January 3

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How to Find a Japanese Language Partner (While Living Outside Japan)

By Justin Moriarty

January 3, 2021


If you wish progress at studying Japanese, you need to practice as much as you can. A native Japanese language partner is one way to get this practice. If you can’t find a native partner, maybe a fellow Japanese learner can also help.

So, how do you find language partners for Japanese on the internet or in-person? Let’s take a look!

Search for Japanese language partners on Facebook Groups

In a Facebook world, the possibilities are endless! With millions of active users around the globe (where countries allow you to use it), it should be no problem joining a group that can help you find language partners in Japanese. While a simple search of “Japanese study,” “Japanese language exchange,” or “find language partners for Japanese” can give you plenty of results, here are some links that can help you find a partner.

Here are some possible groups to look at:

You should be able to find suitable language partners. Many others will be willing to give you tips. If you don’t understand a certain word, grammar point, and/or kanji, post a question and someone can be of immediate assistance. 

Use (Japanese) language partner apps

With how vast the internet is, Facebook isn’t the only source to find language partners for Japanese. Thankfully, there are numerous apps and sites at your disposal.

One of the most popular apps right now for finding language partners is HelloTalk. This app supports texting as well as audio and video calls.

Another popular app to find language partners for Japanese is Bilingua. The app helps you find partners who share the same interests. So if you enjoy manga, video games, and/or sports, the Bilingua will help you find a language partner with similar interests. The app is available for iOS and Android.

Join Reddit communities

While the internet has certainly helped connect the world now more than ever, it does have its downsides. For example, with the vastly different time zones between North America and Japan, finding time to communicate in real-time can be quite difficult.

If none of these work out, Reddit has groups for you to find language partners for Japanese. One popular subreddit is the Learn Japanese community. If you go to the search bar and enter, “Japanese conversation partners” or “Japanese language partners,” you can find a lot of good advice.

Check out Japan Guide

Despite how mainstream social media has become, we understand that there are individuals who prefer not to use it. In addition to Facebook, Reddit, and the apps we just shared, another option to find Japanese language partners is Japan Guide.

The site has been in operation since 1996, and it has so much information you can learn about Japan. Through its forums, you can find plenty of people who would like to do language exchange. In fact, Japan Guide is how I met my wife (despite the fact that the site states is not a dating site)! 

University language partner programs

For those of you attending or living near a university, you can probably find language partners for Japanese if your university has a language exchange program. When I attended Arizona State University between 2002 and 2005, such programs existed and I found new partners every year.

If you’re attending a university in Japan, most have language exchange programs as well.

Live in Japan? Try an international center

Thanks for reading. As a final bonus, if you are already living in Japan, one thing you can do is to visit your local international center.

If you’re already living in Japan, a lot of big cities (such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Hiroshima) tend to have international centers. There, you can meet people who would like to do a language exchange.

Many of these international centers have bulletin boards, and the staff will allow you to post your own ad to find language partners for Japanese. When you show up to these centers, many Japanese natives will come to you for an exchange. 

Happy studying!

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