Podcasts for Japanese language learners

Published on January 22nd, 2011.

This is my first (and hopefully not the last) guest post here at yonasu (thanks for the opportunity!) Moreover, this is the first time I’m trying to post two related articles at the same time, one as a guest post, and one on the NihongoUp Japanese language & culture blog. I hope this experiment works well, and helps our readers discover more interesting blogs about Japan and Japanese.

On the NihongoUp Blog, I’ve posted an article on how to use discover, organize, and listen to podcasts on Windows Phone 7 devices. This, the sister article to that post, will focus on selecting the best content to put on your mobile device. Of course, these podcasts aren’t limited to just WP7 devices, and you can also subscribe to them with Miro, iTunes, or download directly on their websites.

OneMinute Japanese

Although the whole ‘product’ feels quite polished, this podcast leaves a lot to be desired. Why did I use the word product? The lessons are stilted and the non-native’s accent is frankly terrible. The language that you learn in this podcasts is unnatural to say the least, there are only ten episodes, and Radio Lingua Network tries to sell a premium edition of the very same ten lessons with bonus content like lesson guides and quizzes for whopping £10. My advice is to save the money for a month of premium NihongoUp or Japancast and probably avoid this altogether.

Japancast

Although a relative newcomer, this series already reached the number one position among Japanese video podcasts on iTunes, and for a reason. It is very well presented, the hosts are great, fun and personal, and the lessons are getting better and better with every episode. Each video starts with interesting news from Japan, and then moves onto truly interesting, natural, and useful Japanese phrases and vocabulary. If you can afford it, certainly consider making a donation to get access to some additional lesson content…

JapanesePod101

You’ve probably heard about JapanesePod101 already, but if you haven’t, here’s the lowdown. This is quite possibly the most popular Japanese podcast, and it certainly has a lot of value. There are literally thousands of audio and video lessons with many different professional-grade hosts and well researched content. I often find them too commercial in nature, and somewhat impersonal, but definitely do check them out to form your own opinion – and probably skip the tedious intro every time!

Japanese with Beb and Alex

If you’re not a fan of video, this mostly audio-only podcast is something you should definitely check out. Lots of language lessons, cultural episodes, interviews, and all kinds of other Japanese and Japan-related content. The lessons aren’t really oriented at beginner learners, and so it’s probably better to wait until you learn at least some basic Japanese, but they become a really useful asset at the time when you decide to dive into some more advanced, uncommon, and colloquial Japanese.

Osaka dialect

This is one of the best podcasts for intermedia-advanced Japanese learners. All episodes are presented by a native Japanese Osaka-ben speaker, at natural speed, using natural colloquial Japanese. Also, unlike any of the other podcasts discussed in this post, the transcripts of all episodes are freely available on the website, with expressions unique to Osaka-ben clearly indicated and given standard Japanese alternatives in parenthesis.

I hope you liked my post, and found some new interesting podcasts to help you spice-up your spoken Japanese and bolster your aural comprehension. If you know any other cool Japanese podcasts you’d like to share, or if you’d like to read any more guest posts of mine here, please let me know in the comments.

  • http://twitter.com/Ami1982 Amy

    Hey! I’m Amy! :D
    Thanks for this post. I listen to Japanese pod 101…er, well I used to, I’ve kinda been slacking off on my Japanese due to being in college. That’s the one with Hiroko, from HirokoChannel on youtube? I think?
    Anyway, I’ve never heard of a few of them on your list, and I will make sure to check them out. The Japancast logo is very cute. :)

  • http://yonasu.com/ yonasu

    I rarely lsiten to Japanese language podcasts, it’s just not my preferred way of studying languages. But I will definitely check out that Osaka dialect podcast, it sounds interesting!

    • Anonymous

      Same here. I prefer hunting down Japanese people in my area and forcing them to talk to (I have a collection of at least 50 at any given time)

      The only reason why I visit Japanesepod101 is to hear the cute accent of the woman in the introduction video. ^^

    • http://yonasu.com/ yonasu

      That’s quite a collection! I personally prefer learning by reading, writing and listening, real Japanese that is, not textbook Japanese xD

      I’ve never really given Japanesepod101 a fair chance but I’m not interested. Hiroko’s accent is indeed cute though!

    • http://divita.eu/ seifip

      Same here… I visit JapanesePod101 once in a while simply because I want to rewatch that cute intro video ^^

  • http://twitter.com/yaadayaada Loc Lam | ロックラム

    Hi there, welcome to the team! I’m Rokku. I’ve been studying Japanese for 4 years now and find podcast to be a good tool for listening and comprehension. Will definitely check some of these out. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/klardrommar Kervin Tran

    Not a -language- podcast per se, but I’d like to recommend Music Hyper Market’s podcast:
    http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/music-hyper-market/id322527814

    It’s a music program on the radio channel ‘J-WAVE’ in Tokyo, they talk about all kinds of stuff besides music too. The navigator couple are AWESOME, love them.
    Started listening to it and didn’t understand anything, but the conversations they have sounded so interesting that I kept listening to the point where I can understand what they’re talking about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fredrick.plotts Fredrick Plotts

    This site is good for improving listening skills:

    http://newsinslowjapanese.com/

    The best part is it’s free. They have transcripts with popup definitions. It looks fairly new but they are updating regularly. The host reads the news slowly and clearly. But there is a natural speed version too.

    • stupid

      thank you. This seems useful