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new narrator - how to change it?



There is a new narrator for the Japanese level 1 course. Her tune is not really interesting and she doesn't have any ups and downs in her voice. I feel like I am sitting at a serious meeting in Japan in the mid-50s!

Is it possible to change it to the old Sayaka-Kenny version? 



That was explained in the recent course changes that they now have a native Japanese speaker for the Kenny role. I agree the voice and tone does not sound much like Japanese but it has improved the functions over the older one and to be perfectly honest to get rid of the name kenny quire which is unpronounceable in the Japanese language is a big relief. In play it you got scored down big time just because of that name.

Are you hearing a new voice for Sayaka as well????? I just did play it on all levels and did not notice the female voice change.


Rocket is selectively replacing audio instead of rerecording entire modules, which means you can hear nearly a half dozen different narrators in a single lesson. Unfortunately, I don't think we the users get to pick and choose. The native male Japanese speaker is a great improvement to my ears. What's driving me a little crazy is the newer female voice that pronounces things very slowly. Module 2.8 offers plenty of examples, and in the very first, "Do you know how to say 'I will book a room'?" she pronounces the 「す」at the end of 「へや を よやく します」. Is that normal?


I dislike the change too. I've spent five months learning Japanese with Sayaka and Kenny. I don't like the new format at all. If there's a way to get the old instructors audio I'd like to know too.


The new improvements are much better, but I do agree after listening to the new supposed Japanese voice he does not sound Japanese compared to all other native Japanese people I have spoken to.

I am 100% sure all the female voices have been the same on the site for years. I do not think any of them have been changed.


"I do agree after listening to the new supposed Japanese voice he does not sound Japanese"
Interesting… he sounds like a native speaker to me, but I'm not in Japan. Of the small number of people that I come into contact with who speak Japanese, most are either second-generation or long time ex-pats. Native speaker or not, I think he's better than Kenny (ごめんケニーさん!)

"I am 100% sure all the female voices have been the same on the site for years."
Based on the varying audio quality of the recordings and inconsistency with speed and pronunciation I'm very surprised to hear this. Hopefully it will be addressed in the future.


Yes I know some are slower. A few years ago we did not have this system at all. There are a few female Japanese voices. Obviously the Sayaka role play voice and there is another female voice in Level 1. Level 2 it becomes different.

I have encountered quite a few native Japanese speakers working at Ayers Rock Resort where they have their own department there to support their immense tourist numbers. I have spoken to many native Japanese over the years and the new Kenny does not sound like a native or at least one who has been living constantly in Japan. If he is a native voice then the only explanation is that he has been out of the country for a considerable amount of time and his accent has changed. To be perfectly honest he sounds more Indian to me than Japanese.

I am definitely in agreement the changes are for the better. At least going through and removing the surname squire from the set will improve pronounceablity somewhat.


If you prefer the original narration (at the time of this post) you can still download the original audio and original conversations by clicking the "Download THIS Audio" link directly below the play button. Personally, I like hearing Kenny Squire's narration and the original flow of the script. Plus, by hearing an English-speaker speak Japanese (Kenny) followed by a native Japanese speaker (Sayaka), the contrast between the two accents indicates where you fall in the pronunciation spectrum. So if I sound more like Kenny then I need to work on my pronunciation. If I sound closer to Sayaka then I'm on the right track.

Personally, I'm going to complete the audio course using the original audio and when I eventually make my way through the program a second time, I will use the new audio. That way I get the best of both worlds. Cheers!


Hi everyone,

We're sorry to hear some of you aren't happy with the change of hosts. We recently replaced Kenny's voice with a native speaker as we believe it is better to be exposed to native pronunciation over a second language speaker. We hope you will find the new Kenny's pronunciation more accurate and much more useful in the long run!

However, if any of you prefer the original narrator, and want the old files, please get in touch with us on "[email protected]" and we can provide you with a download link.

As a side note, the new Kenny is 100% native Japanese :) 

I hope that helps!


To be honest I am very glad to see the Kenny voice go and the name squire removed. Makes things so much easier. Though it does make for a laugh having the character originate from England!

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