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FluentU Review

Sunday, December 5th

2021 Japanese Lesson Reviews

FluentU Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating
  • 14-day free trial
  • Membership gives you access to multiple languages (Korean, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and so on)
  • Japanese lessons are delivered through real-world videos
  • Can pause videos as needed to see captions, vocabulary definitions, etc.
  • Good option for more advanced Japanese learners

Your ultimate goal for learning Japanese is fluency, right? You don't want to just have a classroom understanding of the language, but a real-world level of comfort using it in natural settings. That's what FluentU hopes to deliver with its unique Japanese lessons. They focus on teaching through authentic video clips from music videos, TV shows, movies and more to help students master Japanese in context.

Excellent for more advanced Japanese students

While you may not want to start here if you're a beginner, FluentU is terrific for anyone with some experience in Japanese who wants to kick their ability up a notch (or three). These Japanese lessons go well above and beyond setting your favorite streaming service to captions and dubbing in your target language: the tools on FluentU let you look up every word for definitions and other examples of its use in context, pause and rewind as needed, and practice what you've learned with spaced repetition exercises and quizzes. (Netflix definitely won't do THAT for you!)

Free trial - with a catch

You can try FluentU free for two weeks. Ordinarily, we'd be excited by that, but to access that free trial you'll have to provide the company with your credit card information. Most of their competitors give you sample lessons or limited access in exchange for your email address and nothing more. That's one of the reasons FluentU doesn't rank higher in the Japanese lessons marketplace.

Best Japanese Lessons


  • $29.99/month
  • $239.99/year

More expensive than many Japanese lessons...

Once your 14-day trial ends, you'll pay $29.99 a month or $239.99 a year to use FluentU. Watch out for a foreign transaction fee of 1-3% too; this company is based out of Hong Kong and so you'll pay that fee when using your credit card. That's more spendy than a lot of Japanese instruction platforms, but on the plus side it lets you access every language they offer. Great news if you're an aspiring polyglot and want to add Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or several other languages to your to-do list.

...and there's no satisfaction guarantee

Another reason we can't give FluentU a higher ranking is because they don't have a refund policy. At all. For any reason. If you've given them your credit card information to access the free trial and you forget to cancel before the two weeks are up, you're on the hook for the membership fees: not horrible if it's $29.99 plus transaction fees, but pretty aggravating if you're signed up for the year-long plan.

Better options out there

When it comes to Japanese lessons, FluentU is good but not quite great. Learning a language through authentic content that's updated frequently is an excellent way to improve fluency, but that leaves out a lot of newer students who need to start with the basics. We also feel disappointed that the service makes users turn over their credit card info just to give it a try: there's just too much opportunity for forgetting to unsubscribe or worse, having one's identity compromised in an overseas transaction. There are other ways to study Japanese in real-world ways that get a higher rating than FluentU.

Where Can You Find the Best Japanese Lessons Online?

Lots of people ask that question because Japanese is the fifth-most studied language in the United States! What's driving its popularity? It'll come as no surprise that many learners develop an interest in Japanese because of manga, anime, and video games. Others realize that speaking Japanese can offer significant advantages in the worlds of technology and business. And, of course, many travelers like to learn at least the basics before spending time in Japan - to better appreciate the culture and to communicate more effectively in-country.

No matter what your reasons are, studying Japanese can be challenging. Because it uses a writing system that's completely different from what you already know from English, learning it can take much longer than mastering languages that use the Roman alphabet (like Spanish or German). You might even need to figure out how to use your keyboard differently!

The Best Japanese Lessons Compare Japanese Lessons Compare Japanese Lesson Reviews What are the best Japanese Lessons Best Japanese Lesson Reviews

Japanese Lesson FAQ

Japanese is in the top 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 130 million people who use it. 99% of those speakers live in Japan, but there are over a million people in the US, Brazil and Guam who also speak fluent Japanese.
Yes, but you probably won't encounter anything beyond Standard Japanese unless you travel throughout Japan itself. The Japanese you learn will be understood throughout the country, and differences are mostly related to accents and some vocabulary. It's not unlike what you find between speakers from different regions of the US, or between people from England and Australia.
If we're being completely honest, we'd say that Japanese is one of the hardest languages you could attempt to master: even the US State Department ranks it with Arabic, Korean and Chinese as one of the four most difficult! Part of that stems from the fact that Japanese has three separate writing systems (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji). However, if you've got the grit to work hard and be patient with your studies, Japanese shouldn't be out of reach for you to learn.
You're going to need to wrap your head around the three Japanese alphabets: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. You'll find all of them as you learn the language! As you learn the alphabets, start memorizing basic vocabulary for how you intend to use Japanese, whether that's for business use or just to understand your favorite anime! Speaking of TV, it's a great way to pick up the accent and pronunciation naturally, especially if you don't have the chance to talk with native speakers on a regular basis.
There's no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a one-semester Japanese class at a university when you can get on-demand instruction for much less. You may not even be able to find in-person classes near you, but there are always options online that let you learn Japanese as quickly (or as slowly!) as you desire.
You need to take a few extra steps to enable the Japanese language on your computer. The steps differ if you're using a Mac or Windows-based PC, and you'll have to search for the instructions based on your operating system. There are also online Japanese keyboards that let you click on characters without modifying your settings.
They're very affordable. You can get month-to-month subscription plans for less than $25/month, or make a one-time purchase of a Japanese lessons package for under $500. Either way, you'll get much more for your money than if you were paying for a semester or two of college courses.
You'll want to read the terms and conditions of any language platform you're considering. The subscription plans typically allow customers to cancel at any time but don't offer a refund of previous payments. The Japanese lesson packages that are one-off purchases may have a 30- or 60-day money-back guarantee. We suggest that you use all of the free resources that the language program has to offer - such as a sample lesson, or a trial period - so that you will already know how it approaches instruction and if it's a good fit for your preferences.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Also, it used to be tricky just to find Japanese lessons. If you didn't live near a university or in an area with a significant Japanese-speaking population, your chances of finding classes were pretty slim.

Not anymore! Today there are many ways to take Japanese classes online, from traditional grammar lessons and flashcards for memorization, to live video sessions with a personal tutor who can help you master a flawless accent. Whether you need an app you can use on-the-go to sneak in study sessions or you have plenty of time to sit at a computer and practice, you'll have no problem finding Japanese lessons that match your availability and your budget.

As you start to explore the possibilities for taking Japanese lessons, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. How can you determine which program is right for you? You may find it helpful to keep the following criteria in mind as you consider your options:

  • Teaching Style. Japanese lessons can be delivered in a variety of ways, such as game-like apps, one-on-one sessions over video, and exercises that help you speak, read, write and understand the language. Pick a platform that feels like a natural fit for the way you learn best.
  • Free Trial. It's hard to know if a language program is a good match without giving it a try! Take full advantage of any sample lessons, limited-time access to the student dashboard, or any other opportunity to use the Japanese lessons before you purchase a package or subscription.
  • Levels of Difficulty. Most Japanese lessons are suitable for beginners, but what about as you advance? Choosing a platform with plenty of content across fluency levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced - means that you won't have to start the search over again as you become more proficient in Japanese.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. Once you've paid for a membership or bought a lesson package, can you get a refund if you change your mind? Read the terms carefully, especially if you're using Japanese lessons that are subscription-based.

To help you get the most out of your language studies, Top Consumer Reviews has tested, evaluated and ranked the best options for online Japanese lessons today. We know this information will give you all the info you need to choose the best program for your learning style and schedule.

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The Best Reviews of Japanese Lessons