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Kotoba Miners is permanently closed until further notice.

This site remains as a legacy to what once was the most effective way to learn Japanese (in my opinion anyway!).

This project was a labour of love for me between the years 2012 – 2015. Unfortunately, my research direction changed and managing this project on top of my life, work and research demands became unfeasible. I am incredibly grateful to all the students and staff that helped me make this project so successful and am glad that we have forged friendships that remain today.

To see what I am working on now, please check the Japan Game Lab, or follow me on Twitter.

— James York

However, weekly, informal Let’s Play sessions are on-going!

Join our Discord server to learn more:

Server Address: mc.kotobaminers.org

TeamSpeak Server: voice.kotobaminers.org

Recent News

  • To keep up with my recent work, please visit the Japan Game Lab blog. December 17, 2018
    To keep up with my recent work, please visit the Japan Game Lab blog.

  • First up, this is the order of activities that students complete as part of this lesson: Check... October 28, 2017
    First up, this is the order of activities that students complete as part of this lesson: Check English errors Translate JP to EN Presentations YouTube viewing Set up Before this class, students played a game and recorded the audio during the play session. For homework (or for the time remaining in the previous class) they collectively transcribed the audio a […]

  • Kotoba Rollers Post-Play overview November 29, 2016
    Noticing, grammar, skill disparity, and making connections I’d like to reflect on the post-play activities that I’ve been doing in class recently. There is a lot to unpack, but I think it is important to get this down in writing. In this post I will be giving an overview of what “post-play” currently looks like with the Kotoba Rollers framework, providing ra […]

  • The hype is real October 12, 2016
    Today was a very interesting day, and I’ll get to the reason for that later. For a start though, let me say that I am exhausted. Why? Two reasons: I had to carry a bunch of games to class today: Scythe (Collector’s Edition no less..!) - Sheriff of Nottingham - 2 x Pandemic - Forbidden Island - Dead of Winter 2. I had to walk around all of these groups and he […]

  • My normal teaching context is classes of 20 to 25 students, so... October 4, 2016
    My normal teaching context is classes of 20 to 25 students, so they are split up into different groups based on the game they chose to play the week before. However, today I had the opportunity to use the KR framework in a class of only five students. It was a big change, and in today’s post, I’d like to talk about some of the things that I noticed that are […]

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What others say about us

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[testimonial image="3176" name="Luke Noble" profession="Satisfied JP learner"]I came to Kotoba Miners with an interest in learning Japanese, and a year later that interest has manifested into my biggest passion. Kotoba Miners is much more than a great resource for Japanese where you can find lessons, get help from fluent speakers, and do listening practice. What really makes me happy is the amount of fun it brings to learning Japanese, the motivation it creates within me and the community. If it involves games and having a laugh with friendly people, I’m already sold, but the fact you’re learning a language along the way is nothing short of amazing in my eyes. Can’t thank the Kotoba Miners group enough, and what’s scary is that it’s still progressing and improving.[/testimonial][testimonial image="3369" name="Justin T" profession="Satisfied JP learner"]I work in a very demanding profession, leaving minimal free time for language study and requires a considerable amount of travel. Kotoba Miners is the perfect fit for my schedule! A wide range of classes are available, and are tailored to accommodate European, North American, and East Asian time zones. Because the classes are online, I can attend with the same instructor and classmates from any location in the world with internet connectivity! So far, I’ve attended class from 9 countries, 3 continents, and dozens of cities while on the road.

Instructors spend a remarkable amount of time and effort engineering virtual interactive learning environments, customized for each lesson. It’s something that simply cannot be replicated in the real-world. Most importantly, the interactive format forces you to practice what you’ve learned in the lesson, rather than the old-fashioned classroom and lecture format.

Kotoba Miners is trailblazing the future of language learning. Come be a part of history with us![/testimonial][testimonial image="3367" name="Diogo Valente" profession="Satisfied JP learner"]I spent a few months trying to learn Japanese by myself with many different applications and books and while they somewhat worked to learn the very basics, soon enough I saw myself losing motivation really fast, also trying to find local courses but with no avail so I kind of gave up on the idea… I found Kotoba Miners on an article in the news, learning Japanese like an actual class in Minecraft, at home! I immediately took a look and it got me interested; I thought this couldn’t be any better… I was unbelievably wrong.

Kotoba Miners is not just about learning Japanese using Minecraft, it’s about learning Japanese using Minecraft along with an amazing community and staff. You find teachers and native speakers that devote their time to the students even outside of classes and people around the world that share the same common interest in the Japanese language and culture always willing to assist… all of this and playing all sorts of games and have a good time with friendly people, it’s far beyond what I ever expected. This is what keeps me motivated.[/testimonial][testimonial image="3271" name="NathanBoy" profession="Kotoba Miner"]All in all the experience was really, really good. While the course is a basic beginner course, there were people with a fairly wide range of (beginner-level) learning backgrounds. Everyone was very enthusiastic and quick to help each other out. The class moved at a reasonable pace, and you get a lot of opportunities to ask and answer questions, and to practice with a partner. Having tried it now, I can say that putting a class like this in Minecraft is a brilliant idea because it actually gives you something actionable to talk about. Having context, an objective, and a group of people who are willing to practice with you is pretty invaluable. For people who are learning outside the context of a school, I think something like Kotoba Miners can give you something that is hard to find otherwise.

If you’re a self-study like me who doesn’t have much opportunity to practice speaking, I highly recommend you check it out. It’s fun and you’ll feel like less of a mute, purely passive listener. There are class times suitable for pretty much every time zone, and plenty of room for newcomers. It’s definitely not too late to jump on board if you are curious.[/testimonial]

[testimonial image="3270" name="Michael Waespy" profession="Satisfied client"]I came to Kotoba Miners with one goal in mind, to learn Japanese. What I received was so much more. Not only was I given the opportunity to learn the language, but I was also able to learn about the Japanese culture. In addition, I made many, great friends during the 8 months that I have been a part of this community. I even got to meet people from all over the world and learned about their cultures too. Here, you will always find people from all walks of life willing to help each other out. You really get motivated to do excel. However, learning a language is not easy; one needs to put a lot of effort into learning, including outside of the classroom like in school.

One thing that Kotoba Miners can be proud of, is that it is an innovative way of teaching language. I can say for myself, I have learned more in the 8 months that I’ve been here than in two years of high school language classes.[/testimonial][testimonial image="3366" name="Danielle Quast Tostes" profession="Satisfied JP learner"]Kotoba Miners isn’t just another site to learn Japanese, it might just be the place you’ll have the most varied resources to do it, and the place you can do it while having the most fun.

  • Are a beginner looking for a place to start? Hop along, you’ll be just fine.
  • Are you a more intermediate or advanced student who wants a place to improve further? This is it.
  • Are you somewhere oddly in between who doesn’t know how to progress further? You just might have found your solution.

Kotoba Miners has a thriving community that won’t fall short of ways to immerse yourself, learn and practice Japanese in a way that’s most natural, fast, and useful. You’ll learn the things texbooks don’t teach you, get in contact with Japanese natives, have a pile of events to choose from, participate in pertinent in-game activities that are fun to accomplish and even make new friends! There’s even a LINE group that you can access whenever you want to chat about (or in) Japanese with people on the server right from your cellphone whenever you feel like it. And you get all of that for free.

The only thing you need to pay for are the classes with teachers (with voice chat and everything), but with everything else that this site and community have to offer, it’s perfectly doable to take all the lessons by yourself, as the content itself is freely available for anyone who wants to try it.
I must confess I have a prejudice against “Traditional” language classes, I always felt like they taught you things in the wrong order, and in a way that you’ll be sure to forget it. If you feel like that too, then trust someone like you, Kotoba Miners is better than that.

Personally, I was in that weird level of Japanese, between knowing some intermediate/advanced stuff and not knowing some really basic things. I was frozen, I didn’t know where to go from that. I couldn’t enter regular language classes, not without feeling like I was throwing my money away. Kotoba Miners began to fix that, it gave me a place to stand in the middle of the random Japanese knowledge that I had and didn’t know how to put to good use. It gave me somewhere to feel comfortable to make mistakes, a place where I felt I should and needed to use Japanese, a place to start building from. Kotoba Miners became my new found home, really.

And do you know what is the most awesome part of it? You’re not the only one who’ll evolve through this, because Kotoba Miners is constantly growing to find the best, most natural and fun way to help you learn Japanese. That means your thoughts as an user matter here, and the more you participate, the more the site will grow into the best place for you.[/testimonial][testimonial name="DarkSpy13" profession="Satisfied client"]Phenominal classes, Cheapshot is an amazing teacher and his classes are definitely worth paying for. They are worth the money and I would never dispute that because they are really well organized and he has an amazing delivery method.

Also, The world they have created over at kotoba miners has so many learning aids in it that are 100% free. (You should really check the world out or just hop on teamspeak and start talking to people in japanese. It’s free and so worth it. I learned so much so fast while I was actively using the kotoba miners servers as a learning aid but I fell back into my “learning japanese” and not studying as much as I should habbits shortly there-after.[/testimonial]