A good reader device to read japanese stuff?

Hello there,

I used the search function but every post is about “graded readers” so I didn’t find any post about the actual device (kobo, kindle, etc).

I thought here would be the perfect place to ask about what reader device is handy for japanese novels and manga. Basically I’m looking for a reader than can read most formats, but also integrate JP dictionnaries so I can instantly look up japanese words (ala Todai news app). An OCR feature would also be great for lookin up words from manga but I don’t know if any reader has that. Also, I’m not too fond of brands that force you to use their format (hello amazon).

Any recommendations ?
TY <3


I ended up just going with kindle. It was easy enough to find, buy and read any book I wanted to read. I could also read it on my phone and laptop so it was pretty convenient. It’s simple enough just to select a word you don’t know and quickly look it up. The only downside is sometimes the Japanese dictionary gives a weird reading for a word. Also while kindle has access to a lot of manga and textbooks it can’t really help out with reading them because they’re images so no text actually exists to search for. I ended up just using kindle because it was convenient. I’m interested in what everybody else suggests though.

A reader with jisho.org, ichi.moe, and DeepL integration would be awesome.

Yes, I know I effectively just described my laptop. But a kindle like device with native workflows designed by great UX people would a pretty cool.


Yeah, I use radical search on jisho.org, and if that fails, I use the scan function of Google Translate just to get the kanji pronunciation so I can then go back and look it up in jisho.org. A feature where you could snip a portion of an image, feed it straight to google translate, and get back the kanji with furigana would be really awesome. Holding my phone to my monitor is kinda cumbersome.

I do with jisho.org’s radical search feature would allow you to filter on which side of the kanji the radical appears. I can almost always find one pretty easily, it’s the second that often eludes me.

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I usually end up using my phone’s dictionary to draw out a kanji when reading a manga or a textbook. It’s pretty efficient as long as you’re reasonably good at writing with your finger.


I have no problems with the stock Books app on iPad. There are multiple dictionary lookups available with the built-in dictionaries, both JP-JP and JP-ENG. Just a tap and hold away. Text is also easy to copy to a different dictionary/app. Mostly I throw epubs at it. Easy syncing with my phone is a plus, if you are in the Apple ecosystem. Bookwalker is my backup plan, but the app is pretty sucky.

For manga, Chunky is an amazing free app.

Only thing I would have changed is to get the iPad mini instead, so it would be easier to hold.

Kindle + Amazon JP account is really great. Just be sure to preview samples of the books to make sure the text is selectable and not rasterized. The built in dictionaries are handy, but it must be actual text and not a scan.


lol. I am so horrible at that. I couldn’t draw 一 to save my life.

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I have the kindle and use if for reading Japanese, but still prefer analog books most of the time. The nice thing about the kindle is that you can carry a bunch of books with you at all times. Great for travel, etc.

One of the big reasons I thought the kindle would be great for reading Japanese is because of the integrated dictionaries, but in practice it just doesn’t usually work out for me. The highlighting on the kindle is sort of annoying, and it frustrates me and breaks down the flow of my reading more than if I were to just look it up on my iPhone using jisho or imiwa. I really like those two dictionaries because jisho has the show colocations and the show all words containing such and such a kanji features, and imiwa has the SKIP method for looking up kanji. Besides, I actually want looking up words in the dictionary to take a little time and require me to know a least one of the pronunciations or the kanji used in the word I am looking up. If I can just click and get the definition I feel like it makes me lazy and I don’t retain anything.

So for me, unless I am traveling, I got with analog books and an iPhone dictionary. If I am traveling, I also add a kindle to the mix but only so I can take a bunch of books without adding weight.


+1 for the Kindle.

The Kindle Oasis works really well for Manga.
But the main reason why I choose the Kindle, is the integrated dictionary it’s pretty good.

Thanks for the many answers, sadly everyone is mentioning either Kindle (which is restrictive format wise) or smartphones, and those really aren’t what I’m looking for. I already have a phone, it’s too small and doesn’t have E-ink technology which makes readers so good.
Maybe i’m overly distrustful towards Kindles but the last time I used a kindle reading app, I found it to be a nightmare. Also I really don’t want to support amazon business plan :frowning:
Has anyone tried other brands like boox, likebook or kobo ? pretty sure some of those have integrated dictionaries

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Hi! Sorry if this isn’t what you’re looking for, but I use the chrome extension rikaikun which, when turned ON, lets you hover over words and it will pull up the kanji readings and dictionary definitions of that word in Japanese. It only works for typed words, not pictures of words.

Also a storybook site with pronunciations and definitions is Satori Reader.

Again, sorry if its not what you’re looking for, but these two tools help me practice reading Japanese, and my favorite part is it gives me access to reading real-world speech, like Japanese twitter!

Good luck finding what works best for you!

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Hello, thanks for chiming in but this is not what I’m looking for at all. I use the yomichan extension on my computer, and Satori is, well, a website/app. I’m just looking for a good and unrestrictive reader device for both english and japanese reading. :slight_smile:

When I first got the Kindle, I thought it was broken because of the absurdly clunky and slow screen (un)responsiveness. Things got a lot better when I bought one of those $11 multi-tip stylus pens. The clear disc tip one is absolutely perfect for highlighting on the Kindle, and it’s about 200x more usable now.

I’ve got a Kindle Paperwhite and it works pretty good while being relatively inexpensive.

My one gripe is that the dictionary lookup on the device itself is great but the IOS app sucks. On the device, it will match inflections but not on the app. So the device is actually superior to the app in that case.

My recommendation, as someone with a Kindle Oasis?

Find a really good Android based e-ink tablet. Something like the Boox Nova 2 or the Poke 3. Nova if you want to annotate or take notes, Poke if you just want to read.

Why Android based instead of a Kindle? Simple: CONTENT IS KING.

Any Android based device should be configured to use Google Play. With Google Play, you get the absolute best of ALL e-reading worlds…

You can get Kindle content. You can get Book Walker content. They will read PDFs. Pretty much anything you want to read would be available to you on one of these.

Just make sure, if you go with something other than a Boox device, to verify it works with Google Play and ensure it is at least Android 8 to ensure it will work with Google Play for a long time to come.

And if you want Manga, and can afford it, get a 10" Android tablet. They go for a crazy price but with a 10" screen you don’t have to zoom in and out - your Manga will be legible on every page turn.


How is the dictionary and vocab tracking functionality on these?

I made an impassioned defense for Kobo in this post.

Tldr: My recommendation is a Kobo with koreader installed.

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Kobo Forma is an amazing device, so speedy with manga and plenty of dictionary options.

Kindle app works just like the Kindle app on your phone, etc so you can easily add dictionaries.

Book Walker also uses the app your have in your phone and has the ability to translate, etc just as it does normally.

There are plenty of Japanese dictionary options in Google Play and you can always use JISHO via the web.

You can also install the Anki app as well if you want.