Our Philosophy

We strongly believe that learning from fun and challenging material presented in context is the fastest way to proficiency in Japanese.

Over the years while studying Japanese, one of the biggest realisations I had was that most of my real learning was done outside the classroom. The stuff I came across in textbooks, while useful for providing the fundamentals, didn’t give me the practical advantages needed in day-to-day life.

Once I had mastered basic grammar and a core set of vocabulary from my Japanese course, my wise teacher threw nothing but unedited, raw language at me. It hurt. A lot. I vividly remember the headaches and my confidence faltering. But in hindsight, that period of my learning was the most fruitful and empowering of all. I grew like I never had before.


By throwing yourself head-first into native-level content, you give your brain a mighty kick-start. It will likely be a shock to the system at first; you may want to give up at times and grind your teeth in frustration, but just remember that such frustration is an indication of your progress. It really is the case that we grow as people after encountering and overcoming difficulties, so we’ll be here to support and motivate you every step of the way!

We also truly feel that in order to improve at a language, you must enjoy learning it. That doesn’t mean that every day will be magical, but the content has to engage you and keep you interested. We write commentary and explanations with this in mind, injecting little bits of humour and cultural background to keep you hungry for more. The ultimate aim, of course, is for you to be learning without even realising it!

Meet the team!

We’re just a small group of individuals working together, but we’ve got the experience where it counts most!


Founder of and main writer for Gakuu and, a cultural blog illuminating Japan. Michael has lived in Japan for around 4 years and currently works as a translator and interpreter. He has studied Japanese for over 10 years, passed JLPT level 1 and won the UK Japanese Speech Contest for University students in 2008.


Mayu is a well-travelled and internationally minded Japanese woman. She lives and works in Japan and helps provide native checks and audio for Gakuu’s material as well as cultural insight and experience for the content. When not working, she can be found hiking, diving or studying English.


David has spent over two years teaching and volunteering in Japan. He has around 10 years of experience studying Japanese and researches material for Gakuu. He currently spends his free time doing 2D animation and illustration, some great examples of which you can find here on the site!


Koichi is a top J-blogger whose mission is to make Japanese learning simple and accessible to as many people as possible. He runs the complementary language-learning website Textfugu, aimed more at beginning students. Koichi helps advise on the business and technical aspects of Gakuu.

Any questions? Drop us a line here. If you’d like to become a member, click the link below :). Happy Studying!

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