How to Expand Your Japanese Vocabulary while Watching Anime

Utilize your Anime time to pick up Japanese words.

Animelon + Yomichan + Anki ❤️

Can you actually learn Japanese with Anime?

But isn’t Anime a waste of time?

The truth is that textbooks are nowhere near as engaging as anime. All the verb conjugations, kanji flashcards, and honorifics can be nothing short of overwhelming. When learning a second or third language, it’s important to be motivated. If you love anime, it can be a continuous source of language input and learning alongside other learning materials.

Plus, there’s no need to decide on learning through a textbook or through anime. You can study for 30 minutes from a textbook, take a break, AND watch two episodes of anime every day. With that in mind, let’s ask the real question— how do we get the most out of anime?

Anime with Japanese Subtitles

Animelon — Anime streaming site with interactive learning tools

Tip: If you’re having trouble keeping up with the Japanese subtitles, just click the Subs button on the lower right for the English translation.


Yomichan — a Chrome extension for looking up Japanese

Yomichan is a Chrome extension that allows us to look up words by hovering over them and holding shift. It also integrates with Anki so we can directly add words to our decks without leaving the browser. If you haven’t installed Yomichan or configured it with Anki, check out the following guide.

Anki Setup

Creating our Card Model

You can add your own fields for your Note Type

Customizing the Appearance of our Card

Customizing the Appearance of Card in Anki

Mapping the card in Yomichan

Mapping fields with Yomichan’s markers
  • {expression} — kanji without furigana
  • {reading} — kanji with furigana
  • {screenshot} — browser screenshot, takes a while
  • {close-prefix}<b>{close-body}</b>{cloze-suffix} — sentence with the keyword bolded
  • {glossary} — dictionary meaning
  • {audio} — Yomichan’s Audio
  • {pitch-accents} — all accents provided by Kanjium Pitch Dictionary

Adding a word to Anki

Adding words from Animelon’s Dialogue


Fully annotated Japanese expression with only one click in Yomichan


Lastly, I made a video guide for the aforementioned tools if you prefer following step by step.

Let me know if this has been helpful. :)

Language Enthusiast. Programmer.