Fun Link Friday: Online games for Japanese study

It was my hope to do Fun Link Friday with some online Japanese learning games, but to my disappointment, most of the games out there are aimed at beginners learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Once you hit a decently advanced level, most of what’s out there is just JLPT flash cards! Well, I’ll save that for another post focusing just on advanced vocabulary and kanji materials. For now, maybe you’ll find it fun to cruise through some of these games and remember the good old days when studying for a quiz meant the hardest kanji you’d have to write was 勉強. 😉 Some of the kanji games at the bottom do touch on more difficult material, though, so be sure to take a look.

  • Ultimate Kana Challenge: This is for the basics of learning the proper chart order of hiragana and katakana. I gave it a spin and was surprised to find out 1) I actually still get mixed up on the chart, seven years later 2) just how hard is it to concentrate on finding a character that’s floating around in a sea of characters!
  • Java game of hiragana and katakana: I don’t know about you, but katakana still trips me up sometimes. This game is very simple, but you might surprise yourself. It’s neat that it’s timed and you can see the best score to try to beat it, too.
  • Concentration games: Here you’ll find flash games for the Yookoso textbooks for vocabulary (meaning) and kanji (reading and meaning) through 2nd year Japanese.
  • Transitive and intransitive pairs: I spent a lot of time during my second year agonizing over getting these right. Complete with little moving pictures and contextual sentences, this site has seven levels of 自動詞 and 他動詞 words for a total of 70 practice sets.
  • Kanji Game: This site might actually be helpful even to advanced learners. There are sets of individual kanji and compounds, the former of which has 67 levels of difficulty, and the latter 30. So despite the old school comic sans font and bright blue background, there’s still a lot of value to studying the meaning of kanji and compound sets using this site from MSU.
  • Kanji Invader: Unfortunately for Mac only, this game mimics Space Invaders for kanji from the Nakama 1 & 2 textbooks. I’d tell you more about it, but I’m a PC!
  • JRPG: This kanji learning game (Windows) is styled after classic SNES RPG games. I haven’t played it myself yet, but the description says that some of the kanji demons reach the difficulty of JLTP Level 2, so it might be worth taking a look at!

These are just a handful of the games I was able to scrounge up. I also found some games for very advanced learners on some Japanese sites, but I’ll save those for next time as well. If you have a particular game you like or find useful, please leave a comment or email us at so we can include it in a future post!

Next week look forward to a special FLF games post on Hanafuda by Rachel! Happy clicking!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of graduate life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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