Japanese Reading & Listening Practice and Translations
One of the best ways to learn a language is to listen to a native speaker while you read along with a transcript. Polyglots who speak loads of languages generally recommend this as one of the fastest ways to improve. Indeed multilingualist Steve Kaufmann’s Linq platform is based almost wholly this concept. So Japanoscope Japanese readings and translations offer a convenient collection of this content with native readings by native Japanese speakers.
But if you’re going to learn a language, then you may as well learn something about the world or life at large at the same time. Otherwise, what’s the point? So we search out the deep stuff, texts that teach you something useful, that you can use in your life, or that highlight something uniquely interesting about Japanese culture. Then we record, transcribe and translate into English. We post weekly translations and present them on Youtube, audio podcast and text. Sources come from all over the shop – Japanese books, social media posts, poems, lyrics, signage, letters, official documents, speeches, interviews, manifestos etc. We have a particular interest in Japanese music and songs, and we produce translated performances of Japanese songs in English.
If you’re like us, on the endless path of learning Japanese, looking for Japanese reading practice or Japanese listening practice, and you want materials that go beyond cherry blossoms and samurai swords to provide a genuine insite into lived culture, then please subscribe to the podcast and Youtube channel or click on individual articles below.
You can also find a full list of our favourite Japanese language learning resources here.
Recent Japanese Learning Materials
Choosing Japanese Text by difficulty:
Choosing Japanese Text Topic by topic:
Or browse Japanese and English Texts:
Japanese Folklore & Shinto Mythology in Anime – (Talking in Japanese & English) 神道と民話とアニメの話し（日本語と英語)
A look at the common Japanese mythology in anime, with a focus on Shinto and Buddhism.
A look at some of the more sexist lyrics of Yasushi Akimoto.
Talking in English & Japanese About The Naked Director, The Real Kaoru Kuroki And Japanese Sexuality
A chat in Japanese & English with Ai Yamamoto about The Naked Director, Kuroki Kaoru & Japanese Sexuality.
https://youtu.be/Ziw85qWQ214 Cornelius & The Olympics So you may have heard about how the composer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign. He’s pretty well known in Japan for his work with Flipper’s Guitar, and outside of Japan for his work under the name of Cornelius. I was personally pretty shocked when I read the comments that led to his resignation, as I’ve listened to his music for quite a few years now, and been to see him play live before. From the way it was being reported, that he had been sacked for some comments about bullying he
I spent some time trawling and translating Tweets from Japan to see if I could find anyone who was pro the Tokyo Olympics. I didn’t find any. Here we read through the tweets in Japanese and English to see what people are talking about. 日本ツイッターを検索して日本で五輪開催を支持している人がいるかみてみました。みつかりませんでした。このビデオで見つかったツイートを英語に訳してその話をします。 Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time. Youtube Pinterest Instagram Facebook Twitter Should Tokyo Olympics Go Ahead? 五輪やってもいいかやらない方がいいか？ When I filtered through trending tweets about the Olympics in Japan, looking at only posts with 100+ likes I could find almost nothing that was actually expressing
There has been plenty of angry tweeting about The Very Hungry Caterpillar this week on Japanese Twitter. And about the Tokyo Olympics. I dissect some of the posts to see what’s happening… The controversy started with this satirical comic in the Mainichi newspaper. This parody of Olympic Committee pres. as #veryhungrycatipillar in Japan caused the book’s Japanese publisher to write angry blog post. Personally I don’t have a problem with satire using a loved motif from my childhood to make a political point.#風刺漫画のあり方 #英訳 #五輪 pic.twitter.com/YA8wn3Iqok — Peter Japanese Social Media Translations日本のSNS英訳 (@japanoscope) June 9, 2021 And continued with this
Translating Japanese Tweets About Naomi Osaka 大坂なおみ選手についての日本語ツイートを英語に訳す Today I’m going to read through and translate some of the Japanese Twitter commentary about Naomi Osaka pulling out of the French Open. This caused a stir when it was reported that Osaka faced fines and disqualification from the tournament for refusing to do press conferences. This ultimately led to her saying that she was pulling out of the Open due to mental health issues. As always on the internet, people voiced every opinion under the sun about this. Generally, the ark of commentary went from being quite anti Osaka when she
What’s New In Japanese Social Media? 日本のSNSまとめ in 英語 and 日本語 #池江選手 Rikako Ikee, the Japanese Olympic swimming star people have been asking to stand down from competing in the Games.＃メイドの日 Maid day – so named because it falls on the tenth (Tou in Japanese) day of May (Mei). It’s kind of like a Japanese version of May 4th Star Wars day, but with sexier outfits.＃国会騒然 Japanese parliament descended into a moment of chaos this week when Renho parliamentarian asked Prime Minister Suga a question and replied with a pre-written answer to a different question.#俺の股間 This one translates as “My
A Japanese essay read in Japanese and English. The essay by, Inazo Inamoto, uses Tokyo Tower to examine the difference between seeing from a far and getting up close, and argues that getting up close wins.
In today’s age of information gluts, and gluttony, where to “know” something is to say that you once googled it and scanned the the top 3 search result headlines, the essay argues the case for deeper experiential learning.
戸川純 好き好き大好きTogawa Jun Suki Suki Daisuki Who is Jun Togawa? Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an “artist”. She replied, “would it be bad if I said I was both?”. She is one of those people that you can truly say straddles the boundary between pop and art,in a similar way to, say, a Bjork, or a Lady Gaga or even her country woman Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. In her ability to constantly change form and shape shift into various pop and sub cultural forms, there’s also a bit of Madonna or David
Today we’ve translated a series of Tweets by Koike Kazuo – author of various manga and other work including Lone Wolf And Cub/Crying Freeman/Lady Snowblood. The translated Tweets talk about sickness, or pain, and how it only really exists when it takes possession of our attention. They are from a series that Koike, incisive social commentator and, incidentally, hero to Demon Slayer theme song singer LiSa, posted in the months leading up to his death from pneumonia in 2019. The thoughts are directly related to the physical situation he was in at the time, but they are also universal in
Ever wondered what Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics would be in Japanese? Probably not. But we tell you anyway.
We go through and translate the song line by line, and discuss what it all means – in Japanese.
Gurenge (Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba Opening Song) Translated To English And Explained 鬼滅の刃OP紅蓮華の歌詞を英語に訳して解説 https://youtu.be/_IkopJwRDKUhttps://youtu.be/rFbA75b_rlA The opening song for Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba, Gurenge by LiSA, is a power punch of determination, grit, darkness and hope. The song Gurenge has become so iconic that it was even performed by The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But what’s the Kimetsu No Yaiba OP all about? How were the Gurenge lyrics written? What does it all mean? These are the things I want to shed light on today. Let me start by presenting
Recently I had a chat with few of my favourite musicians from Japan: Saya from Tenniscoats, Yuko Ikema and Sota Tateishi from Jon No Son on the radio show “Kikeru Radio”.
Here’s a transcription in Japanese & English.
Transcript and pictures here:
Original recording of chat appeared on Minna Kikeru Radio here:
Sayas – New Home
Ikema Yuko 池間由布子 Albums
Japanese music and Albums mentioned in the recording:
Kanako Numata –
Kohost Sota Tateishi’s 立石草太 album with Jon No Son ジョンのサン:
What does the Japanese name of the cult Japanese anime Dragon Slayer, Kimetsu no Yaiba kimetsu 鬼滅の刃 mean? What does it translate to in English?
This post gives an in-depth explanation of Kimetsu No Yaiba meaning as a phrase, what each of the Kanji mean, and the where the words come from.
Miki Matsubara 松原みき Mayonaka no doa 真夜中のドア with English Lyrics and translation sung by Cake Sullivan.
I track the history of the song from the 1979 original version, through to the Rainych Youtube cover, to Mayonaka blowing up on TikTok in 2020.
Along the way I answer questions such as how did Miki Matsubara die? How did her music fit into the larger genres of Japanese City Pop and New Music?
Do you know these Japanese words? AI超え おうち時間 顔芸 These are some of the new Japanese vocabulary that entered the lexicon in 2020. Japanese language, like any tongue, is a living, breathing thing. It’s constantly changing. This means the process of learning Japanese is an ongoing one. But a fun one! Each year, the education company U-Can releases a list of the 30 new words, called 流行語 or 新語, that have entered the Japanese for that year. I chatted with Moshi Moshi Yusuke もしもしゆうすけ about the different words on the list. We talked about the different social movements in Japan that have occurred over the year that have lead to these new words coming into the Japanese language.
Detailed look at the background of Haruomi Hosono’s album Hosono House.
https://youtu.be/lsvbIjILhBI Each year the Japanese company U-Can put out a list of 30 new Japanese Words, called 流行語 ryukogo or 新語 shingo, that have entered the Japanese language. In the audio/video/text presented here, I have a conversation with youtuber Moshi Moshi Yusuke about these Japanese words, and the Japanese social trends they are connected with. Approx Japanese level JLPT2 Themes 新語, 流行語, New Japanese Words, Japanese social trends Text Type Japanese Conversations 今日は今年の新語・流行語について話します。友達の「もしもしゆうすけ」さんと話して今年どういう言葉が流行ったか、日本社会においてどんなことが あったか、そういう話、日本語と英語でします。 リストの全体を見て第一印象とか、そういうのはありますか。どう思いましたか。 そうですね第1印象は知らない言葉が結構あるんだと思いました。 結構あったんですか。 そうですね。 まあ多分流行語っていうのは、日本全体に広く行き渡ったものもあるし、中にはピンポイントのもの、例えば子供達にだけヒットした言葉、 あるいはアニメが好きな人だけにヒットした言葉とかそういうのが入ってるんで まあ僕 の知識 が全然 足りない 僕 の 知識 がない ものも ありますね。 うーん、まあ、そうでしょうね。こう社会ってもうみんな が同じというわけでもないしね。あのコミュニティの中にいろんなコミュニティが あるからね。 そうですね 一緒じゃないですから。まあ当たり前でしょうね。 えー1回ちょっと英語で説明しましょうか。 So we’re just looking
PonPonPon explained! New English translation with complete Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and composer/producer Yasutaka Nakata background information. Full PonPonPon played in English.
A translation into English of the opening theme song from Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories (Shinya Shokudo) soundtrack, Omoide, by Tsunekichi Suzuki. I give a background on the songwriter, translate the lyrics, present the song in Japanese and English, and give a commentary on the translation.
But first thing’s first…
Kiyoshiro Imawano, King of Japanese Rock Many musicians have been appointed as rulers of a given musical domain. Sinatra was the chairman, Elvis was the King, Bowie was the Duke, Springteen the boss, and there have been many more fathers and godfathers than there have been mothers and godmothers similarly anointed to go around. Well, other countries have their own musical monarchs too. Japan may be lorded over by an Emperor, but realm of rhythm is ruled by a King of Rock. His name is Kiyoshiro Imawano and he inhabits are persona somewhere between Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Van
https://youtu.be/o4DjhKyx_6Y We’ve translated some Japanese media and social media about recent moves for the Women’s Universities in Japan to welcome transgender women as students. There are a group of Women’s Universities in Japan that have recently come out to say that they will soon start accepting transgender women. This is, of course, a major change in the country and has been covered in several major news outlets and provoked a lot of discussion, of a more or less civil nature, across social media. Today we’ve translated some excerpts from Asahi News, The Huffington Post Japan, and a selection of tweets from twitter
Language Learning Program Reviews
My personal experience of using Pimsleur Japanese. Screen shots, things I noticed and liked or didn’t like. Where to buy Pimsleur cheap, if it’s your thing, and alternate language programs if it’s not.
My personal experiences of using Japanese Pod 101 as a long time Japanese learner. Includes discount codes and free resource pack link.