Windows Phone is a relative newcomer among smartphone operating systems, but there are already many good language learning apps available on the platform.
iPhone user? Check out our list of best iPhone Japanese learning apps
Android user? Check out our list of best Android Japanese learning apps
Here’s a selection of what I consider to be the best WP8 apps for learning Japanese:
(Free) By far the best Japanese language learning app for Windows Phone 8.
As the name suggests, the app’s primary objective is to help you learn vocabulary, but it’s so much more than just another Japanese flashcard app.
Tango Master includes an offline Japanese dictionary, SRS flashcards with 40 prebuilt study lists, a Japanese website reader with integrated dictionary, and several educational mini-games (shiritori, rapid fire and memory).
Though the app tends to be fairly slow, you can pin each section and vocab list as a separate live tile which lets you access what you need in one click.
($9.99) A new, and only competitor of Tango Master, Japanese Hub includes an offline dictionary, a textbook with simple language lessons and dialogues, and SRS vocab and kanji flashcards.
Some interesting features which differentiate it from Tango Master are pronunciation audio of every word and sentence, and a feature where you are asked to draw kanji on the screen during the kanji quiz (though you have to compare your writing with the original yourself).
The price is rather steep for an app that is not very different from, and so far nowhere as polished as Tango Master, but the trial version is definitely worth a try and new updates seem to be coming at a steady rate.
($9.99) A renowned beginner Japanese textbook with well organized lessons, engaging cultural notes, and integrated dictionary and native pronunciation audio. It doesn’t go beyond the very basics, but the content is presented in a very attractive manner.
Human Japanese is one of the most expensive language learning apps out there, but if you’re a complete beginner to Japanese, you should definitely give the trial a go.
($3.49) A most interesting little game that blends language learning with rhythm-baesd gameplay.
The objective of the game is to tap the right kana, at the right time, to the rythm of the in-game music. As you progress, more and more kana characters get unlocked based on your score.
This might not sound particularly exciting at first, but add cute pixelate graphics and a catchy tune and you have a surprisingly fun game, as well as a surprisingly efficient way to learn how to read hiragana and katakana.
($2.49) If Hiragana Pixel Party is where you learn to read kana, this is the place where you learn how to write it.
Write Japanese is a well designed app that teaches you how to write hiragana, katakana and a handful kanji, and then checks whether you’ve used the correct stroke order. Unfortunately, only 50 kanji are available, so the app isn’t useful beyond beginner level.
(Free) A decent free Japanese learning app with quite a good basic textbook and a kanji database.
There’s a lot about this app that could be improved, but it has a few unique features, some interesting content, and a very nice price point, so there’s no reason no to check it out.
(Free) Daily Kanji is a free Windows Phone application that displays a different kanji on its live tile every day.
You can select the range of kanji based on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level, go through past kanji, and view stroke order diagrams. The app is really simple, but what it does, it does well.
(Free) We’ve always recommended NHK News as one of the best ways to practice Japanese reading and listening, and this app allows you to do all that on the go.
The app makes it easy to access all NHK Special Japanese and NHK Standard Japanese content, both past and present, listen to the audio, and read through the transcripts.
(Free) Kleio is not meant purely for Japanese language learning, but it’s a very well done SRS app with desktop sync and all the features you’d expect from a this kind of product product.
In fact, it would have been an excellent alternative to Anki on every platform, if not for the lack of decent Japanese language decks shared by other users.
Bonus: Lost in translation
(Free) Last but not least is this fun little app based on the popular site called Translation Party.
Lost in translation prompts you to enter a sentence, and then translates it back and forth between Japanese and English until an equilibrium is reached. That is, until the translation in both directions is no longer modified.
Machine translation is far from perfect and so the app often churns out most amusing results.