How to learn Japanese on LingQ?

Hello everyone,

I’ve always had a strong desire to learn Japanese. I practiced Karate for 20 years, which brought me closer to the culture in some ways.

I’ve attempted to learn Japanese three times in my life, but unfortunately, none of my attempts were successful. The first time, I enrolled in an institute, but I didn’t find it engaging or exciting. The method relied heavily on rote memorization of kanji characters.

The second time, I came across Heisig’s book “Remembering the Kanji” and gave it a second try, but once again, I wasn’t able to succeed.

For my third attempt, I tried to follow the approaches outlined in “Khatzumoto’s - All Japanese all the time” and “Matt vs Japan,” but once more, I was unsuccessful.

The challenge for me lies in the method of rote memorization; it feels incredibly tedious and unnatural. I don’t have a fondness for Anki either. It doesn’t engage me or pique my interest; in fact, I find it quite dull. While I acknowledge that this method may be effective for some, it simply doesn’t align with my learning preferences.

As a native Spanish speaker, I’m also fluent in English and to a good enough level in German. I derive great pleasure from reading, which is why I utilize LingQ. Most of my reading is in English, spanning both fiction and non-fiction. Sci-fi happens to be my favorite genre. Currently, I’m delving into sci-fi novels in German, a practice I absolutely adore.

Considering all of this, I’m curious about the process of learning Japanese primarily through reading and listening. How effective is it for acquiring kanji knowledge using LingQ? I’m in no hurry to master Japanese; my primary aim is to enjoy the language, its culture, and the content it offers.

Could you kindly share your experiences with learning Japanese on LingQ, and highlight the strategies or features you’ve found most beneficial?

Thank you everybody. I appreciate it.

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I love using lingQ but I think using it for Japanese is challenging. For example in LingQ I have noticed it will break words apart in a weird way. Tabemasu = to eat but in a text for some reason LingQ will register Tabe as one word and masu as another instead of one and it has this issues with words generally and it can be frustrating. Especially when it is your first time coming across a word. It may cause you to learn a word incorrectly. Just be aware of that going in.

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After learning Hiragana/Katakana, just start reading. The Lingq strategy is really that by reading you will learn. Anki can speed things up, but it’s not necessary. By spending a lot of time reading, you will continue to encounter words again and again, and by so doing remember them. The great thing is that it’s exactly what everyone wants, start reading content you like.

Japanese is in that aspect no different from other languages. I’d recommend getting a little bit of knowledge on Kanji (maybe 100 to 200 kanji) but then just forget about rote memorization and learn to read them in context. You don’t need to “acquire” “kanji knowledge”, you need to learn how to read words and sentences.

There are some challenges, such as Er_pittore says, but it comes down to an increase in ambiguity that you need to accept.
I’ll tell you what, use LIngq for an hour of active reading for 3 full months and you will see progress.

Maybe also follow the refold quickstart guide and join their discord. Lingq is in the end, for me, just a really good immersion tool:


As a disclaimer, I learned Japanese looong before lingQ and this is just my opinion, but I think an ajatt immersion input type program straight away will result in frustration/burn-out for all but the most masochistic. The script is too different and the grammar is upside down and inside out compared with English or Spanish. The LingQ mini-stories to me also seem to be too much so soon for beginners. In addition to the kana, there are dozens of Kanji right from lesson 1. It’s just too much for day one, like trying to drink out of a fire hose.

You can use LingQ and comprehensible input, of course, but I think you need to ramp up your capacity to understand in advance through some good old fashioned, and possibly tedious, study.

In your case I would:

  1. Learn Hiragana first. It is necessary. Brute force it. I’m sure there are good apps for this. Hiragana are almost always a guide for how to pronounce, so this will be worth the investment. Pronunciation should be easy for you as a Spanish speaker. Katakana can wait, unless you want to do them here.
  2. I’d use basic to intermediate course books, like Genki 1 and 2, and maybe Tango N5 and N4 for the example sentences with audio. There may be better ones, but I don’t “study” Japanese anymore, so I don’t know. These will help get the fundamentals of grammar and will ration the number of Kanji you have to learn at one time. (In native content, they come all at once). I think there are ready made Anki Decks with Audio embedded for the tango books or you might import sentences from those course books into LingQ (not sure about the audio import).
  3. Kanji. Many people swear by RTK, but if you won’t do it, then learn the Kanji as you go, and only the ones you run into. I did old fashioned flash cards (I was pre-Anki, too.) Recognizing is the most important thing. Japanese themselves have fallen out of the habit of writing due to computers and smartphones. I still think you should learn how to write the first few hundred, including stroke order. You can do this as you learn the meaning, or later, but there are many common components, and it will be easier to pick up new ones and notice differences if you have some experience writing them by hand. Also, I would not bother learning all the pronunciations or words with each Kanji, apart from the uses you run into. Learning the obscure ones is a waste of time.
  4. Once your done with the genki’s and have the kana and have learned 200-300+ kanji, you will be much better prepared for LingQ and the comprehensible input style of learning. I would at least try to get the free explanation of pitch accent (from Dogen or Matt vs Japan on youtube) at this point. You don’t need to remember all the details, but just have an idea that pitch matters in Japanese and what patterns you can listen for. Don’t too bogged down on this. From this point just go go go. If you still find the content you want to read too difficult, you can go the path of children’s books. There should be ample content in Japanese for all levels.

One more thing, some point out word splitting issues on LingQ. You can take the content, and ask chatGPT to add spaces between words. This will help clear up confusion you (or LingQ has.) for those lessons. It will also convert passages to all hiragana, or convert to a first (or nth) grade reading level if you wish to use that to adapt content to your level and import into LingQ.

Again, just my opinion. :slight_smile: Happy learning! がんばってください!


I think I’ve tried just about everything and I still wonder if I’m actually making progress. A lot of days, it doesn’t feel like it, but when I look back over the last three years, I can see I’m a lot more proficient more than I used to be.

I’ve tried the Anki thing, but even though I could get through the deck each day, it never felt like I was able to recognize those words when I encountered them anywhere else. It was super tedious and annoying, and I finally gave up and walked away forever from it.

The only thing that seems to work for me is lots and lots and lots of repetition, running across the words in different contexts, getting things wrong a lot and remembering my mistakes, and lots more repetition, and lots and lots of listening, reading, speaking, writing, questioning, doubting, forgetting, and remembering.

I don’t think I’ve learned a single Kanji just from reading lessons on LingQ, even after 430+ days. I even turned off the furigana hoping that would help, but no. Going through a book and writing them by hand seems to work for me, though. It makes me focus on every stroke, plus it’s just kind of fun writing them. But now that I’m into the N3-level kanji, I’m finding a lot of ones that look very similar, so I’m needing to learn to distinguish between them.

I think all in all, though, there’s really only one strategy that’s going to work: spend as much time as you possibly can in the language every single day, doing something that’s enjoyable and sustainable. When I’m dreaming in Japanese at night, that’s when I know I’m immersing enough.


@jf999 Personally, I have indeed done well with Lingq for learning kanji.

When it comes to memorizing kanji, although I initially tried to learn the 1000 most common kanji characters through Anki (using RTK), it didn’t work well for me. I had very low retention, the process was very tedious and long, and shortly after finishing, I forgot all of them.

What has worked much better for me has been using Lingq! I read many novels, and it’s a perfect SRS (Spaced Repetition System) for me. I hide the furigana for all words, and when I encounter a word I don’t know the reading of, I click to see it. If I know the word, I mark it as known, regardless of whether I know the reading or not.

This way:

  • I relieve the pressure on myself, as the number of known words increases without having to struggle with readings.
  • Since I have the reading in furigana hidden, it forces me to try to remember the reading, and if I’m not sure or can’t recall it, I have the reading just a click away, which doesn’t waste much time.
  • Since the same novel often uses a set of words more frequently, by the end of the reading, I’m able to remember the readings for most of the words written in kanji in the novel.

The best part is that I’ve done this effortlessly, solely driven by my interest in reading the novel. I’m really happy with this approach; the process is easier and more enjoyable. For obscure or infrequent words, I understand that I won’t be able to avoid Anki, but for common words, it’s perfect. Additionally, I’ve noticed that it has improved my intuition when trying to “guess” the reading of some words written in kanji.

How do you use lingq concerning kanji readings?

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Up until recently, I’ve mainly been doing reading + listening. I turned off the furigana a long time ago, thinking that might help me learn the kanji better. But I realized that listening while reading makes it too easy to gloss over kanji I don’t know. Now I’m allotting some time to pure reading, and I think that’s helping. I’m also practicing writing the kanji by hand, since I’m old school and I just enjoy writing them.

It’s too early to say how effective this new method is, but at the least, it’s a new set of challenges to keep things interesting. I just need to give myself about 1,000 years, and I’m sure I’ll be fluent by then.