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The holiday season is coming. That’s right… it’s time to shop for Christmas gifts!
If you have a Japanese language learner in your life, what better present than something that celebrates their passion for Japan and Japanese!
That’s why I’ve put together a gift guide of top gifts for Japanese language learners.
With these Japanese gift ideas, you can help support them in their mission to learn Japanese, and give them a gift they can use every day during their study time.
You might even find something for yourself, too 😉
Gifts for Japanese language learners
Do you know someone trying to learn to read hiragana? This useful mug has a hiragana table printed on it. It will help them to practise every day while they’re drinking their coffee!
Dirty Japanese book
This would make an awesome gift for anyone who wants to know ‘real’ Japanese! This hilarious book teaches you everything you don’t learn from the textbooks, including Japanese swear words, dating terms, sex talk and insults.
Perfect gift for anyone who actually wants to live in Japan and make friends with the locals!
This epic kanji poster contains an amazing 2136 kanji! That is all the jōyō kanji (the kanji set by the government that Japanese schoolchildren are expected to learn by the time they graduate).
This is an amazing gift for anyone determined to become fluent in Japanese, or just for anyone who admires the beautiful Japanese writing system!
Hiragana and katakana flashcards
If 2136 kanji seem a little out of reach at the moment, why not start with hiragana and katakana! These are the two basic phonetic writing systems in Japan (similar to the Japanese alphabet).
For a beginner student of Japanese, the best thing you can do is become familiar with the kana. These are beautifully-designed flashcards which you can carry around with you to study on the go.
Click here for the hiragana set and here for katakana
JapanesePod101 gift subscription
JapanesePod101 is one of the best resources for online Japanese lessons (check out my review here to learn more).
They have literally thousands of Japanese lessons at every level and covering every topic. In my opinion, the best gift you could give a Japanese learner is access to this amazing collection of resources – they’ll be able to use and benefit from your gift every day, and well into the future!
Subscriptions can be for 1, 3, 6, 12 or 24 months, and there are different levels of access available, so this can be a gift suitable for any budget. They even offer gift vouchers.
Currently you can get 20% off any gift voucher with voucher code GIFT20!
Japanese From Zero
Are you looking for a gift for a language lover who’s thinking about starting Japanese?
Japanese From Zero is one of the best selling textbooks for beginners learning Japanese. It teaches hiragana (the most essential of the Japanese alphabets), basic grammar, and lots and lots of essential words and phrases for a visitor to Japan.
This would be a great gift for someone who’s always been interested in Japanese but hasn’t yet taken the plunge!
Kanji De Manga: Yoji-Jukugo
If you’re buying for someone a bit more advanced at Japanese, I love this book on yoji-jukugo. Yoji-jukugo are special Japanese idioms that are written with four kanji characters. They are essential learning for advanced Japanese speakers who want to speak like a native.
This book is not like an ordinary textbook: it has a cute manga drawing for each phrase, with a funny little story to make them super easy to remember! Check it out on the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon!
I love this cute mug with koohii (the Japanese word for coffee) printed on. Perfect for your hot drinks while you study Japanese!
Easy Japanese flash cards
This is a great set of Japanese flash cards featuring 60 basic words and phrases. It’s a perfect gift for a beginner learning Japanese. It would also be a great gift for someone planning a trip to Japan!
iTalki gift card
iTalki is an amazing website that lets you take private lessons with a real Japanese speaker from the comfort of your own home, over Skype. If you know someone who’d love to get some real Japanese speaking practise, why not treat them to some credits to buy some sessions on iTalki.
The Manga Cookbook
Learning Japanese is not just about learning words and grammar. Language learning is more fun when you also embrace the culture!
Anyone who loves Japan and Japanese would be delighted with this cute cookbook. It teaches simple, traditional Japanese recipes that are often seen in Japanese manga and anime, such as onigiri (rice balls), okonomiyaki and cute character bento.
Any manga fans will be sure to recognise several of these dishes and can learn how to replicate them with Western ingredients.
The book is even written and illustrated in a kawaii manga style!
Miyazaki box set
Some people say the best way to learn a language is by listening. And what better way to get your listening practise in than with a box set of amazing classic movies. This is a set of the collected works of Hayao Miyazaki, the famous animator of Studio Ghibli. It contains 11 Japanese animated favourites including My Neighbour Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away.
Japanese writing practice notebook
Anyone learning the Japanese writing systems will tell you, it takes a lot of practise to get your handwritten characters looking good.
This notebook has a beautiful Japanese design on the front, and the inside pages are marked into squares for practising kanji or kana (also known as genkouyoushi paper).
Read Real Japanese Fiction
Are you looking for a gift for someone who loves Japanese novels? They will love this bilingual Japanese reader, suitable for intermediate levels and up.
It features six short stories by popular modern writers such as Banana Yoshimoto and Hiromo Kawakami. Each double spread has one page in the original Japanese, while the facing page has translations of key words and phrases in English.
Funny anime T-shirt
This shirt says ‘All my Japanese, I learned from anime’. We all know someone who this is true for!
Anime is the reason a lot of us started learning Japanese. If anime has taught you more than any teacher or textbook, this is the shirt for you! Bound to be a great conversation starter at anime conventions too.
Japanese keyboard stickers
Have you ever wondered how to type in Japanese with an English keyboard? The easiest way is with these keyboard stickers. They are available in several different colours, so simply stick over your keys and you can see the hiragana character as well as the English letter.
Then, when you switch the language settings on your computer, you know which keys to press.
70 Japanese Gestures: No Language Communication
It’s often said that 55% of communication is nonverbal. So when you learn Japanese, be sure to learn Japanese gestures too!
This funny book teaches 70 gestures (with lots of pictures) that are essential to know to avoid any misunderstandings in Japan! You’ll be amazed how different some of these are from English 🙂
What do you think? Will any of these be going on your shopping list this year?
Whether you are looking for a Christmas present or a birthday gift for someone learning Japanese, I hope you found some inspiration here.
Don’t forget to check out my other gift guide of cool Japanese gift ideas for Japanese culture lovers!