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Published on May 16th, 2023 📆 | 7278 Views ⚑


Duolingo and Crunchyroll use anime to teach Japanese

Language app Duolingo and Crunchyroll – the Netflix of Anime – hope the answer is simple; a new, entertaining, and dare we say, ‘tanoshii’ (i.e., “fun”) way to learn Japanese. The two companies today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership, infusing immersive language lessons with iconic phrases from fan-favorite anime shows such as "Naruto" and "Dragon Ball Z". 

A spokesperson for Duolingo told us in a phone call that Japanese is the No. 3 most requested language to learn in America, behind Spanish and French. He said interest has grown quite a bit in the past few years, with the rise of blockbuster Anime movies, video gamescosplaytravel, and eventrade shows in the United States. 

I was in New York for work this past November when more than 55,000 people attended the Anime NYC convention at the Javits Center. (You try hailing a taxi at rush hour in Manhattan next to Naruto or CharlotteLinlin.) Likewise, more than 115,000 fans are expected at Anime Expo-LA in July.  

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Analysis from Precedence Research shows the market for this particular genre of animated and stylized character-driven content is on a fairly steep upward trajectory, too, rising from $22.6 billion in 2020 to $48.3 billion by 2030. 

“Nearly a third (26%) of Duolingo Japanese learners cite fun, like watching their favorite anime shows, as their top motivation for learning,” said George Audi, Senior Director of Business Development at Duolingo via email. “We chose to partner with the leader in anime entertainment to advance our Japanese course because we know watching TV shows and films in the language you’re studying is a great way to learn … and a great way for people to further immerse themselves in the Japanese language.”

“Anime is a dynamic medium, and we know viewers are curious about learning,” added Terry Li, Senior Vice President of Emerging Business for Crunchyroll. “We hope anime-curious learners will be intrigued by their Japanese lessons on Duolingo and will explore all that anime has to offer on Crunchyroll.” 

As part of the partnership, premium Crunchyroll subscribers will be eligible for a two-month trial of Super Duolingo – the premium, ad-free tier that typically costs $12.99 per month. 

Language app Duolingo and Crunchyroll – the Netflix of Anime – announced a first-of-its-kind partnership.

If you use Crunchyroll’s free service, you can get a one-month trial of Super Duolingo. 

Duolingo learners studying Japanese may be eligible for one free month of Crunchyroll Mega Fan premium access, which provides ad-free viewing of the world’s most extensive anime library of more than 44,000 episodes and 18,000 hours of series and films. It usually costs $9.99 per month. 

Crunchyroll is also making a roundup of series with easy-to-understand, everyday vocabulary available on AVOD for a limited time, including: “Bananya,” which features an adorable kitty who lives in a banana; “Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club,” a sports anime following a high school swim club; “Laid-Back Camp,” the beloved slice of life series, and “Nichijou - My Ordinary Life,” a surreal comedy following three ordinary girls.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech columnist. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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