Japanese Podcast review: Gen’s modern Japanese corner (源ちゃんのゲンダイ国語)

By | May 12, 2015

As part of my daily commute I’ve been listening to various Japanese podcasts from NHK’s podcast series Suppin. I usually get into one of them, and listen to it exclusively for a few weeks until I’ve heard every episode.

With Gen’s modern Japanese corner, things started out badly because after listening to an episode or two I felt totally clueless  about what was going on. The Japanese was totally cryptic, and I felt frustrated enough to give it a break for a few days.

When I came back to it, I found a few episodes whose content I understood enough to enjoy and even learn something, so I decided of making it my current main podcast to listen to. Since then my understanding is still hit or miss, but I feel it’s gradually improving over time.

Gen’s modern Japanese corner focuses on the Japanese language itself from a perspective of linguistics, history, literature, and culture. I’ve heard topics on free-form haikus, famous love letters, famous sayings (kotowaza), and even word puzzles.

Because this podcast is so deep in culture and history, the Japanese level is pretty high – it’s one most difficult I’ve experienced in my recent listenings. But for every little bit you understand you get the satisfaction of deeper cultural appreciation for Japan and Japanese language. Since many of the episodes read quotes from books, if you want to learn more you can always purchase the book on somewhere like Amazon Japan and delve even deeper.

If you have advanced to expert proficiency in Japanese (at least several years of study) and an interest to learn more about Japan’s culture and language, this is a great podcast to try out.

Linguistic note: 国語 (kokugo) literally refers to the mother tongue of a certain country, but in typical use it means Japanese studied academically as a language. In America, we call English class simply English, but Japanese class (in high school, for example) in Japan would be called 国語.




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7 thoughts on “Japanese Podcast review: Gen’s modern Japanese corner (源ちゃんのゲンダイ国語)

  1. Korean Vitamin

    ポッドキャストのご紹介をありがとうございました. I downloaded the last episode and it was an introduction/review of a book 『寝るまえ5分のモンテーニュ「エセー入門」』(白水社) about classic French essays written by Montaigne (?).

  2. Korean Vitamin

    Btw, this a podcast from Japan FM about new/trendy Japanese words – イマドキ用語の基礎知識 – itun.es/i6L29Bc

  3. Ben

    Thanks for this post. I didn’t know about NHK’s podcaset Suppin series. I’ll go check them out.

  4. Phil

    Hi, I have been reading through some of your site and find it very interesting. I have a couple of comments and a question or two.
    I notice that when ever I follow a link I am lead away from the site. In other words the link doesn’t open up in a new, separate window. A couple of times I’ve had trouble finding my way back to your site. I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to have links open up so that the page your site is open in remains open?
    Another thing, do you have a list of reading recommendations anyway on your site? I’ve been looking but can’t find anything like that. I can see various reviews here and there but I was wondering if you had posted something a bit more consolidated somewhere.
    Anyway, nice site with interesting and useful content for anyone studying Japanese. I’ll continue to check it out.

    1. locksleyu Post author

      Hello Phil, thanks for the comment!

      First, on the matter of the links opening new windows, can you give me info on the browser you are using and a specific site with a specific link that has that problem? I have not seen that myself and am using Safari.

      I don’t have a good list of resources but that is a good idea, will think about what I can add to it.

      For the short term, if you can tell me what your level is and what you need help studying, I can make specific recommendations for study ideas and books, if I know of any.


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