Learn Japanese with Apps – Imiwa? App Review for iOS

Note: This is my series on Learning Japanese with (insert resource here). Before you start reading this… know that there isn’t one single miracle site, app, textbook or method that will make you fluent. However, there are some  learning tools that will help you improve your Japanese.

Greetings Japanese learning ladies and gents.

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon this seriously good app. My friend needed to translate something off of his iPhone, so he copied the text, opened an app, pasted it in and …whoa… the app analyzed and translated the message for him – breaking down all hiragana, katakana, kanji – providing translations, furigana and more.

Whoa, what’s this sorcery?

Apparently it’s the Imiwa App for iOS. Click here to see it on iTunes.

This App is free and seemingly, only for iPhone and iPad users. At the base, it appears to be a Japanese dictionary app that also allows you to look up Kanji. However, there’s quite a bit more to it.

Imiwa? is broken down into 3 sections:

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  • Search 
    • Search for words in Japanese or English
    • Search for example sentences (very nice)
    • Search for Kanji (you can search by radicals – or parts of the kanji – similar to jisho.org)
  • Learn
    • Analyser – Stick in Japanese text and it will translate and break down all the vocab and kanji
    • JLPT – Learn Kanji by JLPT level (N5 to N1) ***Important for us learners***
    • School Grades – Learn Kanji by School Grade level
  • Lists
    • See your browsing history
    • Browse your saved vocab for review
    • Browse your notes

The first thing that blew me away was the Analyser. This is extremely useful if you’re texting on your phone with Japanese friends or just browsing through Japanese material. You can quickly copy and paste a message to have it broken down for you. I tested out one message I got from a friend earlier so you can see it in action.

IMG_0852Search by example sentences is another feature that I like. Why? You get a better understanding of how the word is used! Words are one thing. Phrases and sentences teach you context and are a tad more useful overall. So, since I was trying to buy Vinegar earlier, I looked it up.

If you search by Kanji, it’ll even give you the proper stroke so you can write it yourself. So, back to vinegar.

vinegar

Now, on top of that, you can review Kanji based on JLPT or School Grade levels. I think it’d be useful to have the vocab broken down into similar fashion, but hey, the app is free and I can’t be picky here. These study lists allow you to learn Kanji in a very manageable way. Only 103 for N5, 181 for N4, and so on.

Here’s a quick look at at what you’ll get:

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Overall, this app gets a 5/5. Sorry, I tried looking for negative points but it does the job. Look up words, sentences, kanji, get your text translated AND study for the JLPT? Well, uh, okay! There’s absolutely no cons or bad points to this app for serious Japanese learners.

In summary, with the Imiwa dictionary app, you can…

  • Look up words as a regular dictionary
  • Look up example sentences of words
  • Look up Kanji
  • Learn Kanji stroke order
  • Learn for JLPT N1 to N5 Kanji
  • Analyze Japanese text and have it translated
  • Save lists of your favorite words

>>Click here to see Imiwa? on iTunes. It’s Free!

  • Oliver Rose

    I’ve been using the ‘Japanese’ app dictionary, which is very good, but ImiWa seems to have even more functions, such as the analyzer.

    I’d like to recommend the iphone app ‘Wakaru’ for looking up and saving words while reading articles (likewise, the Rikaisama toolbar is great for doing this on the web).
    To help get through the slog of studying Japanese, also check out the online/ mobile games at http://www.kanjigames.com