Duolingo Wiki
Duolingo Wiki
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10.9M learners
(updated since Sep 3, 2021)
Courses teaching Japanese EnglishChinese
Status Available ✓
Amount 6
Skills in each Checkpoint from 20-26 (checkpoints 1 to 6), 10 (first checkpoint)
Amount 131
Skills See Skills

Japanese is a Japonic language spoken mainly in Japan by roughly 125 million total speakers.

This course was created by the Duolingo staff and released on the website version on October 11th, 2017.[1]


As of January 2016, Duolingo staff noted that for Japanese:

"The biggest challenge for us is teaching the writing system. Duolingo currently does not have a good way of teaching new character sets, but we’ll be working on that soon", Luis von Ahn (2016) [2].

As of the summer 2017, Japanese is available to English speakers on Android and Apple devices, which first teach a few characters then teach simple words employing them. The first words taught are the counting words for one to four i.e. ichi, ni, san, yon.

Duolingo Course Binder PDF[]

The entire Duolingo Japanese Course as documented by the Fandom Community will be made available soon on PDF. Allow us to complete it first!

External resources[]

Input methods[]

The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine Gate/Torī ((とり)())

Main article: Guide to keyboard layouts and input methods



Reading texts[]

Writing practice[]

Listening comprehension[]

Grammar references[]

Language learning platforms[]

  • Bunpo for Android and iPhone (subscription-based with a small amount of free content)
  • Busuu.com (To learn and practice grammar and vocabulary, practice writing and have it graded by native speakers, and to live chat with Japanese speakers)
  • Elon.io (For learning and practicing grammar & vocabulary, kanji & kana, and for (video) chat with peers)
  • Lingoci Japanese tutoring via Skype (1-on-1 tutoring with experienced, native Japanese tutors. Cost is $20-$25 per hour. They offer a free trial session. Great for improving your speaking and pronunciation.)
  • LingoDeer for Android, iPhone, and web (subscription based, incredibly well thought out Japanese course w/ specific grammar & Kanji help)
  • Nihongo Master (Learn Japanese online with lessons, tools and a big community)
  • Minato (self-study courses, tutor-supported courses, and community created by The Japan Foundation)


Duolingo vs. the JLPT[]

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験, Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken) is Japan's official measure of a person's Japanese competency. The levels vary from N5 (lowest) to N1 (highest).

Taking the test has advantages. But up to what level can Duolingo take you, that is the question:

Graph of how Duolingo compares to the JLPT. The Duo course used is an old one

The graph[3] shown (which is cropped; click on image to see in full) indicates Duolingo covers only about 15% the lexis for JLPT N1. Which means an additional resource such as this Memrise Course will be required to cover for the 85% defect, which is about 2000 more words.

This reddit user points out that the N1 is "at best a high-school level understanding", and is nowhere near native-level. However, despite the N1 is not comprehensive, achieving at least that level will definitely make progress towards Japanese mastery.

This Wikipedia page gives more formal vocabulary lists for all the N-level tests, but in a less-learnable and gamified format.

See Also[]