10 Top Songs for Learning Japanese

10 Top Songs for Learning Japanese

For beginners to advanced learners of Japanese, learning Japanese by listening to songs and trying to sing them is one fun way to improve your Japanese.

The rhymes and verses that dance in your mind will not only improve your Japanese vocabulary and sentences, but they can also enhance your Japanese pronunciation to be more beautiful and more native-like.

In addition to learning Japanese, being able to sing Japanese songs can also be an aid for you to sing in Japanese karaoke later with friends or colleagues to relax and unwind together.

The activity of listening to and singing songs that we like will retain our memory well. Therefore, if you have started learning Japanese, try listening to these popular Japanese songs.

1. 海の声 (Umi no Koe, “Voice of the Sea”)

海の声 (Voice of the Sea) – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Kenta Kiritani
  • Album: Umino Koe
  • Released: 2015
  • Genre: J-Pop

The song “Umi no Koe”, which means “Voice of the Sea”, is very popular in Japan and was even ranked No.1 on Recochoku in 2015, one of the most popular streaming and music service content providers for mobile apps in Japan. It also won the title of best karaoke song of the year in 2016. Absolutely amazing!

The song is performed by Kenta Kiritani who plays the character Urashima Taro in the commercial series Santarou made by au, one of Japan’s second largest wireless carriers marketed by KDDI.

Kenta Kiritani himself is a very famous actor and singer born in Osaka, who has also won numerous awards for his various movie roles.

Listening to Umi no Koe can be one of your options to practice Japanese and absorb native Japanese pronunciation. The lyrics are very deep and express a sense of longing that will take you to dive into the heartwarming Japanese culture.

Being able to sing this song fluently will be an asset for you to be able to sing at karaoke with your friends and colleagues in Japan. All Japanese people must know it. A song you truly must listen to!

2. 世界に一つだけの花 (Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana)

世界に一つだけの花 – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Japanese boy band SMAP
  • Album: SMAP 015 / Drink! Smap!
  • Released: 5 March 2003
  • Genre: J-Pop

The second song we are going to recommend is titled “世界に一つだけの花 (Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana)” meaning The One and Only Flower in the World. For those of you who are fans of the boy band SMAP, you are obviously familiar with this song.

The song, which was also played by my Japanese teacher at JASSO-Tokyo 2016, I always remember the lyrics in my heart until now. This song created by Noriyuki Makihara has sold more than 2.57 million copies and even became the third best-selling single in Japan in Oricon history.

I don’t know how many language schools, shopping centers and various places in Japan have played this song. However, it is certain that everyone knows and loves this song and hence it has become the most popular song in karaoke as well.

The simple yet powerful lyrics convey a deep message especially to “be brave and confident to be yourself” and there is no need to compare ourselves with others because we are beautiful just the way we are. It’s simple yet gives a very deep message of unity in every listener’s heart. This song is a must-listen!

3. Rain by Sekai no Owari

Rain by Sekai no Owari – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Japanese boy band SMAP
  • Album: Mary and The Witch’s Flower
  • Released: July 5, 2017
  • Genre: J-Pop

If you are a big fan of Studio Ghibli by the great director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, you must be familiar with the song “Rain” performed by Sekai no Owari, one of the most famous bands and most talented musical groups in Japan.

“Rain” has been credited as the theme song for the movie “Mary and The Witch’s Flower” which was adapted from Mary Stewart’s famous children’s novel “The Little Broomstick (1971)”.

This song is also very friendly, light yet beautiful to listen to. Besides the simple and memorable lyrics, you can also learn practical Japanese vocabulary pronunciations. This song should definitely be on your favorites list!

4. Sparkle by Radwimps

Sparkle by Radwimps – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Radwimps
  • Album: Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
  • Released: 2016
  • Genre: Alternative/Indie, Japanese Rock, Japanese Indie, Rock, J-Pop

Everyone is familiar with the Japanese rock band Radwimps, which has released numerous hit music videos and has always topped the charts in Japan. You must listen to one of their most popular songs titled “Sparkle.”

Sparkle is one of the songs performed by Radwimps for the phenomenal Japanese movie Kimi no Na wa that hit the Japanese box office.

This song with very heartfelt lyrics will make a special impression on you who are learning Japanese. Not only that the music is very pleasant and light to listen to, but you can also learn Japanese while absorbing new vocabulary and natural Japanese pronunciation. Don’t miss it, this song is a must-listen!

5. Nandemonaiya by Radwimps

Nandemonaiya by Radwimps – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Radwimps
  • Album: Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
  • Released: 2016
  • Genre: Alternative/Indie, Japanese Rock, Japanese Indie, Rock, J-Pop

The next song choice is called Nandemonaiya (Nevermind) which is also performed by the most popular band of all time, Radwimps. This song is a must-listen and should be on your list of songs to learn Japanese.

Along with “Sparkle”, the song “Nandemonaiya” also featured as the soundtrack in the 2016 Japanese box office hit anime movie entitled Your Name. Radwimps truly won over countless millions of hearts for delivering an entire soundtrack that continues to dominate the charts on various platforms despite being released more than 6 years ago.

You can listen to this song, immerse yourself in the lyrics and then use it to improve your Japanese language skills. Don’t miss it!

6. Zenzenzense by Radwimps

Zenzenzense by Radwimps – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Radwimps
  • Album: Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
  • Released: 2016
  • Genre: Alternative/Indie, Children’s Music, Japanese Rock, Japanese Indie, Anime, Korean Rock/Alt, Rock, J-Pop

The 3rd song from Radwimps that was also used for the soundtrack of the movie Kimi no Na wa titled Zenzenzese (meaning Past Past Life) should also be on to your list.

This song also hit No.1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. Although it’s a bit fast, the lyrics are also very interesting for you to hear and explore further.

The pronunciation of each vocabulary in the song is very pleasant, light, uncomplicated and pleasing to the ear, not only can entertain you, but also inspire you to learn pronunciation. This song should definitely be on your playlist today!

7. キセキ (Kiseki) by GReeeeN

キセキ (Kiseki) by GReeeeN – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: GReeeeN
  • Album: Ā, Domo. Ohisashiburi Desu
  • Released: May 28, 2008
  • Genre: Pop rock

If you want to listen to a song with lyrics full of deep meaning that can always pierce people’s hearts directly, then you should listen to the song titled “キセキ (Kiseki)” by GReeeeN.

This song was also first introduced to me by my Japanese teacher a long time ago, and to this day I still love and listen to it frequently.

The light, soothing, pleasant melody is also a strong attraction for anyone who listens to “キセキ (Kiseki).” Moreover, you can also use it to learn Japanese especially to increase your vocabulary because the lyrics are very rich. It’s definitely worth a listen!

8. ひまわりの約束 (Himawari no Yakusoku) by Motohiro Hata

ひまわりの約束 (Himawari no Yakusoku) – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Motohiro Hata
  • Album: evergreen
  • Released: 2014
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, J-Pop

Doraemon cartoon lovers will certainly be familiar with this song. Yep! The song titled “Himawari No Yakusoku” which was written by Motohiro Hata is also not to be missed. “Himawari No Yakusoku” is the soundtrack for the 2014 Doraemon animated film, Stand By Me Doraemon, which was big news around the world at the time.

This song truly depicts the story of true friends between Doraemon and Nobita who are always together, loving and helping each other.

The light-hearted yet touching lyrics are perfect for you to review and improve your Japanese pronunciation and vocabulary. Don’t forget to listen to it!

9. Summertime by Cinnamons & Evening Cinema

Summertime by Cinnamons & Evening Cinema – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artists: Cinnamons, Evening Cinema
  • Album: CONFESSION
  • Released: 2018
  • Genres: Alternative/Indie, Japanese Indie, J-Pop

For the past few days, TikTok has been flooded with this cute and sweet song titled Summertime. If you’re a fan of indie genre songs, then you must listen to this song! Or you might already be a fan of this song.

This song is really fun, sweet and the cute vocalist’s voice is very pleasing to the ears. Aside from the song being very representative of summer, the music video is also very cheerful and sweet. I think you will be very entertained by listening to this song while learning Japanese.

The tiredness will really disappear as soon as you hear this song. Definitely a must-have for your playlist!

10. Hotaru by Fujita Maiko

Hotaru by Fujita Maiko – EDOPEN JAPAN
  • Artist: Maiko Fujita
  • Album: もう一度 (Mou Ichi Do, One More Time)
  • Released: 2011
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, J-Pop

Who doesn’t know Fujita Maiko. Everyone loves Fujita Maiko’s masterpiece because she is the actual writer of every song she sings.

All her songs always have a profound story, a detailed yet simple and heartfelt scenario. One of her songs that also topped the charts in various countries and internationally is titled “Hotaru (firefly)”, an epic song about complicated one-sided love.

For fans of love-themed songs, listening to this song can be one of the best choices. Not only will you be entertained, but you can also learn new vocabulary and practice your Japanese pronunciation to become more natural and good.

Conclusion

To conclude this article, I would like to remind you how effective music can be in learning the Japanese language.

Not only does it help you better understand vocabulary, grammar, structure, and natural pronunciation like native speakers, but learning Japanese by listening to songs can also improve your memory and recall.

And the above 10 Top Songs for Learning Japanese is a super powerful tool you can use to improve your Japanese vocabulary and pronunciation!

We hope this article will give you the new insight and help you choose the best song that you will later use to learn Japanese.

Thank you for taking the time and reading to the end. See you in the next article!

ABOUTこの記事をかいた人

Hi, I’m Eka. I’m one of the awardees of the 2016 MEXT College to College Recommendation Scholarship. I completed the one-year JASSO-Tokyo Japanese course (2016-2017) and won second place in the Japanese speech competition held internally at JASSO at that time. After that, I continued my education at NIT. Akashi College and earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree after 2 years of study. I love teaching children English and Japanese, writing blogs, designing graphics, and creating digital content. I hope you enjoy the knowledge I share here based on the experience I gained in Japan for over 5 years. Thanks!