Japanese Language

This guide points you to some of the Library's main resources that will support the Japanese language classes on campus and so focuses on resources to help learn Japanese, as well as resources that are IN Japanese.
- For a list of Japanese Language classes at Carleton see the undergraduate calendar.

NOTE: Print books can be requested through the Library's Curbside Pickup service

Language Dictionaries


  • Making sense of Japanese grammar - we have temporary online access via HathiTrust. Once connected to Hathi, click on the Temporary Access link, and then use the "Check Out" link in the orange header to view the book
  • Modern Japanese: A practical guide 
  • Reference grammars - used more as thorough references tools to teach someone about the language and to allow users to look up specific details of a language. (as opposed to learner or pedagogical grammars which are aimed more at students learning a language, tend to be simpler, more focus on usage of the language)

Help with Kanji/Kana


Reading Books in Japanese:

    Amazon Kindle - Top 100 free Japanese ebooks- You don't need a Kindle device, just the free app

  • Japanese ebook websites you can use for free - short video that explains navigating a few sites for free Japanese ebooks (links to each source provided in video description)
  • HathiTrust - Note, this gives access to mostly older titles. Once connected, make sure to "Log In" and choose Carleton University.
    • switch the search default  to "Catalog" insted of "full text"
    • to find only ebooks we have access to make sure the "full view only" box is checked
    • search for a specific author, title, or a keyword search (you can search in English, or in Japanese characters)
    • If needed, on the results page limit the language to Japanese
  • Our own collection of literature is mostly in print, and is mostly in translation. 
    • You can look up a specific title of a book, or author, or you can browse what we have in Japanese by trying this search in Omni:
      use the wildcard *, but put it in quotation marks and then limit the language to Japanese
      screenshot of Omni advanced search screen where the wildcard * in quotation marks is searched with the language set to Japanese

Scholarly journal articles

  • Omni: our easy-to-use search tool, right on the Library home page. You can limit results by language  OR
  • You can search some of our other recommended databases: 

News & Magazine Sources

We subscribe to a number of databases that have the full text of magazines, newspapers, and  and other news sources from around the world

  • Factiva full text news from around the world. Some important notes for finding material in Japanese
    • To find the most resources you need to search using Japanese characters. If you search using English words results are more limited because only extra information such as subject terms are in English. The full text of the news items are in Japanese.
    • Note that the default date limit is "in the last 3 months", so change as needed
    • You can choose one or more specific sources to search, example: Asahi Shimbun
      screenshot of factiva search screen showing a keyword search in Japanese characters with a specific news source selected

      • You can choose to search news sources from one or more cities, countries, or regions. Example: sources just from Tokyo
      • Very important: Remove the default language= English and add language = Japanese
        screenshot of factiva search screen showing a specific region selected and language set to Japanese
  • Nexis Uni - To find the most resources you need to search using Japanese characters. If you search using English words results are more limited because only extra information such as subject terms are in English. The full text of the news items are in Japanese. You can then filter results to specific regions or specific sources. All dates are included by default
  • Press Reader - access over 5000 newspapers and magazines from over 100 countries. 90 day backfile only. Language or country can be selected from the menu on the left, and then subcategories by topic. For example, there are over 40 titles in Japanese
    screenshot of some of the Japanese publications in PressReader
  • News in slow Japanese - for intermediate to advanced, includes transcripts in Japanese characters and romaji, vocabulary help, and ability to listen to the news item in 2 speeds.
  • NHK for news IN Japanese and NHK World-Japan News for news about Japan IN English
  • Asahi Shimbun - in Japanese, leading Japanese newspaper (also available in their English version)

Our Collection:

  • Do a Keyword search in Omni for a specific title or by topic.
  • Once you get your results, limit the "Resource Type" to "videos" . (NOTE: you will probably have to click on the "Show More"  to see the video options)
  • Limit the language to Japanese
  • If you only want to see videos available via online streaming, limit the "Availability" to "Available online"
  • You can request physical DVDs through our  Curbside Pick-up service.
    Showing the Videos Resource Type filter, and the availability filter


  • We also have 2 streaming video database you can search

Other Video Sources

  • YouTube: you can find a vast amount of free Japanese language videos. Some channels that might be of interest:
  • Learn Japanese - from NHK World Japan , the international arm of the Japanese news site, it includes video lessons at various levels. For each lesson you can download a transcript, view with English or Japanese subtitles. 
  • Your favourite video streaming service, for example:
    • Netflix: just search "Japanese and you'll get a large selection of TV shows and movies, including Anime. Note that sometimes they may default to an English dubbed version, so just change the audio to Japanese and then choose your preferred subtitles: English or Japanese. 
    • Prime Video: search "Japanese". Many movies and TV shows have dubbed versions, just check the audio options once you start watching. 

Listening to Japanese music and ollowing along with lyrics, can be a great way to improve your language skills, especially with pronunciation. Listening to audio podcasts is another way to get your ear familiar with rhythm, tone, flow of a language

General sources & Podcasts:

Music & Lyrics:

Curate your own playlist, or discover curated playlists of Japanese language music using your preferred way of listening to music, here are some examples:


Content last reviewed: January 29, 2021