Cooori: A web-based spaced repetition system for learning Japanese



There have been many Japanese language learning software systems that have emerged over the years, but I think the most effective ones are the ones that take the SRS (spaced repetition system) approach. Systems like iKnow [1], and the iOS software Anki – these systems team to take the planning out of your study, and let you focus on learning the language. One of the more interesting of these is Cooori, which we saw takes third place in the recent SF Japan night startup competition here in Tokyo.

Cooori is a web-based flash card system that caters to all levels of Japanese study, finding material that corresponds to JLPT testing, as well as popular curriculum like Minna no Nihongo. It also gives you the ability to create your own word lists if you choose. I gave Cooori a quick test using his trial, which is restricted to 25 words only, and I was encouraged to see that the system works well across all platforms including mobile.

Cooori, pitched at SF Japan Night this month
Cooori, pitched at SF Japan Night this month

If you want to use Cooori, it doesn’t come super cheap at $17 per month, although if you are a student there is a discounted $11 per month rate [2]. Of course figuring out an effective way to study language is quite difficult, so I think this will be money well spent for anyone looking to study Japanese seriously.

The flash card system looks very good, with audio available to listen to if you want to check to see how words and sentences are pronounced. One clever feature is the daily reminders function, which is something that I know I would really use, because it’s important to keep study consistent, rather than just checking in whenever you have time. (I always struggle with that!)

None of what Cooori does is completely new, I think. But as far as I can see so far, it’s appears to have nailed all the important things that an SRS should do [3]

If you’d like to give Cooori a try, you can test it out for free over on their website, The company also has a handy Japanese-English dictionary for iOS and Android that you can download for free. Overall I think the service looks very promising, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.

cooori-1 cooori-1

  1. I used to be a huge fan of iKnow, but their transition from a free service to a paid one was – shall we say – less than graceful, and not entirely respectful of their users’ past contributions. I won’t be going back.  ↩

  2. You’ll need to send in a picture of your student card to prove that you really are a student. There were also referral discounts, so that if you get your friends to sign up you get a cheaper rate (I’m shamelessly going to put my referral link here, although I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to subscribe yet).  ↩

  3. Although I’m still waiting on an SRS that lets me do word/sentence mining with a javascript bookmarklet or browser extension as I find new phrases on the web. It would be nice to be able to quickly add those to own my study list.  ↩