How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Resources

May 17, 2021 — Tatsumoto

This is the Ajatt-Tools Resources List. With the help of our community we've gathered the links to help you in your Japanese studies. We prioritize libre software and content that you can download for free. Everyone is welcome to suggest more resources in our chat.

The third party resources below may contain what Tatsumoto considers to be ineffective language learning advice. If you find something that contradicts what's written in this guide, assume it's wrong or verify by asking people in our chat.


Basics

Kana

Kanji

Vocabulary

Grammar

Grammar in Japanese

JLPT

  • JLPT Grammar List. Covers grammar for all JLPT levels.
  • 問題検索室. Search JLPT questions by keyword.
  • JTest4You. Practice tests and resources by JLPT levels.
  • JLPT文法解説まとめ. Introduces you to grammar patterns that exist in JLPT. This site is much better than the rest and probably the best free way to learn grammar used in the JLPT exam.

Examples and pronunciations

Sometimes you might find yourself in a situation where you want to add a word to your SRS but the example sentence you've found the word in is too complicated, or you've lost it because you forgot to save it. In such cases sites with example sentences come to rescue.

  • Massif. Allows you to search over 30 million unique Japanese sentences.
  • Sentence Search. Contains voiced sentences from various premade decks. Grab an offline version here.
  • Aozorasearch. Performs a full-text search on Aozora Bunko (digital library).
  • Weblio英語例文検索. Made for Japanese people learning English but can be used in reverse.
  • Forvo. Has many words pronounced in isolation but not so many sentences.
  • YouGlish for Japanese
  • 用例.jp
  • Reverso
  • Jisho.org. I don't recommend Jisho because it suggests sentences from Tatoeba. Many of them come from non-native speakers.

Immersion material

Don't use streaming sites and sites for reading manga online if possible. Always download what you consume. Storing immersion material locally makes mining substantially easier.

Torrent trackers

A torrent tracker is a site that hosts user-uploaded torrent files. To download something (like an anime) using torrents you usually download a torrent file and open it with a torrent client. The torrent client then downloads the actual content. Before using the torrent sites, choose a torrent client.

  • Nyaa. A torrent site with anime, manga, light novels and Japanese dramas. Contains 98% of what you need to actually learn Japanese.

    Unfortunately, Nyaa is blocked in some countries. Accessing it through Tor can be difficult due to DDOS protection. If you can't access the site, use a mirror. Currently, there's only one working mirror I know, Nyaa ISS.

  • Rutracker. Another torrent site. Has lots of Japanese movies, dramas and anime. Ongoing anime gets uploaded with a noticeable delay. Refer to Nyaa first if you watch ongoings.

    This site can be accessed through Tor.

  • Animebytes. A private tracker. Offers content similar to what you find on Nyaa ISS.

  • AvistaZ. A private tracker for Asian movies and TV-shows.

  • AsianCinema.Me. Asian private tracker for Movies only.

  • JPTVTS.US. A private tracker for japanese content only.

  • JPTV.CLUB. Another private tracker. You can join if you have accounts on other private trackers. Most uploads contain Japanese subs straight from the broadcast.

  • anisource. An aggregate site for high quality raws from Raws-4U, スカー Raws and Leopard-Raws.

Streaming

  • Animelon. Watch anime with Japanese subtitles.
  • Anjsub. A site similar to Animelon.
  • B9GOOD. Watch raw anime online.
  • ZORO.to. Another anime streaming site. You can switch between audio and subtitle tracks in multiple languages.
  • AQStream. Watch Japanese TV.
  • BiliBili. A Chinese website with a bunch of TV shows.
  • jp.m3u. A m3u playlist with Japanese IPTV channels which you can open in mpv. You can switch channels in mpv by pressing < and >.
  • News24.jp. Lets you watch a live stream with news, but you have to allow to run an obscene amount of nonfree JavaScript code. To avoid running nonfree JS, watch the stream in mpv by creating a desktop shortcut.
  • keylabo. Similarly to News24, lists a number of channels you can watch online. Unfortunately, not all of them can be opened in mpv.

YouTube with subtitles

Important: install Privacy Redirect to safely watch YouTube videos via Invidious.

Downloads

Manga

Books

Audio

Visual Novels and Games

There's a list of visual novels on Arch Wiki. Beware that most games that exist today are proprietary. Proprietary software should not exist and should not be used if you want to have freedom.

Japanese boards

You may need a Japanese IP address for some of these.

Japanese subtitles

Software

Recommendations

General

  • LibreWolf. A web browser based on Firefox that comes with an Ad Block by default. You can find it in AUR.
  • Anki A free/libre flashcard application.
  • Sxiv. An image viewer perfect for reading manga.
  • Trackma. Track your immersion on one of the supported sites.

Work with subtitles

  • subs2srs. Takes video files and subtitle files and creates cards with screenshots and/or audio for each line in the sub file. Useful for batch extracting audio from videos.
  • subtitleedit. A subtitle editor. It can convert image-based subtitles (.sup, .sub) to text-based (.srt) via an OCR engine such as Tesseract.

OCR for manga

  • Mining from manga.
  • Manga-OCR or mokuro. Can be used to OCR Japanese text instead of Tesseract. I haven't been able to install it and can't comment on it.
  • Poricom. Manga OCR desktop application.

Reading eBooks

  • Foliate. A simple and modern eBook viewer. Package.

    If you can't open books, run the chmod command from their issue tracker. In Preferences, set "When a word is selected" to "Copy" and "When multiple words are selected" to "Copy". This should be enough to comfortably use Foliate with Yomicah Search. Change Layout to "Scrolled" in Advanced section of the menu to prevent lags and ensure a consistent layout.

    Use keyboard shortcuts, "n" to go to the next page and "p" to go to the previous page. To scroll without the mouse, press "j" and "k".

  • KOreader. A book reader. The interface sucks because it was designed to be used on some obscure devices, but at least you can open a light novel and see furigana rendered properly. I recommend installing the appimage AUR package because the *-bin AUR package didn't work for me.

  • zathura. A minimalistic document viewer. Can be used to read novels. Doesn't display furigana correctly.

Localization

Fonts

mpv

mpv is the best video player for language learning.

Make Anki cards in mpv:

mpd

With mpd you can listen to condensed audio, audiobooks and Japanese music.

Torrent clients

  • qBittorrent. A free/libre torrent client alternative to µTorrent. Use search plugins, they save you so much time that you'd otherwise spend going to each torrent site individually.
  • KTorrent. A BitTorrent client for KDE.
  • Transmission. A light-weight and cross-platform BitTorrent client. See transmission-gtk.

Downloading

  • Megatools. A command line client for Mega.
  • youtube-dl. A command-line program that lets you download videos and audio from YouTube and more than a thousand other sites.
  • mangadesk. Download manga directly from your terminal.
  • HakuNeko. A cross-platform downloader for manga and anime from various websites.

Subtitle retiming

Tools for condensing audio

  • impd. Create condensed audio and automatically rotate your mpd playlist.
  • subs2cia

Tools for extracting audio

Android software

I urge everyone to reject mobile phones because they're surveillance tools. If you do own a cellphone, be sure to install F-Droid, which is an application catalog for libre programs. Get rid of Google Play by flashing a new ROM or by rooting your phone and deleting all Google applications. Don't buy iThings, you can't run a free OS on them.

F-Droid can be flashed using TWRP or other Android recovery to allow for automatic background updates.

General

  • Mozc for Android. A Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) for typing Japanese text on a phone.
  • AnkiDroid. A free/libre flashcard application, Android version.
  • AnkiConnect for Android. A program that helps creating Anki cards on Android. Probably not needed because AnkiDroid has AnkiDroid API.

Manga readers

  • Tachiyomi. Free/libre manga reader for Android.
  • OCR Manga Reader. Android Manga reader with Japanese OCR and dictionary capabilities. Supports EPWING monolingual dictionaries.

Book readers

  • KOreader. A book reader.
  • Typhon Reader. An EPUB reader for Android that lets you look up words as you read, similarly to Yomichan. Also supports EPWING dictionaries.

Video players

  • mpv for Android. See the mpv section.
  • VLC. A fast and user-friendly video player for Android.
  • Jidoujisho. A mobile video player tailored for Japanese language learners.

Audio players

Audio players are used to play locally stored audio files. Although their primary purpose is to play music, for language learning a better choice would be to listen to audiobooks, podcasts or audio extracted from movies and TV shows.

All available players are listed on F-Droid catalog.

Dictionaries

Yomichan

Yomichan is a browser extension that lets you easily look up unknown words.

Online

  • Dictionariez. A popup-dictionary extension that works similarly to Yomichan. Good for learners of English.
  • jisho.org
  • wadoku.de. Has pitch accent.
  • weblio.jp
  • goo辞書
  • Kotobank
  • ichi.moe
  • 広辞苑無料検索. Allows you to search many monolingual dictionaries.
  • OJAD. A pitch accent dictionary.
  • 日本語俗語辞書. A monolingual slang dictionary.
  • 伏字検索. Helps you decipher words partially occluded by symbols like .
  • ふりがな文庫. For any given word, searches through Aozora Bunko for all instances where it was used with furigana and shows the percentage of each reading. Great for when the dictionary lists multiple readings, and you want to know which is dominant.
  • 書き順. A website that shows you how to write a given kanji and how it looks written in different fonts.
  • 漢字辞典. Monolingual kanji dictionary.
  • Jotoba. Jotoba is an open source multilingual Japanese dictionary.
  • 連想類語辞典. A dictionary of synonyms.

Offline

Android

Translators

The quality of machine translation is very low. Your goal is not to translate Japanese but to be able to understand it the first time. Don't use translators for anything serious. You've been warned.

Pitch accent

Language guides

AJATT

How to learn Japanese on your own, having fun and to fluency.

Notable articles:

Anti-features:

  • Includes links to the Amazon website. Amazon is known for spying on and politically suppressing its users.
  • Contains outdated information.
  • Talks about MCD, which is a flashcard format that hasn't received much adoption over the years due to being too difficult and complicated.
  • Advertises unnecessary paid products.
  • Tries to harvest Email addresses.

Refold

This site was initially introduced as a free guide designed to be applicable to any language. Later proved to be a Patreon scam, but there are some helpful articles you can read without paying money.

Notable articles:

Anti-features:

  • The site doesn't work (the menu breaks) unless you enable JavaScript. The JavaScript code is proprietary and is not safe to run.
  • Recommends and includes links to proprietary spyware such as Hellotalk, Tandem, Bilingua, Netflix, Migaku, etc.
  • Includes instructions on how to join their Discord server. Discord is known for spying on and politically suppressing its users.
  • Collects Email addresses which is to say the least suspicious.
  • Tries to sell you useless junk.

Itazuraneko

A collection of guides for those interested in learning Japanese.

Anti-features:

  • Includes links to non-free software.
  • Includes links to Discord servers. Discord is known for spying on and politically suppressing its users.
  • Contains outdated information.

Antimoon

A site on how to learn English. Made by Poles who learned English to native-level fluency. What they used to learn English can be applied for learning any other language, including Japanese.

Notable articles:

TheMoeWay and AnimeCards

Unfortunately, these two sites are clearly made with Windows users in mind, but maybe you'll find useful language learning advice there.

Anti-features:

  • The sites try to deny the importance of freedom and legitimize proprietary software.
  • They include instructions for playing visual novels. Most visual novels should be avoided since they are proprietary.
  • They mention software that requires proprietary operating systems to run.
  • They include links to Discord servers. Discord is known for spying on and politically suppressing its users.
  • Both sites recommend "anime cards". In my opinion, TSC is the most efficient way to combine Anki with immersion.

Misc

Tags: guide