Song lyrics as a sentence mining source?

I don’t listen to a ton of Japanese music (yet), but there’s a fair few anime OP/EDs burnt into my brain. I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to find transcriptions and translations of them, and put them in Anki? Both as a source of vocab, and to impress people at karaoke by being able to sing along with my eyes closed.

I see a potential upside of this being that I already know the sounds of the lyrics very well, but a potential downside being that song lyrics might use strange and poetic grammar that’s unlike normal speech. Does anyone have experience using lyrics like this, and does anyone know a good Japanese equivalent of

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The only downside I can see is, as you say, that lyrics are often akin to prose in terms of not being entirely related to standard language, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’d say.


IMO I’ve done this for a while and it wasn’t good for grammar, only vocabulary. Like you said the grammar and prose is different, extremely different than how English lyrics are. You won’t be learning proper grammar through songs.

I’d suggest to learn the proper grammar first and then you can see how artists use it in their songs.


Not the answer I wanted to hear, but I think it would be good to practice patience :sweat_smile:


I’m new to studying Japanese, but I’m actually using music myself to learn to help with immersion. I think song lyrics is actually perfect for beginners to ease into mining. Anime episodes and books tend to take a LONG time to get through even 1, but with a song that has a chorus repeated, you’d be able to learn it a lot faster than other forms of media as a beginner since there’s less. You also simultaneously practice your listening skill.
My current regimen as a beginner:
WaniKani: For Kanji and SOME vocab
Bunpro: For grammar
And I made a spotify playlist of several Japanese songs that I listen on repeat throughout the day. I printed out the lyrics for a FEW songs at a time, so when they come up, I could read the lyrics as the song plays. I would also when I have time after work, spend time on to translate both the vocabulary used in the song and Kanji that make up the vocabulary that I don’t recognize. Thankfully I don’t need to worry about the pronunciation since I hear it when I’m listening while reading. And then I would look up english translations of verses after I’m done with them just to see what they mean. I don’t pay attention to grammar which is fine since I have bunpro. But using music as a fun way to learn Vocab, Kanji, AND practicing listening skills from day 1 is pretty poggers. I feel like it’s actually underutilized.
Of course I’m new to learning Japanese, but did read a lot of info regarding the Input Hypothesis about acquisition of a second language. And as long as you’re consuming content meant for natives that you’re enjoying, you’ll be good.

I’m currently not even mining per se or using Anki atm. I’m making some notes on the song lyric printouts but that’s about it. 2 SRS systems are already enough, so I’m just going to spend the rest of my time reading/listening when I can.
I plan to keep this up for like probably 4 more months, then I’ll replace songs with books. Good luck with your journey!


My personal experience: Don’t bother with Anki for song lyrics. Make a Word doc with the Japanese, romaji, and translation (or do your best attempt at a translation by yourself). Print out the Japanese kanji version to carry in a folder and read when you are bored.

When I would learn new song lyrics, I would play the music while looking at my Word doc. Pause the song after each sentence and review when the “paragraph” is complete. Usually it would take around 5 listens to start to get the hang of the song. Make sure you sing along with it, even if you sing poorly (I used to hurt my own ears I sung so bad, but it helps make it fun and easier to remember when you hear the song without the lyrics in front of you). When you are alone/bored (like walking your dog or something), you can try to remember the lyrics and say them out loud to yourself.

What I’m saying is to treat it as a fun little hobby and not boring flashcards. You can use your new skill for car karaoke.

As for grammar and vocab, it’s true that the grammar is more lyrical compared to conversational. And depending on the genre, it might not be useful for conversation, but you’ll find that vocab in video games and stuff (ex: I listened to a lot of metal songs about death and destruction). But I found many, many times where remembering grammar from songs made writing journals and the like super easy. I’d just remember the example from the lyrics and change the word.

Anyway, just make music fun and don’t worry about downsides to it. I found lyrics and band members to be a huge motivator for me in continuing to learn Japanese. If you want to find lyrics, just write the artist name and song name and add 歌詞 (kashi / lyrics) behind it. A lot of Japanese sites don’t let you copy/paste the lyrics, but you can go to File > Save As > Save it as a text file and open it in Notepad.


Yeah, that’s definitely why I chose music so I could have fun with it! I already asked a friend whose into theatre to give me vocal lessons because I WILL be singing in karoke. Honestly, since Korean shares the same grammar, I might even do the same with Kpop songs when I’m done with Japanese or wanna take a break xD I really like their alphabet a lot.

I was about to add deathnote and Parasyte openings IMMEDIATELY only to remember those were in english >.< I love heavy metal- especially a little screamo. If you have any recommendations, it’ll help me so much.

My neighbors might hate you though. But that’s fine, they won’t know xD


It really depends on your likes but xd I have a ((mostly vocaloid, mostly oldies)) playlist that you can check out. I like to dig vocabulary and recognition of kanji from it. I usually listen to it while following the lyrics and see how it is pronouced: Spotify


Some rock/metal bands I can think of right now (no particular order): DADAROMA, DIAURA, Black Gene For the Next Scene, Buck-Tick, exist†trace, MUCC, the THIRTEEN, Mejibray, Arlequin, Xepher, SCAPEGOAT, MORRIGAN, LIN (凛), BORN, D’espairsray, Dir En Grey, Sukekiyo, T.M.Revolution, Malice Mizer, Glay, Nocturnal Bloodlust, abingdon boys school, girugamesh, Sadie, The GaZettE.

If you are into visual kei type stuff, consider checking out VHK Press (news about bands) or a Japanese magazine called Cure(キュア) (you can read it for “free” if you have Kindle Unlimited Japanese version). There’s a blog called hiphopVOMIT that posts a ton of lyrics/romaji sorted by artist, too. I also like browsing ROCK LYRIC.

If you have anime openings/endings you enjoy, be sure to check out the artist that sang it.


Dude, I’m just now reading this post, but you are heaven sent. The hardest part about immersion is finding stuff you like to immerse yourself in. You just gave me a gold mine. I will try to remember to come back and thank you before a year from now.

Thanks! :smiley:

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