Matt (Game Gengo): Learning and Teaching Japanese through Video Games and YouTube

Anthony Griffin
Kokoro Media
Published in
9 min readJun 20, 2023

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What is the best way to learn Japanese? “Focus on what works best for you,” says Matt, creator of the Game Gengo YouTube channel. And when Matt says this, he means it. In the spring of 2020, armed with the fervent belief that language learning can and should be fun, Matt leveraged pandemic-induced downtime to launch his YouTube channel where he teaches Japanese via video games. Years later, his efforts have borne fruit, and now Matt has achieved what many can only dream of: becoming a full-time YouTube content creator.

As both a lifelong gamer and lifelong learner, I was compelled to reach out to Matt to see if he would be willing to share his story with Kokoro Media readers. Fortunately, he obliged, and in this interview, we cover a variety of topics, including:

  • The trials and tribulations of creating YouTube content and what it takes to succeed
  • How and when to start learning Japanese through video games
  • The quest to discover, explain, and capture every element of the Japanese language

If you’ve ever wondered if video games can really help you learn Japanese, keep reading. Matt’s story and language learning philosophy is sure to make you a true believer.

Igniting a Lifelong Passion for Japan

Although you’ve told your story on your YouTube channel, can you give our readers a quick rundown on how you started learning Japanese?

I’ve been interested in Japanese video games since I was five years old. During the time when Pokémon and Dragon Ball were booming, I realized that everything I enjoyed came from Japan.

When I reached high-school age, I started learning more about Japan, and it seemed like a cool country with an interesting culture and history. It wasn’t until the end of high school that Japan started to feel like a real place, and I thought it would be cool to study the language. However, at that time, I was too intimidated to start studying on my own, and I kept putting it off until later.

I moved on to university, studying psychology and physics, but I didn’t feel that was the direction I wanted my life to go. It was a tough…

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Anthony Griffin
Kokoro Media

Founder and principal consultant (www.consultsaga.com) helping Japan-based organizations market to and communicate with international audiences.