Learning Japanese through Anime
April 26, 2005 11:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm in process of learning Japanese, and wondered if anyone had ever heard of a course of teaching through anime (something like the spanish teaching series Destinos. I've seen Japanese through Comics and another japanese grammar through manga, but those seem to be more advanced. I do have other books that I'm using - the Pimsler set and Japanese for Busy People but I thought it might be fun to watch something as well as to practice comprehension. I do realize that the vocabulary in most anime is likely to be of questionable use in real life. Regrettably, "Quick! We must use the time machine to defeat the space pirates!" seldom comes up in my conversation.
posted by korej to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
watashi mo nihongo o bankyoshiteimasu.

Most anime would be useless for this purpose due to the overexagerated speech. Yakuza films are terrific, so is Cowboy Bebop, and any Kurosawa.

The deal with Japanese is that there is an incredibly wide variety of spoken forms that leave out all sorts of different grammar. It is really useful to be exposed to all the real world japanese language.

In my japanese class we watch the "human interest stories" from japanese state television with Japanese subtitles, and it helps quite a bit. We've also watched a bit of children's television, like Japanese versions of the Dora the Explorer/Blues Clues format.
posted by blasdelf at 12:25 AM on April 27, 2005

Stupid lack of real unicode support in coldfusion! Oh well.
posted by blasdelf at 12:26 AM on April 27, 2005

Do you have access to any Japanese TV shows on cable or satellite? The scripts in most Japanese dramas, including cartoons, tend to be over dramatic and the acting overplayed. For example of how normal people talk you're probably better off with non-scripted variety programs. Shows with regular people talking would be better than any drama or Japanese language instructional program.
posted by mexican at 1:55 AM on April 27, 2005

There aren't any programs of that nature that I know of; I don't think you're going to get very much from anime until you're advanced enough for Japanese Through Comics, at least. If you'd like to try, in anime female voices tend to be clearer than male voices and use more standard vocabulary (partly a politeness issue), so something like Sailor Moon is pretty easy.
posted by Jeanne at 4:09 AM on April 27, 2005

Anime may not help you as much as manga (comics) would. I have a minor in Japanese and it was kind of fun trying to read manga as I went along and learned to read. I wished I had read more though, as my kanji comprehension is not as strong as I'd like it to be at this point. Blame that on general college brain-drain as well.

As far as speaking practice, I second the suggestions to look for Japanese dramas on TV. If nothing else, they're fun to watch. I know at least one local station in the greater NYC area shows Chibi Maruko-chan. It's a cute show for kids, and it makes listening comprehension more fun. You'll definitely get to learn your family member title words.

There's really no beating a proper classroom setting for learning Japanese though. I've had some fantastic professors though so maybe I'm biased.

Ganbatte kudasai.
posted by GreenTentacle at 4:44 AM on April 27, 2005

I have some links for downloading Japanese television shows or dramas (my personal favorite happens to be Gakkou e Ikou!). The grammar/vocab used tends to be quite conversational, rapid, and complex -- in other words, very much like real life. Many of them also tend to have the text of what someone is saying on the screen (especially the aforementioned Gakkou e Ikou!), which is why I recommend them over anime.

If you'd like some information on where you can find stuff like this, email me. (Some of the links may be of dubious legality -- most use BitTorrent.)
posted by armage at 5:42 AM on April 27, 2005

I think the best anime for learning Japanese is probably Atashinchi. It was one my favorite comic books before it turned into a television show. The stories are short and not too hard to glean from the context. It's all about a normal Japanese family. There are no robots, but lots of humor and everyday situations and everyday vocabulary. There is also a good bit of slang if you're looking to pick that up.
posted by Alison at 6:33 AM on April 27, 2005

Thanks - these all sound like good leads! I'll have to do some hunting.
posted by korej at 6:44 AM on April 27, 2005

It isn't Manga, but it is cartoon. Designed for children, but adults like it too. I've seen it used for French, English, Spanish and German.
posted by TimothyMason at 6:55 AM on April 27, 2005

You might find something you are interested in from this thread about Japanese language downloads for iPod. I'm studying Japanese, too, and found a lot of the answers I got very helpful.

I also ended up with some excellent MP3 files, so if that is an option for you, my e-mail is in my profile.
posted by jeffmshaw at 7:00 AM on April 27, 2005

Wow! I'm going to be busy just going through all of this.

Thank you all so much!
posted by korej at 9:01 PM on April 27, 2005

How about a Japanese alphabet learning video game:Slime Forest?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:17 AM on April 28, 2005

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