Any advice on how to go about starting with podcasts?

I figured I could get into listening some podcasts that are easier, since most of my input is native level content which of course is still helpful, but from my understanding actually being able to comprehend more would help even more. I haven’t found any inetersting shows with input like that, I did grit my teeth through a few dubbed eps of Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse, but it just wasn’t fun. Podcasts seem to be a great option, nice also because I would probably listen to them while doing other stuff, but I was just wondering about how active the listening should be. Obviously it’d be the most effective if I was directing my full attention to it, but I don’t have that kind of attention spawn for podcasts. But at the same time I kind of have a bad habit of wanting to look everything up.
Should I just accept the things I don’t understand and let them go? Or would more active listening actually be so helpful that I should just do it anyways?


I recommend Nihongo con Teppei. It’s really short, around 4-5 mins per ep, so if you want to look everything up you can get it done easily, and it doesn’t require too much of your time. I’m a busy person, but I try to watch on ep per week and see what I can get of it. Repeat a few times, catch keywords, etc


I second Nihongo con Teppei as a beginner friendly podcast – it’s short and sweet.
Another one I could recommend would be ‘Let’s Talk in Japanese’ which has episodes ranging from a couple of minutes to 20 minutes at most.

Podcast description

A Japanese teacher talks in Japanese. As a teacher, I try to speak in not too difficult but not too easy Japanese. 日本語を勉強している人のための日本語トーク!日本語教師の友が、難しすぎない簡単すぎない、ちょうどいい日本語で話します。

Any levels of Japanese learners are welcome to this Podcast. Each title has a number from N1 to N5, which shows JLPT level. タイトルのN1〜N5の数字はJLPTのレベルです。 応援はこちらまで↓

You can find that one on apple podcasts or spotify (and probably somewhere else). Each episode has a JLPT level recommendaton next to it. Unfortunately, there are almost no N5 episodes but maybe some of the N4 ones will be manageable for you?


also a big fan of nihongo con teppei…it starts really basic with things so you get a bit of a sense of accomplishment and don’t get frustrated too quickly…


Is there a transcript for it? If not, how do you look up things?

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Teppei doesn’t offer actual transcripts. I usually just listen to it various times, and write down things I don’t understand to either look up or to come back to later. If I get stuck too often on something, I either send it to my teacher or I move on to another episode.

For transcripts, I recommend 日本語の聴解のための. Not all podcasts have transcripts, and the ones that do tend to make them paid content, so I try to avoid relying on them and just let anything that I don’t know go, and focus on things I do know or can recognize and learn.


Tofugu actually just published a couple articles on this! Here’s their article on Japanese podcasts for beginners, and here’s their article on Japanese podcasts for intermediate learners.


Ohhh thank you so much, I’ll check them out!

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Third or fourth for Nihongo con Teppei :slight_smile:

Note: Listen to the Beginner one as opposed to the Intermediate.

He picks relate-able topics and speaks in a clear way so it’s usually relatively easy to follow.


Listen to about 10 episodes or more at a time if you are like me and can get bored easily, without subtitiles and see how much you understand (he usually explains the meanings of the topic). Then on your second listen you can use youtube and get the machine translations which are not so bad.

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That sounds like a good plan, I’ll try that

People define active and passive in very different ways, but I think passive listening is only useful to getting used to sounds. Don’t expect to improve your understanding if you don’t understand anything.

You don’t have to expect to keep your focus 100% in active; it doesn’t matter if you miss some stuff, but you should generally have idea what’s going on. If you understand a lot less than 50%, then it’s probably too hard and not that useful. I never looked anything up or used transcripts. You’ll improve just by listening and figuring stuff out.

Not exactly podcasts, but when I started out I listened to/ watched Benjiro’s Beginner Japanese videos a lot, maybe those are around your level.

I’m also very fond of Erin ga Chosen. It’s a 25 episode show geared towards “foreigners” learning Japanese.

Personally I would recommend to keep listening to natural/ native content as well though.

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