Using Jlab’s Beginner Course without the Jlab Addon

The Jlab beginner course is designed to work together with the Jlab Anki addon. It also works without the addon out of the box, but you need to take care of a few things yourself. In the following, I briefly explain how to do that.

The jlab addon offers not only roumaji / latin characters, but also has kana/kanji trainers and furigana support. Using these tools, you can exactly determine, how many and which Japanese characters will appear on your cards. Without the addon, you can still choose between spaced hiragana, spaced kanji and native kanji (without spaces). You need to edit the card templates for that, the basic approach is described here.

Another option here is to make adjustments to the writing systems using desktop anki with the addon and then syncing everything to your other devices, which don’t run the addon. This requires a change in [path to jlab’s data folder you set]/HiddenSettings.json. Set “fastCardUpdate” to false.

The Jlab addon has a built in dictionary, which is triggered by highlighting text on the cards. Without this, go to

The beginner deck is a work in progress and will get updated once in a while. Insertion of new cards and updating of existing cards works in Anki out of the box, but old cards won’t be removed without the addon. You need to delete them manually.

Jlab splits learning into two parts: Listening comprehension is separated from reading practice. This is done by means of two different decks. The addon initally deactivates all cards in the reading practice deck and activates them one by one after you’re done with the associated listening cards. Without the addon, all reading cards are active by default. That’s not much of a problem though, just do the cards whenever you like.

The Jlab addon adds default options, which worked well for me. How the options are set in general is explained in this video.