In addition allowing you to instantly Facebook your friends about that great sandwich you just ate and launching angry birds at green pigs, smart phones are also wonderful study tools. If you happen to have a long commute or are just too lazy to get out of the futon, you can learn a fair amount of Japanese vocab in your spare time.

Note: This is still a list in progress. If you have any recommendations or reviews, make sure to let us know in the comment section.

  •  Kotoba- If you have an iPhone and you are interested in Japanese, chances are that you have already heard of Kotoba. It is one of the best free Japanese-to-English (and some French, German, and Russian to boot!) dictionaries around. Like many dictionaries, it utilizes JMDict files designed by Japanese-English translation guru Jim Breen. It also has plenty of extra functionality such as example sentences, kanji search, favorite lists, search by grade level or JLPT level, and more.
  • Japanese (by Renzo Inc.)- Another great app that is heavily geared towards kanji learning. While it is not free, it does offer a very comprehensive drill tool divided by JLPT levels, custom vocab lists and even handwriting recognition The JLPT vocab/kanji study has very good Anki-like mechanic that charts your progress and reviews accordingly.
  • English Japanese Dictionary- By Korean developer Naver, it is a free dictionary much like Kotoba. Despite having a relatively solid library complete with example sentences, it is not a fully self-contained dictionary. This means that you must have a data connection for it to work, unlike Kotoba and Japanese where everything is stored on your phone.
  • Japanese (by Than Nguyen Van)- Not to be confused with the above mentioned Japanese app, this reference tool not only incorporates a dictionary, but also a pronunciation function (requires a data connection).
  • JLPT Study- Coming in both a free and paid addition, this application focuses on JLPT kanji and vocab preparation. The paid version contains a beefer vocab and kanji list for higher levels. Like Japanese (by Renzo Inc.), this app incorporates a memorize and repeat mechanic where you can mark words that you are still shaky on for later review.
  • Yahoo!辞典- Made by Yahoo! Japan and geared much more towards Japanese users. It also is basically a web page masquerading as an app, so you need to be connected to the web to use it. However it is a handy reference tool with English and Japanese definitions (although some difficult words are only defined in Japanese) as well as example sentences.


Know any great learning tools or have any favorite apps? Well then drop a line here or let us know through the links below.

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