What do you guys think of Dogen?

It looks like he makes pitch-accent seem more important than it really is. Of course, you have to master it if you want to sound like a native, but he says he did nothing but study pitch accent for a long time, etc. Right after he’s told you how critical it is to learn it, he locks the rest of the videos behind Patreon, which honestly doesn’t seem like a cash grab.

I can’t know for sure without becoming a patron and looking further into his videos, but at first glance, it seems like he is trying to scare beginners of Japanese into buying his product. I eventually want to sound native-like, so he has piqued my interest.


I don’t see that at all. Pitch accent is something he seems passionate about and he’s up front with the fact that you can get by without it.

You don’t need his videos if you have a good ear and can pick up pitch accent on your own.

But here, a coupe of very generous patrons have paid to put a couple of the videos up on his public YouTube so you can judge for yourself.

I found this video fascinating and I think his course is worth the money if you want to get pitch accent right. I’m not personally using it because I’m ok picking it up by ear.


I don’t begrudge anyone for getting paid to teach people something they’ve gotten good at. I don’t recall him being dishonest about how important it is (that is, only really important if sounding native is important to you, which is the case for only the tiniest shred of Japanese learners). I hope to pass Kanken level 1 some day and I think sounding like a native seems harder. If he wanted to cash grab, there are much easier targets.


I’m one of his patreon. His contents are great and certainly answer that niche demand. However, I would not dedicate to pitch accent as much as he did though. My goal is different from his goal when he was learning Japanese.

So I think it depends on what is your goal in learning Japanese. My short term goal is I want to pass JLPT, but Dogen’s content certainly will answer my long term goal as I want to master Japanese language.


I’m thinking the same as you. I want to first comprehend the language and master speaking it afterwards. The thing is though; he really stresses the fact that you should start with phonetics as soon as possible before you create bad habits. That’s why I’m very interested in hearing what people have to say about him.


Overrated. Dogen is always trying too hard to be funny and failing miserably.


Honestly, being aware that pitch accent exists is all you really need in the beginning.


If I have more time to study Japanese and don’t need to worry about passing JLPT. I would totally follow his path on learning Japanese.

I’m saying this from my English learning experience. It’s much more difficult to fix your speaking habit and accent when you are that deep into the langauge.

It was a nightmare for me, even my English speaking skill was really fluent and considered to be very good for a non-native speaker.


This is what gets to me especially. Dabbling in the thought of phonetics being so important that leaving your classes can be a good idea for some. That’s how he comes across at least to me. I get that phonetics is important, but he makes it seems almost critical unless you want to sound like a mayor 外人

I think you’re making not sounding native seem worse than it is. Most people just want to communicate.

There are people who want to do those “White guy fools people in discord that he’s not Japanese” videos on Youtube, but other than that, what is the real benefit to being “perfectly” native sounding?

Basically he’s saying “You’ll have an accent if you don’t put in a ton of work on phonetics” and I’m saying “Yeah, and having a slight accent is not a big deal for me”


I don’t find it much different from WaniKani, honestly.

A very well made content, but tailored to a very specific goal.
Neither reading Kanji or having perfect pronunciation will make you able to speak Japanese by themselves, but surely no one would disagree both are important parts on becoming proficient in Japanese.

Different people will find trouble with different aspects of the language, so while phonetics might be the “missing key” (and thus worth paying extra money) to one person, the opposite might be true to another, coming pretty easily and no need of extra effort.

If you feel like you need to improve your pronunciation or that having a near-perfect Japanese pronunciation is fundamental for you future goals, be sure Dogen is very good quality content.
There are, however, many people with horrible pronunciation who work in Japanese and are totally fine with it. Also people who can read almost no Kanji but speak pretty decently. Nothing is 100% “must” in the end, so consider your own goals and find what works the best for you.


Don’t mind me, I just dropped in to say

Happy Birthday! @JesperHH



It’s not that I want to be one of those show-off people. I really don’t like people like that, as it discourages learners of Japanese.
That said though; I do like Japanese as a hobby, and therefore do want to be somewhat efficient in speaking it.

I think accent doesn’t matter really as long as everyone can understand you ,first thing is learning kanjis and vocabs then pitch accent if you really wanna sound like a native


Half the time I see a professional interpreter at a game conference or something I think “Hmm, I’m surprised how noticeable their accent is” and then I also think “Wow, they’re so much more fluent than me.”


And when I was learning English I watched many serises and movies now my accent is better than 3 years ago I sound like a native Californian I think



I once met a prefecture-hired Portuguese-Japanese translator at a bar (Portuguese is my native tongue) and I was surprised because my pronunciation was definitely so much better than his.
Yet there he is, translating stuff in real time (what takes a lot of skill) and getting his work done. Seems to be working out pretty well for him.


I quite enjoy his work, and will probably become a Patreon once I reach level 60 here; as @SyncroPC says, the two resources have different focuses, and I think they might complement each other quite nicely.

I pick up somewhat well on prosody, and I think getting bogged down in pronunciation will be a good opportunity to review.

Yeah, translation and interpretation certainly are specialized skills. I was raised bilingually (sort of) in Swedish and English, so I can communicate fairly effortlessly in both languages, but translating between them makes me feel like I don’t understand either of them.


You can speak many languages with a foreign accent just fine, but I personally enjoy having a native-like accent as I’ve achieved to some degree with English. I don’t care about reaching a perfect accent, but enough to don’t stand out too much.
The way Dogen speaks about his experience with Japanese makes it sound like an all-or-nothing approach. You either drop everything now and focus on phonetics, or you will be stuck with a foreign accent.

I’m not saying that you can’t be very proficient in Japanese without mastering phonetics, just that I find it somewhat desirable. And no, I don’t want it to take part in a silly d-measuring contest. I consider it a hobby that I want to master for self-satisfaction :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I think the Patreon lessons are worth it (I’m also a patron), but I really wouldn’t recommend it to the majority of Japanese learners, because it can be overwhelming and probably discouraging. It’s very niche content for the small number of people who care very much about sounding native.

The free lessons (there’s quite a few already) on his channel get you a long way by themselves, at least into helping you get started on being more attentive to pitch accent, devoicing, and other phonetic phenomena. Those would be enough for most people I think. It’s important to at least be aware of those, even if you’re not striving to have perfect pronunciation (which arguably isn’t needed for most people).

I was pleasantly surprised that some of what he teaches I already had intuitively learned by just talking to Japanese people a lot, but there’s a lot that I hadn’t picked up. I’m definitely a lot more attentive to pronunciation when listening or learning new words, which I wasn’t before.

TLDR; the Patreon series is great for what it is, but I don’t think it’s important for the vast majority of learners to go that far to study phonetics. But for those who care about it, it’s a wonderful resource.