Jalup? any help?

Hey guys

recently people discussed Jalup app in the comments of my looking for vocab help post, the comments were numerous and although I valued the help, I kinda got confused and lost XD

some people sang it’s praise, others despised it, and the price is kinda big

but I was really hoping to hear from some people who actually used it, and how it helped them!

thanks guys!


Hm, I got a partial deck for free way back in the days when it was in beta. It was good, but I feel like the price is really steep for what it is.
I found a lot more value from using the guides from the same site to make my own cards.


I use Jalup Main, am currently about 3500 sentence cards in. The plan is to finish 1500 more and then create my own sentence cards from the books I’m reading. (To put that into context, I am currently fairly comfortable with easier native podcasts and novels. Probably solid N3 working towards N2?)

Jalup basically has two things: Kanji Kingdom, which tries to teach you 2300 Kanji meanings through mnemonic chains and Jalup Main, which is 5000 sentence cards. Of those 5000 sentence cards, 1000 are in English > Japanese, the 4000 sentence cards afterwards are in Japanese > Japanese, meaning grammar and vocab is taught with Japanese definitions. All the sentence cards are +1, meaning there is only ever one unknown piece on the card. (The total amount of sentence cards is actually 7k, but from what I gather most people move into the wild after 5k)

Jalup Beginner (The first 1000 of 5000 cards) teaches you most N5+N4 (and some N3) grammar through fairly minimal explanations and seeing said grammar used over and over again in the sentence cards. (There’s also some vocab, but not a whole lot)
Personally, I loved Jalup Beginner. If you’re not a textbook kind of person it’s a really nice way to learn grammar in a consistent way (e.g. do 10 cards/day). The grammar within is a fairly good primer for easier native material, so you can now move on to read things like よつばと!

Jalup Intermediate (Cards 1001-2000 of 5000) gets you started on J>J learning. To be honest, “Why you should start learning Japanese in Japanese!” is a whole topic on its own. My opinion: Everyone should be doing J>J, but when you start doing it depends. Doing it on your own at N4 seems crazy, not doing at N1 seems like wasted potential. Jalup throws you into the pit around N4, which is only possible because of the premade decks. The first 100 cards are brutal, the first 300 are rough, after the first 500 cards you’ll be glad you stuck to it. Without a doubt, the weeks in which I was tackling J>J was when I saw the largest gains within my Japanese abilities. (There’s also some grammar in JI, but the focus shifts towards vocab)

Jalup Advanced, Expert and Hero (Cards 2001 to 5000) is more vocab and grammar in J>J. Nothing much new to it. You could move on to create your own J>J sentece cards after Intermediate, but it would still be somewhat of a drag because of your limited vocab size. With each deck your transition into creating your own J>J sentence cards from native material gets easier and your purse gets lighter :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So much for a “short” explanation on Jalup Main.
Would I buy it again? Yes. Learning grammar and vocab through sentence cards ended up being my preferred method of study. I’ve also grown to love J>J and wouldn’t want to go back to E>J, but that’s just me. I do however recognize that I am lucky enough not to hurt for the money I spent on Jalup.

The first 100 cards of every level (Beginner, Intermediate, Kanji Kingdom, …) are available for free in case you want to try any of it. However, the first 100 cards of Jalup Beginner are really basic.

I’ll also tag @trombonekun91 who uses Jalup Main and Kanji Kingdom and @sycamore who uses Jalup Main but isn’t as religious about J>J as we are in hopes of them giving you their view on it.


Damn it, man. I decide not to get Jalup and then you write this whole thing making me want to buy Jalup. Art thou Behelzebub? :eyes:


hi! so yeah, I also use Jalup. I’ve only done the first 1880 cards mainly because after Jalup beginner I started reading a whole bunch and wanting to learn vocab etc directly from what I was reading rather than via premade cards. I then remembered that I hate anki and am lazy so I’m back using Jalup lol.

Would I recommend it?
In general, yes, if your focus is reading but you need a bit more assistance before you move onto making your own sentence cards. You kind of also have to be fairly comfortable either learning via minimal explanations and repeated immersion, or willing to use something like dictionary of Japanese grammar or 日本語の森 videos alongside, as it won’t give you detailed coverage of grammar points. However if you kind of trust in the process then grammar structures etc are repeated enough that they end up just kind of naturally sinking in. As grumpy mentioned, I didn’t jump into J-J entirely right away as early on, reading something with a monolingual dictionary is like 100x more difficult and slow than using English definitions. However now that I’m almost at the end of the JI deck I find that I can generally use monolingual definitions about 4/5 times when reading, and they do often help more than the English definitions.

Focus on mainly grammar in first 1000 cards mean that you are still getting a lot of basic vocab quite late. It kind of works because you are still learning how to use the J-J definitions, but it can be a bit of a frustration. The focus on J-J learning is useful but not for everyone, and the big stumbling block is the price,

Would I buy it again?
I managed to get all Jalup decks at a heavily discounted price through buying at the same time as a group of friends. I would pay what I paid again, however I wouldn’t have paid the standard price at the time and probably still wouldn’t now. While it’s an amazing tool, it’s also a lot of money. I think Jalup is really great and it’s the only SRS I’m currently sticking with - but there are a lot of free or much cheaper tools out there if you don’t have that money to spend. If you do have the money, it’s a really well put together product with a lot of work that’s gone into it.


This sounds like a job for @Eternal-Illusion senpai.

I bought the Jalup Beginner Anki deck back in 2017 and that’s how I started learning Japanese. I love how it introduces you to a new grammar point or vocab word with each new sentence and it really got me comfortable with the language. And I do love the method of learning Japanese through sentences. I spent $100 on it but I think it was worth it. I mean, I didn’t try any cheaper/free methods to learn Japanese before that. But I’m still glad I spent the money because with Jalup Beginner, I was able to actually understand a foreign language for the first time and get that amazing moment of “Holy crap, I’m actually reading and understanding Japanese!”

Jalup Intermediate was harder because it introduced more vocab and the words weren’t sticking, so that’s when I decided to learn kanji. I tried the Kanji Kingdom deck for about a year and that was a waste of time. Horrible way to learn kanji and nothing was sticking in my brain. I think I even took a break from Japanese learning for about a year after that. Then I found WaniKani in the summer of 2020 and that was the best decision of my life for my Japanese learning!

I’m gonna return to Jalup Intermediate sometime soon. But not right now, because I can’t handle too many SRS at once.

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I’ve been summoned lol. So, I think what Grumpy covered in his explanation is really thorough and pretty spot on as it pertains to the function of JALUP as a product, so I will talk about my experience with JALUP so far. I am currently 2325 cards into Jalup Main (the sentence card decks) and I have completed 630 Kanji Kingdom cards.

My Thoughts

Along with all of the points that Grumpy and Sycamore bring to the table, I would emphasize that if you decide to purchase JALUP, one of your goals on your (long) Japanese journey should be to transition into monolingual acquisition of vocabulary (Japanese definitions) because that is the ultimate goal of the app. If that isn’t a top priority for you JALUP can still be an incredibly useful SRS tool, but from the articles I have read in the JALUP blog, the developer of the app puts a ton of emphasis on switching from J-E to J-J.

Context Sentences

I think the best feature of JALUP is the i+1 context sentence based learning system. For me, learning a vocabulary word or grammar point within the context of a full, natural Japanese sentence has been invaluable for me. I was drilling single word sentence decks for a while before I was introduced to JALUP but learning the words in isolation without any context was not working for me. The meanings of words become clearer to me when they are used together in combination with other words. The fact that each subsequent sentence in the deck only contains one new piece of info, you can use the definition of the word on the card and the context produced by the other known words to further solidify your understanding.


I think the blog is a great resource to learn more about how the app developer thinks about language learning, and for you to get an idea on how to pair JALUP with immersion, which will be an essential pairing when using JALUP as your SRS tool. Here is a link to Adam’s (creator of JALUP) walkthrough. I wouldn’t so much call it a complete walkthrough, but if you read a few articles from each level, you get an idea of where his head is at and how he became fluent in Japanese. If nothing else, a lot of the articles are both motivating and reassuring in times when you are doubting your ability and methods: Walkthrough - Japanese Level Up (Worlds 3, 4, and 5 are particularly useful imo).

Use Genki I and II

While I was chugging through the beginner deck I used Genki I and II to flesh out grammar I didn’t quite grasp, since it is true that the grammar explanations are intentionally vague so as to not cloud your brain with too much info. I just needed some more information and since JALUP generally follows Genki I for the first 500ish cards and Genki II for the rest, having Genki as a companion to flesh out some of my confusion was helpful.


If you decide to use JALUP as your main SRS tool, I recommend starting immersion when you are about 500 cards into the beginner deck. This means, turning those English subtitles off, and watching TV shows, movies, and anime with Japanese subtitles or with no subtitles at all. I started reading manga around that time as well. よつばと has been a favorite of mine, and I recently started Kiki’s Delivery Service as well. Depending on where you at in your personal journey, immersion may be really really hard (which is why reading the blog posts about immersion is super motivational) but using JALUP and immersion in tandem has helped my Japanese tremendously, and the two go hand in hand in my opinion. I am partial to JP subs as they provide a big boost in comprehension for me, but I do listen and watch without subs as well. Got to be a well rounded student lol.

Hope this helps! Remember, I am just a dude on the internet, so I would recommend going to the website, doing some reading, and possibly even reaching out to Adam with some questions. He is pretty responsive!


Thanks for the help guys!!

I was wondering, it seems it is a great tool for reading and comprehension, but how does it help speaking if at all? and if it doesn’t help this, and tips on tool which may?


No problem! Any time.

I would say that JALUP focuses completely on input (reading and listening) and doesn’t train output (speaking and writing) at all. With that being said though, I follow the school of thought that your ability to output (speaking and writing) is a direct consequence of your input (reading and listening). Of course, conversation practice will build the speaking skill in how you form your thoughts, and how you physically move your mouth to speak, but in order to speak fluently you need to comprehend what you’re hearing so you can respond. That can only happen effortlessly after you have gathered thousands of hours of input through study and immersion. Not to say that you shouldn’t speak while you aren’t understanding everything, but I think you’ll notice that as your comprehension improves, your speaking ability will lag behind, but steadily improve as well. If you have been immersing consistently, you may even notice a jump in speaking ability without any real speaking practice.

Good places that I have found to work on your output skills are apps like HelloTalk where you can post status updates (think Facebook) in your target language and native speakers can correct your work. You can even schedule language exchanges and take calls through the app. It’s a lot of fun and the free version of the app is pretty awesome.

Another site, which I use as well, is italki where you can pay a teacher to either have conversations with you, learn through a textbook, or both! I have been using it for about a year now, and it is an excellent resource to get some conversation practice and to improve your skills. I think this is a great safe place to practice speaking because for the most part, unless you meet a not so great teacher, they will understand the struggle and have the experience to navigate a conversation to your level, and provide corrections when needed.

So, I think my best advice to improve speaking ability is to listen to and read a ton of Japanese, study with some sort of SRS, and then simply talk to someone in Japanese!


I’ve tried a lot of different material over the years. Certain ones coincided with much faster progress than the rest (e.g., Assimil). Jalup is one of those. The fact that it systematically uses previously-seen vocabulary and grammar in new sentences and in definitions means that you get lots of extra practice reading the things you’ve seen before. It’s like getting in extra reviews for free without extra SRS reviews being required. Very efficient.

I’d tried other stuff, like the free Core decks, but I found them painfully ineffective. The core decks focus on the individual words and just give a list of example sentences, which aren’t chosen to use words and grammar you actually know. My retention was very, very poor–tons of leeches.

As for whether it’s expensive, that depends on your circumstances. If you’re buying your materials with an allowance from your parents, it’s pretty costly. If you’re a software engineer with more free money than free time, it’s a great deal.


I always found the typical “appealing to weebs” front of Jalup very off-putting. Not sure why, but the guy just gives me the creeps and annoys the hell out of me. Seems like a cash-grab. But most language programs promising the moon from the sky are.

The blog does have some nice motivational articles now and then, however. He certainly seems to know his Japanese.

That’s why I personally don’t read most sales pitches. What I look for is screenshots to see a bit of how it works. When I can try it out a little bit, even better. Usually I know soon enough whether it’s for me or not. Of course, I have been known to be wrong when I’ve read too much into something :joy:


Jalup is great in my opinion, though it only really starts to shine from Jalup Intermediate onward, it got me to switch from learning E → J to J → J which gave me the “quickest” gains in my learning journey up to now. (Quickest in quotes because it’s hard to tell whether it was just due to Jalup and me starting to embrace monolingual learning, or my foundation just getting stronger).

I personally don’t use Kanji kingdom though, that method didn’t work for me. I would personally suggest going with the app, as it has some nifty features, I loop all my known sentences with a 5-second in-between pauze on the in-built audio player during bike rides once a week for some nice shadowing practice. The “speaking” portion itself is very gimmicky and doesn’t really add anything in my eyes, but damn is that shadowing under “listening” nice ^^

The biggest “downside” to Jalup is that you either need to be very comfortable with ambivalence until certain things start to settle in, or that you need to actively study outside of the (very expensive) course to get the most out of it.

Would I buy it again? : Yes, but only because I’m quite comfortable financially, if I had to scrounge for cash and watch my money I would construct a deck myself, but the comfort of knowing it is typo-free, logically built, i+1, … without me having to spend hours upon hours to build it myself is easily worth the asking price. I do think the creator should potentially re-think his marketing strategy as lots of people are turned away by the price, but that’s outside of my jurisdiction.


This thread has got me super curious about Jalup. I guess the one question I have now is: how do you folks learn the Kanji from the Jalup Main deck? I’m pretty low level at WK (just reset from like 10 to 6 to 1) and so I know very little Kanji, and I am not interested in Kanji Kingdom. I just want to somehow make WK work with Jalup but I’m not sure how that’s possible unless I spend a lot of time learning Jalup’s kanji on my own.

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I also thinking that Jalup doesn’t really help with speaking, except for the shadowing you should be doing while doing your reviews. (Trying to mimic the audio of the sentences)

However, I also believe that speaking must first be learned through input before it can be solidified through output. I think what many people misunderstand (me included) about speaking when starting out is that you learn the grammar, learn the words, think of what you want to say in english and puzzle it together. The thing is, it’ll most likely end up wrong/unnatural.
MattVsJapans favorite example is how you’d say “I need to go the toilet” in English, but “I want to go to the toilet” in Japanese. Even if you know all the words and grammar, if you start out from English it’ll end up wrong. You might think this is the odd one out, but it really isn’t. Japanese quite regularly uses verbs different from English to describe the same action. Besides that, there are seemingly endless ways to say the same thing but not all of them will sound natural (even though grammatically correct).
After spotting this for myself while immersing, I’ve also come to believe what MattVsJapan and others are preaching. Speaking must first be primed through listening and reading. (That is coming across ways to say something multiple times before you can say it yourself, directly in Japanese without first translating from English.)
Big disadvantage is that you start speaking fairly late, because you must first be able to immerse. If speaking is a large motivator or in any way necessary for you, ignore everything I just said and go practice it.
Also, my speaking ability is still quite bad, so take this monologue with a grain of salt :see_no_evil:

I’ll also take this chance to point out that, if money is tight, I’m not sure I’d take the risk of buying it. There’s a chance you won’t end up liking it. I think you can refund Jalup Beginner if you bought it and didn’t like it, but still.

There is however Anki and plenty free decks that, while maybe not as good as Jalup (in my eyes), they’re not bad either. Plenty of people started out using decks like Tango N5 + N4 to learn Japanese and made it to fluency. Personally I think Anki is wonderful (I’m also using it a lot for studies other than Japanese) and it’s completely free.


Jalup Beginner had so few words/kanji that I did not feel the need for dedicated kanji study. That however changed with Jalup Intermediate, because there is a lot more vocab being taught. For that, I downloaded some pre-made kanji deck and simply reordered it so the kanji showed up in the same order as Jalup Intermediate. I then moved the two along at the same pace, learning the kanji a couple days before they’d show up in the vocab in Jalup. It ended up being a bit like WaniKani in that regard.

While I was doing Jalup Beginner I was still doing WaniKani (I think I made it to lvl 13?), so I already had some familiarity with kanji, which ended up being helpful because the kanji that show up in Jalup Intermediate aren’t sorted by simplicity. I quit WaniKani when I started Jalup Intermediate in favor of the method above and am still doing it. I think @sycamore tried the same thing but preferred staying on with WaniKani.

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I continued with WK a bit longer (level 25) but have it on vacation mode now while I continue with Jalup as I was finding both too much SRS. I’ll probs pick WK back up again before I sit the N3 to do the few more levels that would mean I’d covered those kanji, but given JLPT exams are all cancelled this year where I live, I don’t really feel the need to press on with it at the moment. Just now I’m not really finding it an issue when learning vocab if there’s a kanji I don’t know, and I’ll generally find that I get a sense of its meaning over time seeing it in enough vocab. The two tools do kind of combine poorly together, as WK likes to throw lots of vocab with English definitions at you and Jalup is trying to help you move to using Japanese definitions - however at the same time I’ve not really found anything else that works as well for me for kanji as WK.


AFAIK SLA research disagrees here. People tend to correct their own mistakes as they learn and improve. Fossilization (bad speaking habits that get ingrained when speaking) is somewhat rare and it not generally believed to permanent. Heck, it isn’t even agreed if fossilization even exists or if it is just all stabilization.


I didn’t mean to imply that making such mistakes forms bad habits, certainly not any permanent ones. Even Matt doesn’t believe that they are permanent, just an unnecessary complication.
All I was trying to say is that I believe natural speech will only result from lots of exposure to the language, cutting out the middle man that is translation.

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