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      January 18, 2019

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Best Japanese

Lesson Programs

  1. Transparent
  2. Rosetta Stone
  3. Living Language
  4. Pimsleur
  5. Ling Q
  6. Strokes International

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Best Japanese Lessons

As one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, Japanese is a popular language for students of all ages. With more than 125 million people worldwide who use it on a daily basis, the opportunities for using Japanese are numerous, from business owners who are looking for a new partner in trade to middle schoolers who want to understand their favorite anime TV show without English subtitles.

Whether the only Japanese you know is "domo arigato" from Styx's classic 80's song, or you've got a basic grasp of conversational Japanese and want to take your skills to the next level, there are a number of programs that will allow you to learn the language from the comfort of your own home, car, or other location - without having to fit traditional classroom-based lessons into an already busy schedule.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews


Japanese Lessons Reviews

5 stars
Rocket Languages

ROCKET Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Rocket Language's comprehensive approach to learning Japanese includes nearly 400 hours of lesson time across three levels of instruction, taking students from beginner to advanced levels. Because of its excellent track record of happy students and unparalleled customer satisfaction guarantee, Rocket Language's Japanese lessons earn our top ranking. Read More... Visit

4.5 stars
Transparent Language


Transparent Language offers three basic methods for learning Japanese: an audio course and an online subscription for adults, and a KidSpeak desktop app for Windows computers. If you're an independent learner who wants flexibility in moving from one lesson topic to another, without needing to be motivated by mastery requirements, Transparent Language's Japanese programs may be a good fit. Read More... Visit

4 stars
Rosetta Stone


Rosetta Stone has the market cornered when it comes to name recognition - their foreign language programs are some of the best-known in the world, especially for business people hoping to add to their repertoire. Recent changes in pricing make all of their products more affordable for a wider range of students. Read More... Visit

4 stars
Living Language


Living Language uses all of today's modern tools - tablets, MP3 players, and so on - to put Japanese language lessons at arm's reach. They also have print and audio instruction for students who prefer a more traditional approach, and their Japanese Platinum package includes the best of both worlds.
Read More... Visit

2.5 stars


If you like to learn by listening, Pimsleur was made for students like you. Their Japanese lessons focus almost exclusively on audio files that teach you how to speak Japanese by listening to and repeating conversations. Unfortunately, the extremely high pricing of Pimsleur's program puts it out of reach for most customers, without delivering results that are significantly better than other, more economical programs in our review.
Read More... Visit

2 stars
Ling Q


Pronounced "link", LingQ offers language instruction using real Japanese texts and native speaker "helpers", who create lessons and help students sound more natural. LingQ's point system for making those connections is confusing and makes it difficult to know how much it costs to learn Japanese using their program. The lessons available feel scattered and random, and might be challenging for new students to navigate. Read More... Visit

1 star
Strokes International


Strokes International's Japanese lessons target levels A1, A2, and B2 of the European Framework for Languages. However, errors on the website combined with virtually no positive reviews for Easy Learning programs in other languages land Strokes International in the lowest position among all of the Japanese language programs in our review.
Read More... Visit

Continued from above

When choosing a Japanese language program, you should explore what each system and method has to offer and whether or not it will help you reach your goals. Some Japanese lessons focus solely on conversational ability, using audio lessons to teach, while others use a variety of ways to teach reading and writing in addition to speaking the language.

Of particular interest with respect to Japanese is the written language. You'll want to determine if reading and writing is a priority, as not all programs include this aspect of language learning in their lessons. There are three basic scripts used in written Japanese:

  • Kanji, which are symbolic and derived from Chinese (several thousand characters)
  • Hiragana, a phonetic alphabet primarily used for grammatical elements such as particles and noun suffixes (46 characters)
  • Katakana, another phonetic alphabet with more angular letter shapes, used for emphasis and for foreign words (46 characters)

As you can see, written Japanese is considerably more complex than English and other languages based on the more familiar Roman alphabet (such as Spanish, French, and German), so it's important to know how each program addresses the written component of Japanese if you'll need to be able to read and write it yourself.

In general, there are several things to consider when choosing a program for your Japanese lessons. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. Do you learn best by hearing, seeing, or a combination of both? Does the program use a style that is a good match? If offered, did the free trial leave you feeling fantastic or frustrated?
  • Skill Level. Can you reach advanced levels of Japanese with this program, or is it limited just to beginning instruction? Will you need to purchase more levels in the future, or is it all-inclusive?
  • Value. Does the program work? Is it worth the investment of your time and money? has reviewed and ranked the best Japanese Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you to move quickly beyond "konnichiwa" and "sayonara" and towards a comfortable fluency level in the Japanese language!

The Forgotten Lessons of Nagasaki

You can read our Privacy Policy here. Landing at Nagasaki Airport last November, I joined a line of Japanese men, women, and children waiting to disembark from our plane. Most were likely returning ho...

Published:  Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:07:00 GMT

Kobe marks 24th anniversary of Great Hanshin Earthquake, with pledge to keep stories and lessons alive

"I fear that the lessons we learned from the earthquake ... Bangladeshi asylum-seeker's cuffed visit to Japanese hospital sparks online debate Photos of a Bangladeshi asylum-seeker being taken to a Ja...

Published:  Thu, 17 Jan 2019 05:47:00 GMT

Japanese teachers get taste of local education

Perched precariously on pint-sized chairs, a delegation of teachers from Rikuzentakata, Japan watched intently as Diana Lee gave a lesson on the water cycle to kindergartners. Though her students rang...

Published:  Sat, 12 Jan 2019 06:01:00 GMT

"˜We're kind of like therapists' - Japanese manicurist to the stars on how she makes people look and feel good

"I believe Japan is No. 1 in nail art techniques. Nail art is booming in South Korea and China, too, and their tastes are a bit different, but they all want to learn the Japanese way." Takano's job is ...

Published:  Thu, 17 Jan 2019 07:44:00 GMT

Big Japanese Sales For Calrec's Brio Consoles

The installations were provided by Calrec's exclusive Japanese distributor ... Our customers highlight that the Brio is easy to learn and use, and they are also particularly impressed with Calrec's hi...

Published:  Thu, 17 Jan 2019 07:54:00 GMT

Ancient Japanese Food Craft Brings Persimmons To American Palates

In Japanese, hoshigaki means simply "dried persimmon ... use their hands, be patient and learn these artisanal practices from other countries." Dangling, massaging and drying persimmons ...

Published:  Wed, 16 Jan 2019 05:50:00 GMT

How This Japanese Concept Can Help You Accept Your Imperfections

Beth Kempton, author of Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life, found her enthusiasm for wabi sabi from visiting Japan for over 20 years. She's used its lessons to inform how ...

Published:  Thu, 03 Jan 2019 12:23:00 GMT

Designing Durable Alliances: Lessons From Renault-Nissan

Charging back into the fray, Renault formed an alliance with ailing Nissan in 1999. The Japanese carmaker's dire status led to a cross-participation in which dominant Renault injected US$5.4 billion f...

Published:  Sun, 06 Jan 2019 18:14:00 GMT

Lessons From Her "˜Shanghai Jew' Father

Robert grew up under brutal Japanese occupation in Shanghai's Hongkou District ghetto until his teens. "My father's challenging past to get to this country was very formative for me ...

Published:  Wed, 09 Jan 2019 16:00:00 GMT

SUNY Oneonta Biology Students Learn, Explore in Japan

They also work to protect the populations of indigenous species like the Japanese wood pigeon and the Bonin flying fox.

Published:  Tue, 15 Jan 2019 13:01:00 GMT

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