The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute,Kansai, has now released the Japanese language learning platform,'JF Japanese e-Learning Minato'(https://minato-jf.jp , hereinafter called 'Minato'), in order to provide an opportunity to study Japanese for all those people in the world who may wish to begin learning, but cannot attend an actual Japanese language school.
What is 'Minato'?
'Minato' (literally meaning 'Harbor') is a place where you can study the Japanese language with online courses, and interact with people from all over the world via online communities. From this 'Minato', or 'Harbor', each person can embark on a voyage of study that suits their own personal needs, later returning to port and repeating the journey as often as they wish. In this way, 'Minato' provides a place of learning and a place for meeting new, like-minded friends.
Japanese Language Courses
With 'Minato', you are able to select from a variety of online Japanese language courses that suit your personal interests and learning style.
The levels are displayed from A1 through to C2, according to the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education. You are able to search for, and then begin studying, courses that suit your personal level of ability. (As at the present date of July 2016, only the A1 level has been released).
There is the 'Self-Study Course' - designed to allow you to study by yourself at your own pace, and the 'Tutor-Support Course' - which includes such things as support via assignments and evaluations from an instructor, and Live Lessons.
You can select from the following study categories: Integrated, Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Grammar, Vocabulary, Kana (Japanese alphabet), Kanji (Chinese characters), and Culture/Society.
●Language of Explanation
The e-Learning teaching materials and instructor commentary will be provided in a variety of languages for each course. (Currently only Japanese and English have been released).
For the 2016 year, the A1 level Japanese language course designed for beginners (language of explanation in English) is being provided free of charge.
◆ Marugoto Course - Comprehensively learn the language and culture of Japan.
This is the main course of 'Minato', which we recommend for those who wish to comprehensively learn about the Japanese language and culture. With this course you can have an integrated learning experience by using interactive e-learning materials to study the language skills needed for communication (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).
◆ Hiragana/Katakana Course - Challenge the Japanese writing system.
This course is recommended for those who are interested in the Japanese writing system, and wish to begin their study with the written characters. Here you can teach yourself the reading and writing of Hiragana and Katakana.
◆ Anime/Manga Japanese Course - Speak as an animation character
This course is perfect for those who want to begin the Japanese language because they "just love!" Japanese anime/manga (animation/comics). By first using the e-learning materials to learn your preferred character's expressions in advance, you then take part in the Live Lesson by greeting others and introducing yourself as that character.
JF Japanese language learning sites and apps.
This is an introduction with links to the various JF Japanese language learning web sites and apps. You can also access information on the JF courses provided by the Japan Foundation's overseas offices.
'Minato' is not just a place of learning, but also a 'meeting place' where you can experience and connect with like-minded fellow learners from all around the world.
◆ Live Lessons - Actually use your Japanese for real.
Some of the Japanese language courses within 'Minato' allow you to take part in Live Lessons, where you can meet instructors and fellow students and communicate using the language skills you have been learning.
◆ Course Groups - Self-study, but not alone.
Within the 'Minato' Japanese language courses there are online groups that allow you to interact and communicate with your fellow course participants via the group threads. So even when doing a self-study course, you can still learn with a feeling of being with your actual classmates.
◆ Communities - Common topic being Japan.
With 'Minato' there are online communities that users can freely set up by themselves. With the common theme being topics related to Japan, you can first choose a category of interest, then make new friends and interact with them via that category's online noticeboard.
The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute,Kansai, will continue to provide a wide variety of Japanese language courses into the future, offering a substantial range of levels, study categories, and languages used for explanation. Further, from 2017 onwards, our plans are that the overseas offices of the Japan Foundation will also function in this capacity, in order to develop Japanese language courses attractive to people from all around the world.