Resources for Kids Learning JP

Hi there.

My family and I plan to move to Japan in a year or two. We’ve all been studying the language to varying degrees for over a year and a half.

When we move there, I’d like my kids to have similar Japanese knowledge to someone their age in Japan (at least as much as we can, being non-native speakers).

My wife homeschools the kids, so this is a great opportunity for us to equip them.

I’m wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction when it comes to the curriculum that Japanese schools use in elementary school. I’m a teacher by trade, so even a list of all the things they learn in each grade would be a great starting point.

My oldest is 7 (2nd grade) and he knows the hiragana and katakana, and about 500 words.

The next is 5 (kindergarten) and she’s learning the hiragana now and knows a good handful of words.

Our whole family has been listening to music and watching anime together for immersion.

And advice or tips? Thank you!

I get the feeling that your entire family will likely find this resource useful. The site also contains links to various other websites focused on extensive reading which can be useful for finding even more difficult reading once you’ve hit the end of this site’s free book list, or for finding more reading at a specific level if going up to the next one is proving difficult.


Thank you very much, I will check these out! It will be good to have some reading resources!

I live in Tokyo and have three kids (5, 3, 6mo). We really have seen a lot of success with shows that are at or below their age level (inai nai ba, doraemon, etc.) and have found the YouTube channel, Super Simple Songs Japanese, to be great for vocab, hearing, and pronunciation. Of course, reading books to them is great!

Your children will learn so much while playing once they arrive, and depending on what you choose for schooling here, can really catch on quickly. Speaking to them around the house with simple things is also very helpful.

Encourage, encourage, encourage! The more you speak with them and celebrate their efforts the more they will try.

I hope the move goes well!

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Thanks for your response! We’ve watched a lot of Anpanman and Super Simple Songs, but haven’t heard of inai nai ba yet, so thanks for that. This video covering the writing systems has been a favorite in our home.

Thanks for the advice!

If you use a VPN, Hulu Japan has a kids section. I recently sat down and watched hours of stop motion and cartoons in Japanese with a friend’s kid (she’s 7). Peppa the Pig in Japanese went over very well. They also have a lot of subtitles in Japanese for what is being said, which I find extremely useful. That said, Netflix has Japanese audio dub for almost every show they put out.

Seems like as young as you are starting them, I’d almost argue they are dual native. Most 7 year olds can barely read or write anyway. Do you have children’s books you read them? Harry Potter in Japanese is pretty fun.

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Drills for a variety of topics for the lower grades.

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Thanks for the streaming recommendations!

And thanks. I hope to pass on everything I learn to them so that they can learn the language too. We’ve been reading books, but no novels yet. Some day I’ll get to Harry Potter!

THIS! This is exactly the type of thing I was looking for! Thank you! How did you find this?

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Since I’m trying to learn Kanji the Japanese school grade way, one of the resources I stumbled upon was that one.

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These go up to 小3 and cover Math, Kanji, and Reading Comprehension. The Math one may be something the older one can work on independently which could be quite motivating, on top of gathering the dragon posters.

Since you are planning to move there, I would say to spend 50+% of your time working on speaking.

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For kanji, a 漢字辞典 [かんじ じてん]would be good. My older kid has a 2 tone pocket sized book and my younger kid has a massive, full-color, すみっコぐらし one. They cover, by grade, how to read and write the 1026 kanji learned in primary school and include examples of common words for each kanji.

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Do you have links to those books?

This is the pocket sized book. It’s out of print because it only has 1006 kanji. The standard is now 1026 kanji. My daughter loves the format so we haven’t replaced it.


Different publisher but this is another popular pocket sized book with the 1026 standard kanji

Yet another popular pocket sized book
正しく書ける 正しく使える 小学全漢字1026

And its Jr High School companion
正しく書ける 正しく使える 中学全漢字1110

The full color book - same information but make it cute
すみっコぐらし はじめての漢字辞典


These help provide a great direction, thank you! And thanks for your advice on practicing speaking. I’m currently practicing with a friend from Okinawa at work, but you’re making me consider also doing some iTalki on top of that.

Thank you for this and your other post! This really helps!

(reposted from previous post to make it a reply)

That’s interesting. It seems to be similar to Kanji Kentei but aimed for kids.

If you want a workbook in a similar style, Kanji Kentei exists for kids levels 10 to 6, which should cover the 小学生 levels:

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