Best free apps to learn Japanese: Akebi

Best Free Japanese Apps


One of the most important things for busy students is to be able to study wherever you are. A good set of mobile apps can make the difference to turn idle time into productive time.

This is the first of a series of posts in which I’m going to share with you my favourite apps for studying Japanese (trust me, in over six years of studying Japanese I tried A LOT of them). I’m going to focus on free or freemium apps.

First thing you need is a good dictionary. I have several that I like  (=more posts to come), but the one I use the most on my Android smartphone is Akebi

Here’s what you see when you open the app:


You can search words or single characters in Japanese or English; moreover, if you tap on the search label and then on the + symbol, you can use handwriting or search by radicals (note that stroke count and stroke order is important for the app to recognize your handwriting, search by radicals is very useful when handwriting fails):


When you search something, you get definitions, alternative writing, examples, word info, a button to add the word to a list, conjugations and kanji details. Pretty useful, isn’t it?

One of the features I like the most are lists. I use them a lot when I play Japanese games to save interesting expressions or unknown words, especially words you commonly see in hiragana (I’m looking at you, 貴方).

Just create a new list and then tap on the circle to activate it (you can have one active list at a time). The good thing is that you can test your knowledge by tapping on flashcard quiz. Unfortunately, it doesn’t use SRS (space repetition system), but you can export your list to a txt file, so you could probably work out a way to import it into Anki or whatever you use (I never tried though, so I’m not sure how straightforward that would be). 


Another interesting function I should probably use more is Kanji Grid. You can download preset kanji (jouyou or JLPT) and then choose the ones to test:


That’s all. Give it a try and you won’t regret it.

Stay tuned for more reviews!

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