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I recently came across an awesome application called Anki which has a great number of shared decks (flashcards) for download. With the large number of decks (as well as the possibility of some containing poor translations), I was quickly overwhelmed with choices.

Has anyone had success using Anki to learn Japanese, and if so what decks would you recommend for a beginner? I'm comfortable with hiragana/katakana, but need work in everything else (vocab/kanji/syntax).

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Indeed, this is off-topic for JLU. But lucky you, an attempt at gathering such type of resources is ongoing in Meta: meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/756/… –  Dave Apr 20 '12 at 6:56
@Dave that's great; thank you! –  Moses Apr 20 '12 at 15:13
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closed as off topic by Dave M G, ジョン, Dave Apr 20 '12 at 6:56

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Unfortunately, the stack exchange system is really designed for a rather specific question and answer format. This format doesn't really fit well with asking for more general advice like this. I expect this question will probably be closed and/or moved to meta as soon as a moderator sees it.

In spite of the above, I do have a few comments. The Anki author strongly recommends that you populate your deck with cards from study material that you encounter yourself, such as your textbook or a story that you're attempting to read. This is the way I've used anki for the last 5 years or so. With that said, he's also provided a means of sharing decks, and some of them have proven to be quite popular.

The easiest shared decks to recommend are the ones based on the smart.fm decks, Core 2000 and Core 6000. These are particularly good because audio and image files are available to help you practice both reading and speaking/hearing. These core decks are following a study philosophy that's popular in SRS (spaced repetition system) circles of being sentence focused. AJATT covers some of the reasons for this.

Another alternative study method is MCD. It addresses a few concerns about a sentence focused method by giving you more context that a given kanji fits into. On the flip side of this, MCD is really designed for studying kanji, and I'm unsure if it provides any benefit for studying the grammar or spoken aspects of the language.

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