At what level did you move from NHK Easy -> NHK (not easy)

Hi there - I’m at level 30 now and finding it way easier to read NHK Easy (which I’ve wanted to do for years - thanks WK!). Curious for those at higher levels, at what point did you find you could move to NHK (not easy)? Is this even achievable at level 60? Thanks!


Sounds like the right time is now for you


The sentences are really long and they have HUGE Kanji compounds in every sentence. I feel like I absuse Yomichan way too much on regular NHK…


i think you probably just take it a bit at a time, like any reading. if you find NHK Easy is… too easy… then you should just jump over and try reading the article it’s simplifying, maybe mine a few words out of it that you don’t recognise, and call it a day. At least that’s my plan.


It’s easy to dip your toes in and find out what parts of a regular news article are tricky for you. Every “easy” news article has a link at the bottom to the “normal” version of the same story. So you can start with an easy version article that you understood and found interesting, and try the hard version. Knowing in advance what the article basically says should help with figuring out the text, and it’s fine to lean on easy lookup tools like Yomichan to start with. You’ll probably find you have some difficulties not just with kanji but also with vocab and grammar, which should give you an idea of what parts you need to work on.

I dunno about WK levels (which tell you very little about overall Japanese ability), but in JLPT terms I think “heading towards N2” should be able to tackle newspaper articles.

PS: news articles are definitely trickier than other longer form kinds of reading, because the topics are all over the map: reading one doesn’t give you much vocab that will help with the next. A light novel or something similarly long on a single topic starts hard but gets easier because the topics being written about repeat and the same words and turns of phrase come up multiple times.


That’s true, but I think in the same vein if you read the same types of articles you’ll begin picking up similar vocabulary. At the NHK Easy level I had a lot of coronavirus terminology coming up a few years back, and then government ministries, space tech etc the more articles of those I read.

I should probably get back into reading it regularly just to keep some of those mind aforefront…


I am exploring the normal news using the above strategy and I agree, it’s great. The challenge for me is that news vocabulary and news formulations are pretty specific, and I only see them… in the news. By which I mean, if I read it regularly, it gets easier and easier, if I take a break and go back, it feels more challenging until I get used to it again. So if reading the news in Japanese is a specific goal, you should probably start now and be consistent.

Like Jintor says, know when to call it a day, it’s not like you have to finish every article you start. Mostly I just read the headline and the first sentence after the easy article. Some days I get further, some days I don’t. It’s all good practice.

Already knowing the easy article content makes the normal headline way easier to parse, which even in your native language can be a pain right? I guess you know this already but for anyone totally new to the normal articles, the headline is the hardest part of the whole article to comprehend. So although attempting to understand it is good practice, it’s worth knowing not to let it put you off in the beginning.

And if you want something more narrative but on this vein, these are really cool articles


I am still in the easy, couldn’t find an intermediary, the normal NHK is still too hard for me. :rofl:

Heck, even in my native language I prefer this nhk easy style, short paragraphs to get the general ideia.

Still looking for another news source.


I think of it less as an abrupt transition and more of a diffusion process… Frequent small forays into more difficult material with frequent trips back to easier material. That being said I’m not a big news reader, so I’ve never regularly read NHK easy or normal.


I really struggle with NHK-not-easy but I don’t think it’s really a kanji issue per se, it’s more about vocab and the more complex and dense syntax.

For instance here’s the first headline I read when I browse not-easy NHK:

ダイハツ 基準適合確認の2車種 来月中旬の生産再開方向で検討

I know every single kanji here, and they’re all fairly common I think (I expect most of them are below WK level 30) but it takes a lot of effort for me to parse this without just using yomichan over every other word. For instance I don’t know what 適合 means even though I know both kanji well, and in turn it makes the cluster 基準適合確認 quite terrifying to look at even though upon closer inspection I know 基準 and 確認.

I should also add that one factor is that I read quite a lot of Japanese these days but it’s mostly videogames and manga, and therefore a very different style. Those big kanji cluster like in the above sentence are relatively rare in “shounen” media for instance.


I’ll second that general time-frame. I was struggling pretty hard when trying to read newspapers, but it was when I started studying in earnest for N2 that they started to really click for me, especially in the grammar dept. (Reading an article or two every day for a month also helped, specific practice makes you better at specific things! who woulda thought :laughing: )

Definitely also noticed this! If you read articles regularly, especially following similar topics in a news cycle, you’ll see the same events and people and organizations being talked about enough that you will start to recognize them.


Yeah, headlines are doubly awkward (the Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar even has a bit in the front that tries to explain some of the rules of headline-ese). In this case there’s also a sort of assumption that the reader is already vaguely familiar with an ongoing story that’s been running for a month.

I would tend to skim over this as “story about Daihatsu car manufacture” and assume the story itself will tell me more comprehensibly what it’s about if I’m interested enough to read it. And indeed the first sentence is


which at least splits up most of those kanji pileups and gives a touch more background. It’s still got a lot of higher level vocab in it though.

I didn’t know 適合 either; just added it to my jpdb deck.


As an experienced headline writer in English, you sort of don’t notice but headline writing has it’s own words and conventions and in Japanese especially the character overload can be tough


You don’t need level 60 to read regular news articles. Level around 40 is fine. The problem is vocabulary and long strings of kanji more so.


I get very happy when I see a cluster of kanji and I can read everything, like this big one on the right, indication for the evacuation point for tsunami :blush:


Maybe one day I will be able to read smoothly the same vocab you pointed out that you couldn’t read, same for me, I would have to use yomitan.