Best Podcasts to Learn Japanese in 2023

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In this globalized era, the importance of multilingualism cannot be understated. It allows for better communication, fosters cultural understanding, and even enhances cognitive abilities. Japanese, in particular, has emerged as a popular choice for language enthusiasts. With its fascinating script, rich culture, and significant global influence, learning Japanese can be an incredibly rewarding experience. 

 However, learning a new language, especially one as unique as Japanese, is no easy feat. Traditional language classes, while effective, may not fit into everyone’s schedule or budget. Self-study through textbooks, on the other hand, might lack the engagement needed to maintain motivation. This is where podcasts shine as a modern solution for language learning. 

This blog post aims to provide a curated list of the best podcasts to learn Japanese in 2023. Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes into the language or an advanced learner seeking to perfect your skills, there’s a podcast here for you. 

Why Choose Podcasts for Learning Japanese? 

Podcasts are an excellent tool for language learning because they are accessible, flexible, and engaging. You can listen to them at your own pace, repeat episodes, and immerse yourself in native Japanese content. 

Podcasts offer a unique blend of convenience and comprehensiveness, making them an excellent tool for learners at all levels. They can be accessed anytime, anywhere, catering to the busy lifestyles of modern learners. Moreover, they offer a wide range of content, from basic vocabulary lessons to in-depth cultural discussions, making them suitable for all proficiency levels. 

Best Podcasts for Beginners: 

  •  JapanesePod101: A popular choice, JapanesePod101 offers lessons for all levels, with a focus on beginners. Each episode covers grammar, vocabulary, and culture. 
  • Nihongo con Teppei for Beginners: Teppei’s podcast features short episodes that use simple language, making it perfect for beginners. 
  • Let’s Learn Japanese from Small Talk! : This podcast helps beginners understand casual conversations and everyday situations in Japan. 
  • Japanese with Teppei: Teppei, a qualified Japanese teacher, offers simple and short lessons in Japanese, making it perfect for beginners. He speaks slowly and clearly, explaining new vocabulary and grammar points in a simple manner.  

Remember, the best podcast is one that aligns with your learning style and interests. So, it’s worth trying out a few before settling on the one that you find most beneficial. 

Japanese Podcasts for Intermediate Learners: 

  • Learn Japanese with Noriko: Noriko’s podcast covers a wide range of topics, including Japanese culture and language nuances, suitable for intermediate learners. 
  • Bilingual News: Stay updated on current events while improving your Japanese listening skills. This podcast features news stories in both English and Japanese. 
  • Nihongo con Teppei for Intermediate : Episodes cover a wide range of topics in conversational Japanese, focusing on real-life scenarios and common phrases.  
  • Bilingual News (バイリンガルニュース): This podcast presents world news in both English and Japanese. The hosts switch between languages during the discussion, providing excellent exposure to authentic, fast-paced Japanese conversations. Ideal for intermediate learners wanting to improve their comprehension skills while staying updated on current affairs.  

These podcasts not only help you improve your listening skills but also deepen your understanding of Japanese culture and society. They offer valuable context that can help make your language learning experience more enriching and enjoyable. 

Advanced Japanese Podcasts: 

  • Nihongo SWiTCH: Improve your listening skills and learn advanced vocabulary with this podcast featuring interviews and conversations with Japanese speakers. 
  • News in Slow Japanese: This podcast features news stories read at a slower pace, making it easier for advanced learners to understand complex topics and vocabulary. 
  • Hanzai Podcast: If you’re intrigued by crime stories and want to understand fast-paced, colloquial Japanese, the Hanzai Podcast is for you.  
  • そこあに (Sokoani): For anime lovers, Sokoani offers in-depth discussions about various anime series and films.  

Each of these podcasts is designed to challenge and engage advanced learners. By this stage in your language journey, focusing on nuanced understanding and expanding your cultural knowledge is key, and these podcasts are excellent resources to help you do just that. 

Podcasts for Conversational and Cultural Insight:  

  • Small Talk in Japanese Podcast: Gain insights into Japanese culture and conversational skills by listening to casual conversations between native speakers. 
  • Japanese Conversation Podcast: Improve your listening comprehension and conversational skills by tuning in to dialogues on various topics. 
  • 未解決事件 (Unsolved Cases): This podcast is great for those interested in true crime stories, and it offers a fascinating look at some of Japan’s unsolved cases.  
  •  Japan Eats! :Perfect for food enthusiasts, Japan Eats! explores the rich and diverse culinary culture of Japan. The host chats with chefs, food journalists, and other industry insiders, offering deep insights into Japanese cuisine and food culture.  

These podcasts not only help you improve your listening skills but also deepen your understanding of Japanese culture and society.  

Podcasts with Transcripts: 

  • Let’s Learn Japanese from Small Talk! : In addition to engaging content, this podcast also provides transcripts for better comprehension. 
  • JapanesePod101: Access lesson notes and transcripts to support your learning process. 
  • Nihongo Master: This podcast aims to make learning Japanese fun and easy.  
  •  Deep Dive Japan: Deep Dive Japan provides listeners with comprehensive discussions on various aspects of Japanese society, culture, and history.  

Remember, making use of transcripts can be highly beneficial to your language learning process. It enables you to see the structure of sentences and the kanji of new words, helping to reinforce your understanding and memory. 

Podcasts for Japanese Language Learners on Spotify: 

  • JapanesePod101: Available on Spotify, this podcast is perfect for learners who want to improve their Japanese while on-the-go. 
  • Nihongo con Teppei: Teppei’s podcast is also available on Spotify, making it easy to access and enjoy his lessons. 
  • Japanese – SurvivalPhrases :This podcast series covers essential phrases and vocabulary for surviving in Japan. It’s useful for both beginners and intermediate learners who are planning to travel or live in Japan. 
  •  Japanese Classical Literature Audiobooks: If you’re advanced in Japanese and interested in its literature, this podcast offers readings of classical Japanese literature.  

Remember, everyone’s learning style is different, so it’s important to find a podcast that resonates with you and complements your learning goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Q1: How can I choose the right podcast for my learning level? 

A: Choosing a podcast depends on your proficiency. Beginners should opt for podcasts offering basic grammar and vocabulary lessons, intermediate learners can choose ones that offer more complex conversations, and advanced learners might enjoy podcasts featuring native Japanese conversations. Fun Fact: Podcasts can help improve your pronunciation and listening comprehension skills by immersing you in native conversations. 

Q2: How often should I listen to podcasts to see improvements? 

A: Listening to a podcast episode daily can aid your language learning. You could do this during your commute, workout, or in your free time. Consistency is key!  

Fun Fact: The average commute time in the U.S. is about 26.6 minutes – enough time to squeeze in a short language learning podcast! 

Q3: Can I use podcasts as my only learning resource? 

A: While podcasts are a great resource, combining them with other learning methods such as language apps, textbooks, or language exchange meetups can accelerate your learning.  

Fun Fact: Multimodal learning, which is learning using two or more methods, is proven to improve information retention! 

The Art of Choosing the Right Podcast for Your Language Learning Journey: 

In the dynamic digital age, learning a language, especially one as intricate as Japanese, has become increasingly accessible. Podcasts, in particular, have become a highly popular learning tool, catering to the different needs of language learners at various proficiency levels.  

For beginners, podcasts that offer bite-sized lessons focusing on basic grammar and vocabulary prove to be invaluable. As you progress and reach an intermediate level, you can start exploring podcasts that offer more in-depth conversations and cultural insights. For advanced learners, podcasts that present complex topics or native Japanese dialogues can serve as a platform for perfecting listening comprehension and pronunciation skills. 

So, are you ready to embark on your Japanese learning journey? With the best podcasts of 2023 at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to dive into the fascinating world of the Japanese language. Happy learning!