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Japanese is the language of Japan. Unlike most other major languages in the world, it is and has always been spoken in one country. This makes its history distinctive in many important respects, and directly influences the modern language as it is spoken and written by around 125 million Japanese natives, and another million non-native speakers.

Japanese Dictionaries

Japanese Slang and Colloquialisms - Like all people, the Japanese have a wide variety of earthy, pithy, and even rough and rude ways of talking about life. Covered here are the words and phrases often ignored in dictionaries, and often unacknowledged by the Japanese themselves.

Japanese Idioms - A collection of common idioms, from the formal to the colloquial and regional, with romanized versions for people who don't read Japanese, and natural English translations and explanations.

Japanese Proverbs and Sayings - A practical, complete guide to the many proverbs and sayings used in the modern language. Newspapers, speeches, even television and movie dialog routinely use these, so knowing them is vital.

Japanese Language Reference

Japanese Counters - A thorough list of all the counters used in Japanese; essential if you want to speak like the natives, and understand what you are hearing or reading.

What Does My Name Mean in Japanese? - A quick and dirty guide to the reality that English names do not mean anything in Japanese and why.

Japanese Names - A simple guide to how to tell if a first name in Japanese belongs to a man or a woman. No ability to read Japanese Kanji required.

Moshi-moshi - A simple guide to how to start a telephone conversation, whether you are making or receiving the call.

San, Sama, Chan, and Chama - An overview of these four common name suffixes, and when and how to use each.

The Hardest Language in the World - A discussion about why Japanese may be the most difficult language in the world to learn.

Spooky Numbers in Japanese - An overview of the probems associated with four and nine in Japanese.

Cultural Reference

Translation Error in Japan's Constitution describes the problem with Article 9 wherein Japan renounces war, and how the Japanese and English versions say different things.

The Japanese National Anthem - "Kimi ga Yo", the national anthem of Japan, here in Japanese and English, with a bit of history, too.

Iwo Jima No More - An explanation of the history of the name of this little island made famous during WWII and more recently in two Clint Eastwood films.

External Linkslink

Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Japanese Dictionary Server - An excellent, free dictionary for everyday, general language.

WebLSD, the online Life Sciences Dictionary from the University of Kyoto is a great place to search for biology, medical, and related terms in English or Japanese.

JapanesePod 101 is an excellent resource for learning Japanese, using a combination of podcasts and downloadable content. The podcasts are free, but learning materials require a subscription.