Uniquely Japanese Study Aids

Photo: Valeri-DBF on Flickr

Uniquely Japanese Study Aids

Celina Alejandro

Japanese pay extraordinary attention to detail. If you're anything like me, you just love some nice stationery. Here are some unique and helpful Japanese stationery, especially if you're a student. Time to get those A's with the help of some study aids!

Mark Sheets / Check Sheets

Mark sheets are thin-colored plastic films usually sold in red or green. Occasionally, you can find one in blue. They're also often packaged with a red or green pen and a white tip used to "erase" the marker ink. Pretty neat stuff, but how does it work and how do you use them?

It works by making the ink "invisible" when you place the film over it. Say you're studying vocabulary. You can write the foreign word in black ink and the translation to your language in red. When you place the red plastic mark sheet over your paper, it will hide all the red markings, just like magic!

a Japanese marksheet

As if that isn't cool and useful, sometimes you can get a marker with "white" ink that you can use to erase the ink from your marker.

How an erase pen works

You can find mark sheets in stationery stores like Tokyu Hands and maybe the stationery section of any department store.

Word Cards

Chances are, if there’s anything on this list that you’re familiar with, it would be this one. Word cards are small strips of paper usually joined with a metal ring. Occasionally they include a red or green mark sheet that works the same way as mentioned above, but smaller. Word cards are for memorizing anything and everything, but Japanese students usually use them for vocabulary. These are helpful if you're studying a language like I am, but also these will come in handy if you're memorizing body parts, plant parts, chemical equations, and so on. Really, the sky is the limit and if you use them in conjunction with the little mark sheet included it's a good study tool. Use them to study Nihongo while going around Japan!

Picture of flash cards

You can find these in stationery stores like Tokyu Hands, but you can also find a pack of 3 for ¥100 at Daiso or other 100-yen stores all around Japan. In the picture above, you can even make your own!


No, I didn't just say a Japanese swear word. Shitajiki are one of those things that aren't well-known outside of Japan. Shitajiki are writing boards usually made of plastic you can use to place under a piece of paper. They give a nice, firm surface for writing making it a more comfortable writing experience and doesn't mark the paper underneath. You might think it's unnecessary but it really makes writing better. My first encounter with this was in a bank while applying for my cash card. The Japanese think of everything. Sometimes, they're made as a promotional item like for anime and there are even people who collect different kinds of shitajiki.

A Japanese shitajiki

There are even anime shitajiki!

For the minimalist, there are plain shitajiki, and ones with a grid. It’s also interesting how some people actually collect different shitajiki designs for a hobby. Sure you can just use a piece of cardboard to write on top of, but where’s the fun in that?

Ever wondered why Japanese are so smart? Maybe it’s because they have so many study aids to help them.