Today’s podcast recommendation is the Manga Sensei podcast, a podcast that offers great Japanese lessons in just 5 minutes each episode!
The podcast is hosted by John (Manga Sensei) who is our helpful guide to the Japanese language. Most of the Manga Sensei episodes are language-focused, where each episode covers a different grammar point.
Grammar point focused episodes will provide an explanation of the grammar point – for example, how to conjugate it and when it used, alongside a few examples.
Outside of grammar study, the Manga Sensei podcast also has interviews with people who regularly use Japanese, normally people who live in Japan and/or write about the Japanese language. There are also episodes that focus on helpful language learning tips for Japanese (or any language) such as bridging the gap between intermediate and advanced (episode from May 14, 2018).
Why I like the Manga Sensei podcast
One of the best things about the podcast is how much John sensei manages to cover in a relatively short period of time. Somehow in just five-minute episodes, he has been able to fit in some interesting insight on how grammar points are used, without it feeling too overwhelming. Not only that but with over 250 episodes, there is plenty of content to listen to – new episodes are also uploaded on a daily basis! The type of Japanese covered in the grammar episodes includes more informal speech and is generally more natural than what you might get from a textbook.
In addition, in every episode, John comes across as an enthusiastic teacher who really wants everyone to do the very best with Japanese study. The Manga Sensei ethos is all about knowing you’ll make mistakes and doing it anyway, which I think is the best way to approach languages.
The episodes have not been produced in order of grammar difficulty so you may find yourself searching around for a little while if there is a particular grammar point you are stuck on (if you are a beginner to intermediate Japanese learner, he has most likely covered the grammar point in an episode already!).
Who I recommend the podcast for
I think that this podcast is good for anyone studying Japanese, as the grammar points covered range from the basics up to more sophisticated aspects of the language.
I always like to hear about the same grammar points explained in different ways (as I think it helps to really deepen your understanding of how certain aspects of the language work), and so I think the podcast is a nice compliment to someone who is taking classes or self-studying using a textbook. I also find that the interview episodes are really fun and perfect for when I need some study motivation!
I definitely suggest checking out The Manga Sensei site. Every week there are short manga posted on the website that are designed to help you learn Japanese.
I’d probably recommend these short manga to upper beginners as there is no furigana on the manga itself, although each panel comes with a vocabulary list and helpful notes on the language used.
If you are intending to read manga in Japanese at some point, these notes are pretty useful – you’ll note that the language used is closer to how Japanese is spoken rather than what you might learn in a formal setting.
Aside from that, the website’s blog has a number of posts on the Japanese language (expanding upon a lot of the topics covered in the grammar episodes) and culture, which is all very useful for learners.
Have you tried this podcast? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!