14 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Very Easy)

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Introduction

When you start to get tired of learning Japanese the normal way, by using textbooks, give learning Japanese through music a try. In this section, for all of you learning Japanese, I have selected 94 songs that are suitable for learning the Japanese language, and, at the same time, are considered classics even within the Anison (anime songs)/J-Pop genres. Furthermore, I, being a native speaker of Japanese, have analyzed the levels of difficulty of Japanese in each of the aforementioned songs and have categorized them accordingly. This section is composed of a total of 5 columns, which are organized by level of difficulty.

Column 1: 14 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Very Easy)
Column 2: 25 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Relatively Easy)
Column 3: 19 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Normal)
Column 4: 18 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Relatively Hard)
Column 5: 17 Great Songs to Learn Japanese Through (Level: Very Hard)

In this first column, I will introduce 14 songs with a Japanese difficulty level of “Very Easy” to you! These are songs that will be good practice for listening/speaking, even for beginners of Japanese language learning.

One can learn a lot from learning Japanese through music because one can immerse him/herself in Japanese when listening to music. However, in songs, the grammatical order of the lyrics is not necessarily correct. Therefore, this method is recommended for learners who have already memorized a certain extent of the grammar. By all means, try it.

The songs introduced here are limited to those used in anime, so if you like anime, you can have fun learning by recalling the content of the anime while listening. As a reference, I mention the relationship between the anime and the song in the descriptions below each song.

Next, I’ll explain how I analyzed the difficulty levels of Japanese within the songs. First of all, I focused on the 3 perspectives of the speed of the singing, the listenability and the difficulty of the lyrics and divided them into 5 categories according to difficulty (Very Easy, Relatively Easy, Normal, Relatively Hard and Hard). For example, for songs that are very slow, the speed will be scored as a 1, those that are normal will be a 3 and those that are very fast will be a 5.

Furthermore, in order to convert the Japanese difficulty level into points, I gave the categories of speed, listenability and difficulty of the lyrics weight values of 3, 5 and 2, respectively. This is because in learning Japanese through music, listenability is most important, and the speed of the singing is next important.

Therefore, for example, if the speed the singing is normal (3), the listenability is relatively hard (4) and the difficulty of its lyrics is very easy (1), its Japanese difficulty score will be 31 (=3×3+4×5+1×2). Moreover, having processed all 94 songs through the point conversion system, a deviation value from the average has been calculated as well. As a reference, the results of these calculations are noted in the <Analysis> section of the main text.

Without further ado, here are the 14 songs with a Japanese difficulty level of “Very Easy”. Yes, that’s right. It is in the order in which the author reviewed the songs, chosen entirely out of personal preference and without any consultation whatsoever. This is not up for discussion. lol

 

 

Outstanding Songs (My Review: ★)

1. あんなに一緒だったのに (Anna ni Issho Datta no ni)

Overview

Title MeaningEven Though We Were So Together
ArtistSee-Saw
AnimeMobile Suit Gundam SEED
GenreAnison
TimingED

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is relatively slow. The voice of the singer is clear and easy to catch and is easy to sing along with. At the chorus, the sound pressure of the synthesizer gets heavier, but the volume of the vocals gets larger as well, so it is still easy to listen to. The lyrics are easy as well, the only difficult vocabulary being “あんなに”. This is an applied form of “あんなだ”, which, when put into other words, is “あれほど”, “あれだけ” (so much, that much). When using this word in writing, one would use “あれほど”, but when speaking, many people use “あんなに”. Other than that, there are no difficult Japanese expressions.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The lyrics accurately express the difficult feelings of having a childhood friend become an enemy and having to coldly cut ties with them, as well as the frustration of not being able to talk to them.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score13

 

 

 

2. My Soul, Your Beats!

Overview

Title MeaningMy Soul, Your Beats!
ArtistLia
AnimeAngel Beats!
GenreAnison
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

This song is in a ballad-like style and, as a result, is relatively slow. It is easy to follow due to the accompaniment being played on the piano and the singer having extremely clear pronunciation and a clean voice.

The lyrics are easy, and the only difficult word is “幾億の” (いくおくの), “幾千の” (いくせんの). These are synonymous with “何億の” (なんおくの, several hundreds of millions), “何千の” (なんぜんの, several thousand). Moreover, as the background setting of the song is at a school, there are lyrics that say “襟のタイをきつく締め” (えり の たい を きつく しめ, Tightening the tie around my collar) and “掃除の途中” (そうじ の とちゅう, In the middle of (after school) cleaning). Also, “~気がした” (~きがした, I felt like …) is often used in conversations.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The contents of the lyrics are the heroine spelling out her inner feelings towards seeing her friends off as they depart to rest in peace. Here, the gratitude towards them from かなで (Kanade) herself is also expressed. On the CD cover, a picture of a かなで playing the piano can be seen.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score13

 

 

 

3. 一番の宝物 (Yui final ver.) (Ichiban no Takaramono) 

Overview

Title MeaningMost Precious Treasure
ArtistLISA
AnimeAngel Beats!
GenreAnison
TimingED / Featured Song

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is very slow. The lyrics are relatively easy to comprehend and are easy to sing along with. The song is a ballad, the instrument section being composed of piano, violins and guitar. The lyrics are relatively difficult. The difficult phrase is an idiom; it is “顔を合わせる” (かお を あわせる) and means “会う” (あう, to meet/see sb).

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

This song was sung by ユイ (Yui), a character of the anime, to 岩沢 (Iwasawa) while she disappeared. In it, the relationship between the two characters, as well as ユイ (Yui)’s sorrowful yet strong heart is well expressed.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing133
Difficulty of the Lyrics224
Japanese Difficulty Score17

 

 

 

4. secret base ~君がくれたもの~ (10 years after Ver.) (~ Kimino Kureta Mono ~)

Overview

Title MeaningWhat You Gave Me
Artist安城鳴子(Naruko Anjyou) (戸松遥 (Haruka Tomatsu)), 本間芽衣子 (Meiko Honma) (茅野愛衣 (Ai Kayano)) & 鶴見知利子 (Chiriko Tsurumi)(早見沙織(Saori Hayami))
AnimeAnohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
GenreAnison
TimingED

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

This song is a ballad, so its speed is relatively slow. Moreover, this song is sung by the voice actors of the anime, and as a result, their articulation is clear. However, because the 3 of them are singing, it makes the song only relatively easy to follow. Since the lyrics are easy and there are no difficult words, and since it depicts the coming and going of relationships, it is easy to visualize in one’s mind.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

Being that the story of the anime was one that provoked heartache, the song accurately expresses the painful, sorrowful feelings caused by farewells. On top of that, the melody is gentle and mellow and reminds one of the characters of the anime.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score18

 

 

 

5. 鳥の詩 (Torni no uta)

Overview

Title MeaningSong of the Bird
ArtistLia
AnimeAIR
GenreAnison
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is relatively slow and the synthesizer fits well in it. Furthermore, because the singer has a voice with transparency, it is relatively easy to follow along. The lyrics are easy and there are only 2 difficult words. First of all, the word “わたつみ” means “海の神霊”  (いみ の しんれい, the Devine spirit of the sea), and is “海神” (うみがみ, literally “sea god”) or “綿津見” (わたつみ) in Kanji.

This is an old expression, so it will not be understood in conversation. Next, “灼ける” (やける) generally means to not only burn but points to a condition that can be expressed as an inferno. However, because the character “灼” also has the meaning “光り輝く” (ひかりかがやく, to shine, be radiant), it is thought that the lyrics use this definition.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

Since the goal of the protagonist in the anime is to meet a “girl with wings”, the lyrics have a flavor reminiscent of one always looking up at the sky.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score18

 

 

 

6. Overfly

Overview

Title MeaningOverfly
Artist春奈るな (Runa Haruna)
AnimeSword Art Online
GenreJ-POP
TimingED

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

This song is at a relatively slow speed. The song is easy to follow, however, at some parts the vocals become low, therefore, people who are not good with low voices should pay extra attention. The melody is the typical pop song.

The lyrics are relatively easy, and one of the difficult words is “自問自答” (じもんじとう, which means “to ask and answer yourself”. It is a 四字熟語 (よじじゅくご, 4-character idiom) used often in everyday life. “自分次第” (じぶんしだい) is also a commonly used phrase, and, in the sense that it consists of 4 characters, is a 四字熟語 (よじじゅくご, 4-character idiom), although, strictly, not an idiom. It means that “(it) depends on your own actions”. Next, the spoken phrase “フリして”, when written properly becomes “振りをする” (ふりをする) and means” to act as if it were so, although reality is different ”. This phrase is also often used in everyday life.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The majestic yet delicate melody matches very well with the nature-filled setting of the anime, as well as the story, which has themes such as life-or-death battles and love. Moreover, the lyrics accurately depict the way one fears yet does not run from matters that one has no power over, and how one stands up against it alongside his/her companions.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing133
Difficulty of the Lyrics224
Japanese Difficulty Score17

 

 

 

Brilliant Songs (My Review: ★★★★★★★★★)

7. アクアテラリウム

Overview

Title MeaningAqua-terrarium
Artistやなぎなぎ (Nagi Yanagi)
AnimeNagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea
GenreJ-POP
TimingED

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is very slow. The singer’s voice, although thin, has a substantial presence and is at a level that makes it relatively easy to follow. The melody of the song has a magical, mysterious vibe.

The lyrics are easy, and the only difficult word is “捧ぐ” (ささぐ). This is a literary form of “捧げる” (ささげる, to offer). Its meaning is “to give, to do one’s best for the other person while showing sincerity and love”. There are no other difficult phrases.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

Both the lyrics and the melody are unique and match the magical worldview of the anime. Moreover, the distant world in which the protagonists are living is expressed as a fish tank, and the fact that the song was titled “Aqua-terrarium”, which has both land and water, gives a sense of deep connection with the anime.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing133
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score15

 

 

 

8. センチメンタルラブ

Overview

Title MeaningSentimental Love
ArtistみみめめMIMI (MimimemeMIMI)
AnimeA Town Where You Live
GenreJ-POP
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is relatively slow. The singing is relatively easy to follow and the melody is cheerful. The lyrics are easy and without difficult vocabulary. However, there is one part with a difficult expression. That is the part that says “キミがいなくちゃなかった喜び” (きみ が いなくちゃ なかった よろこび). To write it correctly, it would be: “キミがいなくてはなかった喜び” (きみ が いなくては なかった よろこび, joy that would not be, without you). In other words, “キミがいなかったらあり得なかった喜び” (きみ が いなかったら ありえなかった よろこび, joy that would not be possible without you). As a result of all of the lyrics being in a spoken tone, although it gives a sense of intimacy, remember that it becomes difficult to understand when written out.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

Since this anime is a total romance story, this song sings of the feelings of love that the heroine has.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score18

 

 

 

9. 君色シグナル (Kimiiro shigunaru)

Overview

Title MeaningA Signal in Your Color
Artist春奈るな (Luna Haruna)
AnimeSaekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
GenreAnison
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample (without Lyrics)

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is normal, but it is easy to follow. The melody is a cheery pop style, and its vibe seems as if to illustrate the adolescent youth of high school students. The lyrics are easy, and the only difficult word is “軌跡” (きせき). Meaning-wise, it indicates “the footsteps of a predecessor or a specific somebody”. The “涙のあとも軌跡に変えるよ” (なみだ の あと も きせき に かえる よ,  change tear stains into footsteps) here is thought to mean “沢山泣いたけれど、偉人が通った跡のような力に変える” (たくさん ないた けれど、いじん が とおった あと の ような ちから に かえる, Although I (we) have cried a lot, I (we) will change those tears into a power like a trail left by the greats).

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The lyrics are ones that accurately represent the feelings of the heroine(s) who secretly are fond of Otaku protagonist 安芸 倫也 (Tomoya Aki), as well as the usual behavior of 安芸 倫也 (Tomoya Aki). Furthermore, by making the song a cheery pop song, rather than a total love song, this song also expresses that the anime is a comedy.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing339
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score16

 

 

 

Excellent Songs (My Review: ★★★★★★★★☆☆)

10. ルミナス (Ruminasu)

Overview

Title MeaningLuminous
ArtistClariS
AnimePuella Magi Madoka Magica: The Movie
GenreJ-POP
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is relatively slow, and the singer’s voice is soft and easy to follow. The melody has a cheery vibe to it. The lyrics are easy, with only 2 difficult phrases. One of those difficult phrases is  “辿る” (たどる). This means “めざす方向へ進む” (めざす ほうこう へ すすむ, to move in the direction one is striving towards) or “歩きにくい道や知らない道を確かめながら苦労して行く” (あるき にくい みち や しらない みち を たしかめ ながら くろう して いく, to walk and test a difficult or unknown road with difficulty). When taking the lyrics into consideration, the latter applies here. Next is “時のカケラ” (とき の かけら), a phrase often used in lyrics. Although, in reality, it is impossible to put time into fragments, it is appropriate to consider this to mean “僅かな時” (わずか な とき, very little time), “一瞬の時” (いっしゅん の とき, a moment of time) or “一場面” (いちばめん, one scene).

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The lyrics follow along with the anime story, the first verse being ほむら (Homura)’s feelings and the second verse being まどか (Madoka)’s wishes.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score18

 

 

 

11. 君がいた物語 (Kimi ga ita Monogatari)

Overview

Title MeaningThe Story in Which You Were
ArtistSee-Saw
Anime.hack//Liminality
GenreAnison
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation of Japanese lyrics

The speed of this song is very slow, and the synthesizer is played at a uniform pace. The singing is powerful and clear and easy to follow. The melody has a very magical, almost futuristic feeling to it, and has made an impression on more than a few people. The lyrics are easy. One of the few difficult words is “哀しみ” (かなしみ) and means “他者のかなしみ” (たしゃ の かなしみ, the sadness of others). Next, to explain “凍てついた” (いてついた), it means “気温が低くとても寒い” (きおん が ひくく とても さむい, the temperature is low and one is very cold). A synonym for it is “凍り付く” (こおり つく, to freeze). This phrase is not used very often in daily conversation.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The originality of the song is very close to that of the anime, whose content was considered, in its day, to be epoch-making. It accurately iterates the anxiety of not being able to tell the virtual (game) from reality.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing133
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score10

 

 

 

12. 時を刻む唄 (Toki wo kizamu uta)

Overview

Title MeaningA Song That Ticks Away Time
ArtistLia
AnimeCLANNAD AFTER STORY
GenreAnison
TimingOP

 

Sound Sample

Explanation

This song is a ballad with the piano as a basis, so its speed is relatively slow. The singer has a clear voice and their enunciations are easy to catch. However, be careful during the narrative-like part as it speeds up a little and the pronunciation becomes monotone here. The lyrics are easy and the chorus is memorable. The only difficult word is “唄” (うた). No matter what kind of a “うた” (song) it is, the kanji “歌” (うた)is usually used. However, “唄” (うた) is used for Japanese “うた” (songs), such as typical Japanese music or traditional folk music. On another note, because one’s feelings for the other person is expressed very directly throughout the song with phrases such as “きみだけを好きでいたよ” (きみ だけ を すき で いた よ, I loved only you), one can use it as reference for conversations as well.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The mournful emotions of protagonist 岡崎朋也 (Tomoya Okazaki) for his wife, who died giving birth, are sung here. It also hints at how they valued each day they lived, because 渚(Nagisa), his wife, was always of poor health and how they knew her days were numbered.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score13

 

 

 

Great Songs (My Review: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆)

13. Rumbling Hearts

Overview

Title MeaningRumbling Hearts
Artist栗林 みな実 (Minami Kuribayashi)
AnimeKimi ga Nozomu Eien (The Eternity You Desire)
GenreAnison
TimingED

 

Sound Sample (without Lyrics)

Explanation

The speed of this song is relatively slow. The singing is clean and the articulation is clear and easy to follow. However, pay attention and listen because there are some parts where it is difficult to catch. The melody has a refreshing feel to it and gives off a vibe fit for a romance story.
The lyrics are easy and no difficult phrases appear. Furthermore, because very specific, yet easy phrases, such as “静に祈っている” (しずか に いのってる, I quietly pray) and “傷付くことをためらっていた幼い日々” (きず つく こと を ためらって いた おさない ひび, the days of my youth, when I hesitated being hurt) are used, as a novel, it is easy to visualize the sight when reading the lyrics.

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The lyrics are those that represent the emotions of the heroine, 速瀬 水月 (Mizuki Hayase), as well as the worldview of the anime, which creates a love triangle amid pure love. The melody reminds one of a clean, pure love, yet the lyrics match with the meaningfulness hidden in the anime as well.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability155
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score13

 

 

 

14.  記憶の海 (Kioku no Umi)

Overview

Title MeaningA Sea of Memories
Artistyozuca* & CooRie
AnimeSchool Days
GenreAnison
TimingED

 

Sound Sample

Explanation

The speed of this song is relatively slow. The singer has very clear pronunciation, making it easy to follow. It is easy to learn Japanese because the lyrics have repetitive sections. The melody is light with an electro overtone, creates a stark contrast with the heavy lyrics. The lyrics are easy and the only difficult word is “彷徨う” (さまよう). This means “あてもなく歩き回る” (あて も なく あるき まわる, to walk around aimlessly).

In relation to the anime (Spoiler)

The lyrics which speak of the feelings that the heroine has for the protagonist, who cheats repeatedly, match the anime very well.

Analysis of Japanese

 EvaluationWeight FactorScore
Listenability2510
Speed of Singing236
Difficulty of the Lyrics122
Japanese Difficulty Score18

 

 

 

Conclusion

These are the 14 songs that are recommended as learning material for beginners of Japanese language learning. I have selected various kinds of melodies from various animes, therefore, if even one of these appeals to you, first give it a good listen. Next, compare it with the lyrics and look up any words that you do not know. Lastly, put your heart into it and sing along. Hopefully, you will come to like Japanese even more than before and have a deeper understanding of the anime as well. When you master these songs, challenge yourself with the upcoming 25 “Relatively Easy” songs I will introduce to you.

 

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