Onomatopoeia like ギリギリ and ドキドキ are so widespread in conversational Japanese and creative contexts that you’re sure to have come across them if you chat to Japanese speakers or read fiction in Japanese. If you’ve mostly studied Japanese in a more academic context, though, you might not have come across them as much.

We’ve already covered books on onomatopoeia, but Onomappu is the first YouTube channel we’ve found that really delves into this neglected topic! It was created in early 2020 by Hitoki, a native Japanese speaker who is also fluent in English and Chinese, and the onomatopoeia playlist already offers around forty different videos. Hitoki speaks slowly and clearly, and uses learner-friendly language, while keeping his Japanese natural most of the time. His onomatopoeia series is a real gem because Hitoki makes use of props, gestures, images, key words and copious examples to really give a sense of what each onomatopoeia feels like from a native speaker’s perspective.

The content of at least one of the videos may be inappropriate for younger viewers, and the host’s humor is sometimes of questionable taste, but overall this is a good resource. If you want to follow along with the majority of conversations, spice up your own language, or understand even the most basic of manga, children’s books, and other types of creative writing, onomatopoeia are an important ingredient Onomappu is a fun introduction! [Tofugu annotation]

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