Japanese Language

Person reading a Japanese bible

Japanese Language Resources

The resources found below (and in some cases free downloads of materials) are from a variety of sources – some are materials produced by OMF, others by other missions or Christian organizations and some are by secular publishers. On these pages you will also find tips of various kinds related to learning Japanese.

When there is only an introduction to a resource or some sample materials, you will find information on how to get the full text. If you would like further information please contact the OMF Language Advisor at jp.la@omfmail.com

Church plant in Japan


OMF has developed more than one option for intermediate kanji courses to go alongside the published texts ‘Shin Nihongo no Chukyu’ and Mina no Nihongo Chukyu 1′. Please contact the OMF Japan Language Advisor at jp.la@omfmail.com if you would like more information about these intermediate courses.


NB. Resources introduced in other sections may also provide ways to improve listening skills. Examples are the general textbooks, news, proficiency tests and video sections.

Books of the Bible Vocabulary lists

With the exception of the gospels of Matthew and John, the following vocabulary lists were compiled by an advanced learner of Japanese so users at a lower level may find that the lists are not as extensive as they would like. Nevertheless, they should be of great help to learners wishing to read the Bible more in Japanese.

Old Testament

New Testament

Cultural Curriculum

The materials in Preparing for Ministry-a Cultural Curriculum comprise part of the Language and Orientation Program at the OMF Japanese Language & Culture Center in Sapporo, Japan but have been adapted for general use by other mission personnel in Japan. There are 60 tasks ranging from general cultural activities (going to a noodle shop or onsen) to finding out about how people become Christians or how you could use Christian literature in evangelism. Tasks may be tackled in any order as you have opportunity. It may be helpful to keep notes on each task as you complete it. If you can be accountable to someone for these assignments you will gain much more from them. If you have recommendations for new assignments please let the OMF Language Advisor know at jp.la@omfmail.com

Preparing for Ministry – A Cultural Curriculum

General texts/Short term

General Course Books


Materials for short termers

1. ‘Nihongo Hajimete’

This is A B5 sized 24 page booklet in both kana and romaji produced by experienced teacher, Ms Kaoru Shimada It is attractively produced with colour illustrations and is good for short termers with only a few hours for study.

2. Survival Japanese (40 hour course)

An introductory course produced at the OMF Japanese Language & Culture Center and geared in its topics and vocabulary towards short termers in church planting situations. Topics covered include introducing oneself, shopping (how much?), what’s this?, the days of the week, basic verb forms, requests etc. The Hiragana version assumes that the short termer has learnt or is learning hiragana and katakana alongside the 40 hour course. The romanized version is for those not planning to learn hiragana and katakana. Samples from the course can be downloaded. Contact the OMF Language Advisor at la@omf.or.jp to order the full course by e mail.

Some suggestions for continuing study after the 40 hour or other short course are as follows:

  • ‘Hajime no ippo’ (はじめのいっぽ)’First Steps in Japanese’ by Surieenettowaaku スリーエーネットワーク 2,233 yen plus tape. For those with a very keen desire to continue studying.
  • ‘Japanese in 45 hours’ by Senmon Kyoiku Shuppan (専門教育出版) – main text 1,300 yen, workbook 1,200 yen, Notes and translation 1,800 yen. (There is no accompanying tape.) This is a slighter easier option than a.
  • Free Japanese language classes taught by volunteers. We recommend that short termers make use of volunteer classes wherever possible. In the major cities there are many volunteer groups offering classes at different times of the day and sometimes several days a week. Please contact the OMF Language Advisor for further information.

NB. Japanese learners with a background in Korean or Chinese or those with some knowledge of Japanese already may prefer the option of beginning straight away with the beginner texts being used with longer term missionaries such as ‘Minna no Nihongo’(みんなの日本語). You can find the introduction to this under ‘General Course Books – Beginners’ on this website.

Learner Training

The following are articles written by Miriam Davis which form Part 2 of the OMF Japanese Language & Culture Center Language Orientation Handbook. They are designed to help language learners think consciously about how they learn and find ways to improve the effectiveness of their learning.

Recommended reading & viewing

Below is an introduction to just a small selection of books and DVDs which are recommended reading and viewing for missionary residents in Japan. There are 3 sections:

  • Part 1: General books on Japanese life and culture
  • Part 2: Christian resources on Japan and Japanese culture
  • Part 3: Culture shock, adjusting to life in Japan as a missionary

Recommend reading and viewing in English

Start typing and press Enter to search