Video Game Teaches People Japanese As They Play [Video]

Video Game Teaches People Japanese As They Play [Video]

Koe is an RPG that teaches players how to read and understand the Asian language.

Sara Roncero-Menendez
  • 3 march 2014

Learning a new language can be difficult, which is why there’s a multi-million dollar business in teaching them through tapes, software, and books. University of Derby student Jitesh Rawal decided to take a different approach to learning Japanese and created a video game to help others get started on their linguistic journey.

Koe  (meaning “sound” in Japanese) is a role-playing game currently up for funding on Kickstarter that uses gameplay to teach players how to read and understand Japanese. The player begins as their in-game avatar goes to Japan and encounters friends and enemies, using the words they gain as weaponry or inventory objects. The game teaches players Japanese katakana, hiragana, and kanji, the three written forms of Japanese.


Players learn the words by repeatedly using them to converse with other characters. At first the dialogue is in English before beginning to shift into Japanese for specific phrases and introductions. The game focuses on vocabulary and basic, conversational phrases, though the completed game may also include some grammar lessons.

Rawal has studied Japanese for the last few years, and found that figuring out where to be begin presented a sizable obstacle for not only him, but others who were trying to tackle the language. He decided to make a game that would serve as an introduction for those already interested in learning Japanese:

Essentially, what I want to do in the game is give you an introduction to the Japanese language within the game itself. I know people who are interested in this style of gaming, as well as Anime and Manga, and who have wanted to learn Japanese because of it, but have no idea where they should start. So why not a fully-fledged story-driven JRPG that gives you a nice start with the language itself?

The project is asking for £35,000 (almost $60,000) and at the time of writing as earned over £14,000 with 31 days left to meet their goal. Check out their video below.


Source: Kotaku

Images: Koe

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