Memory Magic


Learn Japanese Vocabulary by Memory Magic,
So Easily You can Communicate with Japanese.

1. You Can Convey Your Intentions Using Only Simple Words

Almost all Japanese language texts start by teaching sentence structures and grammar. As it is boring memorizing so many rules, you may find this discouraging. In fact, if you know some simple words you can convey your intentions.

Infants communicate with their parents using a single word such as, “juice.” After some time, they can be more specific about the way they express themselves, adding another word such as “orange,” to make “orange juice.” In this way they can build sentences by adding other words, as in “more orange juice.” In these lessons we will begin with the memorization of words needed for daily life.

Even if you omit some words in your sentences, you can still communicate with Japanese people.

Excuse me. Do you speak Japanese?

(1) Sumimasen. Anata ha Eigo wo hanashimasu ka.

(2) Anata ha Eigo wo hanashimasu ka.

In this case you don’t need to remember the Japanese phrase “sumimasenn,” you can simply omit it.

(3) Eigo wo hanashimasu ka.

You might say “Eigo wo Hanashimasu ka,” omitting “anata.”

(4) Eigo ?

Even if you simply say “Eigo?” he/she will understand that you want to speak in English.
In short, the only word you need to communicate is “Eigo.”

(5) English?

If you don’t remember the word, you don’t have to worry. You can simply say “English?” Almost all Japanese understand the word “English.”

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2. Many English Words Are Used in Japanese

In daily life both Japanese words and English words are used

In the past, the adoption of kanji introduced many Chinese words into the Japanese language. Nowadays many English words have been incorporated into the Japanese language. In daily life, both Japanese words and English words are used. This means that English speakers are already familiar with many Japanese words.

In Japan, people start to learn English in elementary school. In addition, many Japanese study English in language academies.


Terms related to the body:
foot  / ashi
hair  / kami
hand / te
head  / atama
neck / kubi
shoes / kutsu
waist / koshi
watch  / tokei

Terms related to food :
dinner / yuushoku
rice / gohann
water / mizu

Terms related to the workplace:
desk / tsukue
paper / kami
document / shorui

Terms related to the house:
car / kuruma
floor / yuka
gate / monn
window / mado

English words are being used with increasing frequency

These days, with English being used more frequently, many original Japanese words are gradually dying out.


Terms related to the body:
earring ← mimikazari
necklace ← kubikazari

Terms related to food:
menu ← oshinagaki
restaurant ← shokudou
table ← shokutaku
wine ← budoushu

Terms related to the workplace:
calendar ← koyomi
computer ← dennshi’keisannki

Terms related to the house:
door ← tobira
kitchen ← daidokoro
living room ← ima

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3. English Loan Words Are Pronounced with Japanese Phonics

The pronunciation of English words that have been incorporated into the Japanese language is a bit different from native English pronunciation. Japanese people might sometimes misunderstand if you pronounce English words as they are pronounced in English. In Japanese people pronounce these words using Japanese phonetic sounds.

Japanese phonics either consist of a consonant + vowel, or a vowel alone. Japanese people do not pronounce consonants alone as in the “s” in tennis and the final “t” in street. Therefore, when English words are used in Japanese, a vowel is added after a consonant. Most of these vowels are “u” and “o.”


street → sutori-to
tennis → tenisu

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How Can I Learn Japanese Vocabulary?

Hiragana Times created a unique method to learn Japanese vocabulary. Once you memorize a word, you can so easily remember it anytime. This is innovative so that the method has been registered as a utility model with the Japan Patent Office.

Hiragana Times, Japanese study magazine publishes the Supper-effective Japanese lessons in the magazine, using the method. You can master Japanese in amazingly in short time of period with this lessons.

Hiragana Times is a monthly English-Japanese magazine available in digital and print version. It has been published since 1986 and now read by Japanese learners in more than 100 countries. It provides not only study articles, but also current information on Japan. The articles are highly reputed as informative, educational and entertaining.

Super-effective Japanese Lessons

Hiragana Times has developed a method of mastering Japanese that will enable you to speak the language in a surprisingly short period of time. It is completely different from conventional methods.


  1. Applying the process infants use to memorize the vocabulary they need in their daily lives.
  2. Taking advantage of readers’ knowledge of internationally used English.
  3. Applying the principles used to remember abnormal events.
  4. Using alphabetic script that can be converted into correct Japanese script.

Studying Vocabulary and our Memorization Method

The Most Important Thing is Knowledge of Vocabulary

As long as you know a lot of words, you will be able to communicate with people, even if you don’t have any knowledge of grammar. Compared to other languages, Japanese is thought to have more flexible rules governing word order. The majority of respondents to Hiragana Times’ questionnaire commented that they considered vocabulary to be the most important aspect of mastering Japanese.

Most language lessons focus on teaching Japanese grammar and script. Because it is believed that learners will naturally pick up vocabulary on their own, there are almost no lessons focusing on memorization techniques.

Our Memorization Technique Uses Unforgettably Bizarre Scenarios

In this lesson, you can memorize vocabulary in a fun easy way; once you’ve learned a word, you will never forget it with our “memory magic” study method.

Look back on your past from your childhood onwards. What events do you remember? These will be something out of the ordinary, like a first date, an unexpected incident in a foreign country, or the death of a family member. We never forget unusual events that fall outside our daily routine. Memory magic is a method of memorizing words by associating them with unusual events.

By reading words written with the Roman alphabet, you can practice Japanese by imagining the animals, people and products depicted in the MAMA list.

>> MAMA List (PDF)

An example of Memory Magic: How to memorize “eki ” (station)

1. Before memorizing, read the word “eki” repeatedly, saying it out loud to make sure you pronounce it correctly.

2. Eki is composed of the characters “e” and “ki.” The pronunciation of “e” is represented by an elephant and “ki” with king. See: MAMA list illustrations.

3. Imagine an elephant having a fierce battle with a king at a station.

4. The elephant is represented by the phonetic character e, and king ki. Together, they represent eki.

5. So, if you think about a station, you will automatically associate it with an elephant and a king, or the word eki.

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Explanation of Magical List to Aid Pronunciation and Memorization

MAMA (Memory Aid Magical Alternatives)

1. In the first column 111 commonly used Japanese sounds are arranged in alphabetical order. In each box is the pronunciation of that sound in the alphabet, hiragana and katakana scripts. Those just starting with Japanese only need to know the alphabet.

2. Illustrations (animals, different occupations, products seen in daily life…) are placed in the second column. The first sound used in these English words matches or is similar to each Japanese sound.

3. When there is no English word that can match the Japanese sound, a Japanese word is used. The inside of these frames is colored in grey.

4. The English word for the illustration is in the third column. The word in brackets under the English is the Japanese translation. Square brackets indicate Japanese words (*shows English spellings) and in this case the word in brackets indicates the English translation of the word. If that Japanese word is used in English, no English translation is given.

5. In the fourth column, the Japanese pronunciation of that English word is given.

6. The characters in < > under the Japanese pronunciation shows the characters of the alphabet you’d need to input in order to produce the corresponding Japanese script, besides the standard alphabets in the first column.

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The Point of Using Memory Magic

1. Picture small things being bigger. This makes them easier to remember. The more you picture an unusual scene, the more it becomes fixed in your memory.

2. When you use the images on the MAMA list, imagine actual animals, humans, or products as vividly as possible.

3. Some are abstract terms; for instance, “travel.” In these cases, picture something related to the word, such as “travel bag.”

4. If you switch images later, you may become confused, so take care to associate a single image with each object.

5. Many words are formed from four or fewer characters. If you know the first two phonetic characters, you can easily remember the rest of the characters. Memory Magic basically uses images for the first two phonetic characters in the target word. If these aren’t enough to remind you, add more images from the subsequent characters.

6. In the case of a compound word, memorize the first character of each respective word. Example: vending machine (jidou’hannbaiki).

7. When imagining things with MAMA, in order not to become confused, picture the first character (sound) of the word above, on, or to the left of the second character MAMA.

The Only Text Magazine You Can Learn Japanese Vocabulary by Memory Magic!
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