Japan’s top education app teaches English with ‘Super Subtitles’



We’ve written about a number of services in the past that help Japanese people study English. For example, language learning startup Rarejob raised $3.3 million this year to help continue its efforts in providing English lessons over Skype.

Choujimaku is a popular English learning software, published by Source Next Corporation in Japan. It helps students learn English by watching movies, referring to English and Japanese subtitles as they go (hence the name, which translates as ‘Super Subtitles’). Back in 2011 the company moved into the app space with its Choujimaku movie app for iOS. And thanks to a new promotional campaign, the app is now number one in the education category in the Japanese App Store.


Movies are currently priced at ¥1200 (or about $12), which is a promotional discount from the regular ¥1800. But like much online media in Japan, the movies are still painfully overpriced in my view, even with the added value of bilingual subtitles and the useful dictionary. That’s about the same price as an evening at the cinema, or two months worth of Hulu Plus (which in Japan includes subtitled movies and TV).

But nevertheless, it might hit a sweet spot for busy folks who don’t have time to mess around with organizing their own study through movies. The controls are pretty handy with the ability to toggle either language off or on. There’s also a dictionary function that lets users dig deeper and find out the meaning of individual words.

If you’d like to check it out, you can pick it up over on the App Store as a free download. There’s a sample movie if you’d like to try it out before moving on to the 200+ in-app movie purchases available.