Grammar is the foundation of language ability. Unfortunately, many people find learning grammar boring. So, how can you learn grammar in an effective but engaging way? I think YouTube Japanese grammar channels are a great place to start.
There are lots of creators with amazing Japanese grammar channels on YouTube, but here are 5 to get you going.
1: Learn Japanese from Zero
George Trombley, the man behind the popular Japanese from Zero textbook series, created this channel.
George’s expertise is at the heart of this channel’s appeal. Who better to teach you Japanese than someone who has gone before? As an advanced speaker George is well placed to identify the pitfalls for newer learners.
If you are concerned because George is a non-native speakers, don’t be. Native speakers often appear to support his content. They offer valuable pronunciation models and contributions to discussions.
So viewers of the channel have the benefit of both George’s insight and the example of native speakers.
That is not to suggest that George-only videos are inferior. He has an engaging style and his passion is obvious. This alone will have you chain-watching Japanese grammar videos.
Personally, I enjoy his shorter videos, but there is plenty of long-form content too. The former is great for familiarising yourself with a topic, while the latter are brilliant for building on your existing knowledge.
You’ll also find a video series in which George works through his textbooks series Japanese from Zero. If you’ve got the textbooks this is great supporting content, but you don’t need them to learn a lot from these videos. It has to be said, it is incredibly generous of George to offer this content free on YouTube.
That’s not all that’s on offer. George puts out a series in which he steps through a Japanese video in great detail, unpacking grammar and phrases. This content might be described as ‘supported immersion’ and it is a great way to learn real-world Japanese.
Just go and dive into the content! If you’re not sure where to start, the video below showcases the strength of George’s content.
2: Japanese Ammo with Misa
Our next channel is the work of a native Japanese speaker with a high-level of English ability. She also has her own website if you want to find more content.
My favourite part of Misa’s channel is the cultural insight she offers. Her videos mix language and cultural instruction to help the viewer sound more natural in Japanese and less like a regurgitated textbook.
Misa’s explanations are crystal clear and showcase her own advanced English level. Due to her extensive use of English, this is a great channel for lower-level students of Japanese. She really does a great job making “higher-level” Japanese accessible to beginner students.
The bulk of content on Japanese Ammo with Misa is on the longer side, videos clocking in at 15 minutes or more are typical. Misa uses the time wisely as the videos provide comprehensive instruction on the chosen topic.
When you’ve got the time to dedicate to it, Misa’s videos are a great foundation for a grammar study session. I especially like her presentation, which consists of colour-coded example sentences with kanji, furigana and an English translation.
There’s no doubt you should explore her channel for yourself, but I think the video below is a great place to start. This video really demonstrates the culture-language mix of her content.
3: Miku Real Japanese
Miku is a Japanese teacher who offers teaching services and products through Patreon and also has a website on the way.
Far and away my favourite content of Miku’s are the Japanese immersion videos. These listening videos feature Miku talking to camera about an aspect of Japanese culture or experience. They are pitched well for intermediate levels due to the accessible language used.
Similar to Japanese Ammo with Misa, language instruction and cultural insight is a big part of this channel, which is great for acquiring a deeper understanding, beyond just the mechanics of an element of the language.
The videos also have a quality, but personal presentation. I enjoy her role play elements when explaining an aspect of the grammar point, it gives her work that independent creator feel.
In essence, Miku Real Japanese offers an eclectic mix of content. You may come for the grammar, but you’ll stay for the immersion videos.
This creator is also not afraid to experiment with different content types some of which become series. Miku Real Japanese is a great way to keep your study fresh, mixing instructional and general interest content.
To get you started I highly recommend the following video. You’ll be able to get a feel for the listening videos and learn about a big part of Japanese culture.
4: Sambon Juku
This creator is very impressive. When you look at his credentials you will understand why. He has a masters degree in Japanese teaching which is immediately apparent from the quality of his immersion teaching.
Through these videos you will learn Japanese grammar in Japanese; a fantastic opportunity to practise listening and learn grammar. It is made possible by his fantastic grading. By which I mean his ability to alter the language difficulty to aid student comprehension. Anyone beyond absolute beginner is sure to learn something from his videos, his grading is that good.
Typically, the content is shorter in order to be more digestible, making it a fantastic place to start when learning a new grammar point. Other channels on this list can then be used to build on the strong foundation acquired at Sambon Juku.
The standout part of this channel is without a doubt the language grading. It is amazing that Japanese learners are able to access quality Japanese immersion instruction from the comfort of their own homes.
To prove my claim that he makes grammar accessible to lower levels, look no further than his video on やまない, an N1 grammar point. I am certain that pre-intermediate learners and beyond can learn this grammar point from this video without any prior awareness of it.
5: Nihongo No Mori
Our final channel on the list was set up by Naoka, a Japanese woman based in Vietnam. It has been fascinating to watch this channel evolve over the last few years. There is also an interesting new website that I will be covering in future content. But don’t feel like you have to wait until then.
Like Sambon Juku, this is an immersion learning channel. Here, videos are longer and have a more formal classroom style. The various contributors have clear teaching skills, as once again the grading is fabulous. The teachers step you through different grammar structures and example sentences.
What got me into watching Nihongo No Mori was the JLPT content. While the content has change more recently, I still feel the core appeal is the exam preparation help on offer. If you’ve got the stamina there are great roundup videos that cover all the grammar structures needed at N3, N2 and N1 JLPT level; great for revision closer to the exam.
Accessibility is key for an immersion instruction channel. I’m glad to say that the content here is accessible. Most students of a pre-intermediate level can benefit from the content on offer here.
However, grammar structures and videos for higher level JLPT exams are more challenging as more advanced vocabulary is used in the example sentences.
I recommend starting with the video below. It shows the classroom style and how useful these roundup grammar videos can be. You’re not likely to find better test revision content out there.
I hope this has made you aware of at least a few more great YouTube grammar channels for learning Japanese. Find the style that suits you and give your study sessions a lift with these quality YouTube instructors.
Learning grammar doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, if you’re more engaged, you’ll learn better and faster. Following these creators YouTube channels will help grow your Japanese grammar and cultural understanding. Go and experience it for yourself.
Finally, it feels appropriate before closing to thank all of the creators mentioned here for all they have taught me and will continue to teach me. Thank you all.