I'm looking for a list of katakana words ordered by frequency. I've seen some resources with a few dozen or maybe a hundred words, but I'm looking for a more expansive list, perhaps from a corpus of newspapers or modern publications.

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


There is a very large list of word frequency here, compiled from a variety of written Japanese.

If you have any programming expertise, filtering these down to just katakana words should be trivial. If not, leave me a comment and I'll compile it for you and update this post with a link.


  1. Words containing any katakana, ordered by frequency
  2. Words composed entirely of katakana, ordered by frequency

In regards to format: the format should be identical to the original BCCWJ word list, just containing only relevant terms. The files are tab separated, not comma separated.

There is a description of the BCCWJ word list columns here, however it is entirely in Japanese. Unless you are trying to do something particularly complicated though, I suspect "rank" and "lemma" will be sufficient.

Also note that this data is living in my personal Google Drive as of my last edit, so it may not continue to be available long term. However, the code I used to generate it can be found here and should be around basically forever, so it should be easy enough to recreate if anyone else needs it.

  • Unfortunately I have pretty much zero programming knowledge.
    – kandyman
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 21:03
  • No worries, see the updated answer.
    – Mindful
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 23:55
  • Wow, thank you so much! What is the best way to open a tsv file? Import into excel?
    – kandyman
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 12:08
  • Did it take long to put those together?
    – kandyman
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 12:09
  • Yeah, I would recommend excel. A quick Google search should turn up plenty of ways to handle a TSV file though.
    – Mindful
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:56
  • @Mindful Thank you for making these lists and the code accessible!
    – Earthliŋ Mod
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 19:45
  • No worries guys. I know this is useful data, and it was easy enough to put together.
    – Mindful
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 20:08
  • @Mindful There are some errata in the data - may I ask how you put it together?
    – kandyman
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 20:42
  • @kandyman By doing exactly what I suggested doing in my post - downloading the BCCWJ word list and filtering it. Unfortunately, if there are errors in the underlying BCCWJ data I can't really help you there. If you give me more information about the issues I can try and figure out where they're coming from, but my suspicion is the underlying data - my code just copies over a subset. Also encourage you to read the BCCWJ data documentation, as it might explain some of what you're seeing.
    – Mindful
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 2:21
  • It was mostly the English versions of place name and countries where I noticed errors. For example, ドイツ is listed as 'Duits'. But it's a minor issue tbh.
    – kandyman
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 20:09
  • That's definitely coming from the BCCWJ word data, not me. However, I'm not sure it's an error - it might just be that they're using the base word, which is not always going to be English. See: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Duits. Unfortunately I'm busier with work these days and can't look into this in depth for you right now though.
    – Mindful
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 20:31
  • New Japanese learners ought to pay attention to countries, food and drinks. If you’re doing this to prioritise your learning, you might want to read a map or café menu before a novel or newspaper.
    – Tom Kelly
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 15:47

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