There are those who study things, seemingly at random, and then there are those who are incredibly smart about how they study. People who use any of the “Ultimate Japanese Vocab” Packs are the smart type of person. This is essentially an Anki deck with some very specially chosen verbs. Using the 80-20 rule (which states that 80% of the benefit can be gained via 20% of the effort), this vocab deck will help you to learn 20% of the verbs in the Japanese language. This 20% (consisting of ~200 words) are going to be 80-90% of all the verbs you’ll ever need to know, meaning that for 20% of the effort, you get 80% of the results.

Purchase This Pack →

Pros

  • Over the long run, saves you a ton of time (you get the same benefit of years worth of Japanese verbs learning within a month or two).
  • Get a ton of benefit out of less time and effort (meaning you can spend more time studying other important things!).
  • Comes with both a PDF and Excel spreadsheet which includes the words in kana, kanji, romaji, dictionary form, ます form, and more.
  • Audio for all of the words in both ます and dictionary form.
  • If you’re a TextFugu member, you can get this for free!
  • Since it’s on Anki, you can use this list on nearly every operating system imaginable.
  • Everything’s digital, so you don’t have to wait to get it in the mail after you buy it. Instant download via email!

Cons

  • $10 for an Anki Vocab deck (most vocab decks for Anki are free, though this one is kind of special!)
  • Uses Anki — while this isn’t a bad thing if you’re like most people and like Anki, if you’re not an Anki user you either won’t be able to use this or will need to export the list from Anki to be used in your preferred SRS flashcards program.

Final Word?

While paying $10 for an Anki deck might feel steep (since Anki decks tend to be free), this list really has had a lot of work put into it in terms of choosing the best words for you to learn. You really will save a ton of time by learning this list (and really, how can you put a value on time?), and it’ll be helpful no matter what Japanese resource you decide to use.

One note, though — if you’re a member of TextFugu, you can get this for free (it’s part of the lessons), so don’t buy this unless you’re not a member.

Other “Ultimate” Lists

There are other “Ultimate Vocab” lists out there too. Here’s a list of all the currently available ones:

Pictures