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NHK Free Japanese Lessons

Japanese Lessons are offered free by NHK through streaming audio. The lessons are offered in twenty-one languages. There are two programs, "Basic Japanese for You" and "Brush Up Your Japanese". The lessons are updated every week. Did I mention it's free?

After trying the Basic Japanese lessons, I must say that they are useful, however, it's sometimes difficult to understand the host. The rhythm of her English speaking is a little awkward, which makes it a little difficult to understand at first, but you get used to it. Her Japanese is perfect, of course, and she provides thorough explanations of each sentence. You can also see the dialogues in romaji and English by clicking on the "Key Phrases" link in the player window. This helps you follow along.

The more advandced lessons, "Brush Up Your Japanese" follow the same format, but there are different hosts who have better English pronunciation, so it's easier to follow along. Key phrases are also repeated several times. Also, the notes page is written in English, romaji, and kana/kanji.

10 月 7, 2003 in 教材 (Study Tools) | Permalink

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Recently I emailed NHK to thank them for the helpful Japanese lessons they provide, free of charge. I also inquired about the possibility of an archive of previous broadcasts. They said they do not plan to offer an archive at this time. However, they d... [Read More]

Tracked on 2003/12/13 1:04:57


I looked at the NHK page, but the lessons start at like 50 something... is there a way to go to lesson 1? I'll look at it again...

Posted by: TAD at 2003/10/13 12:22:59

Actually, no. It appears they don't keep an archive, so you've got to go with what they give you. Obviously, those starting out might be overwhelmed by starting out at Lesson 51, but I think you can pick it up by listening to it repeatedly, like once a day, until you get it. It definitely helps if you've been studying for awhile and/or have another textbook to refer to.

You could also try contacting them via email. They do take suggestions, I believe.

Posted by: Jerry at 2003/10/13 13:03:15

I emailed NHK last year (around this time actually) when it was in the middle of two series, Let's Learn Japanese and Brush up your Japanese. They also told me they had no plans to archive. NHK has a big business in Japan printing books and magazines that more fully explain their TV shows, so I hoped to buy the Radio Japan tapes this past summer. No luck though, only their TV show book was for sale. However, when they ended those series, (Last March I believe) they started a new series, Basic Japanese for You and replayed the Brush up your Japanese series. I wish I could have completed the Let's Learn Japanese Series (which had Mihoko and a very funny English commentator, who I heard doing sumo commentary this summer in Japan), but to me the real gem is the Brush up Series. One more piece of research. The Brush up Lessons come from Nobuko Mizutani's work entitled Let's Learn Japanese from a decade ago. If you have access to a good library or used book store you can get all of those lessons in print and possibly on tape as well, although the commentary will be different. It has been quite a task recording these lessons every week, but it's definitely worth all the work. The NHK series are my favorite way to study listening and speaking skills in Japanese and they are free on top of it.

Posted by: at 2003/12/05 17:17:21

I've been creating my own archive. I run the Real Media player and then loop the audio back through the sound card and save the data as a .raw file. After that, I encode to OGG Vorbis. I only started doing this a couple months ago. When I have a reasonable number of lessons, I'll post a .torrent or something. So far I have close to 250 Megs of Audio and I've been saving the lessons pictures too.

Posted by: Dave (Sidicas) at 2004/02/03 5:43:45

Hi, I am currently learning Japanese language and would like to receive audio lesson on either Let's Learn Japanese or The Brush up lesson from NHK. Please advise how do I obtain these audio lessons.

Kimberly Ho

Posted by: Kimberly at 2004/02/19 18:33:51

Hi. I'm currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan and have been trying to learn Japanese from a book and some cd's I bought a while back. I'm not sure if I should learn the written or the spoken first. What is your suggestion? I would imagine the spoken first since the language is based on the sounds made, but I can't find a good resource on the phonetic words. Instead, all I have show the words in Kana or Kanji or just say a sentence and want you to repeat. I started a month ago, but with the way the resources I have are written I can only remember a few words here and there, but not enough to make sentences out of. Thanks.

Posted by: Clinton Geer at 2004/05/11 2:24:00

in case anyone is still wondering, all the lessons are now available via MP3, thanks to a very handy fella who put them online!

this is a great resource:


Posted by: heather at 2005/11/28 5:57:21

i want japanese language

Posted by: batkhishig at 2008/01/27 4:20:58

Teach me japanese

Posted by: Darren at 2008/04/20 21:42:40