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Fastest Way to Learn Japanese: Your Shortcut to Japanese Proficiency

Japanese can be a complicated and intimidating language to learn quickly! With its three different writing systems and complex grammar forms, you might think that it will take years to learn.

In this article, we will guide you on the fastest way to learn Japanese, including strategies and techniques that can streamline your learning! Whether you’re planning a dream holiday trip to Japan or need to learn it for your job, we will explore how you can learn Japanese effectively.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Involves Setting Clear Goals

Setting clear and achievable goals is the key to learning Japanese quickly. It’s important to be realistic and decide how fluent you want to become and in what way. 

For example, if you’re going on a business trip to Japan, your Japanese goal could be to be able to introduce yourself and manage some simple conversations! In this case, you wouldn’t necessarily need to learn how to write.

Here are some things to consider as you form your goals:

  • How much time do you have to study?
  • What is your primary objective for learning Japanese?
  • Which of these goals do you need or want to achieve? Speaking, writing, reading, and/or listening? 
  • If you’re applying for a job, what are the specific requirements?
  • Are you looking to pass a language proficiency exam?
  • What is the target date that you’re aiming for?

Make sure to figure out your exact goals so that you can prepare a roadmap for learning Japanese in your chosen time frame.

Break Down Your Goals

Once you have determined some goals for learning Japanese, it is time to break them down into manageable and trackable chunks. For example, your goal could be to have a 30-minute conversation in Japanese with a native speaker in three months. Then, you should break it down into milestones so that the learning process becomes easier. 

In the first month, your objective could be to hold a 10-minute conversation. To hold a conversation, you would need to learn basic vocabulary and learn to introduce yourself.  You could choose to learn 20 new vocabulary words each week, along with practicing with a native speaker once a week.

The fastest way to learn Japanese is to create a plan for your studies based on your objectives. If you want to take this a step further, we would recommend you also consult a Japanese teacher with your study plan!

Immerse Yourself in Japanese

Immersion is one of the fastest ways to learn a language! After all, that’s how we all learn languages. The moment we are born, we are thrown into a language immersion. 

Here are our tips for Japanese immersion without going to Japan!

Surround your daily life with Japanese

  • Change your phone language to Japanese. You’ll be confused at first, but will slowly learn important words and written characters.
  • Label your household items with Japanese names. This works well to increase your vocabulary!
  • Decorate your space with posters, art, and other Japanese items to get in the mood and feel like you are in a Japanese space.

Watch Japanese Content

  • While you are trying to learn Japanese quickly, decide to only consume Japanese media. This includes videos, movies, TV shows, and news!
  • To start, we recommend you add subtitles in English so that you can get familiar with the sounds of native speakers.
  • As you progress with your vocabulary and listening skills, you can gradually turn off the subtitles or add them in Japanese.

Listen to Japanese Radio, Podcasts, and music

  • Try finding Japanese radio channels that you can play in the background.
  • Learn the lyrics to your favorite songs! You can easily discover new songs through YouTube or Spotify. Singing your favorite songs can be one of the fastest ways to learn Japanese.
  • Podcasts are also a great way to learn because some cater to beginner Japanese students.
  • Don’t worry too much about understanding everything and slowly look up words you hear often.

Read Japanese Books, Manga, & Magazines

  • Reading can be difficult, but you can start by looking at Japanese children’s books.
  • Find some magazines, look through the pictures and slowly identify the words that you see.
  • If you have learned hiragana, you can read manga with hiragana on the side. Even if you don’t understand what you’re reading, it can be good practice to learn to read it.
  • Make sure to look up words as you go!

Gamify and Learn Japanese Quickly

One of the fastest ways to learn Japanese is to gamify your learning so that it’s more engaging and fun. Learning with a game feels much faster than studying a textbook! Here are some of our recommendations to gamify your learning.

  • Change your favorite video game to Japanese. Also, for most video game consoles, you should be able to change the system settings to Japanese. This can be tricky, but you will learn a lot if you choose a dialog-heavy game.
  • Try traditional children’s games. Children’s games can be a great way to learn Japanese. A game such as shiritori, where you have to come up with words that begin with the character of the previous word, can be a great tool.
  • Participate in language challenges or competitions. Contests and challenges will help motivate you and make learning fun.
  • Use online platforms like Quizlet to create and share flashcards. Quizlet allows you to use the flashcards in various games so it’s fun to learn them!

Learn Japanese Faster by Using Language Learning Apps

Language learning apps offer an interactive way to learn Japanese fast and efficiently. It can gamify the experience while also providing practical help with lessons and exercises.

Here are some options for Japanese learning apps:

  • Clozemaster can allow you to improve your Japanese vocabulary quickly by using the cloze method. It is a gamified app where you can score points and track your stats!
  • Duolingo is an app that simplifies the Japanese learning process. Each lesson is in bite-sized pieces, so you can learn at your own pace.
  • Memrise uses spaced repetition flashcards to learn Japanese. They also feature scenarios in real-world practical contexts.

Speak in Japanese as Much as Possible

Speaking Japanese is one of the most important aspects of gaining fluency fast! You’ll want to speak in Japanese as much as possible to achieve this. However, If you’re not in Japan, it can be difficult to find people to talk with. 

How to Find Speaking Opportunities

  • Try to find conversation partners! We recommend apps like Tandem or HelloTalk to find people to exchange languages with. You may also find them in online forums as well.
  • Participate in language exchange meetups or events in your local area. and Facebook groups can be a great way to find local language events.
  • Consider hiring a Japanese tutor to help you practice. Since they are professional language teachers, this can often be the fastest and most efficient way to learn.

Consistency is Key

Remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to speaking Japanese. Make sure to schedule your speaking practice daily even if it is just 10-15 minutes. If you can’t find someone to talk with, you can also pretend to have a conversation with yourself. Try to imagine you are speaking with a native speaker in Japan, using different scenarios.

Record Yourself Speaking in Japanese

Another great way to improve your speaking and pronunciation is to record your conversations and monologues! You can also record a conversation script where there is an example by a native speaker. If you compare yourself and the native speaker you’ll start to notice pronunciation mistakes.

How to Gain Japanese Listening Skills Quickly

Along with speaking, it’s important to learn how to listen in Japanese to gain quick fluency. Holding a conversation requires both speaking and listening skills. These techniques and resources will help you improve your Japanese listening skills quickly. 

Start with Simple Material

The most common thing that beginners struggle with is that the language sounds too fast. To be able to listen, it’s important to use simple and slow material. We recommend listening to children’s stories, beginner Japanese podcasts and slowed-down YouTube videos.

Use Subtitles

Subtitles can be a great way to accompany your listening practice. It’s easy for phrases to slip away if you cannot hear them. With subtitles, you’ll be able to follow the audio with written cues.

Active Listening

Focus on different aspects of spoken Japanese, such as pronunciation, intonation, and vocabulary. Actively listening for these will allow you to gain more from your listening practice. Try to listen to the same audio multiple times until you have analyzed all elements of that audio clip.

Talk with Native Speakers

It is common for there to be a gap between the Japanese from a textbook and real authentic Japanese spoken by locals. Another great way to learn is by engaging with native speakers and listening to what they are saying. A benefit is that you can ask them to slow down when they speak or use easier words.

Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Writing

Writing is one of the most intimidating but beautiful aspects of Japanese. If you’re going on a holiday or business trip, you’ll most likely survive without knowing how to write. However, if you’re going to be staying in Japan for longer, or you’re looking for a job there, you may need to gain writing skills quickly. 

  • Japanese consists of three different writing systems, which are hiragana, katakana, and kanji. You should try to learn hiragana and katakana as fast as possible since it is the most basic writing system.
  • Make sure to follow the stroke order when writing. Japanese people are strict when it comes to proper clean handwriting.
  • Use grid paper to make sure your proportions are correct and repeat them many times.
  • Ask native Japanese people to check your writing and give honest feedback!
  • Set goals on how many characters you will learn per week. There are 46 hiragana and katakana, and an estimated 2,000 commonly used kanji characters.

Optimize Your Study Techniques to Learn Japanese Fast

To study Japanese effectively and quickly, you’ll want to get the most from your study sessions. We recommend incorporating these strategies to learn efficiently, maximize your potential, and meet your Japanese goals on time.

Spaced Repetition

This is crucial to make sure that the new knowledge that you gain, sticks to your memory. Spaced repetition is a technique where you review material in longer and longer intervals. For this, you can try an app like Anki which uses built-in spaced repetition algorithms.

Active Recall

Remember information by actively testing your memory. Active recall is different from reading direct material from a textbook over and over again. Instead, use flashcards with a question on one side and an answer on the other. Make sure to recall what you need to remember before flipping the card.

Cloze Reading

This is a method of teaching where passages of text have missing words. It helps with improving reading comprehension since you have to guess what word fits the blank best. Try an app like Clozemaster to use this method and you’ll notice a rapid increase in your vocabulary and comprehension.

Join Language Classes or Online Courses

To optimize your learning, we highly recommend enrolling in classes or courses. This is especially crucial if you have a tight deadline for learning Japanese. An online or in-person course could help you achieve a certain level of proficiency in a set amount of time. This can be one of the fastest ways to learn Japanese.

Maintain Your Motivation

Finally, maintaining motivation should be one of the top priorities for the fastest way to learn Japanese. This is because a lack of motivation will make it harder to move forward with your learning.

Make sure to think about why you are learning Japanese. Is it because you want that dream job in Japan? Or do you want to connect with Japanese people through their native language? Whatever your reason, always remind yourself what is motivating you!

As long as you set clear goals, maintain your motivation, and remember why you’re learning the language, you should be able to optimize and be efficient with your Japanese learning! Don’t be afraid of mistakes, and try to use Japanese as much as possible. After all, learning languages is all about being able to communicate!

Learn Japanese faster with Clozemaster 🚀

Clozemaster has been designed to help you learn the language in context by filling in the gaps in authentic sentences. With features such as Grammar Challenges, Cloze-Listening, and Cloze-Reading, the app will let you emphasize all the competencies necessary to become fluent in Japanese.

Take your Japanese to the next level. Click here to start practicing with real Japanese sentences!

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