Games & Apps, Visiting Japan

Learn Japanese with Dr Moku

Posted on February 1, 2011 by

I got a gift the other day from Dr Moku! We like gifts, especially when they’re cute, fun and educational like Dr Moku’s iPhone app. Despite having visited Japan three times, I can’t speak or read Japanese. You can get by fine without it in the major cities but I can’t deny it would be useful to know what you’re buying, instead of just thinking well, it’s got a picture of a potato on it and RILAKKUMA’s eating it so it must be okay.

Enter Dr Moku! Using kawaii and mnemonics, Dr Moku aims to teach you all the Japanese Hiragana symbols. Mnemonics are memory tricks, to help you remember more complicated things. They can be songs or phrases or in Dr Moku’s app, cartoons and puns! The app shows you each symbol which has been doodled on to make it look like a fun picture and there’s also a little phrase that links the picture and the sound of the character. Take a look at the examples below (click the image to see it bigger).

It’s really well done too – not only are the drawings fun and clever, they really do stick in the mind. I did the quiz after one run through the symbols and got 80% correct! This is a great app for those spare moments – while you’re on a bus or waiting for a friend you can be brushing up your Japanese. The only downside is that you can’t turn the sounds off so headphones on please!

The iPhone app is just £1.79 (and there’s a free Lite version too) and it’s available for the iPad too. And there’s also a companion book, which is available on Amazon. Find out more on the website, or if you fancy a go on the app then come by the blog tomorrow – a little bun tells me we might just have some to give away!

While you wait, check out the great video Dr Moku made.


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  • Reply Erin February 2, 2011 at 12:30 am

    This is how my friends learned the alphabet in our Japanese 10 class! We made up stories for each symbol and wrote them on colourful flash cards. It was so much fun!

  • Reply Sarah February 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    This is so fun!

  • Reply How to learn kanji fast May 13, 2011 at 2:00 am

    Oh, that was awesome! What a creative way of learning Hiragana; much better than just rote memorization. Hehe, I wish this was the way I learned Hiragana back when I just started in Japanese…

    Thanks for sharing! :D

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