Mangajin: The ’90s Magazine that Taught Japanese Through Manga

Learning a new language is a daunting task, especially if you’re learning Japanese. The language has the highest learning curve for native English speakers to learn and requires at least 2,200 classroom hours (88 weeks) to achieve proficiency.

Mangajin

Taking formal classes and picking up specialized textbooks is the best way to learn a new language, but students have access to fun supplements that can enhance their learning. Language apps are all the rage today, but students have been using educational compliments for decades, like Mangajin.

Reddit user jaylink found a digital archive of Mangajin, which was a monthly English magazine from the ’90s created to help students learn Japanese. Translator Vaughan P. Simmons came up with the idea to combine pop culture and entertainment as a supplement to aid in learning.

Mangajin used excerpts and translations of manga like Galaxy Express 999Kochikame, and Tanaka-kun to teach a more casual style of Japanese.

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Manga was growing in popularity outside of Japan in the ’90s, but Mangajin didn’t catch on. The magazine folded in 1996 after 70 issues, but it has become sought after by collectors. Some of the translations may be dated, but it’s a fun look back at a bygone era.

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