TANOHONGO : The Japanese Experience | Ultimate Thread

Hi everyone, long time no see.

I’ve been thinking about a project for like a year now and I can’t seem to start it yet (I have higher priorities but it’s still not an excuse). I want to know your opinion first to see if people are actually interested in something like this or I am just going to waste my time.


So the project is basically a Japanese web app that will be called Tanohongo (a mix between “Tanoshii”(fun) and “Nihongo”(Japanese)). After trying so many sources to learn Japanese (or attempt to hehe) I noticed that reading isn’t emphasized on too much. You can still read a manga to have fun but can you even understand it without spending 2 hours per page? I don’t think so…unless you are level 60 on WK :sunglasses:

That’s where Tanohongo comes into play. Allowing people to improve their reading skills while having fun is the main goal. So the main sources will be games and anime since that’s the reason why most of people learn the language (at least in my case).


Now concerning the features and how it’s done, nothing is set in stone yet but here is a couple of ideas :

  1. It’s kind of similar to NHK WEB NEWS (EASY), but you have gaming/anime content instead of just random news(Yes, I hate news).
  2. The content is in english, but you have toggles that will display extra text, one for the Japanese translation and one for the Romaji (so you use what you want according to your level).
  3. People can suggest content (example : I want a translation of the Gym leader’s speech in Pokemon White). Someone can pick up the suggestion and do the translation in exchange of a certain amount of money (to understand this you can think about UPWORK, you mention what you want, you suggest a price and you wait for a freelancer to help you).
  4. This might be weird for some people, most of the text especially buttons will be in English and Japanese (example : Home ‘ホーム’). Offering a Japanese experience even for non Japanese speaks is one of the main goals of the app. You get a feel of Japanese without getting stuck :laughing:
  5. There will be a list of the basic 2000 or so Kanji you need to know and every Kanji will have a unique page. On that page, you will find 5 quotes from different game/anime characters including the specific Kanji.
  6. There might be a level system. This one is still undefined(needless to say, you get rewards every 10 levels for example). Let’s say you can only access 3 articles per day (free version) and an unlimited amount of articles (8$ per month). At level 10, you can access 5 articles, at level 50 you only pay 4$ per month, etc…
  7. And more…


As you can see, it’s not something that I can do all by myself. That’s why the plan would be as follows.
-Learn/Become Decent at Javascript (Programming Language). Even as a software engineering student I still suck at coding, well I will stop doing it soon anyway(yes, you heard that right).
-Look for people to help me to make like a beta version.
-Make some sexy mockups of what’s not done yet.
-Start a kickstarter(to make a team of developers/translators).

I have to do an internship aboard to get my degree in 2019 and I decided to go to Japan so I will be looking for internships very soon. Who knows, I might find some Japanese people who are interested :wink:

That’s all, if you made it this far then know that you are amazing and that you already helped me. I don’t mind anyone stealing my ideas as I am already working on other projects (not school related). In fact I would be happy since it’ll make things even easier. This is mainly for the community, not my ultimate project. I honestly think that it’ll help a lot of people, I might be wrong though, that’s why I am here.

Now, warm up that keyboard and start typing. Yes you, the one who is reading this. I promise to give you a cookie for every line you write. Who is gonna pay for it? you of course!

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Is this even legal?.. :man_shrugging:

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If you license the content :slight_smile:

I think it’s a good idea, but for a kickstarter/for profit venue you have to sort out what content is available (it’s a fragmented mess with different rules for different companies, countries, media, …), or you will be crushed by the content owners.

If you can demonstrate in the kickstarter that you can get content you have good prospects I guess. Japanese media companies don’t really seem eager to check new distribution models though, stuff like Crunchyroll seemed to have had a really hard time. Maybe they discovered that there is profit on the digital side, finally …


I like your idea, but I have a couple of comments.

It has been mentioned many times on the forum, but there’s no real correlation between WK and actual reading ability. Shonen/Shojo manga have furigana on everything, so kanji isn’t what’s holding you back. Vocab and grammar is.
Also, I’m not level 60 at the time of writing. :upside_down_face:

So, this part is my main worry. That part screams illusion of learning, rather than actual learning. I would understand if you had Full Japanese → full hiragana (-> really hard/annoying toggle for English, maybe). Learning hiragana takes a week top. People have no business trying to read Japanese if they can’t do that yet.

Also, as I mentioned, one of the biggest issue to be actually able to read is grammar. I feel it might be much more beneficial to have a toggle for structure highlight. Then you can either have your own page for specific grammar point, or a list of links, like bunpro.

I feel like having English immediately visible would be disruptive. People’s eyes will immediately go to the English part, and mostly ignore the Japanese. It would be better to have the English translation as a tooltip (but that would not work on smartphones, though :confused:)

Sounds like an incentive for people to try to use (an equivalent of) the ignore script, level as fast as possible, and then start learning (or at least fool themselves in thinking they’ll start learning).

So, I want to reassert that I think it’s a good idea, since it seems like I’m only making negative comments :see_no_evil: Just, be careful that humans will trick themselves very easily into thinking they are working, while they aren’t; you don’t need to give them extra opportunities to do so :stuck_out_tongue:


I was going to write some comments, but it’s quicker to just say “I agree with @Naphthalene”.


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