A (potentially) stupid question regarding reading Harry Potter in Japanese vs WaniKani level

Hi, guys!

I’m relatively new (as you can probably tell from my level), but I’ve been learning Japanese for around one year. My kanji knowledge is probably 200 more than my level on WaniKani, but not much more.

I’m interested in reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at some time in the future in Japanese, ideally just a page or so per day, to practice reading. I can do this now with a dictionary, which is incredibly tedious.

What level would you need to reach in WaniKani to read Harry Potter at a fairly comfortable pace?


I would say a fairly high level, but it’s kind of hard without the book in front of me. Generally speaking you don’t want to be looking up more than a few characters per page, because you’ll likely also have to be looking up words that you don’t know even if you know the characters. Without the book in front of me, it would be hard to say, but the high 40’s and above seem like plausible ranges to start thinking about it.


For reference


It does seem to have a fairly generous amount of furigana, so that lessens the burden on your Wikipedia level, but I still think that looking up more than maybe… 15 words on a single page can’t really be thought of as a “comfortable” pace. It’s not that it’s not worth doing, it’ll probably just take you an hour to do a single page if you want to actually understand the words properly at totals higher than that.


damn, do I have to get level 60 on wikipedia too?




You can try to learn some of the vocabulary ahead of time if you want by using Floflo.



Great resource I didn’t know about! Thanks!

1 Like

Thanks for the recommendation!

Agree with the above.
I tried to read a book 「日本史の英雄」(the heroes of Japanese history), but ended up having to look up about 10-15 words per page. Just kills your motivation and is indeed very tedious.
Reading another book about business now. Much easier with 2-3 new words per page. I think that is a good sweet spot :slight_smile: Good luck!


It’s not just the words, but it’s the grammar as well. You need to know enough grammar not to get frustrated after every sentence.

1 Like

I like reading foreign language books together with the English text. I take turns reading the Japanese text and where I don’t understand, I read the English. Sometimes if I’m tired of looking up words or figuring out the grammar I read a few pages in English only. For me this is a comfortable way of learning/reading.

1 Like

Another question to ask yourself is how well do you know Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone?

I started reading HP when it was still WAAAY beyond my level. (I’ll still land on pages that are a struggle for me at level 35 because a lot of the vocabulary that comes up is simply not relevant to everyday life.) However, because I have read the first few Harry Potter books well over a dozen times, even when I encounter tough sections, I’m never completely lost.

Having a book semi-memorized can help compensate for gaps in grammar and help you be okay with skipping over words and even sentences you don’t quite get because you still know what’s going on.

But if you don’t know the book as well as that, I would say wait until you get into the 30s before giving it shot. It will be too tedious otherwise, and a lot of kanji/vocabulary you will learn isn’t the most useful.


This is also my reasoning.

It’s still beyond my level - given how much I had to look up in just the first paragraph of the Japanese HP1, but it’s something that I’m working towards.

I don’t expect to read the book for reading’s sake, but to expose me to more grammar usage. I have the Japanese version, the English version, and the Japanese audio book. I’ve read the original HP so often, and listened to it a lot in audio book form that I know everything that happens at every turn of the story.

If you’re going to expose yourself to reading that is still above your level so as to get better at things, might as well be something that you enjoy. :slight_smile: It will be very difficult for me, but it’s a project I really look forward to, tackling HP1 in Japanese. ^^


Just found this topic.
I tried to read HP in Japanese a few years ago and gave up after a few sentences. Just recently I gave it another try. I’m learning Japanese for over 5 years now and after many breaks I’m into wanikani again. I learnt the kanji for fence at level 43 a few days ago when I just read it in the book. :smiley:
I’m reading it in Japanese and German (my mother tongue) simultaneously and I have to say I’m finally content with my Japanese reading pace. But sometimes there are grammar points I would like to discuss with a Japanese. I’m thinking of searching for a language learning partner who likes HP as much as I do and read the books with. :slight_smile:


You could ask people on one of the book club thread, or even recommend the book itself :slight_smile:


I think, HP is too long for the book club. There reading shorter stories, don’t they?

You can read Harry Potter at any time, for certain definitions of the word “reading”.

As others have mentioned, aside from your WK level, you’ll need to learn a lot of vocabulary using those same kanji that is not taught in WK, some kana only vocabulary, some grammar, and some idioms and so on. Before doing that, your reading will feel more like archaeology. Which can be fun and instructive, but seldom feels like what most people think about when they use the word “reading”.

I’d recommend reading a bunch of other stuff first, so it will be more enjoyable and flow more smoothly. I’d especially recommend Native Japanese stuff. I’ve really been enjoying the 5分後に意外な結末 series recommended by Wani Kani super-user Leebo. They are nice, short and digestible stories from around 4-15 pages each and contain a decent variety of themes and styles. I’m no expert, but they seems to be that they are right around the easiest level or “real” Japanese (meaning that they are not written for students of Japanese or for young children).

I’m starting to think the best way to learn Japanese, or at least written Japanese, is to study kanji, vocabulary, and grammar until you get to the level of being able to read at the level of the5分後に意外な結末 series and then spend most of your time actually reading and looking up grammar and vocabulary as you discover it and adding to a SRS deck. Of course, by the time you get to this point, you’ll likely be at level 40+ in Wani Kani.


There’s the 10分で読める伝記 series with which I started. This is aimed at kids going from 1st year up until 6th grade.

The series you mentioned it’s aimed at kids going to elementary school starting at 4-6th grade according to the publisher webpage.

So you could start before, and still avoid all the fauna - folklore tales that plague most of the readings aimed at japanese kids.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

1 Like

Yes. I was lucky enough to be able to read most of those by checking out of the Japanese language branch of my local library. (I live in SF, CA)

That shows what I know, and the results are not encouraging. :slight_smile: I thought the difficulty and subject matter was of a much higher level than the 10分で読める series and ざぜ?どうして?series with which I started.

1 Like