80/20 Japanese Anki Pack User Guide

The 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack includes a variety of flashcards for use with Anki, a smartphone app and computer program that uses spaced repetition to make remembering information easier.

On this page, you will find detailed information about what is included in the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack, how to set up Anki and start using these decks, and tips for studying to help you get the most out of these flashcards.

For additional instructions about using the various features Anki, please also see the official Anki user manual.

PART I – Quick Start Guide

Choosing a flashcard set

There are three Anki package files (apkg) included, but you should only use one. The content in each is the same, with the difference being the characters used to display Japanese words and sentences. The options, as per the file names, are:

  • Kana + Kanji + Romaji
  • Kana + Kanji
  • Romaji

If you are not sure where to start, but intend to learn Japanese characters, use the ‘Kana + Kanji + Romaji’ set. Unwanted characters can be hidden later as desired (see instructions here).

Installing Anki

To download and install Anki on Windows, Mac or Linuxclick here, choose the appropriate version and follow the instructions.

To download and install the Android app, click here.

For the iPhone/iPad app, click here.

Installing the flashcards in Anki

To import the flashcards to the desktop version of Anki (Windows, Mac or Linux), simply double-click the appropriate Anki package file (.apkg) on a computer with Anki installed.

The easiest way to import the flashcards to a mobile device is to import them into the desktop version of the app, and then sync them to the mobile app via AnkiWeb. Just click Sync in the desktop app and follow the prompts. Detailed instructions for this are also included below.

Next steps

To study the flashcards, click on the name of the set you wish to study.

For the characters, you will want to learn hiragana first, then katakana, followed by kanji. It will usually be best to start with the specific sub-deck featuring the characters you wish to learn, and become proficient in them before moving onto the next set.

For the other sets, you should start by learning some vocabulary and getting a head start on these before starting on the sentences. This will allow you to focus on the grammar and structure of the sentences, rather than be overwhelmed by unknown vocabulary.

For the verb flashcards, you would generally be best to study these in Anki only after you have learnt the relevant verb tense in the book.

Filtering out unwanted cards

If you are not a beginner, it is easy to delete flashcards you don’t want to study. To do so, follow the detailed instructions below.

Part II – About The 80/20 Japanese Anki Flashcard Decks

This section explains in detail the contents of the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack.

Included sets of flashcard decks

On your order download page, you will find three Anki package (.apkg) files to choose from. They are divided according to how the Japanese words appear in the vocabulary, verb tense and sentence flashcards.

You will only need to install one of these packages, as the contents of each is mostly the same.

The three packages included are as follows:

  1. Kana + Kanji + Romaji [80_20 Japanese_Anki_Pack_(Kana-Kanji-Romaji).apkg]
  2. Kana + Kanji [80_20 Japanese_Anki_Pack_(Kana-Kanji).apkg]
  3. Romaji [80_20 Japanese_Anki_Pack_(Romaji).apkg]

The ‘Kana + Kanji + Romaji’ and ‘Kana + Kanji’ sets include flashcard decks to help you learn the following:

  • Characters
    • Hiragana
    • Katakana
    • Kanji
  • Sentences
  • Verbs
  • Vocabulary

The “Romaji” set does not include the character flashcards.

Flashcard appearance and character usage

In the Vocabulary and Sentence flashcard decks described below, words written in Japanese are presented in each set as follows:

Kana + Kanji + Romaji
Romaji, and as they would normally be written in Japanese, whether that be hiragana, katakana, kanji, or a combination thereof. Furigana is provided for words written in kanji.

Kana + Kanji
As for the ‘Kana + Kanji + Romaji’ set, minus the romaji.

Romaji only.

Contents of each flashcard deck

Below are the details of each deck, including what information is included in the questions (Q) and answers (A) of each flashcard.

Characters – Hiragana & Katakana

There are two flashcard decks for each of hiragana and katakana:


Each individual hiragana/katakana character, plus all of the small ya/yu/yo combinations.

Q: Hiragana character
A: Its reading in romaji

Use this to: Learn to read each hiragana character.


Whole Japanese words (100 for hiragana, 50 for katakana) that, combined, include every individual hiragana character at least once.

Q: Word written in hiragana
A: Romaji reading and English meaning

Use this to: Practice reading combinations of hiragana characters in the context of words, and learn some basic vocabulary.

Characters – Kanji

Every word that is written in kanji in 80/20 Japanese (Kana + Kanji Edition) in the order they appear.

Q: Word written in Kanji (without any furigana)
A: Its hiragana reading, English meaning, and the location where it first appears as kanji in the book (bottom-left of card).

Use this to: Improve your ability to read and understand words written wholly or partially in kanji.


The sentence flashcard deck includes every example sentence and full sentences featured in the exercises (plus a few sentence fragments). They appear in order of chapter and sub-chapter. For each sentence, there are two flashcards:

Recognition (Japanese to English)

Q: Sentence written in Japanese
A: An English sentence with the equivalent meaning, and the location where it appears in the book (bottom-left of card).

Use this to: Improve your ability to comprehend full sentences in Japanese and the grammar concepts applied within.

Production (English to Japanese)

Q: Sentence written in English, along with (in most cases) the level of politeness (polite or informal) to be used when answering. Some cards also have additional hints to guide your answers.
A: The equivalent sentence in Japanese, and the location where it appears in the book (bottom-left of card).

Use this to: Improve your ability to recall Japanese words when you need to produce them.


Due to the flexibility of both Japanese and English, as well as the particular reliance on context in Japanese, many sentence flashcards include the following:

Optional parts of the sentence.

An English sentence might, for example, read, “I went to the library”, but in Japanese, the use of “watashi” for “I” is often not necessary due to context. However, individual flashcards seen in isolation do not have sufficient context, so to deal with this, many Japanese sentences will show parts of the sentence in parentheses to indicate that they are optional, for example:

(watashi wa) toshokan ni ikimashita.

Literal translations and other cues

Sometimes, the way an idea is expressed in one Japanese is vastly different to the way it is expressed in English. Therefore, in some cases as appropriate, literal translations or the word to use in the opposing language will be shown in brackets or parentheses, like so:

Q: Would you like tea? [literally: Will you drink tea?].

A: ocha wo nomimasu ka?

Multiple possible Japanese translations

Since there are often multiple ways to express certain ideas, many sentence production flashcards show multiple possible alternative answers. This is done in one of two ways:

  • Where there are simply multiple possible word choices, the options are enclosed in [square brackets] and separated by a slash “/”. Correct answers use only one of the options within the square brackets. Here is an example:

  • Where whole parts of a sentence can be re-ordered and still be correct, or where the multiple possible options are longer, the variable part of the sentence is highlighted, with the alternative options displayed below the main sentence. The alternative parts can be substituted into the main sentence in place of the highlighted part, such as in this example:


The verb flashcards are designed to help you practice converting between verb tenses and memorizing the various conjugations of each verb for faster recall.

Every verb used in 80/20 Japanese (except those ending in “shimasu/suru”) is included in each of six sub-decks targeting specific verb conjugations. The sub-decks include:

  • Verb meanings (English meaning of verbs in ~masu form)
  • Informal present/future tense (dictionary form/plain form)
  • Informal past tense
  • Informal negative form
  • Potential form
  • Te-form

Ideally, you should study each of these decks individually after you have learnt about the relevant verb form.

For each verb in each deck, there is a flashcard for each of recognition and production. Each card shows which verb form you should convert to for the answer. As an example, the informal negative form recognition flashcards appear as follows:

Q: Verb in informal negative form, plus ” → polite”
A: The verb in the polite negative form (“~masen”)

Meanwhile, the informal negative form production flashcards appear like this:

Q: Verb in polite negative form (“~masen”), plus ” → informal”
A: The verb in the informal negative form

For each sub-deck, all recognition flashcards will appear before production flashcards.

Use this to: Consolidate your understanding and ability to convert to ans use each verb form


  • For verb recognition flashcards in the ‘Kana + Kanji + Romaji’ and ‘Kana + Kanji’ packages, the question cards do not show the verb in kanji. This is because the kanji alone can tell you what the verb is, which would turn the card into a test of your kanji-reading skills, rather than a test of your verb conjugation recognition skills.
  • There are many verbs that sound the same as one another, but are completely different verbs with different meanings (homonyms). Sometimes two verbs will only sound the same in one particular form, while in other cases, two verbs with completely different meanings might conjugate in exactly the same way in all forms. Whatever the case, where there are multiple possible answers, these are all provided, and duplicate questions have been removed.


The vocabulary flashcard deck contains every unique word featured in 80/20 Japanese, organized by chapter and sub-chapters. For each word, there are two flashcards:

Recognition (Japanese to English)

Q: Word written in Japanese
A: Its English meaning, and the location where it first appears in the book

Use this to: Improve your ability to recognize Japanese words when other people use them.

Production (English to Japanese)

Q: Word written in English
A: Its Japanese translation, and the location where it first appears in the book

Use this to: Improve your ability to recall Japanese words when you need to produce them.


  • Where an English words has multiple possible Japanese translations, there is only one production (English-Japanese) flashcard showing multiple possible answers. For the same words, there will be a separate recognition (Japanese-English) flashcard for each Japanese word. This is because in most cases, you can choose any of the Japanese alternatives when speaking or writing, but you need to be able to recognize all of them in isolation when reading or listening to Japanese.
  • For the romaji-only recognition (Japanese-English) flashcards, if a Japanese word has multiple possible English translations, the answer will include multiple alternative meanings. This is not an issue in the other sets because the kanji differentiates words that appear the same when written in romaji.
  • In the vocabulary deck, verbs appear only in their polite present/future tense up until chapter 7. Every verb that appears in the first 7 chapters is then repeated at the beginning of the chapter 8 flashcards in their informal present tense (dictionary form). From chapter 8 onward, all new verbs appear in both their polite and informal forms. The only exceptions to this are verbs that end in “shimasu/suru”, which only ever appear in one form, as the conjugation is the same for all of them.
  • A few words appear only as recognition (Japanese-English) flashcards, such as the various words meaning “I”. This is because you will likely only ever use one of these yourself, but would benefit from being able to recognize them all.


All flashcards in the vocabulary, kanji and sentence flashcard decks include tags (prefixed with “8020J-“) identifying both the chapter and the sub-chapter in which they first appear.

Vocabulary and sentence flashcards are also tagged as either recognition (“8020J-JE”) or production (“8020J-EJ).

These tags can be used to organize cards as you need them in the Anki Browser (see instructions below), or to target specific sets of flashcards for use with Anki’s Custom Study function.

PART III – Getting started with Anki

Installing Anki

Anki is a free computer program, with companion apps available for iPhone (paid app) and Android (free).

To download the computer program, available on Windows, Mac or Linux, click here, choose the appropriate version and follow the instructions.

To download and install the Android app, click here.

For the iPhone/iPad app, click here.

There is also a web browser version known as AnkiWeb. To use the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack with AnkiWeb, you will first need to install one of the desktop versions. Then, after installing the 80/20 Japanese flashcards on your computer, follow the instructions below to sync the flashcards with AnkiWeb so that you can access them via your web browser.

Importing the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack flashcards

Once Anki is installed and you have decided which set of flashcards you wish to use, you are ready to import them into Anki.

How you do this will depend on the device you are using.

Anki Desktop for Windows, Mac and Linux

1. Open Anki and click “Import File”.

2. Navigate to the folder where you have downloaded and saved the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack files.

3. Select the file for the set you wish to use and click “Open”.

The flashcards will be imported and you can now start studying.

AnkiDroid for Android

There are two ways to import your flashcards into the AnkiDroid app:

  1. Sync them via AnkiWeb, Anki’s cloud-based service for synchronizing flashcard decks between devices.
  2. Import them directly via the app.

See Using AnkiWeb below for instructions on synchronizing your decks with AnkiWeb.

To import the flashcards directly within the app:

1. Download or copy the Anki file containing your chosen set of flashcards to the “AnkiDroid” folder on your device. By default, this should be directly under “Internal Storage”.

2. Open AnkiDroid. Click the three dots in the top-right of the screen, then select “Import”.

3. On the “Importing” screen, press “OK”, select the Anki deck you want to install, then click “Add”.

The decks will be installed and you are ready to start studying.

AnkiMobile for iOS (iPhone & iPad)

(For the official AnkiMobile manual, please click here.)

To copy the Anki files to your iPhone or iPad, you will first need to install them on your computer.

You then have three options:

  1. Download directly to your iPhone/iPad. Once the download has completed, choose the “Share” or “Open in” option, then select AnkiMobile from the list of apps.
  2. Sync them via AnkiWeb, Anki’s cloud-based service for synchronizing flashcard decks between devices.
  3. Import them using iTunes.

Importing with iTunes is a relatively complicated process, hence direct download and AnkiWeb are the easiest ways to import decks to your iOS device. See Using AnkiWeb below for instructions on synchronizing your decks with AnkiWeb.

For more information and instructions for importing with iTunes, visit http://ankisrs.net/docs/am-manual.html#itunes-import/export.

Using AnkiWeb

AnkiWeb is Anki’s cloud-based service for synchronizing your flashcard decks between devices.

It provides the easiest method for importing your flashcards to your mobile devices. It also enables you to study your Anki flashcards anywhere using a web browser. Please note, however that Test-to-Speech audio will not work when studying in the browser using AnkiWeb as your browser is unable to access this capability.

Setting up AnkiWeb and synchronizing your flashcard decks

1. Install Anki on your PC or Mac and import the 80/20 Japanese Anki files as per the directions above.

2. Go to https://ankiweb.net and click “Sign Up” in the top-right corner of the screen.

3. Enter your email address and a password of your choice, then click “Sign up”. Read and accept the terms and conditions, then confirm your email address.

4. Open the Anki desktop application and click the Sync button in the top-right corner of the application.

5. You will then need to sign in using the account you created.

After signing in successfully, your Anki decks will be uploaded to AnkiWeb. This may take a few moments.

Once the synchronization is complete, you can either study the flashcards in your web browser using the AnkiWeb site, or synchronize them with your mobile devices.

Synchronizing decks with your mobile device

1. Open the AnkiDroid (Android) or AnkiMobile (iOS) app and tap the Synchronize button.

2. Log in to the AnkiWeb account you created earlier.

3. Follow the prompts to download and synchronize your Anki decks from AnkiWeb.

Once completed, you are ready to begin studying.

PART IV – Studying with Anki

This is an introductory guide to studying with Anki covering the simplest and most common features. Anki also has more advanced study settings and options, the details of which can be found in the official Anki Manual.

Deck selection

The flashcards in the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack are organized into decks and sub-decks based on their contents, like so:

You can study the flashcards in each deck individually by selecting the appropriate deck…

…and then clicking “Study Now”.

If you select a parent deck, it will show you cards from all of the sub-decks. However, keep in mind that new cards will be shown in alphabetical order of the names of the sub-decks and will not be mixed.

How Studying Works

When you begin studying a particular deck, Anki will cycle through a certain number of flashcards from that deck.

By default, the desktop version of Anki will present up to 20 new flashcards per day, and up to 100 previously shown flashcards that are due for review.

For each flashcard, Anki will show you the question, together with a “Show Answer” button.

Here’s one from the Vocabulary deck (Kana + Kanji + Romaji).

After attempting to answer the question, click “Show Answer”, and the answer will appear together with a group of three or four buttons at the bottom.

Click the button that corresponds with how easily you were able to answer the question. Based on your selection, Anki will determine the optimal amount of time to wait before it shows you that particular flashcard again.

For best results, try to study every day.

Study Strategy

Selecting individual sub-decks is an effective way to target your study efforts on one area at a time. However, it is highly likely that you will target different areas on different days, or at the very least, complete one sub-deck and then move onto another.

When this happens, you will still need to review previously studied cards to ensure that you continue to remember them. However, if you study, for example, the Vocabulary deck, then you will not be shown review cards from any of the other decks. This means that even if you complete your study of the Vocabulary deck on a particular day, there may still be cards from other decks that you need to review.

Because of this, my recommended way to study each day is this:
  1. Choose the sub-deck containing the cards you want to study anew that day.
  2. Study all of those cards, plus any review cards that Anki mixes in. When you’ve finished, it will say “Congratulations”.
  3. Tap the top-left button to return to the home screen.
  4. Now, the blue numbers on the home screen should all be 0, meaning you can’t study any more new cards today. The green numbers, however, may be greater than 0.
  5. If the green numbers are not all 0, tap on the master deck (“80/20 Japanese…”) to study it.
  6. You will then be shown any other cards, from all of the sub-decks, that are due for review that day.
To simplify this further, it’s really just a two-step process.
  1. Study the specific sub-deck with the new cards you want to learn that day.
  2. Then, choose the master deck to study any additional cards that may be due for review.

Following this process will ensure that you can target your study each day on one particular area, while still reviewing all past cards that you have studying according to Anki’s optimized review schedule.

Managing Daily Study Limits

Anki sets a maximum number of new flashcards and review flashcards to present per day for each deck. By default, this number is 20, as indicated by the number next to each deck in the home screen.

The important point to note about this is that decks that have a parent are limited by both the deck itself and all of its parents. For example, take the deck titled Characters which sits under 1_Hiragana as shown here:

It shows the number 20 under the New column. Its parent deck, 1_Hiragana, also shows the number 20, as does its sibling, the deck titled Words.

Let’s say one day I decided to study the Hiragana Words sub-deck by clicking on it directly. If I study 20 new words from that deck, then the number of new cards would drop to 0. The number of new cards for the 1_Hiragana parent deck will also drop to 0, meaning that no new cards will be shown from the 1_Hiragana deck for the day.

In fact, since this is itself a sub-deck of the Characters deck, which in turn is a sub-deck of the ’80/20 Japanese (Kana + Kanji + Romaji)’ deck, no more new cards from any of the decks will be shown that day.

If you wish to overcome this, there are a couple of options:

  • Change the maximum number of New cards to study each day. Instructions for how to do this can be found in the official Anki manual.
  • Move the deck to a completely separate location so that it does not have a parent. To do this, click the settings icon next to the chosen deck, then click Rename. Change the name to something else, keeping in mind that two colons “::” separate each parent deck from its child.

PART V – Customization

Deleting unwanted flashcard decks

The main flashcard deck contains four sub-decks – Characters, Sentences, Verbs and Vocabulary. The Characters and Verbs sub-decks also have sub-decks of their own.

Depending on your Japanese level or learning goals, you may wish to remove some of these. For example, if you can already read hiragana and/or katakana, you may wish to delete the hiragana and/or katakana decks.

To delete an unwanted deck, click the settings button next to the appropriate deck and click “Delete”.

Deleting a parent deck (for example, the Characters deck) will delete all of its sub-decks.

Deleting flashcards that cover things you already know

Anki allows decks to be tagged for easier organization. The Vocabulary and Sentence flashcards in the 80/20 Japanese Anki Pack all have tags identifying the following:

  1. Chapter where the word or sentence first appears
  2. Sub-chapter where the word or sentence first appears
  3. Either recognition (J-E) or production (E-J)

The tags all begin with “8020J-“, and the following, respectively:

  1. “Ch” + the chapter number (eg. “8020J-Ch4”)
  2. The sub-chapter number (eg. “8020J-4.3”)
  3. “8020J-JE” or “8020J-EJ”, as appropriate

Some cards in the vocabulary deck have multiple chapter or sub-chapter tags due to the existence of synonyms that are introduced at separate times.

Using these tags, it is easy to delete a subset of flashcards that you do not wish to study. Here’s how to do that:

1. On the Anki home screen, click “Browse”.

2. On the bottom-left of the Browser window you will see a long list of tags.

Let’s say we wanted to delete everything from Chapter 2 of 80/20 Japanese. To do so, scroll down and click the tag called “8020J-Ch2” to select it.

The browser will list all of the cards with that tag, which will consist of all of the vocabulary and sentence cards with material from Chapter 2.

3. To delete these, click on one of the cards in the list and then in the menu click Edit → Select All (or just press Ctrl+A on Windows or Cmd+A on Mac). All of the cards will be selected:

Now right-click anywhere in the list of selected cards and click Delete.

You may want to delete, for example, only the Vocabulary cards from Chapter 2, but keep the Sentence cards. Here’s how we can do that:

1. Select the Vocabulary deck in the panel on the left of the browser.

In the Search box at the top, leave the text that is there, and at the end of it, add a space followed by “tag:8020J-Ch2”, like so:

Now click Search, and only the cards that are in the Vocabulary deck AND from Chapter 2 will be displayed. These can now be deleted as before.

Moving cards to a separate deck

Rather than delete the cards completely, you may want to move them to another deck, perhaps to study them specifically, or to keep them just in case you want to revisit them at a later date.

To do that, first select the appropriate tags, decks or a combination using the Search bar, then choose Select All’ via the Edit menu.

Next, right-click anywhere in the selected list and click “Change deck”.

You will then be presented with your list of decks. You can either choose to move the cards to an existing deck, or create a new one by clicking Add.

If adding a new deck, give it a name and click OK.

Finally with your target deck selected, click ‘Move Cards’.

Changing the character sets displayed on Vocabulary and Sentence cards

By default, the flashcards in each of the three Anki package files are displayed according to the name, with Japanese sentences shown in Romaji, Kana + Kanji, or both.

However, even if not displayed, all of the sentence flashcards include all character display possibilities – they are simply hidden. The same is true for the Vocabulary flashcards, except in the case of the Romaji recognition vocabulary flashcards (due to problems arising from homonyms being written without kanji to differentiate them).

Since the different character sets are all contained in the flashcards, it is possible to hide or show them as you choose. To do so, take the following steps.

Warning: Since this involved editing how cards are displayed, it is possible to “break” the cards such that they do not display as intended. Please proceed carefully.

Example: Change the display of the Romaji Sentences flashcards to show Kana + Kanji characters

  1. From the home screen, click Browse.
  2. In the browser, choose the Sentences deck from the panel on the left, and then select one of the cards in the list. Then click the “Cards…” button

3. In the middle box on the left titled “Styling (share between cards)”, you will find instructions for hiding and display the different character sets.

Scroll down until you find the “Kana + Kanji character display” section:

4. Here, on the line under…


…, add two slashes “//” before the text “display: none;” so that it look like this:

//  display: none;

The result should look like the following image, with the preview windows to the right now showing the sentence with Kana + Kanji displayed:

To change it back, simply delete the slashes you just added. Similarly, if you want to, for example, hide the Romaji characters, scroll up to the “Romaji Character Display” section of the Styling window and delete the slashes there, like so:

Once you have made the desired changes, click Close, and all flashcards of this type will now be displayed as in the preview above.

But that is not all!

For both Vocabulary and Sentences flashcards, there are two types of cards – one for recognition, and one for production. In the example above, we changed the recognition (Japanese -> English) card settings only.

If you want to display the Kana + Kanji characters on the production flashcards as well, you will need to make the same changes for those cards.

To do so, simply choose one of the production flashcards in the browser and follow the same steps.

The same can be done for the Vocabulary flashcards (except for the Romaji recognition flashcards, as mentioned above).