Writing Prompts

Does anyone know any good sites that provide writing prompts or essay questions in Japanese?

I don’t really know what to Google. I tried a few phrases but keep getting pages about essay writing or education. What I’m really looking for is just a list with dozens of prompts. Kind of like the ones Mami posts in Japanese Only, but questions that would lead to longer answers.

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How long of an answer are you wanting to write?

For a while I had the idea that I would write a page per month based off of the monthly theme from my favorite Japanese radio show. But those topics are maybe a little boring or not specific enough for the sort of thing you’re looking for (ex. cat memories, travel memories, shoes, かき氷).

Maybe there are books about creative writing that have what you’re looking for…

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I usually aim for 500+ characters. I write something roughly once a week for my teacher and I must have done well over 50 of the things by now. I like the prompts in Tobira. Things like:



Sometimes I just write reviews of things I’ve read or seen or my opinion on news events, but I want to push myself a bit outside what I usually do. I know I could just translate English prompts, but I’d prefer a) the reading practice, and b) to have original Japanese prompts.

What’s that radio show, by the way? Sounds like it could provide some ideas. It doesn’t matter if the topics are a little boring - sometimes I use the ones from Japanese Only and just kind of run with them.


Sorry, I purposefully left out the name of the show so as not to bother people who might not want to read about my Kusanagi Tsuyoshi obsession in every other post…

It’s ShinTsuyo POWER SPLASH. People can email in their comments, and the hosts read some and pick one or two as a starting point for their conversation. The マンスリテーム is always the first part of the show, then どうでもいい話 (also write-in), and they usually end with フリートーク. It’s good listening practice for me.

I may take the idea of running with Mami’s prompts for myself :slightly_smiling_face: But, anyway, it sounds like you already do quite a bit of writing! That’s great! Though I figured if you’ve been living in Japan for awhile, you’re pretty advanced with Japanese :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks. I’ll check it out.

If only. I think you need something to be an integral part of your daily life to make that jump. I do speak it a lot in daily necessary interactions and chat a few times with people most weeks but I don’t use Japanese at work or home so advanced is a far away goal for now.


Anyway, I guess I was meaning “advanced” in a more loose and relative way, like “you’re more advanced than I am”. For example, I can read those Tobira prompts that you posted, if I look up 学歴社会 and 普及率, but the thought of trying to answer them in Japanese is quite overwhelming.

What do you do with all the things you write; do you collect them anywhere?

I email them to my teacher the night before the lesson and then she prints them out and brings them the next day with her corrections. I then take them home and…(I’d love to say I go over what I did wrong and look up / practice the appropriate grammar points but…) I put them in a heap somewhere and never look at them again. Which is why about 80% of the corrections are related to transitive / intransitive and why it will no doubt be the same next week, too. Poor woman.

Anyway, if you have a teacher I’d recommend asking if they could make it part of your lesson. And even if you don’t, it’s the writing process itself that I find most useful - since it forces you to look up words / grammar points you need.

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