The Japanese Theme Language Contest

Japanese isn’t straightforward. Once you get past the basic language, everything begins to diverge into new genres, new terminology, and new, never seen before word adventures. Watch an anime about samurai. Read a book about space exploration. Play a video game about time travel.

The Japanese Theme Language Contest

It can be hard to enjoy something new when you are completely unfamiliar with the set of words introduced.

However, everyone becomes a bit of an expert on their own favorite Japanese material. You love Dragon Ball? You probably know your fighting words down good. Like fantasy RPGs? You probably know all the menu commands and spells, items, and attacks. Like gourmet report TV shows? You probably know all the ways to describe how delicious food is, its texture and flavor.

So comes a contest, designed to pool everyone’s individual expertise together, and create a new source for anyone who wants to get into something he is not used to.

Welcome To The Japanese Theme Language Contest

The idea, which came from some of the great readers out there on this site, is simple:

All entrants are going to create mini theme packages based on an area they know well. Everyone who enters the contest will get to vote on their favorite theme package. All of the theme packages will be combined into one giant Japanese Theme Language Package, which I will edit and organize.

All entrants will receive a free copy of this. After the contest, it will be placed for sale in the Jalup store, with sales of it going towards further improving and expanding Japanese Level Up.

How it’ll work:

1. Choose a genre, theme, or even a title

Random Examples:

– Legal terms in a court room
– Kansai dialect comedy words
– Cooking words
– Ninja terminology from Naruto

There is a lot of flexibility, and that’s the point. You can go to your exact interest and expertise.

Do not use:

– Material-specific words that only appear in or exist in that one thing and nowhere else (for example defining an attack like Goku’s kamehameha or a Pokemon name)
– Material from anyone else’s Anki decks or list. Of course you will be taking language from the source material you are working with. However this is to be created by you.

2. Find 20 words to introduce

3. Find a sentence for every word

A word is so much better with context. Only have the words, and need some sentences? Check out Twitter for some nice sentences.

4. Every sentence will be in the following format:

A. Sentence with the word (using kanji)
B. Reading of the sentence with the word (using hiragana or furigana)
C. English definition of the target word
D. Japanese definition of the target word

*You don’t have to define the whole sentence or the other words in the sentence. Also, you can just copy and paste the Japanese definition from the dictionary even though you may not be at the level to understand it. If you are low level and really don’t feel comfortable adding the Japanese definition, let me know, and I will do this part for you.

5. Format

I want this to reach both Anki and non-Anki users so you have the option to submit it in 2 different formats. You can do one format, or both (which will save me a lot of time!) Either way, the format you don’t do will be created by me.

A: Text Version (Word file or E-mail)

At the end I will combine everything into a PDF file, for the non-Anki users and for easy reference.

It should look like this

魔法使い: magician, wizard
魔法使い: 魔法を行う人。

B. Anki Deck

If you are going the Anki route, you should have 4 fields:

English Meaning
Japanese Meaning

The reason for both the English meaning field and Japanese meaning field is to benefit the varying level of users of the site. Some people are on J-E, others are on J-J. The great thing about Anki is you can just hide one of the fields, so if you are doing J-J, you will never have the English interfering.

Joining the contest

Leave in the comment section below that you are joining, write in your chosen theme, and whether you will be putting it in Anki and/or text. You have until the contest deadline to submit your Anki and/or Text File. Submissions will be added based on the order received. So you have an advantage if you get yours in first, as it’ll appear earlier on in the PDF/deck, and more people will see it.

Timing and Deadlines

10/20 – 11/20

Make your submission by e-mail to adshap (at) japaneselevelup (dot) com by 11/20/2014. Include the theme, the anki and/or text file, the name you want to be credited as, and if you want to link to an online profile (ex. Twitter)

11/20 – 11/27

I will be combining and editing all the Anki decks/text files (I will also be doing this as they are received just in case there are a lot of entries).


You will receive an email on 11/27 with the compilation asking you to vote on your favorite submission.

Over this period, go through the Anki deck or PDF and decide which theme package you liked best, was the easiest to understand, and was most useful.

You cannot vote on your own submission.


All votes will be tallied up and the winners will be announced.


In addition to receiving the completed Theme Package, the top 3 winners will also receive from the Jalup Store:

1st:  Jalup Maxed Out Equipment Package
2nd: One Level Package of your choice (Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced)
3rd:  Any single item


Let’s expand our knowledge as far as it can go. No more will a lack of theme vocabulary prevent your enjoyment of something new and fun.

*Note: The contest only works if enough people join, so it will be cancelled if at least 12 people don’t submit by 11/20. If cancelled, I will share everyone’s submissions with each other so some benefit can still come out of it.

Related posts:

The following two tabs change content below.


Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


The Japanese Theme Language Contest — 37 Comments

    • I’m thinking I could put together a deck on JRPG tutorial/menu terms (started playing some games recently and had to figure out how they work and what I was doing…), but I wouldn’t want to overlap with what you’ve already done, do you think that would be different enough from what you’ve focused on? If not no problem, I can shoot for something else.

      • I think you’ll be fine. I focused mostly on battle-relevant terms, so there shouldn’t be much overlap.

  1. Yay, challenge-suru! I’m in.

    Theme: Yuusha Yoshihiko Season 1 – 勇者ヨシヒコと魔王の城 (fantasy/comedy J-drama)
    Anki & hopefully text. Is pictures (screen dumps in this case) OK?
    Would it be OK with more than 20 sentences?

    • For now let’s keep it at 20 just to make things simpler.

      And to avoid any potential copyright issues, let’s not include any screenshots.

      • Got it. I think this “contest” has the ability to become one of the greatest resources on this site together with the other decks you created!

  2. I might give this a try.
    Theme: Kansai-ben (Conjugation changes and basic words that are different from Standard, if that’s okay)
    Format: Text probably

  3. This sounds like an awesome idea. I don’t think I’m good enough in any particular area yet to contribute but I will definitely buy this, especially if there’s battle anime, RPG, historical, musical and at a hopeful stretch Physics and perhaps military terms in there. I’m intrested in expanding vocab in all those areas (Physics and History being my favourite 2 of 4 subjects I study for British A-levels at school).

  4. This sounds like a lot of fun, I will try to contribute.

    Theme: 銀河英雄伝説 (probably a mix of military/space/military in space vocabulary)
    Text: Yes
    Anki: Yes

  5. Thank you to everyone who has so far shown interest in participating. I think we’re going to be able to create something really great and unique here.

  6. In the second sentence, “passed” probably ought to be “past” :) I find myself making mistakes like that all the time recently. As for the contest, not sure if I have enough domain knowledge as of yet. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results though!

  7. As a saxophone player, I approve of the photo in this post. ^_^

    I may be a little too low-level to do this effectively, but I’ll give it a shot.

    Theme: 邦楽 (traditional music)
    Text: Yes
    Anki: Probably

  8. This sounds interesting…sooo many topics to choose from though :P

    Text: Yes
    Anki: Maybe if time

  9. Would really love to see a basic medicine and common injury deck. Or the different common medicines (buffarin, EVE etc) and what they do.
    Last time I went to Japan, all I wanted was something with an anti-inflammitory in it…

      • I just read more carefully,so we are doing 20 terms then I can only really do one. SO which is best shoujo, shounen, or samurai speech patterns??

        • I think Samurai would be more useful. Shounen and Shoujo really aren’t that different from standard compared to stereotypical Samurai speech.

  10. Working on my deck really makes me appreciate how much work it was to make thousands of these that build on each other. Thanks for making all those decks Adam!

  11. Theme: School (学校)
    Anki: definitely
    Text: sure
    tsv: Yes

    Every sentence will be a quote from GTO(1998) episode 1.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *