Let's say Japanese animes are not exciting enough for you. What should you go for if you're looking for more tools to learn Japanese?

Well, I've got good news for you!

Japanese television is very diverse, which means anime is not your only option. Japan is a country where many great movies are produced.

Pick a movie that feels right for your level, and you'll be surprised by how fast your Japanese progresses by watching Japanese films. It also is a great tool to learn Japanese and get your Japanese listening skill to another level.


Why Should You Learn Japanese with Japanese Movies?

There are numerous benefits to learning Japanese through movies rather than textbooks.

  1. You’re learning real, colloquial Japanese, the way it’s spoken. Yes, the lines in movies can sometimes be exaggerated, but most of the time, it's natural enough. On top of that, you'll learn Japanese conversational etiquette, social customs, and many more.

  2. You learn from a great variety of speakers. By watching Japanese movies, you're exposed to different accents, styles, and ways of speaking.

  3. When you have fun doing something, you'll want to keep doing it. This theory applies to language learning as well. Not only is watching Japanese movies fun, but it also sharpens your listening skill and expands your vocabulary.

  4. You learn about Japanese culture. If you want to communicate and connect with Japanese speakers on a deeper level, then it helps to know more about their culture.

Learn Japanese with These Six Japanese Movies

  1. おくりびと (Departures)

They are a group of people whom you wish you didn't have to meet. But at the same time, you need them as your loved ones have come to the end of their journeys.

Daigo is forced to find a new job because his orchestra disbands. Daigo moves back to his hometown, Yamagata ken, and looks for a new career. He applies for a position which he thought was working at a travel agent. Then, he finds out it's a job in the death industry, which is an industry that's not accepted by the norm in Japan. Thus, Daigo has to lie about his work to his wife and friends. Throughout the film, he becomes more emotionally involved in the job than he ever expected.

When they see Daigo at work, his friends and family come around and learn to accept and appreciate Daigo's work.

  1. 歩いても歩いても (Still Walking)

What's your definition of "home"? Sometimes the image of a home gets blurry, and we tend to forget the essence of a family.

The Yokoyama family gets together every year for the anniversary of the death of the elder son, Junpei, who passed away when he tried to save a boy from the ocean. Ryota, one of the surviving children of the Yokoyama family, doesn't go home very often because he can't fulfill his parents' expectations. Everyone in the family seems to get along with each other, but the truth is, they rarely talk to each other or see each other. Even so, they are still a family- they fight, they make peace with each other, they argue, and they compromise.

What's home? Try to ask yourself what the taste of home is; a flavor that is so unique and unforgettable.

  1. 海街diary (Our Little Sister)

All siblings fight, but after the storms, you learn to cherish each other more.

At their father's funeral, the Kouda sisters meet their stepsister Suzu for the first time. Suzu's biological mother passed away when she was younger, and her stepmom doesn't treat her well. Sachi, the oldest sister of the Kouda family, decides to bring Suzu back to their house in the countryside after the funeral.

Their pains and scars from their childhoods are healed by the time they spend together in the house.

  1. そして父になる (Like Father, Like Son)

As a parent, what's more important- a blood relationship or a relationship that's nurtured by time?

The Nonomiya family receives a call from the hospital out of the blue and discovers that Keita, a 6-year-old boy whom they've been raising for six years, is not their biological son. And his birth parents have their son. Follow by the phone call, a series of incidents occur between the Nonomiya and Saiki families due to almost opposite family values. The two families agree to switch the boys back, but sometimes, a relationship that's built by time is a lot stronger than a blood relationship.

Throughout the ups and downs, Ryota learns to reevaluate his outlook on family and to trust people and his family again.

  1. 君の膵臓をたべたい (Let Me Eat Your Pancreas)

Don't let the horror-movie-like title scare you! Let Me Eat Your Pancreas is actually an old-schooled tearjerker.

Sakura Yamauchi, a popular high-school student, is dying from a pancreatic disease. Her unnamed geeky classmate comes across her diary and learns her secret one day. Yamauchi asks him to keep the secret, and soon, they become good friends. He helps her check off her bucket list, and she helps him open up more to people.

But life is not all sunshine and rainbows, just when he decides to go after Yamauchi, life happens...

How to Learn Japanese with Movies If You're a Beginner

So you're a beginner in Japanese learning, you might wonder how you're supposed to learn Japanese by watching films if you can't even understand 90% of the movie. It's okay to turn English subtitles on the first time you watch a movie, so you don't fall asleep within the first five minutes. Films aren't as fun when you're lost.

After you've watched the film once with English subtitles, try to watch it again with Japanese subtitles, or if you are advanced enough, turn off the subtitles and focus on how native speakers pronounce the words. P.S. It's okay to break the movie up into sections. You don't have to finish it at once.

What if you are still not comfortable with the idea of learning with movies?

Glossika is here to help! Our spaced repetition training builds up your understanding of the grammar by familiarizing you little by little with various sentence structures and patterns. We'll help get you ready and comfortable with listening to Japanese in full-sentences.

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