Learn Japanese through Pokemon, Legends of Arceus!
A deck from Scarlet and Violet is coming soon (it’s already data mined), but it’s very buggy.
How this deck was made:
I got a hold of both English and Japanese text files from the game. Then I created the Anki cards by data mining the text files using Python, some Japanese python packages, and interfacing with https://jisho.org/ for translations and other needs.
So note, there may be a few inadequacies because most of this deck was created programmatically. I did do some hard coding, however, to catch some things (like “Hoenn” not being translated properly).
Also note that the dialogue translations are not exactly a verbatim translation of the Japanese-English text. The corresponding lines come directly from the game – so whatever the English translation team put into the real game will be included as the corresponding Japanese translation. This can be good and bad. Good because you get to see exactly how a professional team might translate something given the nuances of the language and context. Bad because there is the risk that the translation is something totally different. On spot checks, there was nothing I saw where the translation was totally something different.
There are three ways to use this deck:
- Learn through dialogue
You can test your understanding of entire sentences from the real dialogue from the game. It is comprehensive, meaning every single line from the game is included. You can play along in Japanese and search the card. The sub-tags are even broken by Chapters, so you should be able to find the text in order of gameplay (possibly a little buggy since the tags were also programmatically created based on info and headers within the text files).
- Learn the Kanji
I tallied up all the Kanji within the game, sorted by frequency, found examples from the dialogue of the game, and along with https://jisho.org/, you can learn all the Kanji used throughout the game. There are 1751 unique Kanji in the game. Note, the frequency and usage of these Kanji do not necessarily match what you would find in news, books, and other Japanese conversation (more on this analysis/publication later). So all the more reason to learn Japanese through this deck if you want to use Japanese to play Pokemon, watch the show in its original form, and all other things Pokemon!
- Learn the vocabulary
I used a python package to break up the dialogue into word components. Note that the Japanese does not break up individual words separately, so it can be a little hard to make a vocabulary deck. But fortunately by interfacing with https://jisho.org/, you can input a sentence, and you can request a lot of information on that sentence. I did this with every text line and tallied up all the vocabulary used within the game. So now you can learn individual words by frequency used within the game, along with their corresponding dialogue the vocal came from (just two examples).
Other definitions: “story” means the dialogue/text comes from the actual story line (i.e. the narrative of the game). “common” means the dialogue/text comes from common, repeating text (i.e. menus, poke center NPC dialogue, Attack definitions, etc.). Therefore, vocal frequency does not truly represent the frequency at which you may encounter that vocal word. For example, you could talk to nurse Joy 1000 times, and you would encounter the word “heal” many times, but the way I programmatically mined the frequency is from the appearance of the words in the “story” and “common” text files in which a word may only appear once.
I wrote a lot of this at the top of my head, and I created this deck before Legends of Arceus came out (over a year ago), so it’s been a while! Other updates should come soon.
But hopefully this is useful for anyone that want to learn Japanese though one of my favorite game franchises (even though the franchise could do better, imo but that’s a topic for another day!)