As you can imagine, Koreans have a lot of different materials to learn Japanese. Books of course, but also radio programs and even magazines. In this article, I would like to present a Korean monthly magazine published by Darakwon and entitled: 일본어 저널 or in Japanese 日本語ジャーナル.
I sincerely don’t know how one can buy this magazine outside of Korea, but I think that it can be ordered via Gmarket. I saw that some issues were available for international shipping, but I never tried it myself.
Magazines to learn languages seem to be a little outdated, with all the resources one can find online. Nevertheless, I love 日本語ジャーナル and buy it every month. I like the contents, the presentation and having new material coming every month is an excellent reminder to study.
Some features of the magazine
日本語ジャーナル is aimed at Koreans, so some contents are in Korean. I would say that about a fourth of the whole magazine is written in Korean. It mainly concerns articles about Japanese travel destinations.
The rest of the magazine is composed of articles written in Japanese with different level of difficulty. They are provided with a Korean translation, and some difficult words are also given in Korean at the end of each article. No need to say that, if you are learning both Korean and Japanese this magazine allows you to kill two birds with one stone.
Among the rubrics in Japanese that come back each month, you will find an article about:
- One aspect of Kyoto
- A Japanese belief or superstition
- Illustrated words around a different theme each month
- A film extract
- A traditional Japanese tale (to be continued on several issues)
- A trendy topic in Japan
- One Japanese festival
- One Japanese mascot
- Two keywords
There is also a whole part of the magazine devoted to learning Japanese. You will find all sorts of materials, including grammar, kanji, onomatopoeia, JLPT tests, etc. to study Japanese pleasantly.
Why I love this magazine
The magazine comes with a CD, and even though all Japanese articles are not provided with an audio version, many of them are. It’s a great source of listening material.
The contents of the articles allow me to know more about Japanese culture and contemporary topics, it is especially valuable for people like me who are not living in Japan (and never have).The section “keywords” and the “trendy topic” are particularly interesting because they present some notable, strange or interesting things like “死後離婚”, “歩きスマホ事故”, “一分動画” or even “プラスチップの盆栽”.
There are different levels of difficulty, but even the “easy” articles are interesting and bring worth remembering words and expressions. I personally enjoy reading every article, no matter the level. In each article, the furigana are given only the first time a word appears.
Every issue comes with a film extract. To be more precise, there are several extracts from the same film. On the CD, you will find extracts of the film itself (not just the script read by someone). To me, this is by far the most difficult and challenging part. Without reading the script, I could not understand what is said. Working with these extracts is the first step to understanding Japanese films without subtitles. It also gives ideas concerning films that just came out in Japan that you may want to see.
More than anything, I think that the regularity, the assurance to have a new magazine every month is the greatest feature of interest in a monthly magazine. It helps boost my motivation by giving me fresh and new material to read on a regular basis.
I don’t know if there are other similar magazines to learn Japanese published in other countries. I heard of “Hiragana Times”, but I think that the purpose of it is different, though I am not sure. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you know of any other magazine to learn Japanese!
In any case, magazines have a big potential when it comes to language learning: they provide you with new contents every month, and each new issue brings a whole pack of motivation, inspiration and energy!