iTunes Podcasts are a free, effective way to improve your Japanese listening comprehension.

How to Get Podcasts

If you don't already have it, download iTunes.

To get access to all of the Japanese podcasts, you will need to access the Japanese iTunes store. This can be done from any version of iTunes; you do not need to install iTunes in Japanese to access the Japanese store, nor do you need to register a Japanese iTunes account.

To access the Japanese store, follow the first two steps of my Japanese iTunes registration guide. Then just click "Podcast" at the top of the screen and you're good to go.

Podcast Recommendations


Both Yomiuri (Japan's New York Times) and Nikkei (Japan's Wall Street Journal) used to offer free daily news podcasts, but unfortunately they are now paid subscription-only.


Nikkei Business Trends

Japanese level: 2kyuu/1kyuu

Although most of Nikkei's (Japan's leading business newspaper) content is behind a paywall, Nikkei trends is still available for free. This weekly program introduces recent business trends, explains keywords, and features additional commentary by the hosts. The show is professional and news-heavy with little small talk. Average episode length is about 20 minutes.

To find on iTunes, search for "日経トレンディ"

Nikkei's Ichinensei Series

Japanese level: 2kyuu

This is a podcast targeted for readers who are not very familiar with economic terms. It's part of an attempt by the newspaper to increase readership and lower the intimidation factor. Fundamental economic concepts are explained in simple Japanese in dialog format. The conversation is fairly easy to understand. Although the content of the show is very basic, this may be an advantage in terms of picking up new Japanese words.

Another great thing about this program is that all of the old podcasts are available. The show changes hosts every two years. The first host is my favorite, and thankfully you can still download all of her episodes (the first 55) through the links in iTunes. Episodes vary wildly in length.

To find on iTunes, search for "西川里美は日経一年生"


Iya, Maitta Maitta

Japanese level: 2kyuu

This is a comedy/advice program from IBC radio in Iwate. The show alternates between listeners sharing their best "oh shit!" stories and listeners asking for and receiving advice on problems. The show is quite funny and, as it deals with daily life, generally fairly easy to understand. Episodes average about thirty minutes, and there is a huge number of previous episodes also available for download.

To find on iTunes, search for "イヤー、マイッタマイッタ

Video Games

Hideo Kojima's Podcast

Japanese level: 2kyuu/1kyuu

Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear Solid fame) has a weekly podcast, in which he discusses books, music, games, and whatever else is on his mind. The program is very chatty and a great introduction to casual Japanese; as a result, it probably won't be much help for your formal studies, but it's a fun way to relax when you can't take any more kanji. Episodes generally range in length from 30 minutes to an hour.

To find on iTunes, search for "小島秀夫の「ヒデラジ」"

Starting Out

JapanesePod101 offers decent introductory Japanese programming, although the Pimsleur program is better and even JapanesePod101's "advanced" courses are first year college material. While they attempt to charge you at every opportunity if you download their podcasts through their site, you can use iTunes to get their best content for free. The "perk" of membership is PDFs for each lesson, but unfortunately the PDFs are created such that you can't select the text and paste it into Mnemosyne or SuperMemo for memorization, making the benefit a drawback. Also see my warning about Japanesepod101.com's marketing. That said, their content is decent if you're just starting out and can't get access to Pimsleur.

Have a podcast to recommend?

Do you have any podcast recommendations? Feel free to share them below.


I recommend the podcast called なんもりドラドラ, try this as a keyword on iTunes or click on the following link: http://www.voiceblog.jp/momonyans/ It is very funny and good for intermediate learners because the characters are not mumbling since it is like an audio drama. By the way, I also recommend any audio drama (アンダ・ザ・ブルー" is a very good one for example). Being an intermediate-level learner myself, I cannot actually follow the story in details in these podcasts but I can often understand whole sentences, which is impossible when I listen to a podcast like Hideo Kojima's or to 爆笑問題カーボーイ (which is said to be a funny podcast for advanced learners). And I take the opportunity to say also thank you very much for having created such an excellent blog.

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