Anki – multiplatform flashcard program

anki icon

暗記 [あんき] (n,vs) memorisation, learning by heart.

This is a flashcard program that was written by someone specifically to help him learn Japanese. It’s free, and runs on Windows Linux and Mac. Apparently there’s also a version for mobile phones but I can’t find or comment on how that works.

As sample card decks there is vocabulary for various JLPT stages and Heisig kanji learning system. I think the help files could be better and his terminology clearer but it’s fairly simple to make your own decks and add to decks. Pictures and sound can be added.

There is also a dictionary lookup of online dictionaries but the ALC site doesn’t seem to work for me. It might not like my browser. (The error is in Japanese and I can’t really be bothered to figure it out past だめ or 禁止 or whatever it’s saying. )

The main benefit of the program is “spaced repetition”. This is where cards are shown to you at the ideal time for you you to memorise them. There’s no point in reviewing a well known word so the program tries to show you it just before you forget it. — There’s better explanations on Anki’s site.
Its hard to evaluate the method by which the program does this but I’m willing to trust it.

I use iFlash on the mac at the moment and really like it. It also has spaced repetition based on a score. Anki might be a replacement as iFlash has become a little dormant. (however he’s promising an iPhone version when development opens up on that platform which’d be enough for me to get an iPod touch perhaps.)
But at the moment I think I prefer iFlash’s list view; which alllows me an easy overview and multiple card sides; which allows me to store notes and examples easily. However this might be possible in Anki as well.

Finally Anki has pretty good statistics features to chart your progress which would be a good incentive to learning I think.

Check it out!

10. November 2007 by ロバート
Categories: 05 speaking • 話す事 | Tags: , , | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. Hi Robert,
    You may want to have a look at Mnemosyne (
    Running on Linux, Mac and Windows it uses spaced repetition similar to Anki and is also open source. There are a handful of Japanese card sets on their website but for me, the statistics and UI of Anki give it the edge overall. Still worth checking out thought.

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