Useful smartphone apps!

Hello! This is Stacie, your Japanese director.

Today, I’m going to introduce some useful apps for people who want to learn the Japanese writing system! It’s mainly Hiragana and Katakana because Kanji is a little bit more difficult to learn.

Here are the apps I will be introducing: Screenshot_20161017-160946.jpg

1. Kana Town: Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.8/5)

This is my personal favorite out of the five, but it has its pros and cons. Kana Town is an app that lets you study Hiragana and Katakana. There is also a section for vocabulary, but they are very basic. However, there is an option that allows you to purchase more vocab packs.

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The picture above is what the app looks like when you open it. It tells you how much you mastered Hiragana and Katakana. If you click on the Hiragana tab, it will look like the picture below.

screenshot_20161017-160121

As you can see, there is a list of all the Hiragana characters to choose from. You can go at your own pace by clicking just the ones you want to study and then choosing the option to practice only selected kanas. You can gradually increase the amount as you get more confident. When you select the ones you want to study (or select randomize), the picture below will show up.

screenshot_20161017-160136

A character will show up and you have to type in the correct answer. The picture above showed く so I would type in “ku” and it it will move on to the next one. If you get it wrong on the first try, you can continue guessing or give up and get the answer. All of this works the same way for Katakana.

I personally think this app is very nicely organized and very easy to use. The design is very clean too. The only downside for me is that you can’t practice writing the Hiragana and Katakana. This app is only for being able to recognize them. However, this is a great way to get into learning the characters.

2. Dr. Moku’s Hiragana & Katakana (rating: 4.3/5)

This is for people who are having difficulty memorizing the characters! This app gives you fun and creative ways to memorize each character. The picture below is what you will see.

screenshot_20161017-160732

As you can see, it gives you creative ways to memorize each character. The only downside is that it costs money. The app itself is free, but you are given very few characters to study unless you purchase the full version. With just the free version, there is very little to do and you can’t really learn much. However, it is helpful and a fun way to learn. For those who are interested or having difficulty memorizing the characters, I would suggest for you guys to check out this app and maybe consider purchasing the full version!

3. Hiragana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

4. Katakana – Read and Write (rating 4.5/5)

5. Kanji – Read and Write (rating 4.3/5)

These three apps are grouped together because they are by the same creators. This app is very nicely organized for beginners. When you open the app, you will see the screen below.

screenshot_20161017-160216

There is an introduction page that explains the Japanese writing system and about the app. If you want, you can go straight to lesson one without reading the introduction. Here is a picture of lesson one below.

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This app breaks down the Hiragana characters into small lessons. Each lesson teaches you about the characters and gives detailed explanations of what’s important. You can also practice writing the characters. The app will give you random characters and you will have to write them in the box. Unfortunately, it’s randomized so you will have to either learn all the characters or just skip the ones you don’t know yet.

screenshot_20161017-160349

The Katakana app works exactly the same way as the Hiragana one, but just with Katakana characters. The Kanji one is a little bit more complicated since there is no chart to refer to. The Kanji app is a nice introduction to beginners and teachers you simple Kanji. I think it’s a nice way to start, but definitely not the app to help you learn the 2000 Kanji you need to know.

And that’s all I have!

I personally think the Hiragana, Katakana, & Kanji app is more useful than Kana Town if you want to learn the characters in more detail, how to use them, and what to look out for. You can also practice writing and listen to the pronunciations. The three apps might be a nice way to learn the characters for people who are completely new to the language. Kana Town is a nice way to review and make sure you know how to read each character. Dr. Moku helps you learn in fun ways so you can memorize better. Each one is different and has its own pros and cons. Try each one out and see what works for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!

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