At what lvl could you start reading

i’m really eager to start reading without having to really so rely heavily on a dictionary at what level did did you start to realize don’t need to a dictionary too much. I really just want to read subtitles, manga games etc. thanks!


Seriously, just try, provided that you know some grammar.

Perhaps Graded Reader Lv.0, or NHK Easy News. What have you tried, and impression?

Otherwise, it isn’t that bad to look up a lot of vocabularies - just let your curiosity guide you.


The main hurdle for reading will be learning basic grammar (you don’t need to understand it deeply, just have a vague notion at first). It’s also worth knowing a lot of common vocabulary, so you feel like you’re almost able to keep your head above the water when you start reading.

In the beginning, you probably won’t be reading so much as deciphering. It won’t feel like reading until you’ve made your way through enough native material.

Alongside the options @polv mentioned, if you wanted to try to jump into manga and see how it goes, I recommend looking into the Absolute Beginner Book Club. Whether it’s joining the next upcoming club, or reading something the club previously read, you get discussion threads with questions and answers that can help you understand the grammar and vocabulary lists to ease looking up unknown words.


I use hello talk but a lot of times the translations aren’t accurate, i’ve also been playing pokémon and just looking up every word I don’t know

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If by “level” you mean WaniKani level then never. WaniKani alone doesn’t provide nearly enough vocab to let you read without a dictionary or anywhere close to reading without a dictionary. If by “level” you mean in general then there’s no specific point. You just need to read and read and acquire as much kanji and vocab knowledge as possible. There isn’t some magic point where you can suddenly read without a dictionary. It’s a gradual process that gets better over time.


I would say it correlates less with WaniKani level and more with how much vocab you learn outside of WaniKani. Manga and games can also vary in difficulty so specific titles would be more telling :slight_smile: .

To put it into perspective, I dropped WaniKani at level 42, but continued learning vocab through Anki. Currently my vocab deck features 9.6+k words. I can read Bakuman without issues, but in SpyxFamily I often come across words I don’t know.

That being said, I think “learning by doing” makes a lot of sense so as long as you are able to read kana well enough, a reading resource with kanji + furigana will help a lot. It’s going to be tough for a long while, but eventually you’ll get there :slight_smile: .


yeah I was referring to level on WK but i was assuming it was a gradual process still just wondering when people felt they had enough kanji and vocab to not be bogged down by constantly going back and forth to the dictionary to read a paragraph

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I do WK along with other vocab flash cards and reading. I still don’t have enough vocabulary to read most things without having to constantly look things up. Just to give you some point of reference. I’d say you should just start reading now if you already know some grammar.

I struggled to read the manga ご注文はうさぎですか when I was between levels 40 and 55 on WaniKani (I read the first two volumes over several months, so I don’t know my exact level at each point). I was constantly looking up words, and while I was able to read them it was somewhat painful. In between the second and third volumes I took a break, where I finished WaniKani and read 16 volumes of other manga and 2 books, at which point it felt much easier to read ご注文はうさぎですか. How much of that could be attributed to finishing WaniKani versus having more experience reading? It’s hard to say, but I’d be inclined to say most of it was from the reading practice.


I still make effort to read just wondering how far wk can carry you lol, but that’s nice are you able send a link to your anki deck? and how did you get those vocab words to stick if you didn’t already know the kanji or a mnemonic?

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It does promise to teach you like 6k words so it will get you somewhere, but:

  • very few kana-mostly words
  • so-so coverage of common words (I guess? I managed to get only to level 42)

I can, but I don’t even know how :joy:
I never actually used a deck from somewhere, constructed my own from scratch and kept going.

I don’t think mnemonics are particularly useful, unless they’re somehow meaningful to you. I get around this by grabbing words with a specific kanji in different positions (first/last character) or a different reading (on/kun’yomi). For some of course that’s a little more difficult if they appear in like 1-2 words, but that’s fine, I probably won’t see these words too often anyway.

I used to do 10k, as well as iKnow, before in the past; and WaniKani level that made reading easier without Furigana was around 30-40, I think.

Still, I relatively recently complain that there are too many vocabularies in Japanese. - Well, only some are of immediate importance…

I would rather say that best vocabulary sources for your reading would be

  1. Your textbooks, as well as grammar sources, like Tae Kim.
  2. Collecting vocabularies along the way, and properly looking up. Vocabularies that I learnt in the past few months come back a lot.

About immersion (Pokemon game), it is hard to pinpoint where to start, and how many understanding / grammar to know, before starting; but it is also eventually important that you would want to understand well.

  • To balance the risk of poor understanding and never improving, I study some other native materials concurrently.
  • Listening is also important to reading correctly without Furigana, even if listening is half-assed, like for myself. Some topics textbooks well help, like 八(), while some others will just miss. (afaik, native Furigana texts don’t Furigana numbers; also if there is an alternative Furigana or emphasis dots, the original reading is dropped.)

My current way of Anki (+ WaniKani API) is here. Nonetheless, I only really do Definition => JP.

Create my own mnemonic, or repeatedly create a new one if it doesn’t work. About the Kanji, making a mnemonic based on wrong Kanji (or wrong vocabulary components), false etymology or not, works too.

A lot of example sentences and context may help; but not always, nor immediately help.

i wound say at any time depending on the source material, for example Satori Reader. It has beginner lvl reading to get you started with short stories and you can actually connect your wanikani to your satori reader so that the kanji you learned will appear while the ones you didnt will appear in hiragana. You can even use the site to make flash cards to make it even more useful.

chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru … BRUH!



There are tons of reading clubs on here with tons of different levels, give it a search… I’m sure someone can guide you to a few where you read it and chit chat back and forth with others… you can go as full otaku as you want…

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