Hi, my name is Tae Kim. I’m the creator of the site: Guide to Learning Japanese.

I write my thoughts on learning Japanese, Chinese, and Korean here. The focus will still be on useful information for those learning Japanese while posts about Chinese and Korean will be more from a learner’s point of view since that’s what I am. (Not to say that I’m not still learning Japanese.)

For many very good reasons that I won’t go into here, I do not and never will use romaji. So if you are completely new to Japanese, I suggest you start by learning Hiragana and Katakana at the following pages:

If you need help reading the Kanji, I recommend using a tool like rikaichan. If you need help reading the Hanzi, perapera-kun is a similar tool for Chinese. You can see a list of such tools under “Free Learning Tools” on my Links page.

Here is the feed for this blog to save you from having to check the site all the time.

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Make sure you enter the same email for your comment as your gravatar account.

If you have any questions, suggestions for posts, or want to go drinking in the Seattle area, don’t hesitate to email me at taekim.japanese AT gmail.com or you could just post a comment here too.

31 thoughts on “About

  1. I was wondering if you would ever fill out the section on Kansai accents in your guide. I have always been interested in the topic and some disambiguation of some of the issue would be nice.

    Thanks a lot,


  2. Hi,

    I have been reading your blog and it is really interesting. I am not learning Japanese but I can speak some French, Catalan and German.

    Anyway, I thought you may be interested in the website/application I have launched (www.mylanguagenotebook.com).

    My Language Notebook is a program to keep and organise your notes when you are learning a language. If you hear an interesting sentence, you can use the program to make a note of it and also record its audio so that you won’t forget how it sounds. You can then save your sentences as a project so that you can practice them whenever you like.
    If you feel that your project would be useful to other people, you can upload it to the web site. You can also download the projects that other people have uploaded and open them in your program. This way, you can learn from other people’s notes and they can learn from yours.

    There are already a few decent Japanese projects on the site.

    Anyway, I hope you like it,

    Jim Morrison

  3. hi there,

    congrats for the nice blog, a must for japanese students.
    I´d like to introduce you to the project i am working on.
    It´s an eLearning community called palabea, focused on language learning.
    There you are able to learn almost any language.
    we have also many japanese students, teachers and native speakers doing language exchange.
    they meet in virtual classrooms, and interact through web 2.0 tools and also in the real world through our offline language exchange feature.

    So hope you check it out, feedbacks are always welcome



  4. Hey Tae,

    I wish I would have found your Japanese language guide awhile back so I didnt have to spend so much money on all the books i bought. Youe guide is definately the best one out there. You have the perfect flow. You start with the plain style and through in polite later on. For that alone your guide is awesome. I would venture to say you should publish it! Your online guide has top notch (X)HTML and CSS. Keep up the good work brother.

  5. Thanks man!

    I’ve been thinking about publishing for a while now. (No offers so far!) And I wanted to offer something even better and more comprehensive than what I have now. (No audio supplement is a big one) Unfortunately, my progress is so slow it may never come to fruition.

  6. Tae Kim, I am indebted to you. Your guide to Japanese has been a staple for me for a couple years, and your blog is so interesting! Thanks for making things so easy to understand.

  7. do you have Twitter?
    If so, please tell us your username!
    anyway, my twitter is twitter.com/hid3ki

  8. Hi Tae Kim,

    I am very interested with guidetojapanese.org. However I find it hard for me, who has low self discipline to complete it. I tend to stop half way. I think the same problem occurs for other people. So I would like to use your teaching material to create a web app that schedule, encourage, track studies for users.

    I have been looking for Japanese grammar site for years. This is the best I have found. I hope I have the honor to create the app with your content.

    Please contact me for further discussion.

    Warmest Regards,
    Roger Lau

  9. Love your Guide to Japanese site. I agree with your approach to not use romaji. I admit I am guilty of posting it in my blog, mostly when explaining placenames, famous figures or certain niche terminoloy, but as I think about it more and more, it should not be done, so I think will cut out in future posts and use kana only.

    Anyways keep up the good work!

  10. Tae Kim! I’m from Brazil, and I want to translate your Grammar Guide into Portuguese. I’m a translator myself and I can do a very good job! Can you send me an e-mail so that we can talk about it?

  11. hi Tae KIM. im like to learn Korea and Japan. I follow to learn Forgein Langue in UNIVERSITY. i want to exchange experience with u. Please to make your accquaintance.

  12. hey Tae your block is really cool. I am a native spanish speaker and at the moment I am learning french, although at some point I am sure I going to try to learn either Japanese or Chinese. It would be nice to hear your opinion about the importance of each of them in todays world. The decision learning one or the other also relies on that.
    Keep on the good work.

  13. Hi Tae Kim,

    For the first time I find a blog which has captured the three languages; Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Althought I even haven’t gone through reading all your stuff, the mere fact that I finally can read and perhaps in future even share my struggle and thoughts on these three topics is awesome!

    I started learning Chinese when we lived in Taiwan (learned to speak first and neglected writing for which I’m no suffering…), moved to Singapore and finally got around to find time to start beginners Japanese and in between watching Korean movies etc.

    People around me have been supportive but at the same time thought I’ve gone mad as an adult learner to pursue these language goals:).

    But glad to know I’m not the only one and thrilled to share these interest with many others, thanks!

    • I think it’s really fun because the 3 languages share different similarities with each other, if that makes sense.

  14. 안녕하하세요 선생님. 일본어를 가르쳐줘서 감사합니다! (미안하지만 저는 한국어를 유창하게 하지않아요.)
    근데 이 사이트 짱!

  15. Hi Tae

    Before all, I am not a English native-speaker, so it’s possible, very possible I make mistakes, please forget me; second, I want to say, thanks you very much, this guide, your guide has been very useful, I’m trying to learn japanese for a long time by myself, and I use some sources like grammar dictionaries by Seiichi Makino and an awesome kanji dictionary, my only complaints are they don’t use kana but romaji, anyway, I always go back here, with you remote guidance I understand japanese much better; I want to know you have some literature commendations, a kind of books than make vocabulary and grammar, in an 1-10 scale, maybe 4-5 level.

    Thanks a lot, again

  16. HI Tae,

    I really like your blog and site. I did notice how you would never use romaji or promote it as much, why is that?

    I have a lot of trouble remembering foreign characters, have tried to memorise Hiragana in the past with some success but tend to forget it, didn’t try to learn Katakana and forget about Kanji. Is there hope for me in mastering these complex characters short of using postit all over my house?


  17. I want to thank you for your great website. It’s the best out there for anyone hoping to learn japanese the right way and at the same time, the fun and easy way. i have tried learning from tons of books but your website is simply wonderful. thank you

    p.s. i am also learning korean and did browsed thru luke park’s blog. do you have sth similar to your website to help me learn korean? thank you again!

  18. Hi Tae Kim!

    This site of yours has remained idle in my bookmarks for a couple of months and it was only now that I discovered what a great site this is! It is very simple and your lessons are easy to grasp unlike some resources that would make the learner hesitate to go on.

    Thank you very much! 😀

  19. Hi Tae,
    Thanks for your Japanese grammar guide. It’s much better than my text book. Well organized, easy to understand, and kinda fun.
    Please also be interested in French, lol…
    [ 神人,请赐我法文语法,谢谢]

  20. Dear Tae Kim,

    Thank you very much for the Japanese Language Guide. I’m following along in the Essential Grammar part. I’ve really enjoyed the guide so far. Your instructions are really easy to understand and not something would be included in textbooks. I feel like as if you are in front of me and saying all these instructions to me.

    Please keep up the good work. I will try to finish your guide and to be able to speak a decent amount of Japanese.



  21. Hi Tae Kim, I am Claudio from Bliu Bliu
    I have been working for 5 months on a tool to learn Japanese, Chinese and Korean (and other languages) called Bliu Bliu.
    It doesn’t work for beginners because it builds on top of what somebody already knows but it’s very helpful for beginner and intermediate students.
    1) We gather information on actual level of a student
    2) We predict which words will be easy for you next
    3) We find real authentic content from the Internet containing 90% words you already know (or Bliu Bliu predicts you know) and 10% unknown words

    I invite you to take a look to our platform, would be nice to get some constructive feedback from you

    PS: I wanted to write you an email but could not find it 😉

  22. Dear Tae Kim,

    Thanks so much for your website. I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese and now I finally can. I have yet to go through all of the information, but I still wanted to thank you. Arigato Tae-sama!

  23. Tae Kim,

    Why don’t you use Romaji? Have you written a post about it? If so — will you direct me to it please?


    Btw, love you work here. Keep it up.

    • Hi,

      I guess it’s not wise to use Rōmaji because:

      1.) you’ll easily get tempted to pronounce Japanese badly (like rather English or maybe German…depends on what your native language is, the alphabet will mislead you in your pronounciation).

      2.) you’ll always keep this (mental) distance to the language, if you don’t use it’s native writing system.

      3.) you’ll see, once you are fluent with the Hiragana/Katakana, Japanese is much faster to read.

      4) also, you (mostly) won’t find words in dictionaries with Rōmaji.
      …There’re plenty of reasons why you should “forget” about Rōmaji as soon as possible (some online dictionaries even do not support Rōmaji input).

      Plus, it’s easy to learn the Kana (2 × 46 +4) just try ReadTheKanji, Mnemosyne/Anki or so!

      Best wishes,
      Jonathan Dark (SFxoFFx)

  24. Hi Tae,

    Thanks for your great materials for Japanese beginners.

    As I’m a Chinese speaker who are learning Japanese, I have a question about how Non-Chinese speakers memorizing Japanese vocabulary. Most of the CN-JP/JP-CN/JP-JP dictionaries will tell you how the tone of a word is, while (it seems that) EN-JP/JP-EN dictionaries usually not. I wonder how Non-Chinese speakers remembering Japanese words.

    For example, in a JP-CN dictionary, for the word 端 and 箸, it will contain the tone like:

    端 【はし】 【hashi】◎
    箸 【はし】 【hashi】①

    then we will be able to know about the correct pronunciation of different words with the same Kana. But it seems that most JP-EN dictionaries(like midori) do not contain this. So I wonder how English speakers remember these words. Personally, I think many JP-EN dictionaries are great and I use them very often. But usually I need to look up the tone of a word in another dictionary.

    Please forgive my broken English and I’m looking forward to your reply. 🙂

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