Learning Japanese by studying song lyrics

Music is fun, and a lot of people get hooked on Japanese because they want to understand what their favorite singer is singing about. For this reason, they decide they are going to learn Japanese by listening to their songs under the premise of “immersion learning”.


  • Songs make it easier to remember certain words or catchy phrases, because they get stuck in our brain with the melody. They are a great way to easily remember some words.


  • The Japanese in songs is extremely abstract. Japanese is a very contextual language and a lot of song lyrics are lacking context or are extremely ambiguous on purpose. Song lyrics are hard to interpret even for native speakers.
  • They often use awkward/weird/poetic style of grammar and word choice. They are not a good model of natural “common” language.
  • Song lyrics skew towards more poetic and uncommon words. There are certain words that are pronounced in a certain way only in songs but almost never in real life. The accent and cadence of words is also often different from conversational Japanese.

Conclusion: You should listen to Japanese music if you enjoy it and you will naturally pick up a few words here and there. They can be very motivating when you finally figure out what a phrase or word means in a song you like. However, it is not good to sit down and actually study song lyrics and should be avoided.