Learning Japanese with iKnow


I take a very casual approach to my learning Japanese. Previously I would study like mad and then go into a language learning depression when I began to feel like I wasn’t making any progress. Now I take a much more relaxed pace.

One service than I’ve been really enjoying is iKnow. Let’s take a look at it.

What is iKnow?

iknow is an online Japanese study system that incorporates learning core Japanese vocabulary with spaced reviews. The site describes the service this way:

The beauty of iKnow! is that it makes learning easy. The system tells you what to study and when. Based on your goals and performance, iKnow! creates a study schedulepersonalized for you.

Using a combination of words, sentences and tests, iKnow will take you through core Japanese vocabulary that’s broken down into courses of 100 words each.





There’s even a Japanese test that you can take that will make recommendations on which lesson you may want to start with.

What I like about the service

I’ve tried a lot of online Japanese teaching services, but I think iKnow fits best with my casual Japanese learning. Here are some things I like about it:

  • Spaced reviews: I like that iKnow will quiz me at specific times. Words that I have problems with will come up sooner while words that I’ve already memorized well will not. I think it’s a great scientific approach to learning.
  • Easy chunks to swallow: You can set iKnow to quiz on 5, 10 or 20 words. With my schedule I can do 5 words a day in about 10 minutes. It makes me feel like I’m learning something without being overloaded. Teachers recommend consistent daily learning in small amounts over sporadic long sessions of cramming anyway.
  • Sentence construction: iKnow will use sample Japanese sentences when it quizzes you. That means you get to hear the word as a part of a sentence rather than just hearing it on it’s own. Since words change according to the sentence, I find this really helpful. As an added bonus you can start memorizing these complete sentences. I often use the sentences “someone call the ambulance” and “this is the tallest building in town” to the delight of Japanese friends.
  • Spelling: Along with learning the word and pronunciation, you will also be quizzed on how to spell the word. While knowing hiragana is essential (kanji is not), this really helps you with your Japanese spelling as well as pronounciation.

iKnow costs around $100 for the year, although there is a free trial as well as specials that they often run. I really think it’s worth looking at if your trying to learn Japanese.

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