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Modern Languages

A guide to resources for learning modern languages at TWU.


miho no matsubara
Miho no Matsubara woodblock print by Hiroshige

Newspapers 新聞

A number of the major Japanese daily newspapers have English versions.

Asahi Shimbun

The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun)

The Japan Times (Japan's largest English-language newspaper)

Books & E-books

chiyonofuji dohyoiri
Sumo Yokozuna Chiyonofuji - Ring-entering Ceremony Photo - Duncan Dixon

E-books – We have more than 800 books on Japan available through EBSCOhost e-books. Browse them here. You can search within these results by adding another search term.

We also have a number of e-books on Japanese language, although most of them are specialized linguistics books. Browse them here. You can search within these results by adding another search term.

Print Books

The library has a small number of print books on Japan, Japanese language, and Japanese culture.

  • Literature in translation – PL 528 – PL 898
  • History – DS 800 – DS 899
  • Religion – BL2200 – BL 2229
  • Christianity in Japan - BR 1305 – 1317
  • Dictionaries - PL 679 (in Reference on the Main Level)

Phone & Tablet Apps

japanese lantern

Both the Apple App Store and Google Play have numerous Japanese language learning apps for tablets and smartphones. Many of them are free, but aren't very good. 

One I've used that I've purchased and find useful is the iPad/iPhone app KanjiBox. They also have a free online version.

Online Dictionaries オンライン辞典

waei-eiwa jiten

To make the most of Japanese-English, English-Japanese dictionaries, you'll need to be able to read hiragana. Most allow you to enter terms in Romaji, kanji, hiragana, or katakana.

Jisho A good dictionary with an easy-to-use interface. Has example sentences with furigana. 

Sanseido Web Dictionary More geared towards Japanese native speakers.

WWWJDIC: Online Japanese Dictionary Service Jim Breen's online dictionary. The interface is unpolished, but the dictionaries are first-rate.

Japanese on Computers

Japanese clipart
Vintage Mac Clipart Japanese "Heaven and Earth" Scroll II: Earth. Enzan-Hoshigumi Co Ltd, Tokyo.

Mac Computers

  • See Christopher Bolton's Japanese on Your Mac for instructions on how to set up your Mac for writing Japanese.
  • You can also set up your Mac to read Japanese text aloud. 

Windows Computers

Japanese Dictionaries on Macs

Shimada-shi Obi Matsuri - Photo Duncan Dixon

  1. All newer Mac computers have a built-in dictionary app which includes a Japanese-English / English-Japanese dictionary, monolingual Japanese dictionary, and a Japanese thesaurus. 
  2. To access them, open the dictionary app on your Mac,
  3. Click on Dictionary in the menu bar and choose preferences.Dictionary preferences
  4. Click the box next to the dictionaries you want to activate and drag them to your preferred order. Now when you launch the dictionary app, you'll be able to search for Japanese.Choosing your dictionaries
  5. Control clicking on a Japanese kanji will automatically look up the word in the dictionary and give you the reading in hiragana. 
    control click

Online Resources for Hiragana, Katakana, & Kanji Practice

hiragana katakana kanji

Practice sites for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

Practice sheets for learning to write PDF:

  • Hiragana (Contains examples with stroke order)
  • Katakana (Contains examples with stroke order)
  • Kanji (Lined paper only. No examples)