Does watching Anime help to learn Japanese?

Anime is one of the most popular Japanese culture and plenty of people start to learn Japanese because they want to understand with the original language what is spoken in Anime.

I can understand that this becomes a motivation to learn a language since I started to watch Korean dramas in Netflix. They are simply so good and I had a feeling like “I want to understand in Korean what they are talking about!”.

Nevertheless, does watching Anime really help to learn Japanese? I, as native Japanese speaker, have an answer to this question. Not really. Sorry to say, but it is definitely not the best way to improve your Japanese.

The reasons why watching Anime is not the best way

  1. How we speak in daily life differs from what is spoken in Anime. Most of you may know this already. But it is really so. One of the essential technique for Anime is to let Anime character speak characteristically because they need to be emphasized so that the individuality of each character becomes unique, fun and attractive.
  2. It is really weird to Japanese people when someone speak like Anime character. In case you think it’s funny to speak like Anime character, maybe you need to change the way of thinking. Many of us feel really weird and childish when someone speak like Anime character, and give them fake smiles. So I recommend you not to do it.
  3. Because you can not recognize / distinguish what is spoken only in Anime and what not. As I mentioned in the reason 1 and 2 that Anime characters sound weird if it’s in real life. But not all character speak differently or strange, there are so many conversations in Anime that can also be spoken in daily life. However, as long as you can knot know which is really used and which is not used in real, then you always have risk to use the Anime language to your friends or colleagues without intention. And most probably, it is almost impossible to know 100% what is Anime language and what not for non Japanese native speaker.
  4. Many of us just want to utilize “learning Japanese” as an excuse to watch Anime. I personally used to watch lots of series from U.S.A. They were simply so good and I would tell my friends, that I am learning English. But to be honest, I never opened dictionary during watching 24 and prison break. So please ask yourself again, do you really want to improve your Japanese or just want to watch Anime?


manga-3449477_1920Mystic Art DesignによるPixabayからの画像

But we don’t say it doesn’t bring anything. Through Anime you can also learn many new vocabularies. The way how they speak is not always weird. So let’s say, you could learn Japanese from watching Anime, but not the most effective way to do it. That’s the conclusion.

One additional advice focusing on “learning Japanese” would be: avoid Anime that will obviously use strong Anime languages e.g. Samurai Anime and so on. Because old Japanese is spoken there in most cases.

samurai-2258604_1920Susan CiprianoによるPixabayからの画像
Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany