A list of recommended books from the Japan Foundation

If any of you are looking for high-quality authentic Japanese reading material to add to your collection, I just found a few lists of books that have been designated as Worth Sharing by the Japan Foundation. The website says that these books are ones that they recommend should be translated into other languages. Even though they are not being marketed as learning material, the recommendation means that they should be good reads and teach you a lot, especially about Japanese culture.

The Japan Foundation has several groupings of books, but the one that caught my eye was Lifelong Favorites - Selections from the Bookshelves of Young Readers in Japan. This is a list of 59 highly recommended children’s books. They are tagged as Folktales, Long Time Sellers (1970-2000), and 21st Century Classics. They are also tagged with the appropriate age group, from 5-Up to 12-Up. So that might be able to help you pick something at your level, at least with regards to kanji.

They have 5 additional groups of books:

  1. Shedding light on Japan’s youth
  2. Exploring Japan’s diverse regions
  3. Illuminating love in Japan
  4. New ways of living in Japan
  5. Imagining Japan’s tomorrow

So… they have lots of interesting books to recommend to you. They aren’t free of course, but they might give you some ideas for things to look for to buy as you learn Japanese.


Good to see at least one book in there that I have read thanks to a WK reading group!


If for reading in Japanese, Japanese titles can be found in Japanese version of the website. (Actually, just delete /en from the above URL’s.); and copy the titles to Bookwalker (where I can find those recommended books so far).

Some of them are also in https://audiobook.jp (where there is also an Android app, even in my region).

Thanks for the recommendation. I will probably read some of them (but all categories) with or without clubs. Book clubs might make me read earlier, though.


That’s a fantastic list, thanks for sharing! I’ve added a bunch of them to my wishlist.

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