Learn Japanese with Anime: “Natsume Yujin-cho” (Beginner Level)


Webmaster Review

73% Excellent

Preference for this work depends on whether you like the atmosphere of it or not. It has a story of people and youkai, but you would surely be impressed since there are many humans drama as well. You will feel like your heart is purified. This is an excellent work, especially its worldview is outstanding.

  • Story/Worldview 90 %
  • Character 70 %
  • Animation/Background 70 %
  • Songs/Sound 65 %
  • Originality 70 %
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0 %


1. Information

Natsume Yujin-cho

Title (Eng)Natsume Yujin-cho
Title (Jpn)夏目友人帳
Aired Year2008
GenresDrama, Horror, Fantasy
Related AnimeZoku Natsume Yujin-cho



2. Synopsis

Natsume Yujin-cho


While most fifteen-year-old boys, in one way or another, harbor secrets that are related to girls, Takashi Natsume has a peculiar and terrifying secret involving youkai: for as long as he can remember, he has been constantly chased by these spirits. Natsume soon discovers that his deceased grandmother Reiko had passed on to him the Yuujinchou, or “Book of Friends,” which contains the names of the spirits whom she brought under her control. Now in Natsume’s possession, the book gives Reiko’s grandson this power as well, which is why these enraged spirits now haunt him in hopes of somehow attaining their freedom.

Without parents and a loving home, and constantly being hunted by hostile, merciless youkai, Natsume is looking for solace—a place where he belongs. However, his only companion is a self-proclaimed bodyguard named Madara. Fondly referred to as Nyanko-sensei, Madara is a mysterious, pint-sized feline spirit who has his own reasons for sticking with the boy.



3. Character’s way of Speaking

・Natsume Takashi (夏目 貴志, なつめ たかし)

Natsume Yujin-cho


He uses two first personal pronouns: “俺” (おれ, Ore) and “僕” (ぼく, Boku). This is not because he has a duality in personality, but because he uses the proper one by judging the position and situation of the person in contact. The way of talking is suitable for his age, but it gives the impression of being a little calm by nature.

Although he tends to use honorifics to superior people, they somewhat seem to emphasize politeness. When talking to a person of the same age, he uses a boy-like word. So you will be able to learn to distinguish words properly by watching the difference.


・Nyanko Sensei (ニャンコ先生, にゃんこせんせい) / Madara (斑, まだら)

Natsume Yujin-cho


The first person pronoun is “私” (わたし, Watashi), his tone is a bit old-fashioned. The old-fashioned way of speaking is not extreme. He changes the end of the word as saying not “xxx しない” but “xxx せん”. That means I don’t do something.


・Fujiwara Touko (藤原 塔子, ふじわら とうこ)

Natsume Yujin-cho


Her way of speaking is gentle and calm, and polite as an adult woman. It is a way of speaking to embrace the figure of “calm mother”.



4. Terms and Talking Contents

Natsume Yujin-cho


This work has a theme about the unusual existence of youkai. Terms not used in everyday conversation appear, such as “妖怪” (あやかしもの, youkai), “結界” (けっかい, barrier) and “封印” (ふういん, seal). There are two kinds of conversation, old-fashioned what youkai and Nyanko Sensei talk about, and general everyday conversation talked by humans.

Since the conversation used in scenes where youkai are not involved is a standard Japanese daily conversation, it is easy to hear. For words related to youkai, if you prepare in advance, it will also be an opportunity to learn fantasy aspects of Japanese culture. “Natsume Yujin-cho” is a good work for beginners to refer to as learning Japanese.


5. Difficult Term List (You should prepare for them before watching)

・Difficult Term List which You Must Know (They come out more than twice)

1ようかい妖怪ghost; apparition; phantom
2あやかしものあやかしものghost; apparition; phantom
3ばちあたり罰当たりdamned; cursed
6おせっかいお節介meddling; meddlesomeness; nosiness
8けっかい結界boundaries for religious practices
9こぶん子分henchman; follower
10おやぶん親分boss; kingpin
11しゅじゅうかんけい主従関係the relation of master to servant


・Difficult Term List which Can Be Useful (They come out once)

13みもふたもない身も蓋もないpoint blank; blunt



6. Beginners can Learn Japanese with This Anime

Natsume Yujin-cho


Even though youkai is a theme, difficult terms hardly appear, and the conversation content is simple and easy. Although the difficulty level of terms and conversation is 12th grade, the difficult terms occurrence rate is very small: 1.0 terms/episode. Therefore, it is very easy for beginners to watch and listen if you prepare in advance in 5. Difficult Term List.


Difficult Terms Occurrence Rate 1.0 terms/episode= 13 / 13
Difficulty Level12th grade= High School
Total Difficulty Score12.0 points= 1.0 * 12
Comprehensive JudgmentVery Easyin 0 to 29.9 points
Recommended Japanese LearnerBeginner 



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