(Many foreigners have been learning Japanese through manga and anime due to its popularity outside of Japan. Due to the fact that many phrases in anime are not used in normal Japanese conversation, can you learn real Japanese from anime/manga)

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    this question MAY be off topic. not sure though Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 2:42
  • I was kinda of thinking of the same thing but there are some linguistic elements in this question as well due to the fact that anime and manga have stereotypical characters that use certain type of speech patterns.
    – Ken Li
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 2:45
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    – Ken Li
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 2:49

6 Answers 6


I have a friend (anecdotal, of course) who has lived in Japan for 11 years. He learned Japanese only 3 ways: (a) girlfriends, (b) manga & anime, and (c) male Japanese friends.

His pronunciation is very natural; he's so comfortable in the dirtier parts of the language that he can bawl out a taxi driver. I've witnessed him tear apart a guy on the street who had thrown his cigarette butt on the ground.

In a sense, his Japanese is REALLY GOOD. Yet, when we took the JLPT1 test together, I beat him by a point, even though I can't talk like he can. My knowledge of kanji and grammar is far better than his.

So, I suppose it's what your goal is. Do you want to be conversational, or are you really fascinated by the language itself, and thus want to know all of its various grammars as well?

  • do you mean he learn all the basics from his japanese friends (which i assumed speak english).. or did he started with a textbook?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 3:36
  • He may have started with a textbook, but I don't think he ever did more than a few classes here and there with a textbook.
    – makdad
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 11:00
  • wow that's cool. because to be frank i really just want to be conversational..
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 13:16

While i agree with you that there is a lot of Japanese from anime that can't be used in daily conversation, it can still be a valuable learning tool in ear training, pronunciation, culture acquisition and vocabulary acquisition. And knowing the culture goes along way towards learning how the language is used.

  • +1 for ear training and pronunciation.
    – Amanda S
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 4:10

I'm old school and when I started to learn Japanese it was for the "good" reason. Love of the culture and will to go there to work.

After a few years, the manga/anime wave invaded the West and we witnessed an increase in registrations (university) of about 200% or even more with overcrowded classrooms. (when I started, there were days when I was alone in the class room with the teacher!)

All these new students came for the same reason: Mangas are cool! (and interestingly the number of attendance dropped radically after the second year...)

To answer the question: I see more and more students (and questions from beginners here) using manga-like sentences. They understand the meaning but they don't know how and when to use it (usually they shouldn't use it at all)

We could see 20 years old boys talking like 10 years old kawai girls or 20 years old girls talking like yakuzas! Needless to say they looked pretty stupid during their home-stay in Japan.

Except these 2 extremes (which we witnessed quite often), students coming from a manga background had more vocabulary than "normal" students and learned more easily new things (although keeping their bad habit of speaking like a girl, a cute kid or a yakuza)

Their understanding of grammar and knowledge of kanji was generally very poor though.

In conclusion:

Avoid learning from manga until you're at a level where you can make the difference between what you hear and what you can say.

Tv, drama and radio are ok though. They show you a lot of real life use of the language.


Well, when you are learning a language, everything would be useful, even Anime, TV commercials, and also even spam emails will let you learn a lot.

You just need to adjust or choose more common/polite usages when you really use it.

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    Given the grammatical quality of the spam I get in English, I don't think I want to trust learning from it in Japanese.
    – jkerian
    Commented Sep 12, 2011 at 21:32


(probably awkward grammatically).

I think it's fine. If you're reading manga, it will bring up your reading level and you'll soon be able to read proper Japanese. Bringing up your reading level is the most important thing.


The largest part of learning a language is vocabulary training, especially in Japanese where you pretty much have at least two words for every single thing. For that, Manga and Anime are not the most practical (you learn a lot of vocabulary you do not really need all that often), but on the other hand, knowing more words is always good, even if they are not common at all.

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