Podcasts to Listen to If You Want to Know More About Japanese Culture
A little bit of everything for everyone.
If you aren’t already on the podcast train, now is a good time as any to get started. Now that you’re spending more time at home, you’re also probably spending more time in front of your screen. Podcasts are a great way to unwind without having your eyes constantly glued to your screen. Take it as a chance to rest your eyes and enrich your mind!
For those who want to learn the language
If you’re interested in getting to know Japan by way of language, this is the podcast for you. Tofugu started out as a blog about the Japanese language and Japan. The people behind Tofugu thought that there must be a better way to learn the language—something beyond the usual just because “that’s just how it’s always been done.” So, it’s hardly traditional but it gives more context and teaches you the language in a much more efficient way. On their podcast, they discuss things like improving your pronunciation, using your first name as a pronoun, using honorific name enders like -san, -sama, -chan, and so much more.
For those living and working in a foreign country
Cousins Kyle and Jeri are literally Distant Relatives, with one of them working in Japan and the other in Australia. On their podcast, they discuss the struggles and challenges of living and working in a foreign country. From debunking Filipino stereotypes to language barriers and even delving into racism, Distant Relatives attempts to share insights on these topics based on their own personal experiences. If you’re looking to find tips on how to go job hunting abroad, they’ve also got an episode about that.
For those who love Japanese cuisine
Hosted by Japanese native, New York-based writer Akiko Katayama, Japan Eats! is all about real Japanese food and food culture. Akiko also has guests that range from chefs, restaurateurs, sake producers, shochu experts, and more. This Heritage Radio Network podcast aims to demystify Japanese cuisine by breaking down the different aspects of it. Learn about kitchen staples in a Japanese pantry, the health benefits of natto, and basically everything about Japanese cuisine that definitely goes beyond sushi.
For those who love the strange and the eerie
The Japanese aren’t strangers to superstitions and oddities. Uncanny Japan delves into the old wives’ tales, legends, folklore, and other interesting stories that are part of Japan’s rich culture. Author and host Thersa Matsuura shares these discoveries that she comes across while researching for her stories and books. If you’re interested to know more about auspicious food, haunted artifacts, and the history of festivals that have a lot to do with the dead, give this podcast a listen.
For those how want to go one a deep dive into Japan’s history
History books but make it a podcast. Isaac Meyer is a former PhD student at the University of Washington, specializing in modern Japan. With over 300 episodes and counting, History of Japan covers the entire history of the Land of the Rising Sun, tracing it from prehistoric Japan to modern-day Japan. You won’t run out of things to discover as he updates the pod weekly, discussing a new topic each week.