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3.3 out of 5 stars
Learn Japanese: Rosetta Stone Japanese - Level 1
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: JapaneseChange
Price:$89.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
I study foreign languages in my free time. Having said that, my preferences lean towards product that aid in increasing my confidence in speaking, reading, writing, and understanding. Generally, these programs have clear audio, pictures, simple grammar lessons, and clear breakdowns of phonetic structures for non-native speakers (being entertaining and cheap is always a plus!)

Rosetta Stone is a wonderful vocabulary builder. The pictures and audio help store new words in long-term memory. The games *can* be fun and the lessons test listening skills and adaptive recall. With purchase, a user gains access to online tutoring sessions with a native speaker after completing chapter units (to try out their new skills.) Listening to the natural rhythm of native speakers in the program helps reduce accent and familiarize a user with the new language. There is a lot of content in level 1 of Japanese alone, which is broken into 4 units: Language Basics, Greeting/Introductions, Work/School, and Shopping. Each lesson builds on the last, helping the user retain vocabulary previously studied (but sadly, nearly prohibiting skipping ahead).Unfortunately, there are some major flaws:

This isn't the fastest self-taught curriculum; you won't learn useful, everyday phrases right away. Sure, I understand "The cat is sleeping." Or, "The boy runs." That's good, but how am I to realistically apply this to practical conversation? It took hours of lessons to learn phrases like "goodnight," or "Where is the bathroom?"

Grammar is never fully broken down. Users are left guessing how or why sentence structure or the Japanese particle system works (if they can even figure out what that is). Vocabulary, even with the pictures, is also vague at times. A child learning a new language uses a lot of guess work and is constantly corrected by parents in the early stages of language development. An adult, however, shouldn't need to make nearly as many mistakes as a babbling toddler, let alone without being constantly corrected. When confused about a word or phrase meaning, there is no direct translation available through Rosetta Stone itself- ever. I shouldn't need to use Google Translate to understand what I'm learning. It can be frustrating for absolute beginners. The phrases, when repeated listen for accuracy in the user's speech. However, one must only be about 80% correct for a sentence to register as right. I tested by saying and omitting words at times, and skimmed through the lesson with few problems. It's not that it's not okay to make mistake while learning, but proceed with caution. The words pop up as the user speaks them. Parts of a sentence that do not register as clear will appear in a more faded font. There were times when I spoke correctly, and still read faded font, second-guessing myself. (Though my sensei confirmed I was correct!)

Lastly, despite having lots of content, the lessons can be insanely repetitive and even confusing at times. It's easy for beginners to get disheartened, or think that language isn't their niche due to a poor start with the wrong learning materials. Conversational Japanese is actually the easiest self-taught language I've studied, with consistent sentence structures and easily approachable sounds for native English and Spanish speakers.

I used Rosetta Stone as a vocabulary builder along with my college JPN 103 class. I got what I paid for: increased confidence, greater fluency, and larger vocabulary. The catch is that I already mostly understood what and why words were ordered in each set. I recommend Rosetta Stone for people with some basic knowledge of Japanese language looking to build on what they already know, but definitely not for a novice. For the money, I can see how this would be an overwhelming frustrating disappointment. Invest in something with audio and a simple grammar book, some hiragana/katakana workbooks, and flashcards. Ganbatte!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2013
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
I just finished level 1 of Japanese, and from the time I started to now I've learned tons of Japanese. I can't say all of this was from Rosetta Stone, though. I thought Rosetta Stone was pretty good, but I don't think I could call it a standalone resource to learn Japanese. A major part of learning Japanese is mastering the katakana, hiragana, and kanji, and Rosetta Stone is definitely not the best way to do that. There's a section of the program that teaches katakana and hiragana, but I feel that Rosetta Stone has a pretty inefficient way of teaching the alphabet.

I really liked Rosetta Stone's voice recognition. Not many other programs offer that. I had to turn up the speech precision difficulty though because I thought it was being too lenient on pronunciation. I definitely did not like the milestones at the end of each unit, which expect the user to speak his/her way through a "real life" situation. The problem is that even though language is dynamic and diverse, Rosetta Stone says there's a single specific response for everything, and it's not easy at all to guess this from the context.

Rosetta Stone was great for teaching vocabulary, and I've retained most of what I've learned from it. To fill the shortcomings of Rosetta Stone, I've been using some other resources which I'll list here.
Human Japanese: For the money, this teaches much more than Rosetta Stone can. It covers the alphabet, grammar, vocabulary, and cultural notes and it's a really interesting read.
GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [With CDROM] (Japanese Edition) (English and Japanese Edition): I'm only a few chapters into Genki, but it's known as one of the best "real" textbooks for self study.
Remembering the Kana: A Guide to Reading and Writing the Japanese Syllabaries in 3 Hours Each (part 1) (Japanese Edition): Dr. Heisig's Remembering the Kana was the quickest, most efficient way I could find to learn the kana.
Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters: Heisig's Remembering the Kanji has taught me several hundred kanji so far, and I still remember the ones I learned almost a year ago.

I liked Rosetta Stone a lot, but it's too expensive for what it gives. For the same price as a single Rosetta Stone level, you could buy a much more diverse set of resources and learn a lot more. If money isn't an issue though, go for it. I think 3.5 or 4 stars is a good rating.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
The good news is Rosetta does a job of teaching vocabulary but you have to accept that you won't learn anything except vocabulary. There is almost no grammar or verb conjugation instruction which yes is boring but is necessary to learn a language and No, I don't believe this can be picked up by "immersion."

Have you ever take a language class where the teacher showed you pictures of people driving and you thought, "Ah, that is a negative verb conjugation." No, yet this is how Rosetta expects you to learn-- without any instruction. I'm trying to learn a new language not play pictionary.

Because I was annoyed with the lack of instruction, I bought the Genki textbooks and found a tutor (native speaker) who has taught me more in 4 hours then the 4 weeks I spent clicking on pictures. I'm still using the program because it is good vocabulary practice but my tutor rolled her eyes and laughed when I told her I was using Rosetta Stone to learn Japanese.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hello Sunnyleo,

Rosetta Stone doesn't include a dictionary with the program because we don't include any translations in the program. Rosetta Stone will teach you a new language the same way you learned your first language: by directly associating words with objects, actions and ideas that convey meaning. You'll know what a word means because you'll associate it with the meaning directly (communicated through pictures) rather than with the same word in your own language.

With Rosetta Stone, you won't have grammar rules to memorize. You'll learn grammar in real sentences, not in grammar charts - so when it's time to speak you don't have to look up the next word in your head. We immerse you in correct native speech and provide opportunities to speak, until correct grammar flows naturally, just like your first language

A great way to practice using the grammar you've learned is to attend Studio sessions, where you will review what you've already learned with an experienced Studio Coach who is a native speaker of your new language. You listen and speak only in your new language, so you gain confidence and an active command of the language.
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: JapaneseVerified Purchase
I want to learn Japanese to travel to Japan and read signs/menus/media and speak with native speakers (of Japanese and Spanish); so I purchased both Rosetta Stone Spanish (1.5 years ago) and Japanese (last month). The Japanese tool provides some basics but has much room for improvement. The same difficulties exist with both.
(1) The milestones frustrate learners greatly. Only a SINGULAR programmed response is acceptable; there is far too little information to discern it exactly (or even guess something close sometime); and as unacceptable responses mount negativity towards the product grows. This terrible feature (Milestone) should be eliminated or vastly improved.
(2) The allowable pronunciation of some runes (boht Japanese and SPanish) is VERY tight, while it is quite loose on others. It is irritating & frustrating. The pronunciation aid screen provides additional insight, but there are a few letters I cannot produce acceptably. In Japanese Shi, Chi, and Sa are far too tight. The use should be able to LOOSEN these.
(2a) Even after I produce an acceptable pronunciation, later in the lesson it is rejected. A HUMAN is needed to explain and help. The COMPUTER only defeats the learner's enthusiasm.
(2b) In longer words and sentences, the same mispronunciation of the same runes is allowed. The program is inconsistent.
(2c) What are you trying to teach? Can a native speaker understand the learner? If so, let it pass - even for single runes.
(3) The estimated time for each lesson is FAR too low. To think, read the strange new Japanese runes, pronounce the words (acceptably), and try to impress them into memory requires effort.
(4) When new words are introduced through a group of pictures, the learner islimited to SIGHT only. FOUR of the FIVE other senses are NOT ENGAGED. This is NOT AS ADVERTISED "learning the way you learned your first language."
(5) Because of this, a collection of pictures (for example family members) should NOT be used to INTRODUCE new words. The method of sound plus 2 pictures then choice of 3 pictures, followed by one picture with audio and a choice of three, followed by audio and the same choice of three is FAR BETTER. At least it involves TWO SENSES.
(6) A collection of 4 or more pictures should be programmed to keep the "NOT" choice until later among the choices. When the FIRST choice is "The person is not a DOCTOR" and there are 4 pictures, one of which is a doctor, it is difficult to pick out the correct picture. You may think you've given enough clues, but it is NOT a positive experience for the learner who is unsure what the word for doctor is.
(7) I tried to return to UNIT 1 after the MILESTONE and the program does not allow it. You need a REVIEW OPTION.
(7a) On my demand, I want to see pictures of NOUNS, their spelling, and AUDIO. When I learned my original language, I could do that via human interaction or media.
(7b) On demand I want to see verbs also.
(7c) I want to be able to get a definition, even if its only in Japanese using words I've already supposedly learned, on demand. For example, FUTARI. Eventually I had to ask a native speaker what it meant. At first I thought it meant standing, then smiling, then I gave up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
But I didn't buy the program to learn a bunch of words and not know how to use them. I like the association with pictures. I memorized them all but I didn't know how to use them. It was kind of fun watching Japanese programs and listening to the music understanding a word or 2. It was not fun still not knowing what was being said.

RS might be great for some, but not for me. I would like to know what I'm saying. Am I saying the boy is on/over the table or the table is on/over the boy? Eventually, I licked my wounds and gave up. I tried another program and in one lesson I feel as if I learned more about the Japanese language (sentence structure and some basic sentences and words) than with months (bought it 2 years ago really) of RS.

I do not agree that we need verb conjugation and grammar. No one really learns that way. If we did, damn near everyone in the US would be bilingual because of HS language. After 4 years of Spanish or French who really leaves school knowing how to speak a 2nd language? Plus, I'm watching my 3 year old niece pick up Spanish like she's drinking water. She conjugates her verbs in both languages correctly over 90% of the time. So obviously immersion works. It's just a matter of finding what works best for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
I started off loving Rosetta Stone. I still have a pretty good retention of the words in the first 8-10 chapters even several years later. For this I'm giving it 3 stars.
My frustration with the product began as images and their meaning started to become more complex. For example, when you are trying to indicate that an item is in front of another item you really need to know what the perspective is. Is it from my perspective or from the item's perspective? Without a teacher, native speaker or some kind of reference material, this is only possible through a leap of intuition. As my frustration with this type of problem rose, I eventually gave up on the program.
It was only later that I found out that Rosetta Stone was actually teaching me the wrong words as well. I happened to be at EPCOT in the Japan pavillion looking at some of their language books and I read that 'to read' is 'YOMU'. Rosetta had taught me that "to read a book" is "hon o yonde imas". I asked the girl behind the counter about the apparent contradiction and she confirmed that 'yomu' is the proper verb. I later learned that 'yonde' means 'to call'. So I was learning "to call a book"?! Needless to say, I was very disappointed not just in learning the wrong word but in now not knowing if I learned others wrong too.
The final straw was when I went to Rosetta Stone and found that there was no option to upgrade without re-purchasing the software. For the price of this software, a user should be paying to learn the language, not just buying a couple of CDs. At the least I expected a trade-in program at just the price of shipping. So, overall, not a positive experience.

On a side note, I did the free version of Human Japanese for smart phone and quite enjoyed it. Can't speak for the full version but I'm strongly tempted.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
Rosetta Stone's Japanese software can only really be used in conjunction with other Japanese learning resources. In my experience, it is good for practice if you already know the material being covered. Learning from it as a sole resource is unreasonable. They simply don't spend enough time drilling vocabulary and there is pretty much no grammar being taught.

Problem with Rosetta Stone is that they don't explicitly tell you anything in your native language. Instead, they expect you to infer meanings and make your own connections. The problem with this is that the user will probably end up making the incorrect associations without a parent or teacher to correct them. Many of the pictures (from which you are expected to derive fairly complex concepts at times) are overly ambiguous. However, if you already know the language, the pictures can make sense... most of the time.

If you are already studying Japanese and you simply need something to help you with listening comprehension, then that is pretty much all this is good for... and really, it isn't great for that. For the price, you are much better off looking elsewhere. The websites,, and come to mind. You'll end up getting set back about the same amount of $$ as buying just Level 1 of Rosetta Stone Japanese, but the amount of content you receive is far greater and of a much higher quality. If you are not interested in online study materials, the Pimsleur Japanese audio series is far superior to Rosetta Stone and also available right here on
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37 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2010
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
After months of struggling with Rosetta Stone and learning next to nothing I picked up a Pimsleur Japanese course and in half an hour I had learned more and retained more than in all the months of using Rosetta Stone. I am an auditory learner, not a visual learner so Rosetta Stone was useless for me. I will stick with Pimsleur all the way, I have learned more in just a few half hour sessions than I ever dreamed possible. Too bad both programs are ridiculously expensive, I don't think either program is worth the price. Rosetta stone is worthless and I would only consider paying for a used copy of Pimsleur because a new one costs ten times what I would pay to learn the language. The price for both is about the same. A great program that is worth the price is Human Japanese, it is more structured than the other two and gives you a better grasp of the grammar than either of the others as well. Personally I use both Pimsleur and Human Japanese, Rosetta Stone is overpriced garbage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2015
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
this was bought for me as a gift, apparently early November 2014. on registering it early January 2015, i find it's basically cripple ware and rosetta wants to bilk me for what appears to be an unending stream of money in order to use the product over time.

so here's things you need to know before you buy;
1) the online access, and "app" for iOS and Android; they are limited time use, if you even get to use them at all.
2) there's a time threshold, they say 6 months, from purchase, that you need to register. don't believe them. their 6 months uses some calendar you've never heard of and those months are apparently really short.

in short, even though you pay a premium for this "stand alone" version, most of the features appear to be locked to hidden subscriptions fees, we're talking at least $100 a year. this is a pure bait and switch.

following is my verbatim exchange with their technical support where they try and toss all the blame on amazon and push me to talk to amazon to fix what is obviously an issue on rosettas side. even when they admit the product was bought less than 6 months ago, they still refuse to admit it's their issue and pass the buck. note: i was pissed by the time i contacted them, and no i'm not going to apologize for having an attitude.

Shaik Irfan U: Thank you for contacting Rosetta Stone, my name is Shaik Irfan, how may I assist you today?
You: i appear to have been ripped off by your company. i received Japanese level 1, and i am trying to access the ipad support app, and it keeps saying i have no rights.
You: the app says "there are no languages available (MC3005)
You: and the online support says "You don't currently have online services. With online services, you can get access to features like Live Tutoring, Games & Activities, and Language Training on phone, tablet, or any computer. Subscribe today!"
You: just below that it says "Japanese Active "
You: a lot of money was spent on this as a gift to me. i am offended to think your company wants to steal more from me to use a ipad support app that was advertized as being included.
Shaik Irfan U: I am sorry for the Inconvenience caused to you.
Shaik Irfan U: Please provide me the Activation ID.You: you mean the code on the card?
Shaik Irfan U: Yes.
You: the code from the front of the card, or the one i entered from the back of the card?
Shaik Irfan U: Activation Code.
Shaik Irfan U: Back side of the card.
You: xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx (edited)
Shaik Irfan U: May I know the operating system?
You: Windows 7 is the OS of the PC it was registered on, the App is running on iOS.
Shaik Irfan U: I see that you have already used the inline access which you got with the program of 3 month's.
You: i only just installed the application today.
You: i received the box, sealed, as a gift for Christmas. it was opened by me on the 25th of december 2014, and installed by me for the first time ever on January 3rd 2015. i personally rubbed the protective film off the code on the card.
You: it has never been used before
Shaik Irfan U: Whenever you bought the program with in 6 month's you have to claim and use the online program.
Shaik Irfan U: I see with the Activation ID the date that is 11-04-2014 19:15:25
You: so your saying the gift was bought on November 4th.
You: well within your 6 month window
Shaik Irfan U: From where did you bought it.
You: it was bought from
Shaik Irfan U: You can contact Amazon .
Shaik Irfan U: Because they provided you the old program.
You: i should have no reason to contact amazon. you just confirmed the product was bought within the last 6 months.
You: it was bought less than 60 days ago.
Shaik Irfan U: I am escalating your Issue to our customer care.
Shaik Irfan U: They will get back to you through email.
You: please do. i'll make sure to post a transcript of this exchange on the product review for every rosetta stone review forum and product placement i can find. noting that your company doesn't honor even it's own eccentric and limited promises.
Shaik Irfan U: I am sorry to say that the Amazon department provided you the old stock.
Shaik Irfan U: Whenever the Activation ID generated it show the Claimed period.
You: for the record; you state that amazon's own sale date shows it as being within the 6 months window for use per your rules.
Shaik Irfan U: Or else you can contact them on
Shaik Irfan U: Customer care Number is 1 800-280-8172 opt 2.
Shaik Irfan U: You reached to technical support. We cannot exchange the program.
Shaik Irfan U: Customer care team can help you with that.
You: i'll look forward to hearing from your customer care with a full and complete resolution of this issue within 72 hours.
Shaik Irfan U: Sure. i also escalated your Issue to our customer team.
Shaik Irfan U: Is there anything else that I can help you with?
You: you've stated you can't resolve the issue other than to clarify that your company isn't complying with its own stated time limits, which are in themselves eccentric. so no.
Shaik Irfan U: You reached to technical support. The Issue can be handle by the customer care team./You: so you've said. you've also said they will contact me. do you have anything else?
Shaik Irfan U: Yes they will get back to you within 24-48 hour's.
You: i'll hold you to that.You: good day.
Shaik Irfan U: I am sorry.
Shaik Irfan U: You have a wonderful day . Bye!!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscEdition: Japanese
The program was great but when you are done you are not allowed to sell it or give it to a school or library so you end up with a very expensive bookend.
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