What’s The Best Age To Learn Japanese? — 29 Comments

  1. My best age was 19. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the motivation to carry through with it much earlier than that either (Actually, I had zero motivation).

  2. It’s hard to say for sure what mine is. I memorized hiragana and katakana to be able to read the lyrics of Japanese children’s songs when I was 9. I started learning “children’s words” (jumping rope, stag beetle, onion, rubber eraser, etc.) also around that time when my aunt gave me a Japanese children’s book as a present. I’ve grown to like anime afterwards, but only 2 years later did I actually decide to learn Japanese structurally through a website called “Japanese Is Possible!” ( That was 8 years ago. Through high school, I had been studying on and off until I entered college 4 years ago. I’ve been at it constantly ever since.

  3. I started private lessons in 2014 (13 years old) we got to 3 chapters of genki then quit due to end of school year and long vacation. After that I lost interest in learning Japanese, then when I started french in high school I was studying it nonstop for a month and got ahead of my class and quit because I am ahead then realized that my true language is Japanese then searched online methods online while doing genki then I found Jalup on December 23, 2015 (14 years old), got jalup beginner 1 on december 25 (right on christmas) finished it and kept on reviews until the end of january when I got my belated christmas money from aunt and uncle and bought the rest of jalup beginner. Just finished all of beginner today. Starting J-J and saving up money for Jalup maximum, by the time I get enough money, I’ll power through all of what I know and find my place.

  4. I’m learning at 12 but many people have said to me that I need to drop learning japanese if I want to take Spanish and French for gcse but why would I since I might have mastered japanese by then.

    • That’s no reason to drop it. You’re young and really want to learn Japanese. Just do it on the side with whatever other school requirements you have (whether language or other). Years later you can show those people they were absolutely wrong.

    • The methods you will learn through this site can largely be applied to learning other languages as well. Apply them to French and Spanish, and you won’t have to study nearly as much for school. Leaving more time for Japanese!

      I wish when I was your age I had been exposed to spaced repetition tools.

      Jalup NEXT is just for Japanese, but the app Anki works on similar principles and can be used for learning almost anything.

  5. I started learning japanese when i was 9 years old at school. I studied for 4 years, and all i can remember is the hiraganas, and words like moon, cat, etc. Now im 14, and i want to start to learn again, i think i have the motivation. :D
    Btw, this website is REALLY helpful, thank you! ^^

  6. Hopefully 40 will be the best age for me.
    I started studying Japanese in 2009 but hardly made progress over the 8 years since.
    The main problem I suffer from, is the fact that I want to get to the finish line as quickly as possible leading to burnouts again and again.
    Currently, life is preventing me from studying but I try to get that motivation back by reading sites/blogs like this one, and getting some ideas at the same time to construct a good study method when I restart my Japanese study within a couple of weeks.

  7. I’m 19 years old. I started studying japanese at the age of 17. At first, I was mostly consistent with the language during the summer breaks, as High School was kind of taking my time already (and I didn’t feel like studying literally everyday, but I did study occasionally). Now I’m studying IT at an university and am confronting the dilemma of my life currently, which is: should I keep studying IT or should I go for Applied Linguistics (English + Japanese). I just can’t seem to choose, unfortunately.. I can’t say that I love programming, nor can I say that I’d love translating, either. But I do like japanese in general…

    • Follow the money. Unless you try that and it doesn’t work for you, then follow your heart hehe. I’ll say this, transitioning from being a kid to a self sufficient adult is stressful because earning money is just so important. I’d make Japanese your hobby but if programming isn’t for you then maybe try something else involving Japanese. Maybe look at other fields too. I personally think Japanese makes a great hobby.

  8. I guess my best age was 34. It was when I discovered anime thanks to getting Netflix. That was about 7 years ago now and I think my Japanese is very good considering how old I was when I started. You’re definitely correct in your statement that the best age to learn Japanese depends on when you were motivated to decide to learn Japanese. Because without that you will get nowhere (unless you’re forced to live in Japan maybe). But I think anyone will also agree that younger learners generally have advantages over older learners, especially if you’re still a kid per se and not an adult. It’s just tons easier to integrate and be assimilated the younger you are.

    But if you took the 16 year old me, living in a Boston suburb and having little to no interest in Japanese culture and told me to learn Japanese, I would have laughed at you and my negative attitude at that time would have doomed me to fall way way short of what I’ve achieved in my mid thirties and beyond.

  9. I originally started in my 20’s. But I didn’t KEEP learning. I’ve retained a bit of it (reading Hiragana and Katakana, etc) but now I’m 40 and determined to reach a basic fluency in a couple years or so and then of course, keep going from there. Someone at a meet up group I go to suggested this site to me, so I’m very new here. But at that same group I know an older guy who is always using his age as an excuse for why he isn’t better at the language… I kind of want to advance my skills to sort of throw it in his face as well… I better not put my real name on this. lol

    • Welcome to the site!

      There are plenty of people on Jalup that are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s and have decided not to make age an excuse, and are doing really well. So I wish you the same success :)

  10. I am currently trying to learn at 17 and am hoping to reach a level of proficiency before my late 20’s; but even though I’m willing to put in the effort it’s hard to find the correct path for the results I want.

  11. I started learning when I was 26 and was working as a translator just after I turned 30. Your target sounds perfectly reasonable to me. It all depends on your attitude and your ability to balance work, social life, family matters, school and your private studying.

    My advice to you would be to stop looking for the perfect path and just start. There is no correct way to do this, and everything you do try should be customised by you to fit your lifestyle and learning preferences. If you find a method doesn’t work, either change it completely or tweak it so it does! It’s about carving your own path.

    Not to sound condescending, but you’re still so young and have so much time to succeed. The worst thing you can do is waste your time worrying if you’re doing it right without actually doing anything of substance. You have to find out for yourself if a method is a good fit for you, and you’ll make gains during that process anyway, so don’t sweat it!

  12. “The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, the second best time is today” I think this is a chinese proverb. You are never too old to learn something new, and it will always be rewarding to learn something you wanted to learn. So why not start now? This way you can enjoy the learning proccess as much as you can before you die eventually die. You can spend your time crying about what could’ve done and never change anything or you can stop crying about your lost time and start using the time you still have in a productive way.

  13. I’m 13 and I know some Japanese but it’s sooooo hard. Here’s an example, Nice to meet you in Japanese is said in so many different ways! But either way, Japanese is still an awesome language to learn. やああああああああああ!

  14. I’m 37, going on 38 in August. I’m just now starting my Japanese adventure. About 100 cards through beginner and drilling through the Kanji. I actually started with RTK, but frankly I find Kanji Kingdom much easier to follow and stick with. I also like an app called Kanji Master, it’s a matching game, it’s really helping it stick after going through some cards in KK. I’ve been off and on with learning this language for a year or two now and always give up. I found Jalup and bought everything. I’m loving it. Never too late. In all honesty I’ll probably never make it to Japan, because I would die if I had to be on a plane for 25 hours. I’ll settle with chatting with the folks at my local Japanese restaurants.

  15. IM 12 and Im going to permanatley live in japan. I am lerning to speak at the age of 12 because when i become an adult i will have the practice and the memory streangth and I cant wait to get back to my home again

  16. I started learning at ten and ever since then everything has gone greaaaat!Though, It’s always been tough to be motivated all the time. And I really want to take classes for learning japanese irl so I’m just looking forward to it. (So I just watch and learn form on yt and do some duolingo :) ) But I do agree that you could learn at any age as long at you try your best!(As again, 10 was the best age for me and I hope by the time I’m 18 I will become fluent <3)

  17. Can I learn Japanese without kanji or any form of writing? I have a guest house and just want to be able to know some basic Japanese to get by…greet guests, give addresses and the like?

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