At level 16 you can read about 70% of the kanji in a wikipedia article, but

Ye i think it would be a lot of brute force. I do love Harry Potter though and know the books fairly well. I was hoping that knowledge would help me a bit. Thanks for your answer.

You could probably read Harry Potter in German even if you didn’t know German, but that is def not the case in Japanese. I’m still struggling with it, though lately I can finally get the gist of a random page and know what is going on.

There are Japanese audio books of Sherlock Holmes on youtube with reasonable vocab and grammar, I feel. Turn on captioning.

As long as your grammar is decent, it’s worth a try. Although the Harry Potter books seem “easy” to English speakers, the language is reasonably sophisticated. Take the first paragraph:

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

Two sentences, both with two or more clauses. Would you be able to translate those English sentences into two Japanese sentences? I couldn’t. Here’s the Japanese to give you a taste.


You’ll note that while the meaning is the same, the expressions are of course quite different.

Interestingly, if you google a bit, you’ll see that there are many blogs where Japanese are going in the opposite direction by trying to read the English version after presumedly being familiar with the Japanese text, and noting English expressions along the way. Here’s a decent starting point:

On the plus side, Here’s an English speaker who read the first book in Japanese and lived to blog about it (He says maybe with N3 it’s doable):


Also, there are apps for dual language Bibles which is great, too. I don’t know what percent of kanji I recognize at my level, but it is sizable.


I can’t even get through the bible in English! :neutral_face:

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Well now here’s your chance. :smiley: :wink:

A better idea is to read something written in kanji with the hiragana pronounciation on the top of the kanji letters. A lot of teenage manga, like Maken-Ki, do this.

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Can’t seem to be able to open your link, ill try later at my pc

love ur username, u should add ExcelsAtKanji at the end, just a suggestion

I read another thread someone saying it was until the 40’s when this person was able to finally read a manga decently, given that this person was able to finish an intermediate grammar level textbook. I’ts a long road, let’s keep at it, you’re doing great

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@EiriMatsu thank you so much for sharing your experience. I won’t give up, but yes, this was a test to see how im doing so far.

@Sezme u mean, he picked up a dictionary along with the book on a language he didn’t understood and somehow went up to the end of it? I am mindblown, i’d feel tortured.

@Madison-chan, thanks i’ll look it up

That’ll probably depend greatly on the manga. If you get the fundamental grammar down you’re likely to be able to get through よつばと quite a bit earlier for instance.

One thing I’d recommend is to have a list of things you want to read eventually, and then check in on them once in a while (using the “look inside” feature on amazon, or finding 立ち読み samples on various other sites). Reading the first few pages is likely to give you a decent enough sense of whether or not you’ll be able to get through the rest, I think.

I think it’s pretty cool how something you didn’t understand can suddenly have become legible a month or so later, so it pays to check in somewhat often when you’re looking for your first native reading material.


Just from remembering every time I’ve been having to look up new words, that’s probably accurate. I’d say that about 80-90% of the vocab I’ve had to look up throughout all my reading practice has had kanji that WaniKani taught by level 40. It’s a bit frustrating when you want to dive into reading but there’s nothing I can do except keep going forward. Hopefully I can improve my grammar even more and maybe even my listening ability by then.


Yes, that’s what he did. He was a serious student. This was a guy I met 30 years ago who then went on to study Japanese and I think married a Japanese woman and moved there.

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As a follow up, even after hitting 60 it’s pretty usual to find a phrase that you just don’t understand.

But oh it’s a world of difference from back then. And that’s beautiful :')


D-Did you reset? :o

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No change passed level 31 either.


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I keep saying: You’re no longer functionally illiterate by the time you’re in the 30s on Wanikani. It doesn’t mean you can read like a native or that there won’t be unknown kanji. It just means that kanji will no longer be your biggest hurdle in reading.

Which is rad.

I’m pretty sure this wasn’t your intent, but I just want to point out that this isn’t a fair test for someone’s own understanding. I couldn’t write the Japanese translation there–because I wouldn’t be sure what all the natural equivalents would be–but I could definitely translate the meaning back.

I just don’t want people to be scared off from native material because they couldn’t write it themselves, or to feel like that’s the level you need to be at. You’ll be surprised at what you can read with some patience, and the only way to make reading any easier is to just wade in. Try things that are (a little) too hard for you until they don’t feel too hard anymore.


If you have the cash laying around, and enjoy video games. I’d suggest getting a nintendo switch, put it to japanese and leave it there. Start with games more oriented towards kids like pokeman, or just go for something slightly more difficult, accepting that you’'ll have to look up kanji and/or grammar every other sentence, which is what I chose to do, because let’s go pikachu isn’t a real pokeman game…

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From what I understand, all Pokemon games from X/Y onward have the ability to be switched over to Japanese even in the English versions. The games are intended for kids, so they may be good for people who want something a bit more simple to try and read.

That being said, if you try to play the really early games in the series, it will actually be harder because old Japanese games are often written entirely in kana alone due to graphical/space limitations of the time.


You are correct about the recent Pokemon games being playable in Japanese on an English cart/3DS. That being said, you can only choose your language once. If you decide you’re simply not ready for it, there’s no going back.

The Nintendo Switch is a surprisingly good investment for Japanese practice because all Japanese-origin games come with Japanese support built in, and you can switch between languages by changing your system language. So, you can try a majority of the games you buy as study tools, and switch back to English on a game by game basis if one is too advanced for you.