Learning Resources

Learning resources

Below are educational resources for learners of Japanese. The first section features websites developed by the Japan Foundation. The second section is a list of websites developed by other organizations.

japan foundation & THE JAPAN FOUNDATION, LOS aNGELES video series

Sensei Why Main.png


sensei! Why Japanese? 

Ever wonder how you could use Japanese as a career? Look no further! We interviewed some of our lovely senseis in US who learned Japanese as a second language and embarked on a career in teaching Japanese. Not only did they talk about their experience as a Japanese learner but their experience becoming a sensei and the positive effects it has had in their lives! We hope these videos encourage you in continuing your journey in learning Japanese and that you too, can be a sensei! 


Check out the following new & fun YouTube video series for Japanese language learners, which was created by Prof. Yuko Kato (Austin Community College) in collaboration with other professors in the U.S., Yoshimoto Kogyo (Comedy Duo: Jaru Jaru), and The Japan Foundation! It will make you laugh and enjoy learning Japanese in a new way!

YouTube Link

japan foundation e-learning resources



Want to learn Japanese but don’t know where to begin your journey? Check out our free e-learning portal, “Minato”! Minato consists of a wide variety of self-study courses such as “Marugoto”, which is free structured lessons that help you immerse yourself in Japanese language and culture, as well as develop essential communication skills. Minato offers flexible courses with progress tracking at any level, which you can take, pause, and return to at any time from wherever you are. Register now and navigate your knowledge of Japan!

To register, click here !  

Minato Videos about...
Course Overviews, click here!
Creating a Minato Account and Registering for a course, click here !



"HIROGARU" is a site for learning different things about Japan and the Japanese language through your own interests. Engage with various aspects about Japan through reading or listening to information on 12 fascinating topics. Features audioclips, videos, vocabulary lists and quizzes.


Marugoto is a Japanese language textbook series created by Japan Foundation (JF). There are A1(beginners)~B1 (intermediate) levels and based off of JF Standard Levels. The books are now available in e-book form and you can experience some of the course materials though JF Japanese e-learning portal, Minato. Marugoto focuses on authentic materials, colorful images, and building communication/speaking skills. The difference between Rikai and Katsudoo is that, Katsudoo focuses on developing communication abilities while Rikai focuses on the grammatical foundation of the Japanese language. 



A website that features the vocabulary and expressions used in Starter (A1), Elementary 1 and 2 (A2). You can use it as a dictionary to check the meaning of words, and to create My Lists for storing and organising vocabulary. You can also practise vocabulary by topic and by category. You can listen to recordings, which are also available for smartphones.



You can study Japanese language and culture following the topics of Marugoto. You can practise not just kanji and grammar, but also conversations while watching videos. In Lifestyle and Culture Corner you can see the lifestyles of Japanese people and people around the world through videos. Available for Starter (A1), Elementary 1 and 2 (A2). Also enabled for smartphone access.


Erin's Challenge!

Beginning Japanese-language course "Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese," starring Ellie Toyota and Kana Kurashina (aired on NHK World and available on DVD) is now on the Web!


Japan Foundation created a free textbook for people who are from outside Japan to learn basic Japanese communication skills that are needed for daily life and working in Japan.


Nihongo de care-navi

Japanese-English / English-Japanese dictionary with useful expressions in nursing and caretaking scenes for supporting your Japanese Language learning.



Japanese in Anime and manga

Japanese anime and manga are really popular with young people all over the world today. This is an e-learning website for those who want to learn Japanese from anime and manga. Users can study expression distinctive of characters with audio playback or words used in specific genre, such as LOVE, through quizzes. It’s a fun way to learn Japanese!


Nihongo eな

NIHONGO e Portal for Learning Japanese is a site dedicated to introducing all kinds of websites and online tools useful for studying   Japanese!


Hiragana/Katakana/Kanji memory hint app

A free smartphone app for beginner learners. Learn Hiragana, Katakana, or Kanji the fun way with mnemonic devices! Available for iOS and Android on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.

Click here for information on Hiragana and Katakana.

Click here for information on the Kanji Memory Hint 1 app.

Click here for information on the Kanji Memory Hint 2 app.

Click here for information on the Kanji Memory Hint 3 app.

Screenshot 2020-10-14 094258.jpg

challenge with erin - japanese language test - app

Challenge with Erin app (either can be downloaded for Android or Iphone) can be used to study beginner-level vocabulary and expressions in an engaging way through card games, manga and quizzes, and it can also be used to check how much you were able to remember.

japan foundation Publications

Through its publications, the Japan Foundation provides information on not only its own programs, but also international exchange activities.


other teaching resources supported by japan foundation, los angeles grant

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles have supported various types of Japanese language projects through our Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (more info). Here is the list of teaching resources that we have provided support:

  • "いただきます(Itadakimasu)! The Food Culture of Japan" by Becky A. Brown (link)
    "Itadakimasu! The Food Culture of Japan is designed as a first- or second-year college course in Japanese culture for students who have little to no background in the Japanese language, culture, literature, or history. Unlike any other culture text, Itadakimasu! offers a unique approach to learning about culture through a country’s cuisine." (synopsis via website link)
  • "Pop Culture New & Old - ポップカルチャーで学ぶ初中級日本語" by Yoshiro Hanai (link)
    "Love Japanese pop culture? Take this opportunity to learn about popular culture from the Edo period to today and to learn Japanese at the same time! This textbook is aimed at the beginning-intermediate learner and is full of readings that stimulate intellectual curiosity and activities that deepen cultural understanding. Language learning is enhanced through innovative approaches to learning such as reading texts online using reading assistance tools." (synopsis via website link)
  • 「日本語で読書」by Yoriko Hongo & Kumiko Sakamoto (link)
    “Nihongo de Dokusho/ Reading in Japanese” presents stories and conversations with the following themes: “People and Animals,” “School,” ”My World, " "Dream, Future, and Career," "Community Services," Etc. When you open up each theme, there are several stories and conversations in descending difficulty. The computer must meet G Suite (Google’s cloud-based software) system and browser requirements in order to use these materials. This material was made to be adaptable for students of all levels. Use gear icon and chose Download PPTX and open the story to customize the kanji, rubi /furigana, grammar, sentence structures, and whatever it needs to fit the lesson plan within the stories according to your student level." (user guide via website link)
  • "Genki-Online: Video Clips for Cultural Note" by Elizabeth Armstrong & Eric Faden (Bucknell University) (link)
    "Video clips developed as pedagogical aids to accompany “Culture Note” columns in the Dialogue & Grammar section." (information listed via website) 


learning resources by other organizations

(The following resources do not necessarily reflect the views and recommendations of the Japan Foundation. Suggestions for additional websites can be sent to jflaeducation@jflalc.org)

Reading Resources

Audio Lessons and Recordings


  • Kanji Alive
    Practice kanji for intermediate learners. Free.
  • Skritter
    Practice kanji. App also available. Paid subscription.
  • Kanji Study app
    Using this app, students can practice recognition and writing of kana and kanji.
  • Joy o' Kanji
    This website has illustrated, in-depth study essays about individual kanji.


  • Kanjigames.com
    Introduces several kanji learning apps, with guidelines.

Online Japanese Language Programs



Subscribe to Our Newsletters

Sign up to our newsletters to find out about the latest news, exhibitions and events from the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles!

subscribe Now

View Our old newsletters

the japan foundation, los angeles

5700 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90036



© 2024 The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles