning:
    Otsukare-sama has some different meanings depending on the situation, all of which are handy to use. It can mean: “hello,” “well done,” “you must be tired,” “see you,” “good-bye,”and so on.
  • Example Situation:
    It can be used to say “well done” or “good job” to praise or to be thankful for someone who finished something. You can also use it to say “you must be tired” to show that you care about someone and that you also know how they must feel. Or it can simply be used as a greeting at an office upon arriving or leaving, or when meeting with colleagues.
  • Example:
    1. 会議でのプレゼンお疲れ様。
    Kaigi de no purezen otsukare-sama.
    Well done for the presentation at the meeting.

    2. お疲れ様です。また明日。
    Otsukare-sama desu. Mata ashita.
    See you tomorrow. (At office)

  • Additional Notes:
    It becomes more polite when you put desu at the end of Otsukare-sama. It’s an expression used when Japanese people want to show their appreciation for the other person’s efforts and work with respect. Nowadays, Otsukare-sama desu is a very common greeting in work settings, especially among colleagues.

Living Room

4. おじゃまします(Ojama shimasu

  • Literal Translation: “I disturb.” (In a humble and polite way)
  • Meaning:
    Let me visit /enter a house. (In a humble and polite way)
  • Example Situation:
    This is the greeting phrase to use when you enter someone’s house, especially when you’re invited. It’s to show gratitude for the host for the invitation and makes you seem polite as a guest.
  • Example:
    Ojama shimasu. Sugoku hirokute suteki na o-uchi desu ne.
    Ojama shimasu. Your house is very spacious and nice.
  • Additional Notes:
    In Japan, we usually say Ojama shimasu whenever visiting someone’s house. It would be rude to enter someone’s house without saying this. When you leave someone’s house, you say Ojama shimashita, which is the past tense of Ojama shimasu.

5. もったいない (Mottainai)

  • Literal Translation: “No dignity/importance.”
  • Meaning: Worthy of a better cause, associated with a feeling of being attached to it and reluctant to throw it away. Mottainai’ can mean: “What a waste,” “How wasteful,” “It is too good for/to ___,” “You don’t know what you’re missing,” etc.
  • Example Situation:
    This phrase may be used when something that’s still useful or worth something is either not being used, or is going to be thrown away. This can be used for people, opportunities, situations, and so on.
  • Example:
    Onaka ippai da kara to itte, tabemono o suteru no wa mottainai yo.
    It is a waste to throw away food only because you are full.
  • Additional Notes:
    This phrase comes from the Japanese mentality which puts value on treating things well and taking good care of things to use them for a long time. While the English word “waste” has negative nuances such as worthless, useless, and unwanted, whose Japanese translation can be “浪費 (rōhi)”, in Japanese, mottainai contains positive nuances such as worthy and valuable. It also expresses regret that a thing still useful isn’t used to its full potential. This may be one of the most beautiful untranslatable Japanese words.

Nostalgic Woman

6. 懐かしい (Natsukashii)

  • Literal Translation: “Nostalgic.”
  • Meaning: A nostalgic feeling you have when you remember and miss something about the past.
  • Example Situation:
    You feel Natsukashii when you find your toys from childhood that you enjoyed playing with. You remember all the childhood memories of playing with that toy with friends and family, and you have nostalgic feelings about it.
  • Example:
    Kōkō no sotsugyō arubamu o jikka de mitsuketa! Natsukashii omoide bakari da yo.
    I found the graduation yearbook of highschool at my parents’ house. It’s full of memories of good old days.
  • Additional Notes:
    It can also be used to express: “The good old days,” “Good times,” “I miss ___,” “It reminds me of ___,” “It brings back memories,” “I feel nostalgic,” etc.


7. よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku onegai shimasu)

  • Literal Translation: “Good” / “Right” / “Suitable favor please”
  • Meaning: It has many meanings, depending on what situation it’s used in, and all meanings are quite useful. It can mean: “Nice to meet you,” “Best regards,” “Favorably please,” “Please take care of me,” etc., to show your gratitude and humbleness in hoping to have a good relationship from that point forward.
  • Example Situation:
    Yoroshiku onegai shimasu can be used in a variety of situations, especially when you’re new to something, such as meeting new people at work, when you start a new job or project, when someone’s going to take care of you, etc.
  • Example:
    Kyō kara kono kurasu ni sanka suru Tanaka desu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
    I am Tanaka who starts this class from today. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
  • Additional Notes:
    This phrase is very useful. It doesn’t actually have a particular clear meaning and so you can use it for many occasions. It’s also used to finish a conversation or email message.

Japanese Garden

8. 侘寂 わびさび (Wabi Sabi)

  • Literal Translation: “Frugal” / “Simple and quiet” / “Silent”
  • Meaning: This is a concept, or view, of Japanese beauty. It accepts and values things which are natural and transient, as well as imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
  • Example Situation: An asymmetrical wooden table with a natural and original shape, as well as the grain of a tree, is a great example of imperfection as an aesthetic according to Wabi Sabi.
  • Example:
    Kennin-ji wa, Mirano no daiseidō no yō ni gōka de wa nai ga, Zen no Wabi Sabi no fuzei ga aru.
    The Kennin-ji temple isn’t gorgeous like Milano Cathedral, but there is the Zen taste of wabi sabi.
  • Additional Notes:
    Wabi sabi is also used to express the concept of valuing simplicity and humility, rather than luxury and impressiveness.


9. 高嶺の花 (Takane no Hana)

  • Literal Translation: “Flower” (Hana) “in high peak” (Takane).
  • Meaning:
    This is one of the most creative untranslatable Japanese words and describes a woman who seems out of reach and who’s not easy to get familiar with. Takane no Hana is a metaphor which comes from the fact that flowers on a high peak on a mountain aren’t easily reachable. It also expresses a feeling of admiration.
  • Example Situation:
    If you see someone with a high profile who’s super beautiful and has a good personality, you tend to think that she’s not easy to become friends with (or even to make her your girlfriend).
  • Example:
    Bijin na Kaori-san wa, kurasu de ichi-ban yūshū de daikigyō no shachō reijō desu. Gakkōjū de Takane no. Hana no sonzai desu ne.
    Beautiful Kaori is the smartest girl in the class and she is the daughter of a large company’s CEO. She is Takane no hana in school, isn’t she?
  • Additional Notes:
    It’s also used to express that a woman is too perfect to be attainable.

10. ありがた迷惑 (Arigata Meiwaku)

  • Literal Translation: “Thankful” / “Grateful” (Arigatai) / “Troublesome” / “Annoying” (Meiwaku)
  • Meaning: This phrase is used to describe a situation when someone does something for you that you didn’t necessarily want them to do (but you still think you should be grateful for it).
  • Example Situation:
    When your neighbour always shares their food with you, but you never actually like when they do this, you feel that this neighbor’s favor is Arigata Meiwaku.
  • Example:
    Watashi no sobo wa maitoshi teami no tebukuro o kuremasu. Ureshii kedo tsukawanai kara, Arigata Meiwaku desu.
    My grandmother gives me her handmade knitted gloves every year. It’s Arigata meiwaku because I’m happy for her favor but I never use them.
  • Additional Notes:
    This phrase reflects the Japanese mentality which puts importance on being polite to others and maintaining harmony without causing conflict. Japanese people can’t easily say “No,” especially when it comes to favors and offerings because people think saying no will hurt or offend the other person’s feelings and would cause some sort of conflict (breaking harmony).

11. Summary of Untranslatable Words in Japanese

In this article, we’ve gone over common Japanese untranslatable words for language learning, and have also shown you untranslatable Japanese words to English.

These Japanese untranslatable words are very handy to use for expressing situations or your feelings. There are thousands of more untranslatable words in Japanese, including idioms, proverbs, slangs, and even newly coined words.

You’ll be able to speak Japanese like a native once you master Japanese untranslatable words, as you also comprehend the Japanese philosophy and mentality behind the country’s culture!

We hope we’ve helped to satisfy your curiosity about untranslatable words from Japanese, and that you found our list of untranslatable Japanese words helpful!

12. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

The Best Ways to Learn Japanese

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find a lot of useful content on JapanesePod101. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

If you’re a beginner learner of Japanese, you’ll find the following useful:

If you’re at the intermediate level, we recommend:

You’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Happy Japanese learning with JapanesePod101!

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

Tanabata: The Star Festival in Japan – Vega and Altair’s Love Story

Do you know why the Japanese focus on the Altair and Vega stars one night a year? This has to do with the Tanabata story, which tells about the love between a cow-herder and a weaver (we’ll give you the full story later in this article!).

During the Star Festival, Japan sets its eyes to the night sky and the Milky Way, hoping that the two constellations, which represent the cow-herder and weaver, will meet.

The Star Festival Japan celebrates offers a fun and unique glance at Japanese culture and thought. Learning about the Tanabata Festival is a wonderful way to improve your language skills, too, as knowing a country’s culture is key to mastering its language!

At JapanesePod101.com, we want to make this learning journey both fun and informative for you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. What is the Japanese Star Festival?

According to the legend, this is the one day a year that 織姫 (Orihime), meaning “the weaving princess,” and 彦星 (Hikoboshi), meaning “the cow herder,” can spend together. On this night, the Japanese people are more concerned about the weather than on any other night, as the weather dictates whether or not the two can see each other.

2. When is the Tanabata Festival?

July 7 is the Star Festival

The Star Festival, or 七夕 (Tanabata), means “the evening of the seventh,” and is celebrated on July 7th each year. This day has been celebrated in Japan since the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), and because of differences between the Lunar and Gregorian calendars, Tanabata festivals are actually held on both July 7th and August 7th.

3. How is Tanabata Celebrated?

China, Vietnam, and Korea have their own versions of the Star Festival, but in Japan, people write wishes on strips of paper and hang them up on bamboo leaves along with decorations shaped like stars and such. Among the wishes written by the children at preschools and elementary schools, there are sometimes those that say, in shaky, just-learned letters, “I wish that Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet each other.” Isn’t that cute?

The most famous festival is held in Sendai from the fifth to the eight of August. Near Tokyo, in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, the largest festival in the Kanto area is held for a few days around July 7th.

At these festivals, people gather on the main street where there are decorations, food stalls, and sometimes entertainment, including music and dancing. The common traditional food of Tanabata includes たこ焼き (takoyaki), 焼きそば (yakisoba), and cold beer.

There is also a well-known song that is sung during Tanabata, 笹の葉・ささのは・sasa no ha, which means “bamboo leaves.”

4. The Tanabata Story

Star Festival Event

So, what is the Japanese Star Festival story? Well…

A long time ago, Orihime, the daughter of the King of Heaven, and Hikoboshi, a cattle herd, fell in love. Orihime’s work was to weave at the loom, while Hikoboshi’s job was to take care of the cattle. Both were extremely hard-working, so the King of Heaven gave them permission to be married.

However, both Orihime and Hikoboshi enjoyed married life so much that as soon as they were married, they stopped working. Angered, the King of Heaven put the Milky Way between Orihime and Hikoboshi, separating them. But, feeling some pity for the two, the King of Heaven permitted them to meet just once a year, at the Star Festival.

The Milky Way has no bridge, but when the Star Festival comes around, birds called European magpies suddenly come flying out of nowhere, and build a bridge for the two of them…

And this is the story of the Star Festival.

So why do people care about the weather on the night of the Star Festival, you ask? Because if it rains, the volume of water in the Milky Way rises, so the European magpies can’t build a bridge, meaning that Orihime and Hikoboshi can’t meet each other.

5. Vocab You Need to Know for the Star Festival


Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Japanese Star Festival!

  • アルタイル (アルタイル) — Altair
  • ベガ (ベガ) — Vega
  • 天の川 (あまのがわ) — Milky Way
  • 七夕 (たなばた) — Star Festival
  • 浴衣 (ゆかた) — Yukata
  • 装飾 (そうしょく) — Decoration
  • 織姫 (おりひめ) — Orihime
  • 願い事 (ねがいごと) — Wish
  • 短冊 (たんざく) — Small piece of paper
  • 7月7日 (しちがつ なのか) — July 7th
  • 彦星 (ひこぼし) — Hikoboshi
  • 笹 (ささ) — Bamboo leaf
  • 笹飾り (ささかざり) — Bamboo decoration

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Japanese Star Festival vocabulary list!


What do you think about the Japanese Star Festival and its story? Did you learn anything new today? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

To continue learning about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com! We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Japanese vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! You can also take advantage of our online community forums to chat with fellow students or ask for help! By upgrading to a Premium Plus account, you can start relishing in the benefits of our MyTeacher program, which allows you to learn Japanese one-on-one with your own teacher!

Continue studying and practicing, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Japanese like a native before you know it. And JapanesePod101 will be here with you on each step of this journey!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

How to Say “My Name is,” in Japanese and More!

When you’re learning Japanese and starting to make new friends, or visiting Japan for travel, school, or business, there will be many occasions where you need to introduce yourself. Introducing yourself is always important in starting a good relationship with someone: friends, peers, students, co-workers, neighbors, etc.

Hence, it’s important to learn things like how to say “My name is,” in Japanese, as well as other ways of introducing yourself in Japanese phrases.

There are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to introducing yourself in Japan, from a cultural perspective. For example, you should usually use a formal and polite style of Japanese when you introduce yourself, and it’s better not to talk about yourself too much or give too many personal details right away.

Ready to learn how to introduce yourself and learn Japanese with us? Here’s our list of practical phrases and tips for introducing yourself in Japanese words.

P.S., you can find more information on how to introduce yourself in Japanese business on our site!

Table of Contents

  1. Identifying Yourself
  2. Stating Your Name
  3. Stating Your Age
  4. Stating Where You’re From
  5. Placing Yourself in Society
  6. Sharing Personal Details
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. Identifying Yourself

1- Greeting

The first thing you do when meeting someone, before introducing yourself, is offer them a greeting. There’s also a greeting word the Japanese use to close an introduction, which we’ll familiarize you with below. These can also be good ways of how to introduce yourself in Japanese interviews.

1. はじめまして。

Romanization: Hajimemashite.
English Translation: Nice to meet you.

When you first meet someone, Hajimemashite, or “Nice to meet you” in Japanese, is the first word of greeting. Hajimemashite means to start knowing someone new or to start a new relationship with someone. Essentially, it’s a good way to introduce yourself in Japanese.

This term is formal and can be used for any occasion. For a very official occasion, there’s another way to say “Nice to meet you,” more politely and with respect: お会いできて光栄です。(O-ai dekite kōei desu.). Keep in mind that this may be a good phrase for how to introduce yourself in Japanese email.


  • はじめまして。私はマリコです。
    Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Mariko desu.
    Nice to meet you. I am Mariko.

Note: Watashi wa meaning in Japanese is “(as for) me.”

2. よろしくお願いします。

Romanization: Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
English Translation: Please treat me well.

This is used at the end of an introduction, after you’ve finished introducing yourself. It actually has many meanings, but in this case, it means “Please treat me well,” or “Please be nice/kind to me.” This may sound awkward in English, but it’s an important greeting phrase in Japan to show your gratitude and humbleness, especially in hoping to have a good relationship with that person. In a casual situation, you can just say Yoroshiku as a shortened version.


  • 今日からここで働きます鈴木です。よろしくお願いします。
    Kyō kara koko de hatarakimasu Suzuki desu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
    I am Suzuki and I start work here today. Please be good to me.


When you greet and introduce yourself for the first time, most of the time you should bow and shake hands.

2. Stating Your Name

Learning how to say your name is an essential aspect of Japanese introductions, especially when it comes to how to introduce yourself in Japanese for interview. Following Hajimemashite, it’s very common to state your name to start your introduction in Japanese. There are a few ways to say your name in Japanese.

1- 私はユミです。

Romanization: Watashi wa Yumi desu.
English Translation: I am Yumi.

This is the most common phrase to tell someone your name.

  • Watashi = I
  • wa = am / is / are
  • desu = This is a Japanese 述語 (Jutsugo) or predicate in a polite style, which is added to the end of a sentence.

2- 私はユミと言いいます。

Romanization: Watashi wa Yumi to iimasu.
English Translation: I am called Yumi.

This is another typical way to say your name in Japanese. It literally means “I am said to be Yumi.”

  • iimasu = This is a conjugated form of 言う (iu ) which means “to say.”
  • To = This is a Japanese postpositional particle which means “as” in this case.

This phrase sounds a bit more formal. In order to say it even more politely for an official occasion, you can say mōshimasu instead of iimasu, which is the respectful form (Keigo 敬語 ) of “say” in Japanese.

3- 私の名前はユミです。

Romanization: Watashi no namae wa Yumi desu.
English Translation: My name is Yumi.

When you’re asked “What is your name?”, you can answer with this phrase.

  • no = of
  • namae = name
  • Watashi no namae = my name

4- ユーミンと呼んでください。

Romanization: Yūmin to yonde kudasai.
English Translation: Please call me Yūmin.

If you have a nickname or あだ名 (adana) which is different from your real name, you can use this phrase after introducing your actual name.

  • yonde = This is a conjugation of 呼ぶ (yobu) which means “to call.”
  • kudasai = This is a Japanese Jutsugo (述語) or predicate in a polite style which means “please (call me)” in this case.

3. Stating Your Age

It’s not very common to state your age to a person you meet for the first time, especially if you’re an adult woman. In some situations, however, you’re expected to introduce your age or when you were born. On such occasions, here are some expressions for how to state your age.

1- 私は16歳です。

Romanization: Watashi wa 16-sai desu.
English Translation: I am 16 years old.

  • sai is “year(s) old.”
  • For Japanese numbers, please visit here for more details.
  • You can use any Japanese number to say “XX years old,” except for twenty.
    • “Twenty” is ni-jū as a Japanese number, but it’s read as はたち (hatachi) only when it’s expressed as an age.

2- 私は今年25歳になります。

Romanization: Watashi wa kotoshi 25-sai ni narimasu.
English Translation: I become 25 years old this year.

  • kotoshi is “this year.”
  • ni is a Japanese particle which is usually used to indicate destination or direction. In this case, it indicates the result of change.
  • narimasu is a conjugated form of なる (naru) which means “to become.”

3- 私は1990年生まれです。

Romanization: Watashi wa 1990-nen umare desu.
English Translation: I was born in 1990.

You can also express your age by stating the year of your birth. This phrase is a common answer when you’re asked when you were born, in situations such as confirming your legal age when you buy cigarettes or alcohol (the legal age for these is twenty in Japan).

  • nen is “year.”
  • umare is “was born” in noun form.
  • In order to express a year, unlike in English, the Japanese say the whole number.
    • For example, “1990” in Japanese numbers is read “one-thousand nine-hundred ninety” in Japanese, which is sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū.

4. Stating Where You’re From

When thinking about how to introduce yourself in a Japanese job interview, in particular, you should learn how to talk about where you’re from. Different regions have different features. It’s common to state where you’re from in your introduction in Japan. When you find that someone is from the same city or region of your city, it makes it easier to familiarize yourselves with each other.

1- 私は東京出身です。

Romanization: Watashi wa Tōkyō shusshin desu.
English Translation: I am from Tokyo.

  • shusshin is a noun word which means “come from” or “a place of one’s origin.”
  • If you’re a foreign person in Japan, state your country.

2- 私はカナダ人です。

Romanization: Watashi wa Canada-jin desu.
English Translation: I am Canadian.

  • You can also state your nationality or ethnicity instead of the country you’re from.
  • jin denotes nationality when it’s attached to the name of a country.

3- 私は大阪に住んでいます。

Romanization: Watashi wa Ōsaka ni sunde imasu.
English Translation: I live in Osaka.

  • You can also mention where you reside now.
  • Sunde imasu is a conjugated form of 住む (sumu) which means “(I am) living.”

When you’re from another country, it’s nice to introduce which country/region you’re from.

5. Placing Yourself in Society

1- Stating Your School and Major [for Students]

1. 私は東京大学に通っています。

Romanization: Watashi wa Tōkyō Daigaku ni kayotte imasu.
English Translation: I go to Tokyo University.

  • daigaku is “university.”
  • kayotte imasu is a conjugated form of 通う (kayō) which means “(I am) going” when talking about a place where you constantly and repeatedly go.
  • Vocabulary related to school:
    – 大学 (Daigaku) — University
    – 短期大学 (Tanki daigaku) — Junior college
    – 専門学校 (Senmon gakkō) — Vocational school / Technical school
    – 高校 (Kōkō) — High school
    – 中学校 (Chūgakkō) — Middle high school
    – 小学校 (Shōgakkō) — Elementary school

2. 私は経済学を学んでいます。

Romanization: Watashi wa keizaigaku o manande imasu.
English Translation: I study economics.

  • keizai is “economics” and gaku denotes a subject.
  • Vocabulary related to subjects:
    – 経営 (Keiei) — Business management
    – 法律 (Hōritsu) — Law
    – 生物 (Seibutsu) — Biology
    – 国際関係 (Kokusai kankei) — International relations
    – 情報技術 (Jōhō gijutsu) — Information technology
    – 金融 (Kinyū) — Finance
    – 芸術 (Geijutsu) — Art
    – 心理学 (Shinrigaku) — Psychology

2- Stating Your Profession [for Workers]

1. 私は看護師です。

Romanization: Watashi wa kangoshi desu.
English Translation: I am a nurse.

  • Put the word for your occupation where the underlined word is in the example.
  • Vocabulary related to occupation:
    – 看護師 (Kangoshi) — Nurse
    – コンピュータープログラマー (Konpyūtā puroguramā) — Computer programmer
    – 医者 (Isha) — Doctor
    – 先生 (Sensei) — Teacher
    – 販売員 (Hanbaiin) — Shop staff
    – 会計士 (Kaikeishi) — Accountant
    – スポーツインストラクター (Supōtsu insutorakutā) — Sports instructor
    – 美容師 (Biyōshi) — Hairdresser

2. 私は銀行で働いています。

Romanization: Watashi wa ginkō de hataraite imasu.
English Translation: I work at a bank.

This is another phrase used to mention where you work.

  • de means “at.”
  • hataraite imasu is a conjugated form of 働く (hataraku) which means “(I am) working.”
  • Vocabulary related to where you work:
    – 銀行 (Ginkō) — Bank
    – 会社 (Kaisha) — Company [general term]
    – 貿易会社 (Bōekigaisha) — Trading company
    – 広告会社 (Kōkokugaisha) — Advertising company
    – 建築事務所 (Kenchiku jimusho) — Architectural firm
    – アパレル会社 (Aparerugaisha) — Apparel/clothing company
    – 病院 (Byōin) — Hospital
    – レストラン (Resutoran) — Restaurant
    – デパート (Depāto) — Department store

In Japan, people often introduce themselves by saying which company they work for, but it’s also nice to explain what you do for work as a profession.

6. Sharing Personal Details

1- Information About Your Family and Pets

Here’s some information on how to introduce yourself and your family in Japanese! After all, family is a universal topic and one that’s so important.

1. 私は5人家族です。

Romanization: Watashi wa go-nin kazoku desu.
English Translation: I have a family of five members.

It’s common to say how many members are in your family. Put the number of members in your family in place of the underlined go (“five”) in the example sentence.

  • nin is a counter word used to count people, which means “person,” and it’s attached after a number.
  • kazoku means “family.”

2. 私は姉と弟がいます。

Romanization: Watashi wa ane to otōto ga imasu.
English Translation: I have a big sister and a younger brother.

You can also introduce how many brothers and sisters you have. For more details about family, please visit Family in Japan.

  • ane means “older sister.”
  • otōto means “younger brother.”
  • imasu is a conjugated form of いる (iru) which means “there is/are” in a polite style.

3. 私は犬を飼っています。

Romanization: Watashi wa inu o katte imasu.
English Translation: I have a dog.

  • inu means “dog.”
  • o indicates an object.
  • katte imasu is a conjugated form of 飼う (kau) which means “(I am) keeping and raising (animals).”
  • Vocabulary related to pets:
    – 犬 (Inu) — Dog
    – ハムスター (Hamusutā) — Hamster
    – 小鳥 (Kotori) — Small bird(s)
    – ヘビ (Hebi) — Snake
    – うさぎ (Usagi) — Rabbit
    – ねこ (Neko) — Cat

Your pet is a part of your family, so please do mention them!

2- Describing Hobbies

1. 私の趣味は登山です。

Romanization: Watashi no shumi wa tozan desu.
English Translation: My hobby is climbing mountains.

It’s always nice to introduce what you like to do in your free time in order to let people know more about you. It’s common to share information about your hobbies in Japan, unless it’s too personal (such as political or religious activities).

  • Watashi no means “my.”
  • shumi means “hobby.”
  • Vocabulary related to hobbies:
    – 登山 (Tozan) — Climbing mountains
    – 映画鑑賞 (Eiga kanshō) — Watching movies
    – 写真 (Shashin) — Photography
    – 旅行 (Ryokō) — Traveling
    – マンガ (Manga) — Comics
    – スキー (Skī) — Ski
    – サーフィン (Sāfin) — Surfing

2. 私はサッカーが得意です。

Romanization: Watashi wa sakkā ga tokui desu.
English Translation: I am good at soccer.

You can also introduce what is you’re good at. Insert a suitable vocabulary word in the underlined part of the example sentence.

  • tokui is a noun that means “being good at.”
  • Vocabulary related to things you’re good at:
    – スポーツ (Supōtsu) — Sports
    – プログラミング (Puroguramingu) — Programming
    – デザイン (Dezain) — Designing
    – 歌うこと (Utau koto) — Singing
    – 料理 (Ryōri) — Cooking
    – 楽器の演奏 (Gakki no ensō) — Playing instruments
    – ゲーム (Gēmu) — Game

3- Describing Your Favorite Foods

1. 私はラーメンが好きです。

Romanization: Watashi wa rāmen ga suki desu.
English Translation: I like ramen.

Food is always an easy topic to talk about and can expand any conversation. Insert a suitable vocabulary word in the underlined part of the example sentence.

  • suki means “like.”
  • ga indicates an object.
  • Vocabulary related to food:
    – 日本食 (Nihonshoku) — Japanese cuisine
    – 中華料理 (Chūka ryōri) — Chinese cuisine
    – 韓国料理 (Kankoku ryōri) — Korean cuisine
    – イタリア料理 (Itaria ryōri) — Italian cuisine
    – フランス料理 (Furansu ryōri) — French cuisine
    – メキシコ料理 (Mekishiko ryōri) — Mexican cuisine
    – 焼肉 (Yakiniku) — Japanese BBQ
    – カツ丼 (Katsudon) — Pork cutlet bowl
    – お好み焼き (Okonomiyaki) — Japanese pancake
    – 果物 (Kudamono) — Fruits
    – 甘いもの (Amai mono) — Sweets

Talking about food can expand conversations, and it’s a good and easy topic to talk about.

4- Describing Your SNS (Social Network Service)

1. 私はインスタグラムを使っています。

Romanization: Watashi wa Insutaguramu o tsukatte imasu.
English Translation: I use Instagram.

When introducing yourself during a casual occasion, such as when you’re trying to make new friends, you can make mention of your SNS to connect with them.

  • o indicates an object.
  • tsukatte imasu is a conjugated form of tsukau (使う) which means “(I am) using.”
  • Insert the name of an SNS, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., in the underlined part of the example sentence.

This is a great way of introducing yourself to a Japanese friend!

2. 私のユーザー名はsakura123です。

Romanization: Watashi no yūzāmei wa sakura123 desu.
English Translation: My username is sakura123.

If you’re introducing yourself to a friend in Japanese and want them to search for your SNS account and add you as a friend, this phrase is useful.

  • yūzā is a Japanese version of how to say “user.”
  • mei is “name.”
  • Insert the name of your account in the underlined part of the example sentence.

3. 私はブログを書いています

Romanization: Watashi wa burogu o kaite imasu.
English Translation: I write a blog.

  • o indicates an object.
  • kaite imasu is a conjugated form of 書く (kaku) which means “(I am) writing.”

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article on introducing yourself in Japanese is helpful and that it makes your communication with Japanese people more enjoyable! Hopefully you can now see that knowing how to introduce yourself in Japanese language learning is essential.

Which of these Japanese greetings did you find most useful? Why not practice introducing yourself in Japanese by writing out a self-introductory paragraph in Japanese in the comments? We’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to learn more Japanese, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For example, 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself is useful for practicing your Japanese introduction with audio.

We also have a YouTube channel: JapanesePod101. It’s always fun to learn Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. And don’t forget to check out our free vocabulary lists and more blog posts like this one to help you gain insight into Japanese culture and the language!

Know that your determination will pay off, and we’ll be here for each step of your language-learning journey with support and useful tools!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

Chichi No Hi: How to Celebrate Fathers Day in Japan

What day is Father’s Day, and what do Japanese traditions look like?

Fathers Day in Japan (known by the Japanese as 父の日 or Chichi No Hi), is similar to Father’s Day in other countries. It’s simply a day to honor one’s father or father-figure, and to show him appreciation and gratitude for all he does.

However, for each aspect of Father’s Day that’s familiar around the world, there’s a distinction that makes it uniquely Japanese. In this article, we’ll be going over common Fathers Day traditions in Japan, from the most popular gifts to its stance next to Mother’s Day.

At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make this lesson both fun and informative as we examine Japanese culture from the perspective of Chichi No Hi. After all, any successful language-learner can tell you the importance of comprehending a country’s culture in mastering its language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Japanese Father’s Day?

In Japan, Father’s Day is called Chichi No Hi, with chichi meaning one’s own father. The Japanese version of this holiday is similar to versions around the world; Father’s Day is a time to let your father (or father-figure) know how much he means to you.

Just like in many other countries, Father’s Day tends to fall in the shadows of Mother’s Day, however. A Japanese mother is more likely to receive gifts and affection on Mother’s Day than a father is on Father’s Day.

2. When is Father’s Day in Japan?

Father's Day is on a Sunday

So, when is Fathers Day celebrated in Japan?

The date of Father’s Day varies each year, though it always takes place on the third Sunday of June. For your convenience, we’ve prepared a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 16
  • 2020: June 21
  • 2021: June 20
  • 2022: June 19
  • 2023: June 18
  • 2024: June 16
  • 2025: June 15
  • 2026: June 21
  • 2027: June 20
  • 2028: June 18

3. How Do the Japanese Celebrate Father’s Day?

A Father with His Daughter and Wife

On Fathers Day, Japan celebrates and shows thankfulness toward fathers, though traditions tend to be profit-oriented. (As seems to be true in the majority of participating countries.)

That said, the most common way that children in Japan show their fathers gratitude is through gift-giving. Gifts tend to be food- or alcohol-related, with Japanese steaks (wagyuu) and traditional alcoholic beverages like sake being the most popular and well-received. A nice family meal is always appreciated, as well.

Other Father’s Day gifts and Father’s Day gift ideas include greeting cards, thank you notes, cash and gift cards, and origami creations. Some children also choose to gift their fathers with flowers at the beginning of the day.

Japanese Father’s Day celebrations don’t typically go beyond gift-giving, which is one way that traditions are unique here. For example, in the United States, spending quality time with one’s father is a popular tradition, and this isn’t the case here.

4. Father’s Day Gifts: The Universal Struggle

We all struggle with Fathers Day ideas. No matter how well we know our dads or how well we get along with them, getting them a gift they’ll actually like is difficult. This struggle exists in Japan, as well.

According to SoraNews24, there’s a huge disconnect in Japan concerning what fathers want on their special day. Children (and entire families) tend to give their fathers more expensive gifts, like the Japanese steaks, when their fathers would actually better appreciate something inexpensive and from the heart—like a thoughtful note of gratitude, or even a little bit of quality time with their children.

5. Useful Vocabulary to Celebrate Father’s Day in Japan


Here’s some of the most important vocabulary you should know for Father’s Day in Japan!

  • 日曜日 (にちようび) — Sunday
  • ビール (ビール) — Beer
  • お父さん (おとうさん) — Father
  • 息子 (むすこ) — Son
  • 娘 (むすめ) — Daughter
  • 夕食 (ゆうしょく) — Dinner
  • 愛する (あいする) — Love
  • 焼酎 (しょうちゅう) — Shochu
  • プレゼント (プレゼント) — Present
  • 祝う (いわう) — Celebrate
  • ネクタイ (ネクタイ) — Tie
  • 挨拶状 (あいさつじょう) — Greeting card
  • 六月の第三日曜日 (ろくがつの だいさんにちようび) — third Sunday in June
  • 父の日 (ちちのひ) — Father’s Day

To hear each of these Japanese Father’s Day vocabulary words pronounced, check out our relevant vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.


Does your country celebrate Father’s Day, or a similar holiday honoring fathers? If so, how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com! We provide practical learning tools for every learner, including insightful blog posts like this one and free Japanese vocabulary lists to expand your word knowledge. You can also listen to our podcasts, chat with fellow Japanese learners on our forums, or upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Learning—and mastering—a language is a formidable task. But with your hard work and determination, combined with our lessons and support, you’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

Best wishes, and Happy Fathers Day!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

The Best 10 Japanese Anime to Learn Japanese

Japanese anime is famous for its uniqueness and highly entertaining stories. Watching Japanese anime is a wonderful way to learn Japanese and have fun at the same time. Doing so allows you to improve your vocabulary, listening skills, and conversation skills, and can help you grasp these things in light of Japanese culture. Hearing the language in context and listening to Japanese anime audio are great ways to learn the language faster.

Japanese anime has a wide range of content, and you’ll definitely find what you love. A few of the most popular genres of Japanese anime shows include:

  • Adventure
  • Action
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Horror

So, really, whatever type of Japanese anime series or movies you’re looking for, you’re going to find it.

You can also choose Japanese anime movies according to your language level (e.g. beginner or advanced). Some Japanese anime shows even provide English subtitles to increase your understanding. These Japanese anime for beginners are a fantastic place to start.

When you get bored of studying at the desk with textbooks, check out our list of awesome Japanese anime at JapanesePod101.com, and begin watching! Don’t forget to download your gift: a FREE Anime Cheat Sheet including tips and words to watch anime without subtitles!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Japanese Anime for Beginners

Table of Contents

  1. Where to Watch Anime
  2. What You Can Learn from Japanese Anime
  3. The Key to Learning Japanese from Anime
  4. List of the Best Japanese Anime
  5. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Where to Watch Anime

A Remote Control

Now that you see how Japanese culture and anime are so intertwined, and what to expect, we’ll give you some information on how to watch Japanese anime movies. This includes advice on where you can find awesome Japanese anime movies and shows, how watching Japanese anime programs can benefit your language-learning, and how to get the most out of your watching time!

You can watch Japanese anime on TV or on your computer by using streaming service websites. There are many places where you can find Japanese anime episodes online! Some of the websites also have a section for manga comics and novels.

Although some websites have geological restrictions for users, you can access such websites by using a VPN (virtual private network).

Name of Website Subscription Note
Netflix Paid service This streaming service is known for movies and shows, but you can also find Japanese anime on Netflix. In terms of Japanese anime, Netflix really does have some great stuff.
Amazon Prime Video Paid service This streaming service is known for movies and shows, but it also has an anime genre section. The Japanese anime Amazon Prime offers is also high-quality.
Hulu Paid service This streaming service is known for movies and shows, but it also has an anime genre section.
Crunchyroll Paid service

Some content is free

When it comes to Japanese anime, Crunchyroll is a great place to look. This is a streaming service for anime shows and manga. You can also browse manga by streaming online.
Anime-Planet Free service This is a streaming service for anime shows and manga. You can also browse manga by streaming online.

You may also be able to find Japanese anime DVDs, but your best bet is probably one of the streaming services we mentioned above. Also keep in mind that when it comes to Japanese anime, YouTube typically isn’t the best route for watching quality content.

2. What You Can Learn from Japanese Anime

We always see this kind of advice on the Internet: “You should watch Japanese drama, it helped me to quickly progress” or “There is nothing better than anime without subtitles for learning Japanese”.

Following this advice can bring many advantages:

  • Attuning your ears to Japanese by listening to native speakers.
  • Boosting your vocabulary.
  • Boosting your dialogue-related listening comprehension.
  • Letting you hear a language used in context.
  • Learning passively while having fun.


Essentially, Japanese anime dialogue can teach you all about casual conversations and phrases in Japan.

Most characters in Japanese anime tend to speak in a very informal and casual way; many Japanese anime phrases use slang words and sometimes unique made-up words.

The Japanese language uses the organized 敬語 (keigo) system, which is divided into three honorific types in the formal language:

  • 丁寧語 (teineigo) — polite form
  • 謙譲語 (kenjōgo) — respectable in a humble way
  • 尊敬語 (sonkeigo) — respectable form

We definitely recommend that you expose yourself to a lot of resources in their original language such as anime, movies, drama, music… for the reasons mentioned above. But you will never master Japanese just with those resources. It’s difficult to learn the proper Japanese honorific language from anime, thus you have to keep in mind that Japanese anime sayings will be in very casual language. In some cases, it may even sound childish, awkward, or impolite if you speak like anime characters.

In Japanese, the way you speak—formal or informal—has to be changed based on the occasion and whom you’re talking to. The way that you talk to people depends on your relationship to them: family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, clients, etc. Thus, do be mindful of how and when you actually use Japanese anime expressions in daily life.

However, learning Japanese anime words is still very useful for improving your vocabulary, grammar, listening skills, and casual conversation skills.

Anime as a complement to your learning tools

It is best to see Anime as a Japanese learning complement. You need to acquire a certain amount of vocabulary and grammar in order to better comprehend a Japanese video or conversation.

This is our approach: JapanesePod101.com brings you tons of audio and video lessons, from songs to dialogues and cultural insights, and each of these lessons has a grammar focus, a vocabulary list, a lesson transcript and notes so that you don’t miss any points. We give you the foundation you need to be able to understand anime and benefit from watching it.

The myth of learning by only watching Anime

The “watch anime and learn Japanese” concept is just a myth. A lot of high school students improve their English level by reading books and comics, or watching dramas and movies in English with subtitles in their own language. You, meanwhile, might watch all 700 episodes of One Piece or Dragon Ball in Japanese but still have not made any progress!

The difference? Those foreign students are not starting from scratch when they use this method to learn Japanese. Even though they might still be at a low level, they were working on some solid foundations.

Basically what you will hear after 6 months of watching anime in Japanese while hiding the subtitles would probably be something like:

bla bla bla bla bla Hello bla bla bla bla Thank you for this meal bla bla bla bla Stupid bla bla bla How cuuuute bla bla bla bla bla It hurts! bla bla bla bla I love you bla bla bla bla bla bla really!?

Still quite far from fluency, right?

3. The Key to Learning Japanese from Anime

Improve Pronunciation

The key is the amount of passive vocabulary you already have. It’s all the vocabulary you understand when listening to or reading Japanese, without having the need to search in the dictionary. Our brain has a limited capacity and if it doesn’t recognize 70-80% of the words in a sentence, it will be incapable of filling in the blanks to give a sense to the unknown words based on the context.

Let’s look at these two cases:
1. You are at a beginner level of Japanese
2. You are at an intermediate level of Japanese

In both cases, you must expose yourself to a lot of Japanese media: podcasts, videos and so on…

In the first case, your brain won’t be able to analyze what you hear when you’re watching anime because you miss too many words. Of course we don’t forbid you from watching anime, but be aware that you are only training your ears to become accustomed to the sounds of Japanese. This is a good start, but you will also need to start learning basic grammar and vocabulary. Our Japanese for Absolute Beginners series will offer you the resources you need to quickly understand the foundations of the Japanese language, through entertaining topics.

Japanese Basics Video Lessons Japanese Core Word List JLPT N5 Course Master

If you are at an intermediate level, you will need to acquire a lot of vocabulary covering a large range of topics. Challenge yourself with our Listening Comprehension series on YouTube, listen to our podcasts and verify through the lesson notes and transcripts that you understood everything, from the grammar point to the explanation of the kanji used in the lesson.

japanese podcasts japanese kanji

In the meantime, here is some advice on making the most of your Japanese learning! Using these tips will help make your viewing time productive, as well as entertaining:

  • Choose More Realistic Anime

    There are so many anime shows and Japanese animation films available to you, but we recommend that you pick the right ones for the purpose of learning Japanese, especially for beginners. Anime is so popular that many people decide to learn Japanese because of their favorite shows. But the characters in anime live in their own universe, where everyone tends to use slang, casual language, informal pronouns and even made-up words. It’s very easy to spot people who learned Japanese exclusively through anime – you’ll see 20-year-old boys talking like 10-year-old kawaii girls, or 20-year-old girls talking like yakuza!

    Anime shows that are about school life, everyday life, sports, and even detective shows, are more useful for learning as they tend to use more normal and common Japanese. On the other hand, some anime, such as those in the fantasy and science fiction genres, tend to use unusual language and vocabulary which aren’t really useful in the real world.

  • Focus and Listen Carefully

    If you want to really learn, just watching what the anime characters are doing in the Japanese anime episode and reading subtitles aren’t enough. Listen carefully and focus on the words and phrases the anime characters use.

    When you hear something you’ve never heard before, pause the video and write it down so that you can check its meaning later. Even the words and phrases you already know will be solidified in your knowledge by paying attention to how those words are used.

  • Repeat

    You don’t have to try to understand everything completely from the beginning. As you take time to learn, repetition will help you greatly.

    For example, once you find your favorite anime or a Japanese anime movie you really like, watching a particularly great episode or the most fascinating scenes repeatedly is a great idea.

    The first time, watch it with the subtitles on to understand the whole story and flow. The second time, write down the words and phrases you don’t know or that you’re interested in learning; look up their meaning and usage. The third time, while focusing on listening, check how those words and phrases are used with the subtitles on. The fifth time, watch again without the subtitles and see if you can catch the words you learned. Over time, you’ll be able to watch Japanese anime in Japanese with no problems at all!

    Repetition is the key to improved learning, not only when it comes to Japanese anime, but even for subjects in school or sports!

Senpai and Gohai

Anime can be a great learning tool because it’s fun and there is a lot of it around. Just make sure to do a little extra work to optimize its use! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account to access all our resources, and soon enough you’ll be able to watch anime without subtitles!

4. List of the Best Japanese Anime

1- Dragon Ball Z :ドラゴンボール Z

Goku on a cloud

  • Dragon Ball Z has been one of the most famous and classic Japanese anime shows for many decades throughout the world. It’s been broadcasted in over eighty countries, together with Dragon Ball, which is the original anime show (Dragon Ball Z is the sequel).

    The story of this Japanese anime TV show is about the adventures of the protagonist Goku, who fights (with his companions) against various villains to protect and bring peace to the world. The story and the settings continue over many seasons, and the characters also succeed generations; for example, viewers get to see Goku’s and other main characters’ children. The main scenes are mostly battles and fights between the main characters and villains, but it also contains comic relief and hilarious interactions between the characters.

  • The language used in this anime is very casual and basic. However, many made-up words are also used, such as the names of plants, people, and signature move techniques. Some characters’ speech patterns are unique, and it’s recommended that you don’t use them in the real world.

    For example, personal pronouns:

    • Calling yourself オラ (ora), instead of using 俺 (ore), 僕 (boku), or 私 (watashi) for the word “I,” is strange.
    • Calling other people 貴様 (kisama), おめえ (omē), or てめえ (temē) is very rude. Instead, the proper words for “you” are あなた (anata) or 君 (kimi).
  • Vocab / Phrases from Dragon Ball Z:
    • オラ、腹減ったぁ!
      Ora, hara hetta!
      I am hungry!

    This is said in a casual and comic way. If you want to say it in a usual and polite way, it’s Watashi wa onaka ga herimashita.

    • よーし!負けねぇぞ!
      Yōshi! Makenē zo!
      Alriiiiiiight! I won’t lose!

    This is said in a very casual manner and in a masculine way. This phrase is often used before a battle.

    • まっ、いっか
      Ma, ikka
      Well, whatever (it doesn’t matter).

    This phrase is often used in informal situations when you take it easy on something.

2- Lupin the III:ルパン三世

  • Lupin the III (the third) is another one of the most classic Japanese anime shows, and has been broadcast around the world. It has many anime series and movies, both animation and live-action. It’s still broadcasted until now, celebrating its fifty-year anniversary. Lupin the III is well-known and popular among many people, across generations.

    The story is about Lupin and his gang companions who are proud of being the world’s greatest thieves, stealing valuable objects around the world. Wherever there’s legacy treasure and reputable works, Lupin shows up and performs a daring theft in front of inspector Zenigata who chases Lupin to arrest him.

    Each character is very interesting and each episode is independent. This slapstick comedy is fun and easy to watch.

  • The language used in this anime is very casual, and some villains often use rough and gruff language. Each character also has a very unique way of speaking, such as Lupin’s comical tone, Jigen’s hard-headed tone, Goemon’s Japanese samurai tone, and Fujiko’s sexy and charming tone.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Lupin the III:
    • は脱走の天才だ!
      Ore wa dassō no tensai da!
      I am a genius of escape!

    This is a signature phrase, used when Lupin escapes from entrapment or captivity.

    • 道がなけりゃ作っていくまでよ
      Michi ga nakerya tsukutte iku made yo
      When there’s no path, we shall make it.
    • 俺に任せろ!
      Ore ni makasero!
      Leave it to me! (I’ll take care of it.)

    This phrase is used by a man, as 俺 (ore) is a masculine and informal version of the first person pronoun.

3- Detective Conan “Case Closed” : 名探偵コナン

  • Detective Conan “Case Closed” is a famous Japanese detective manga and anime series which has been broadcast for more than twenty years, and in over forty countries.

    The story revolves around the high school detective protagonist Jun’ichi, who was poisoned by a mysterious syndicate and accidentally transformed into a child. While he tries to unmask the syndicate and their crimes, he lives as a child named Conan (taken from Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes). Meanwhile, he solves many cases that happen around him and his friends.

  • The language used in Detective Conan is a mix of formal and casual. Beginner learners may find it hard to understand because they use difficult vocabulary, such as the names of chemical substances (poisons) and trick techniques using physics. However, it’s very fun to watch if you love mystery-solving.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Detective Conan:
    • 真実はいつも1つ!
      Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu!
      The truth is always only one!
    • 完璧なんてこの世にはねぇよ
      Kanpeki nante kono yo ni wa nē yo
      There is no perfection in this world.
    • オレを信じろ、100%成功する!
      Ore o shinjiro, 100 pāsento seikō suru!
      Believe me, it will succeed 100%!

    This phrase is used by a man, as 俺 (ore) is a masculine and informal version of the first person pronoun.

4- Attack on Titan:進撃の巨人

  • The first series of Attack on Titan began in 2009, and it has become very popular for its unique story, attractive characters, and intriguing action scenes. The anime was also adapted into a live-action movie, and in addition, Hollywood is planning a remake of this movie.

    The story is set in a fantasy world where humanity lives within “shelter” territories surrounded by three huge walls that protect them from gigantic man-eating humanoids called “Titans.” The protagonist Eren, along with his companions, goes on his adventure to fight against the Titans.

  • The language used in Attack on Titan is casual and normal Japanese, without distinctive or eccentric ways of speech. Therefore, it’s relatively easy to understand.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Attack on Titan:
    • 戦わなければ勝てない…
      Tatakawanakereba katenai…
      We can’t win if we don’t fight…
    • あなたがいれば私は何でもできる
      Anata ga ireba watashi wa nan demo dekiru
      I can do anything if you are here (with me).
    • 仕方ないでしょ…世界は残酷なんだから…
      Shikata nai desho… sekai wa zankoku nan da kara…
      It can’t be helped…because the world is cruel…

5- Slam Dunk:スラムダンク

  • Slam Dunk is one of the most famous and classic Japanese sports anime shows. Slam Dunk was first published in 1990 (anime show from 1993), and it holds the record for being the best-selling manga series in history at that time.

    The story is set in a high school, where the protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi, a delinquent high school student, joined the basketball club. He had to start learning how to play basketball from scratch, but he has a good physical structure and strength ideal for basketball. The team strives to win the national high school tournament to become the number-one team in the country.

  • The language used in Slam Dunk is very casual and normal everyday speech between friends, team members, and the high school basketball coach.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Slam Dunk:
    • あきらめたらそこで試合終了ですよ
      Akirametara soko de shiai shūryō desuyo
      The game will be over now if you give up.

    This phrase is very famous among Japanese people who have seen this anime. This phrase is often used in situations where you want to encourage someone.

    • 俺は俺の仕事をする!
      Ore wa ore no shigoto o suru!
      I do what I have to do! (I do my job.)
    • チャンスの時こそ平常心だ
      Chansu no toki koso heijōshin da
      Composure is important, especially in the time of chance.

    This phrase is useful when advising someone not to get too excited or lose calm judgment in the moment.

6- One Piece:ワンピース

  • One Piece is another long-running Japanese manga and anime that started in 1997 and still continues with over 800 episodes. One Piece is popular and loved by many fans around the world; it’s praised for its unique storytelling, characterization, art, and humor. It has also been adapted to movies and video games.

    The story revolves around Luffy, proclaiming himself the King of the Pirates, and his companions who start their journey to find the famed treasure. One Piece depicts friendship, dreams, adventure, battles, and moving events.

  • The language used in One Piece is informal and very casual.
  • Vocab / Phrases from One Piece:
    • 海賊王”に! おれはなる!
      Kaizokuō ni! Ore wa naru!
      I will become the King of Pirates!
    • 楽に行こうぜ!
      Raku ni ikō ze!
      Let’s take it easy!

    This is said in a very casual and masculine way.

    • 私も一緒に海へ連れてって!
      Watashi mo issho ni umi e tsurete tte!
      Take me to the ocean together, too!

Top Verbs

7- K-On! : けいおん!

  • K-On! is a Japanese manga and anime series first published in 2007. The title of K-On (read as keion) comes from the word 軽音楽 (kei-ongaku), which means “light music” or “popular music” in Japanese. K-On! has become very popular in Japan, and it earned more than 38-billion yen by March 2012.

    The story follows four female students who joined the music club at their high school, but they are the only members. They try to become a famous band, aiming to be national musician stars. It’s fun to watch how they struggle to master their musical instruments, the growth of their friendship, and their day-to-day life in high school.

  • The language used in K-On! is very casual, spoken among friends and peers. Some characters use unique and girlish (and a bit childish) speech patterns. They also tend to use more music-related vocabulary.
  • Vocab / Phrases from K-On!:
    • おっはー!
      (Good) morning!

    This is said in a casual and kind of cute way. It’s a slang which became popular among young people a while ago.

    • ここからが本番だな
      Koko kara ga honban da na
      Get on to the real thing from now on.
    • 大切なのは、過去じゃなくて、今だよ
      Taisetsu na no wa, kako janakute, ima da yo
      The important thing is not the past, but now.

8- Bleach:ブリーチ

  • Bleach is an award-winning Japanese manga and anime series first published in 2001; the anime was broadcast between 2004 and 2012. The manga comics have sold more than 120-million copies around the world. It has also been adapted into movies (some of the best Japanese anime adventure movies), musicals, card games, video games, and more.

    The story is about a high school student named Ichigo who became a Shinigami, or a fighter against demonic spirits. He goes on a quest to fight and protect the human world from “hollows,” which are souls of people who died but couldn’t move on to the next world. The world of Bleach is very unique, and you’ll easily get drawn into the enjoyable story.

  • The language used in Bleach is a bit difficult for beginner learners to understand; it includes descriptions of different worlds, the status of souls, functions and abilities, etc. However, it’s a very interesting anime and good learning material for intermediate and advanced learners.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Bleach:
    • ちくしょう…!強くなりてぇな…
      Chikushō…! Tsuyoku naritē na…
      Damn it…! I want to be strong…

    This is said in a casual and rough (masculine) way.

    • 誓ったんだ..ただ俺の魂にだ!
      Chikatta n da… tada ore no tamashii ni da!
      I swore…only to my soul!
    • 助けに来たぜ
      Tasuke ni kita ze
      I came to help (you).

    This is said in a casual and masculine way.

9- Polar Bear Café:しろくまカフェ

Polar Bear Cafe poster

  • Polar Bear Café is a Japanese anime show with a warm and relaxed feel. The manga comic was first published in 2006, and the anime show was broadcast in 2012 and 2013. The art style of the anime looks more targeted for children; however, interestingly enough, anyone can enjoy watching this anime.

    The story revolves around a polar bear that runs a café, and his animal friends (who are customers), which are a panda, a penguin, and so on. They discuss various things about life, do silly animal things, and enjoy their everyday lives. The anime has a lot of gags, and it’s very funny.

  • The language used in Polar Bear Café is a mix of formal and informal, depending on scenes. For example, the characters have formal conversations in workplace settings. However, it’s easy to follow conversations, as they speak relatively slowly. This show is recommended for beginners.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Polar Bear Café:
    • みんな、またね!
      Minna, mata ne!
      Everybody, see you (again).

    This is a useful phrase to use when meeting your friends.

    • 気が散るから話しかけないで
      Ki ga chiru kara hanashikakenaide
      Don’t talk to me because I get distracted.
    • 良かったらピザどーぞ!
      Yokattara piza dōzo!
      If you like, please have pizza!

    This is said in a casual but polite way.

10- Sword Art Online:ソードアート・オンライン

  • Sword Art Online is one of the new-generation anime that depicts an intriguing story and the exciting virtual-reality world. It was originally an online novel published in 2002, which was later adapted into manga and the anime series.

    The story is set in 2022 and VR (virtual reality) becomes real. The users of this VR game can’t log out, and they’re stuck in the VR world as they’re playing. They can log out and finish only when they complete the whole game, and if a player dies in the game, the die in the real world too. The protagonist Kirito decides to fight against the system. In addition to the action and battles in the game, the anime depicts friendship and love among anime characters.

  • The language used in Sword Art Online is casual and the vocabulary is relatively easy. Although it’s a fantasy anime about the VR world in the future, they don’t use many invented words.
  • Vocab / Phrases from Sword Art Online:
    • 次は現実世界で会おう
      Tsugi wa genjitsu sekai de aō
      Let’s meet next time in the real world.
    • 行こう、きっと何とかなるさ
      Ikō, kitto nantoka naru sa
      Let’s go, it will probably be alright.
    • 終わったんだね…ようやく…君に会えた
      Owatta n da ne… yōyaku…kimi ni aeta
      Everything has ended…at last…I could see you (finally).

5. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In this article, we introduced the best Japanese anime for learning Japanese, and gave you advice on how to make the best use of your time when watching them. Japanese anime characters and stories are always unique and fun! We hope you find your favorite Japanese anime here, and that it helps your Japanese studies.

Have you already seen any of the Japanese anime shows in this article? Do you want to know more about learning Japanese through Japanese anime? Let us know in the comments section!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find a lot of helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

Here’s some more information about Japanese anime with audio: Top 10 Japanese Anime, Top 10 Anime to Help You Learn Japanese, Anime Fighting Expressions, and Top 30 Anime Words & Phrases.

To learn more about Japanese conversations, check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases.

There’s even more valuable information on our website! Be a fast learner and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Japanese Anime for Beginners

Golden Week: Celebrate Japanese Children’s Day!

In Japan, Children’s Day is celebrated each year as a way of wishing good health and success for its youth. When it comes to Children’s Day, Japan’s history (and that of ancient China) plays a huge role. While the Children’s Day Festival in Japan was founded on ancient myths and beliefs, many of its traditions remain in place today.

In learning about Children’s Day Japan activities, you’re opening your eyes to new concepts and cultural aspects of the country of your target language. At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make learning about Japanese culture both fun and insightful! So let’s get started on our lesson about the Children’s Day Festival Japan holds each year.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Children’s Day in Japan?

The Boys’ Festival is an event that began when the Chinese custom of exorcizing evil spirits with herbs made its way to Japan. In Japan, it has been celebrated as a traditional event since ancient times to pray for the healthy growth of boys. These days, not only boys, but also girls participate in the celebration, which is also known as Children’s Day, a national holiday in Japan.

2. When is Children’s Day?

Children's Day is on May 5

Each year during Golden Week, Japan celebrates Children’s Day on May 5.

3. Reading Practice: How is Children’s Day Celebrated?

Koinobori in Air

How do the Japanese celebrate Children’s Day? Read the Japanese text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.





As Boys’ Festival on May 5th approaches, the outsides of houses, verandas, parks, and so on are decorated with Koi (“Carp”) Streamers. Koi streamers are streamers made in the shape of a fish. There is an old tale from China that tells of a koi that appeared to have climbed a dangerous river known as Tōryū. This koi then became a dragon. It is from this story that koi streamers came to be decorated alongside wishes for “children to become mighty.” Usually, koi of various sizes are decorated, with the largest koi said to be the father, the next largest the mother, and the smaller koi the children. These koi are said to represent the entire family.

Also, the insides of homes are decorated with armor and helmets. In ancient times, when a samurai would fight, they would wear a helmet and armor to protect themselves. It is from this tradition that helmets and armor became decorations, because they were said to protect the boy’s body. There is also a doll known as a go-gatsu ningyō or “May doll.” Typically, they are boys dressed as samurai, and Kintarō with diamond-shaped aprons.

Kashiwamochi is eaten on Boys’ Festival. Kashiwamochi is a kind of sweet made by stuffing rice cakes with bean paste. The old buds of the kashiwa, or “oak,” do not fall until a new bud appears. They are eaten with the desire that the “family tree will continue forever,” or in other words, for the “prosperity of descendants.”

Some regions also eat chimaki. Chimaki is a food derived from China, which is made by wrapping steamed glutinous rice with leaves, such as bamboo grass.

4. Additional Information: The Iris

There is a special flower for the Boys’ Festival; Japanese use it for celebration just like they do the flower for the Hinamatsuri (“Doll Festival”). Which flower do you think it is?

It’s the iris. The leaves of the iris have a strong fragrance, and people in ancient China believed that this fragrance exorcized evil spirits. The placing of iris into baths for health, and into sake for drinking, formed the beginnings of the Boys’ Festival. These days, there are also families that take baths called shōbuyu meaning “floating iris leaves.”

5. Must-know Vocab


Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Children’s Day in Japan!

  • 菖蒲 (しょうぶ) — iris
  • 端午の節句 (たんごのせっく) — Boys’ Day celebration
  • 子供の日 (こどものひ) — Children’s Day
  • 緋鯉 (ひごい) — red carp
  • 五月五日 (ごがつ いつか) — May 5th
  • 鯉のぼり (こいのぼり) — koinobori
  • 柏餅 (かしわもち) — kashiwamochi
  • かぶと (かぶと) — kabuto
  • 五月人形 (ごがつ にんぎょう) — doll for the Boys’ Festival in May
  • 真鯉 (まごい) — black carp
  • 菖蒲湯 (しょうぶゆ) — bath with iris leaves in it
  • 鎧 (よろい) — armor
  • 吹流し (ふきながし) — streamer
  • ちまき (ちまき) — chimaki

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Japanese Children’s Day vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.


What do you think of Japan’s Boys’ Festival celebration? Does your country observe a similar holiday? Tell us about it!

To learn more about the culture in Japan and the Japanese language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com. We provide our students with insightful blog posts on various topics, free vocabulary lists, and even on online community to discuss lessons with fellow Japanese students. And if you prefer a one-on-one learning experience, you can learn Japanese with your own personal Japanese teacher through our MyTeacher program!

Know that all of the hard work you’ve put into your language-learning journey and your strong determination will pay off! You’ll be speaking Japanese before you know it, and JapanesePod101.com will be here for each step on your way there. Best wishes!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

Best Japanese TV Shows to Learn Japanese


Did you ever enjoy watching Japanese anime shows as a kid? Well, Japanese anime shows are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are other entertaining Japanese TV shows (such as Japanese game shows) waiting for you to discover! In this article, I’ll be going over the best Japanese TV shows (read: Japanese must-watch TV shows) for entertainment and learning Japanese!

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner of the Japanese language, watching Japanese television series and shows offers you hours of fun and immersive opportunities to learn practical and conversational Japanese. Various shows are available, and you can choose whatever suits your preference of genre, language level, or interests.

You’ll learn practical Japanese by simply watching Japanese TV shows. Although there aren’t English subtitles for most Japanese TV shows, you’ll get used to the sound of Japanese, learn how Japanese people speak, and what vocabularies are used. This will eventually improve your pronunciation and increase your Japanese vocabulary.

You can find Japanese TV shows on Japanese TV channels, satellite TV, streaming channels, Netflix, YouTube, DVD, and beyond. In particular, you should have an easy time finding Japanese TV shows online, or on Netflix.

Here at JapanesePod101, we introduce the best Japanese TV shows to check out. When you’re bored of studying with textbooks, watch these popular Japanese TV shows and have some fun!

Table of Contents

  1. ドラえもん / Doraemon (Beginner Level – Cartoon)
  2. サザエさん / Sazae-San (Beginner Level – Cartoon)
  3. ちびまる子ちゃん / Chibi Maruko-Chan (Beginner Level – Cartoon)
  4. 南くんの恋人 / My Little Lover (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)
  5. 僕だけがいない街 / Erased (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)
  6. カッコウの卵は誰のもの / Whose is the Cuckoo’s Egg? (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)
  7. 白鳥麗子でございます! / Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu! (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)
  8. YOUは何しに日本へ?/ Why Did You Come to Japan? (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)
  9. 行列のできる法律相談所 / Legal Office: Advice So Good You Stand in Line (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)
  10. 世界まる見え!テレビ特捜部 / WORLD GREAT TV (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)
  11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

1. ドラえもん / Doraemon (Beginner Level – Cartoon)

Improve Listening

When it comes to anime Japanese TV shows for beginners, Doraemon may just be the jackpot!

Doraemon is one of the greatest and most popular Japanese anime shows, and has been aired on Japanese TV for many decades as well as broadcasted to many overseas countries. This is originally from a manga, or comic series, that was first published in 1969 and later adapted into an anime series. Doraemon also has a series of movies, each one independent and with a more action-adventure-oriented story.

The story of Doraemon centers on an elementary school boy named Nobita, who is poor at studying and sports, and is often bullied by classmates. Doraemon, the robotic cat which was invented by Nobita’s descendant in the 22nd Century, was sent back in time to protect and help Nobita. Doraemon has a special pocket where he stores useful gadgets which have superpowers. The story revolves around Nobita and Doraemon, as well as Nobita’s friends.

This Japanese anime show is suitable for beginner learners of the Japanese language. It’s very easy to watch; one episode is fifteen minutes long, and the language used is very basic and spoken by children characters. This Japanese TV show is easy to understand and has a good visual effect.

Example conversation:

Nobita (main character): Doraemon! Tasukete! Jaian ga ijimeru yo.
Doraemon! Help me! Jaian bullies me.

Doraemon: Konkai wa dōshita no? Shōganina, Nobita kun ni iimono ga aruyo.
What happened this time? Fine, I have a good thing for you, Nobita.

2. サザエさん / Sazae-San (Beginner Level – Cartoon)

Family Watching TV

Sazae-san is another one of the top three Japanese cartoons on Japan TV, and a fantastic children’s Japanese TV series in particular. It has been aired for many decades and has been popular across generations. Sazae-san is also originally from a comic series that was first published in 1946, and later adapted into an anime series. It’s still broadcasted on Fuji Television, a Japanese TV station.

This Japanese TV program revolves around the traditional Japanese family and it centers on Sazae, a twenty-four-year-old woman who’s very cheerful. She lives with her parents, her husband, her younger brother and sister, and her son. Each episode focuses on different characters and situations, such as Sazae-san’s husband and his work place, her brother and his elementary school, their neighbours, and so on.

Sazae-san is good for beginner-level learners. You’ll learn a lot about Japanese daily conversations among family, friends, and neighbors. In addition, by watching this family-focused story, you’ll also learn about traditional Japanese family and cultural customs, especially within the home.

Example conversation:

Sazae-san: Kora! Katsuo, Iikagen ni shinasai! Heya ni itte benkyō shinasai!
Hey! Katsuo, that’s enough! Go to the room and study!

Katsuo: (Nukedashite) Ittekimasu!
(Sneaking out) I’m going!

3.ちびまる子ちゃん / Chibi Maruko-Chan (Beginner Level – Cartoon)

Chibi Maruko-Chan is another famous and popular Japanese anime show, broadcast on Japanese TV for many decades. This is also originally from a comic series first published in 1986, which later became an anime series.

The story of this Japanese anime show follows the main character Maruko, who is an elementary school student, and her family and friends. It depicts Maruko’s everyday life in a comical, and sometimes cynical, way. Chibi Maruko-Chan broadcasted mainly in the Heisei era and is called the “Heisei version of Sazae-san” comparing it to Sazae-san, which was the most popular cartoon in the Shōwa era.

This show is also good for beginner learners. Chibi Maruko-Chan uses very easy language about everyday life. You’ll also learn about the typical daily life of a traditional Japanese family from the child’s (Maruko) point of view.

Example conversation:

Maruko: Fujisan ga mierune. Itsuka nobotte mitaiyo.
I can see Mt.Fuji. I want to climb there some day.

Tomozo (Grandpa): Ohh Fujisan ga mieru nō. Washi mo nobotte mitai nō.
Ohh I can see Mt.Fuji, too. I want to climb there some day, too.

Maruko: Sono toshi de noborunkai…
Are you going to climb with your age…

4. 南くんの恋人 / My Little Lover (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)

Woman Watching TV

Looking for cute drama Japanese TV shows? This Japanese TV show is based on the manga comic, and it has been adapted into Japanese television dramas. My Little Lover (Minami-kun no Koibito in the original title in Japanese) has been made into four versions of live-action dramas, and the latest version was made in 2015 with ten episodes.

The story of the latest version is about a highschool girl who accidentally shrunk to fifteen centimeters (about six inches) in height. She was discovered by a childhood friend and they try to find a way to restore her to her normal size as they grow their relationship. The show is well-made with a mixture of elements such as fantasy, school drama, humor, and romance.

This show is good for beginner- to intermediate-level Japanese learners. Conversations take place mostly among young people, and the language used isn’t very difficult. Although the setting is in a rural area, they don’t speak any uncommon dialect. Subtitles are available both in Japanese and English for the 2015 version. It’s a good tool for learning everyday speech.

5. 僕だけがいない街 / Erased (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)

Erased, or Boku dake ga inai machi in the Japanese title, is a live-action series with twelve episodes, and is originally from a manga series. It’s been adapted for anime as well as a live-action film. If you’re looking for good Japanese TV shows from 2018 or 2019, Erased is an excellent watch.

This show follows the story of a young man who has a strange superpower that allows him to go back in the past, known as “revival.” When bad things happen, he’s thrown back to the past to solve the cause of those bad things. One day, his mother was murdered and he was suspected as a killer. He wished to go back to the past to save his mother. However, after going back in time eighteen years, a mystery begins. With the mysterious plot and some visual effects, it’s very interesting to watch and is sure to draw you in.

The language used in this show is relatively easy, as it’s mostly daily conversations. The drama takes place in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan, and some characters use a dialect, but it’s not difficult to understand.

Both the live-action drama series and the anime series are available on Netflix with subtitles in Japanese and English. If you’re an intermediate learner looking for good Japanese dramas (TV shows), this one is really good.

6. カッコウの卵は誰のもの / Whose is the Cuckoo’s Egg? (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)

Woman Covering Her Face

Whose is the Cuckoo’s Egg? is originally a mystery fiction novel written by Keigo Higashino who is a famous award-winning novel writer. It’s been adapted into a live-action drama and this series has six episodes. This Japanese TV show is a fine example of great Japan television.

The mysterious story revolves around the daughter, Kazami, of a former Olympic skier named Hiromasa. Kazami is expected to be an Olympic athlete, but one day finds out that she has the F-type gene, which is considered a “genius sport gene,” but is rare for Japanese. A scientist, who researches about talent and inheritance, asked Hiromasa for research cooperation of his and his daughter’s DNA, but he refused. There’s huge untold secret about Kazami’s birth…

This show is suitable for intermediate-level learners or above. Some conversations involve scientific vocabulary, and it would be a bit difficult to follow the story if you miss some conversations as the story develops in unexpected ways. This show is available with English subtitles on Netflix.

7. 白鳥麗子でございます! / Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu! (Intermediate Level – Live Action Drama)

Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu! is a romantic-comedy-drama series adapted from a comic series. This Japanese television program has two live-action drama remakes apart from the original one, and it also has two films.

The story revolves around Reiko Shiratori who is a super-rich girl from the countryside. She likes an ordinary college boy named Tetsuya, and she follows him in Tokyo to tell him her feelings. However, she has too much pride to be honest. The show depicts Reiko’s delicate feelings and complicated behaviors with a comical touch.

It’s not very difficult to understand conversations in this show as they’re mostly casual daily talks among young people. Because of the main character being super-rich, she talks in an elegant and posh style. Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu! is available with English subtitles on Netflix.

8. YOUは何しに日本へ?/ Why Did You Come to Japan? (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)

This is a Japanese entertainment show aired on TV, presented by a comedy duo known as “Bananaman.”

The program is a studio-based show, and a team of staff members go outside the studio to interview foreigners who have just arrived in Japan at the Narita International Airport, and ask them “Why did you come to Japan?” Next, staff members attempt to follow the interviewees on their trips in Japan to feature and report. Some interviewees have particular hobbies or a business; one example is about a Polish man who collects grinding stones. He came to Japan to visit a renowned artisan and workshop in Osaka that was established more than 200 years ago.

Although this show doesn’t have subtitles in English, there are some subtitles in Japanese for the main featured contents or comments of the participants. Most of the contents are easy to understand thanks to visual aids and subtitles. Some foreigners speak English, which may make the show easier to understand. You’ll be able to learn some characteristic aspects of Japanese culture from this show.

9. 行列のできる法律相談所 / Legal Office: Advice So Good You Stand in Line (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)

Cameraman Filming a Scene

This show is a studio-based entertainment show dealing with legal matters. It has been one of the most popular Japanese variety shows since 2002, when it was first aired on TV.

There are reenactment clips on featured legal matters and a fun group discussion follows, with hosts and a variety of guests who are lawyers, comedians, actors, models, and sometimes politicians. After having enjoyable discussions about the featured legal matters, they explain the matters in detail with the current law and legal issues it involves.

This show doesn’t have English subtitles, but most of the important matters and main points are put in subtitles in Japanese. Although the show itself is enjoyable and makes law more familiarized and fun, it’s recommended for Japanese learners at the intermediate level or above when it comes to legal vocabulary.

10. 世界まる見え!テレビ特捜部 / WORLD GREAT TV (Intermediate Level – Entertainment Show)

To conclude our complete guide to Japanese TV series, we’ll talk about WORLD GREAT TV!

This show is a studio-based entertainment show and it’s been one of the most famous and popular Japanese variety shows on TV since 1990.

The show mainly introduces selected TV programs and news from all around the world. Contents are diverse and they feature a wide range of programs, usually very funny and entertaining. The introduced programs are originally from overseas, but some featured contents are remade with a re-enactment drama produced by this show. The main hosts Takeshi Kitano and George Tokoro often have funny discussions and skits with each other and other guests.

Although this show introduces the contents of overseas TV programs, the language is translated and featured in Japanese, and there’s no English. The show can be a bit difficult to understand when it comes to complicated contents such as the investigations of particular cases. However, some contents don’t require language at all, such as funny or shocking video collections. Most of the contents are easy to understand with visual aids and Japanese subtitles on the main information.

Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope you enjoyed our complete guide to Japanese TV shows 2019. This article of Best Japanese TV Shows to Learn Japanese introduced the ten recommended Japanese shows that can help make your Japanese studies more enjoyable!

Do you want to further improve your conversation skills? We have a lot to offer!

To learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful contents on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons and information for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For example, you can check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations to practice your Japanese with audio. If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, How to Learn Japanese with Anime? is just for you! When you notice how often Japanese people use Onomatopoeia and wonder what they mean, 76 Must-Know Japanese Onomatopoeia Words is helpful. How to Say I Love You in Japanese – Romantic Word List is good to review after watching a Japanese romantic show.

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time with JapanesePod101.com

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

How to Find a Job in Japan

Do you love Japan? Would you consider working and living in Japan? If so, know that there are many ways for foreigners to find a job in Japan!

But how easy is it to find a job in Japan? Is it hard to find a job in Japan?

It can be very difficult for a foreigner to work in Japan, for various reasons. These include:

  • English isn’t the official language in Japan.
  • Multinational and international companies are located mainly in Tokyo.
  • Work conditions are quite different from those in other countries.

However, there are many jobs available for foreigners, including language teaching, IT engineering, health- & medical-related jobs, and other white collar jobs. In short, depending on your skills and interests, there’s a variety of Japanese companies that may be willing to take you on!

Start with a bonus, and download the Business Words & Phrases PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Japanese

Without further ado, here’s our guide on how to find a job in Japan.

Table of Contents

  1. Job Search Websites
  2. Language Teaching Jobs
  3. Blue Collar Jobs
  4. Office Jobs
  5. Health-related Jobs
  6. Working Holiday
  7. How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Japanese skyline

1. Job Search Websites

There are a few different ways for foreigners to find a job in Japan. The easiest and most common way is to search for jobs on job portal websites. Here, you can find out which Japanese companies are hiring and the types of jobs available in Japan. Some websites also have good information and content about living and working in Japan, in addition to job listings.

Below is a list of useful websites for foreigners to find a job in Japan, but please see headings 2-5 for more detailed information on different job categories. These job portals in Japan are a good place to start, though.

1- GaijinPot

This is a website which provides various information to foreigners living in Japan or those who intend to visit or live in Japan. GaijiPot supports foreigners mainly in the following five topics: Find Jobs in Japan, Study in Japan, Live in Japan, Travel in Japan, and Understand Japan.

Therefore, while you’re searching for a job, you can also gather information about renting an apartment, schools for learning Japanese, things you need to know for living and working in Japan, and more at GaijiPot. There’s also the classifieds page, where anyone can post an advertisement or ask questions about anything.

2- Daijob

This is one of the largest job search websites for multilinguals; it’s been operating since 1998, and it has more than 10,000 job listings. You can search for jobs by category, industry, and language. There’s also an advanced search function to narrow down results according to your preferences, such as location, position level, salary, keywords, and so on. You can also search for job advertisements by employer types from a direct employer, recruiter, staffing agency, and employer (undisclosed).

3- Career Cross

This website has more than 5,500 job listings and it was founded in 2000. With this website, you can search by job category, location, train line, language level, keywords, and more. Considering that commuting to work during rush hour is always tiresome, especially in central areas in the big cities, it’s useful that this website can search jobs by train line so that you can find a job with minimal cumbersome commuting.

This website has the Japan Salary Guide page for your reference. Average, minimum average and maximum salaries are shown for each job by category. The website also has a list of companies which have job positions available, so if you have any desired companies in mind, it’s very handy for finding out if they’re hiring.

4- enworld

This is one of the group companies of en Japan Inc., which is one of the largest recruitment and staffing companies in Japan, established in 1999. It has affluent information about the Japanese job market and employment.

This website is for multilingual job seekers, including Japanese people, so some job advertisements aim to hire Japanese people with language skills. However, there are many international and high-salary job listings as well. There are more than 600 job posts and you can search for jobs by location, job category, and keywords. It has job listings for many countries, including Japan.

5- Career Engine

This is another job search website, though it seems relatively small in scale. It has a few hundred job listings. You can search for jobs by industry, location, full- or part-time, language level, and keywords. It also has a listing of direct hire jobs and companies that don’t involve a third party—such as recruiters—and you can directly communicate with the company that posted the job advertisement.

6- Jobs in Japan

This one was established by an American who’s been living in Japan since 1998. It has around 200 job listings. You can search for jobs by industry, job category, job type, location, language level, employer type, keywords, and more.

This website is useful in that you can also search by the availability of work visa sponsorship if you need a visa to work. The website has a blog with articles about Job Seeker Advice and Living in Japan Guide. The website itself doesn’t have abundant job postings, but is still helpful because it’s for foreigners in Japan, and made by a foreigner who lives and works in Japan.

The following organizations and websites are also useful for foreign job seekers in Japan.

7- JapanCareer

This is a consulting and support company specialized in employment for foreigners in Japan. It offers employment support for students/entry-level workers and mid-career workers, as well as employers, to promote the employment of foreigners. You can search for jobs from the website, but it’s also wise to register with them and get career counseling for free, as well as full support for employment.

8- Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners

This is a public employment support office specializing in providing job counseling and placement services for foreign students who have student visas, and foreigners who are specialists or technical experts with a corresponding status/visa who live in Japan and seek employment.

The center is run by the Government of Japan. If you have a valid visa to stay and work in Japan, it can help in many ways. It offers job career counseling, job matching, seminars for how to get a job (writing a CV, tips, and practice for an interview, etc.), internship opportunities, Japanese classes, and so on.

A Teacher and Blackboard

2. Language Teaching Jobs

Teaching is one of the most common types of job in Japan for foreigners. There are a few types of language-teaching jobs in Japan: teaching at private language schools, public schools, international schools, vocational/technical schools, and universities. These are basically English-teaching jobs for native English speakers. However, you can also find other language-teaching jobs at private language schools and universities; there are many positions available.

1- The JET Programme

The JET Programme (The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) is the most famous and credible teaching job in Japan and is run by the Government of Japan. The teaching language is mostly English, but other languages such as French, German, Chinese, and Korean languages are available in rare cases.

This programme is designed for a native English-speaker with a university degree to teach English and participate in a cultural exchange at Japanese public schools. The JET programme is a one-year contract and you can renew the contract for up to five consecutive years.

On your application, while you can submit your request where you would like to teach, the JET will determine which location and school you’re assigned to. The salary for the ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in the first year is ¥3,360,000 (Approximately $37,960 as of December 2018) and the annual salary will increase when the contract is renewed. Working hours are typically 35 per week, from Monday to Friday, and 20 paid holidays per year will be given.

2- Teaching at Private Language Schools

Teaching in private language schools in Japan is also a popular job. If you’re a native English speaker, English-teaching jobs are widely available, especially in large cities. For other languages, positions are limited, but you can still find a language-teaching job at private language schools if they provide classes for other languages.

A major private language school can issue you a work visa, and they tend to have more job opportunities as they have many branches in different cities, including: ECC, EAON, GABA, Berlitz, NOVA, Shane English School.

Other language schools that have school branches in different areas are Rosetta Stone Learning Center, English Village, and Linguage. You can directly apply for job positions by contacting them directly from their website.

There are many other small-scale language schools, and you can find job positions for them by searching through major recruitment websites for foreigners, such as GaijinPot, Jobs in Japan, and Daijob. You can also search at TEFL and SeekTeachers by selecting your desired job title and country.

3- International Schools

International schools are another good option for teaching because they offer relatively higher salaries, although getting a position is a bit difficult. Teaching jobs at international schools usually require a higher education diploma, particular certificate, and experience in teaching/education. Here are the list of websites you can use to search for international schools in Japan:

4- Teaching at Vocational/Technical Schools

Teaching at vocational/technical schools that have language courses/classes is another option. The Shingakunet website is in Japanese, but it has a list of schools that you can copy and paste the names of to search for their official websites. There, you can see if they have job positions and contact them directly. Job advertisements can also be posted on the websites GaijinPot, Jobs in Japan, Daijob, TEFL, SeekTeachers, and more.

5- Teaching at a University/College

As with international schools, teaching at a university/college offers a good salary, but they usually have high requirements. There are more than 700 universities in Japan, and most of them offer English and other language education/classes to their students.

You can visit each school website, search for job postings, and contact them directly. The Japan Association for Language Teaching has job listings for working at universities, including teaching jobs. Sometimes job advertisements for teaching English at a university/college are posted on TEFL and SeekTeachers.

3. Blue Collar Jobs

In the current system, foreign people won’t be sponsored with a work visa for blue collar jobs in Japan. Those unskilled jobs are available only if you already reside in Japan with a valid visa to work, or if you’re an accepted candidate for the Technical Intern Training Program which is organized by the Government of Japan. So while this may not be the best way to find a job in Japan at the moment, it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility!

For those who don’t have particular skills or professional experience, it may be easier to become a student in Japan and work part-time. While studying a specialized area and learning Japanese, they can work part-time and they can apply for proper jobs after graduating from school.

However, due to the large shortage in the labor force of Japan, the government has been considering opening up resident and work visas for foreigners in the blue-collar job categories. Keep your eyes peeled for updates about a change of policy from the Japanese government; we may hear good news in the near future!

1- The Technical Intern Training Program

The Technical Intern Training Program is offered by the Japanese government for foreigners who wish to acquire specific skills, technologies, or knowledge in Japan. The program aims to establish employment relationships between companies and other businesses in Japan with intern trainees engaged in technical fields, and it provides opportunities for the trainees to acquire or improve skills that would be difficult to master in their original countries.

The training period is a maximum of five years. The program covers the following industries:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Food
  • Textile
  • Machinery
  • Manufacturing

For more detailed information, please check the official website. After acquiring skills and knowledge, as well as Japanese, while you live and work in Japan, you may be able to apply for other jobs in Japan.

2- Part-time Jobs

If you already have a valid visa to stay and work in Japan, you can find unskilled and part-time jobs from the following major websites in Japan. Most part-time jobs in Japan are unskilled jobs that don’t require specialized skills.

However, most unskilled and part-time jobs are based on the premise that you already have fluent Japanese skills. Therefore, all of the part-time job search websites below are only written in Japanese. If you don’t speak Japanese, you can still search for part-time jobs in English from the websites listed in the first section by selecting the job type as part-time.

Japanese job search websites have many more job advertisements than English websites. That said, here are the websites we recommend:

On all of these websites, you can search for part-time jobs by job category, location, salary, work conditions, and keywords.


4. Office Jobs

In order to find office jobs or white collar jobs in Japan, the job search websites described in the first section are useful. Depending on what professional skills and experience you have, and of course what type of job it is, it’s definitely advantageous if you have Japanese language skills. Not only does it make it easier to communicate at work, but it’s also helpful in establishing good relationships with Japanese colleagues and bosses.

This is very important because Japanese work and corporate culture put equal value on trust and relationship as they do on work performance itself. Being able to establish these increases your chance of getting better appraisal and even promotions.

Apart from job search websites, you can also register at recruiting and headhunting companies to find a job in Japan. This increases the possibility of getting a better job with a higher salary if you have specialized skills and knowledge. Thus, utilizing their services may help you find some of the highest paying jobs in Japan. Here’s a list of major headhunting companies in Japan which have experience and a good number of job positions available.


HAYS is a British recruiting company and Hays Japan has been providing services focused on global and highly-skilled employment since 2001. The specialized areas they focus on are:

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Digital Technology
  • Finance Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Life Sciences
  • Manufacturing & Operations
  • Marketing & Digital
  • Office Professionals
  • Property
  • Supply Chain and Sales

2- Robert Walters

Robert Walters is also originally from the UK and the Japan branch has been operating since 2000. This company has teams of specialists who are experts in their area, which means a recruiter who deals with IT job matters, for example, won’t deal with finance job matters.

All of the recruiters are well-aware of the job market in the respective area they’re in charge of. At these companies, the recruiters are bilingual and foreign staffs are also working. These are multinational companies focused on bilingual/multilingual human resources, and so they have a good number of job positions at international companies in Japan.

It’s easier for foreigners to get a job and work at an international company in Japan than at a Japanese company because in most cases they have bilingual office environments and don’t have traditional Japanese corporate/work culture which can be hard for foreigners to understand or adapt to.

Blood pressure check

5. Health-related Jobs

Working in the health sector in Japan is difficult for foreigners, as is likely true in most other countries. You need to possess the qualification or license to work in the health sector, which includes positions such as a doctor, nurse, therapist, mental counselor, etc. Even if you already have a nursing license in your own country, for example, you still need to pass the Japanese national exam to be qualified to work as a nurse in Japan.

If you’re a qualified nurse or care worker from Indonesia, the Philippines, or Vietnam, there’s a governmental program for working in Japan. Based on the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Japan started to accept trainees of nurses and care workers from Indonesia since 2008, the following EPA from the Philippines since 2009, and most recently from Vietnam since 2014.

While accepted candidate trainees come and work in Japan, they are obliged to pass the Japanese national examinations for nurses or care workers within three years. When they pass the exam, they’re able to work in Japan without limitation of the term. By 2016, there were more than 3,800 trainees accepted and working in Japan. However, passing the Japanese national examination in Japanese is still extremely difficult. In order to apply, please visit the organizations in each country which deal with domestic selection and application (click the name of the country in the paragraph above).

Japan Foundation and The Authorized Non-Profit Organization (NPO) for Educational Support for Foreign Nurses and Care Workers support accepted trainee nurses and care workers by offering Japanese classes, counseling services, employment advice, and more.


6. Working Holiday

Another easy option for working in Japan is the Working Holiday program. The Working Holiday program is based on bilateral arrangements between the governments and it aims to make it possible for young people of Japan and its partner countries/regions to enter each country for the purpose of spending holidays while allowing them to work. The program promotes opportunities for the youth to appreciate the culture and life of the country, as well as further understanding, by offering the right to work in that country.

Japan has a partnership with the following countries/regions:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • The Republic of Korea
  • The United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Hungary
  • Spain
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Iceland or Czech
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan

The eligible age for application depends on the country, but it’s usually from 18 to 25 or 30 years old. The maximum length of stay is one year. In order to apply for the Working Holiday visa, please contact Embassies or Consulates-General of Japan in the respective country/region or Interchange Association (Taipei Office or Kaohsiung Office).

With the Working Holiday visa, you’re able to work part-time but note that certain jobs aren’t allowed under this visa such as working at bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments, and other premises affecting public morals in Japan.

Conclusion: How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope you enjoyed learning about finding a job in Japan with JapanesePod101! So, is it easy to find a job in Japan? Yes and no. Jobs in Japan for foreigners can be difficult to come by, and when it comes to jobs in Japan, employment opportunities don’t just leap out at you. But once you know a little more about the job industry here, it becomes much easier and more straightforward.

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find a lot of useful content on JapanesePod101. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

If you’re a beginner learner of Japanese, you’ll find the following useful:

If you’re at the intermediate level, we recommend:

You’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Happy Japanese learning with JapanesePod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Japanese