10 Best Movies & Shows to Learn Japanese on Netflix [For Beginners]

You've been hitting the Japanese textbooks hard, putting in serious hours with apps and classroom time. But let's keep it real- at some point, you need to take your language skills out for a spin in the real world if you want to truly level up.

The good news is that you can actually challenge yourself to learn Japanese and get a taste of its rich culture through one sneaky resource: Netflix! That's right, the streaming giant has a whole bunch of awesome Japanese TV series and films just waiting for you to explore.

And if you use Netflix with the Lingopie extension on your browser, you can access more language-learning features like dual subtitles, grammar coach, and instant translations.

Now, I know what you're thinking - not all Japanese movies and TV shows are gonna be beginner-friendly. That's why I've taken it upon myself to curate the best of the best for you total newbies. In this guide, you'll find the cream of the crop - shows and films that you can watch on repeat and actually learn something while being thoroughly entertained.

Table of Contents

  1. Learning Japanese with Netflix and Lingopie
  2. 10 Best Shows and Movies to Learn Japanese on Netflix
  3. FAQs About Learning Japanese with TV shows and movies
  4. Summing Up: 10 Best Shows to Learn Japanese on Netflix

Learning Japanese with Netflix and Lingopie

Now, I know you've probably been binge-watching your fair share of Japanese shows and anime on Netflix, right? It's an awesome way to immerse yourself in the language and culture. But let me tell you, adding Lingopie to the mix is like strapping a rocket booster to your learning experience.

Lingopie is this nifty little extension that gives you interactive subtitles. Yup, you can pause, rewind, and analyze every line of dialogue in real time. No more rewinding endlessly or missing those crucial context clues.

Lingopie also hooks you up with detailed video-based flashcards and quizzes based on the shows you're watching. Talk about reinforcing what you've learned and solidifying those concepts like a boss!

I remember the first time I used Lingopie while binge-watching one of my favorite anime shows. Instead of feeling lost or overwhelmed, I felt empowered. I could dissect each sentence, look up unfamiliar words, and even try my hand at speaking along with the characters. It was like having a personal language tutor by my side, guiding me through the nuances of Japanese conversation.

And you know what the best part is? I didn't feel like I was just studying – I was genuinely enjoying the shows and immersing myself in the culture. It's a win-win situation!


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10 Best Shows and Movies to Learn Japanese on Netflix

Without further ado, here is our carefully curated list of the 10 best Japanese TV shows and movies on Netflix for learners of all levels.

1. Drifting Home

Drifting Home is a touching Japanese anime about Kosuke Kumagaya and Natsume Tonai, who have been close friends since childhood and their evolving friendship. One summer day, Kosuke, along with classmates, decides to explore a "ghost housing complex" scheduled for demolition. This place holds cherished memories from Kosuke and Natsume's childhood. When a heavy rainstorm hits, the housing complex is suddenly drifting in the middle of the ocean. Adventure ensues for the children.

If you are studying Japanese at a beginner level, you can use this show to explore the nuances of friendship, informal language, basic greetings, and individuality in Japanese culture.

2. Love Like the Falling Petals

Love Like the Falling Petals is a Japanese movie that follows a young hairdresser, Misaki, and a man who is very interested in pursuing a romance with her, called Haruto. Misaki eventually agrees to go on a date with Haruto and the two get on very well. That is, until Misaki falls suddenly ill and is told by a doctor that she has a disease that ages her rapidly. With only a year to fight this debilitating disease, she cuts Haruto out of her life and pursues a cure with her big brother.

Watch this movie to pick up more vocabulary related to love, work, health, and emotions. This is a good pick for beginner and intermediate-level learners.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist is a popular anime series set in a world where alchemy is a prevalent practice. The story revolves around two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who embark on a perilous journey to find the Philosopher's Stone to restore their bodies after a failed alchemical experiment. Along the way, they encounter dark secrets, moral dilemmas, and intense battles.

This thought-provoking anime series has a more complex narrative than some of the others on the list, and it explores themes of science, ethics, redemption, and the profound bond between siblings. It's a great show for intermediate learners to pick up some new vocabulary specific to science and the supernatural.

4. Homunculus

Homunculus is a psychological thriller movie based on the manga series of the same name. The story revolves around a young man who agrees to undergo an experimental procedure that awakens his sixth sense. As he interacts with individuals who possess distorted perceptions, he unravels dark secrets and confronts his own inner demons.

This mind-bending series delves into themes of identity, reality, and the nature of existence. This is one of the more popular Japanese tv shows on Netflix and Japanese learners can enjoy the gripping plot while also noting the messages behind the drama and what this show says about Japanese society.

5. Ride or Die

Ride or Die is a gripping Japanese film that explores the complexities of love and self-discovery. The story follows two women, Rei and Nanae, who have an unexpected reunion following the murder of Nanae's husband. As their bond deepens, they confront their past traumas and grapple with their desires, leading to a series of shocking and emotional revelations. This intense and thought-provoking film challenges societal norms and delves into themes of freedom, authenticity, and the transformative power of love.

If you want to learn Japanese fast, sink your teeth into this great movie that pushes the social boundaries of Japanese society and develop your vocabulary about love, loss, feelings, and desires.

6. A Whisker Away

A Whisker Away is an enchanting Japanese anime film in which the main character, a young girl named Miyo, uses a magical mask to transform into a cat and spend time with her crush. As she navigates her dual identity and faces unexpected consequences, she learns valuable lessons about self-acceptance, empathy, and the importance of genuine connections. This visually stunning and emotionally resonant film explores themes of friendship, identity, and the transformative power of love.

By engaging with this anime, you will learn vocabulary related to school, pick up on how teenagers in Japan talk to one another, and get insight into Japanese cuisine, culture, and societal expectations regarding academic success.

7. A Family

This Japanese film, also known as Yakuza and the Family, is about the Yakuza organized crime group in Japan. The movie offers a surprisingly authentic portrayal of the yakuza's decline due to new anti-gang laws enacted in the 2010s. This fresh perspective sets A Family apart from other recent Yakuza films by appealing not only to genre enthusiasts but also to a wider audience interested in exploring the intricate realities of contemporary Japanese society.

If you love the themes in A Family, you will find a wide range of other films and Japanese TV shows about the Yakuza. These films and Japanese TV shows can help you to develop speaking skills as you tune into the slang, informal language, tone of voice, and delivery of the characters.

8. Mother

The Japanese movie Mother is a bit difficult to watch at times, as it tells the story of a woman and her son who have to navigate life problems like poverty, violence, and co-dependence in a world that is not geared up to support them. The little boy should be in elementary school, but instead, he faces challenges far beyond his years. You can learn Japanese language related to money, abuse, and familial love by engaging with this content.

You can also begin to spot Japanese grammar patterns in the dialogue, such as the way questions are formed and how different levels of formality and etiquette are used depending on who the speaker is addressing. Paying attention to these grammar concepts is also great listening comprehension practice.

9. We Couldn’t Become Adults

We Couldn't Become Adults is a narrative movie that weaves between two different time periods, 2020 and 1998, offering a non-linear exploration of Makoto's life. The story primarily unfolds in reverse, placing emphasis on Makoto's professional journey and his past romantic involvements. As he reminisces about his previous girlfriends, he contemplates the advice they imparted to him and contemplates the current paths they have chosen for themselves.

Advanced learners can enhance their Japanese studies by watching this movie and exploring themes of personal growth, the impact of past relationships, and the complexities of navigating one's own life while observing the lives of others.

10. Flavors of Youth

Flavors of Youth is a Japanese anime anthology film that explores the power of nostalgia and the transient nature of memories. The anthology is split into three parts: The Rice Noodles, A Little Fashion Show, and Love in Shanghai. Each story immerses you in beautifully animated landscapes and provides insight into life in China.

With its stunning visuals, evocative storytelling, and themes of self-discovery, Flavors of Youth presents a poignant reflection on the interconnectedness of human experiences.

FAQs About Learning Japanese with TV Shows and Movies

Now that you have explored this list of 10 awesome TV shows to learn Japanese, let’s look at some frequently asked questions regarding learning Japanese with TV.

Can you learn Japanese from watching Japanese TV shows?

Watching shows can be a valuable supplement to language learning, improving listening skills and cultural understanding. However, it's essential to combine it with other methods like studying grammar, practicing speaking, and actively engaging with the language for a well-rounded learning experience.

How can I learn the Japanese language on Netflix?

To learn Japanese on Netflix, choose shows with Japanese audio and subtitles. Start with simpler series, gradually progressing to more challenging ones. Use interactive subtitle extensions like Lingopie to pause, replay, and understand the dialogue. Supplement the shows with other language-learning resources and practice speaking outside of watching shows.

How difficult is it to learn Japanese?

Japanese is considered a moderately difficult language for English speakers. It has a different writing system, complex grammar, and distinct cultural nuances. However, with consistent study, dedication, and a tailored learning approach, it is certainly achievable to attain proficiency in Japanese. Watching TV in Japanese, talking to Japanese speakers, and taking language courses online are all great ways to learn more easily.

How many years does it take to learn Japanese fully?

The time required to learn Japanese fully varies depending on factors like your prior language-learning experience, study time invested per week, learning style, and immersion opportunities. Generally, it takes several years of dedicated study and practice to reach a high level of proficiency in Japanese.

Summing Up: 10 Best Shows to Learn Japanese on Netflix

In sum, exploring Japanese TV shows and movies on Netflix can be an excellent way to enhance your language-learning journey. From captivating anime series to heartwarming dramas, watching TV and movies provides a window into Japanese culture, language, and society.

By immersing yourself in rich narratives and engaging characters, you can improve your listening skills, expand your vocabulary, and gain a deeper understanding of the vernacular and Japanese grammar.

With the aid of interactive subtitle extensions like Lingopie, you can maximize your learning potential and actively engage with the content. So, grab your popcorn, cozy up on the couch, and embark on an exciting Japanese-language adventure with the 10 best shows and movies to learn Japanese on Netflix.

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