Beginner reading material that is *actually* for beginners?


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I too had trouble with yotsubato. I mean it was doable, but the lack of kanji definitely gave me a headache.

Have you looked into VNs? Some are actually pretty easy and the best part of VNs is the ability to hook it up to a text hooker and translation aggregator and itll parse the text for you and make it super easy to look up definitions of words (like im not exaggerating when I say it takes less than a second).

You also just posted your reply about graded readers which is a bit lower level, but I still figure ill make this post anyways. VNs may be a good next stop in your learning if you enjoy them. Its good that you understand everything, but as you said in your post, its actually a bit better imo if you have some stuff you need to look up while reading.

Here are some screenshots from watajuu, a relatively easy VN, to maybe help you gauge where this stuff is at relative to your level. Most VNs will have causal language, but its just one of those things you gotta learn sooner or later.


(a bit harder one but most of the words are WK words)


I’m in the situation of finding VNs independently enjoyable (I’ve been reading VN’s way before I started learning Japanese) so I end up just playing them in English, the logic being that if I read it in Japanese it’s not only 5 times as slow, it’s just much less enjoyable feelsbadman

One day in the future I’ll be able to read comfortable and be happy with my mountain of untranslated VNs

I feel ya there. That’s definitely true, but at the same time, every VN you finish in japanese is a step closer to being more and more comfortable reading them.

backing this, I’ve tried them and although it’s pricey, it’s really appropriate for beginners

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We also have a new super beginners reading club. We haven‘t decided what to read yet, so maybe you are interested to join us?


Just here to say that I’m also a member of the “they told me to read Yotsuba” club.
I picked it up last year and I was overall disappointed (maybe it even contributed to my temporary break and eventual reset…)
However I’ve heard that the second volume is supposedly easier to read? Not sure if that’s true, and anyway I’m not trying it again for a while.


I think it’s only easier because, by then, you are used to the language and speech patterns.

I only read Yotsubato after I got to a point where reading manga in general was already easy (so not beginner anymore), so I don’t have quite the same experience as other people, but I would still not recommend it to a beginner.


Come here! We are deciding in super easy books!

Second one is definitely easier to read.

Also, the first chapter of the first volumes is one of the hardest



If you understood everything, I’m not sure if that’s good either. In my opinion, one should be challenged in order to evolve their skills. I understand the frustration of not being able to understand something, but give it time and continue to be challenged. You’ll get better :wink:

Here’s a couple of recommended books I’m reading right now:

Japanese Sentence Patterns

Common Japanese Collocations

Hope this helps.
Happy studies :wink:


That’s great! I’m here waiting for that to happen to me too!

I also absolutely love this series. Each level has three volumes. I bought all three volumes for Level 0 at once on Amazon and have loved them. I’m looking forward to purchasing Level 1 next! Definitely very much recommend.


I’ve had the first collection of the Level 0 White Rabbit Press readers sitting on my bookshelf for like, a decade. I would pull them out randomly, and see that I didn’t know the vocab or couldn’t read the first two, and I’d put it back. It says you’re not supposed to look anything up. Well, after reading this thread and the beginner reading group thread I pulled it out and I just read every single one of them and oh my gosh. They are easy! They are funny! Why did I wait? So, thank you everybody :slight_smile:


Yay! Glad you’re experiencing success!!

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I bought Ikki ni Yomeru in that website. It’s been useful for me so far because of how the simple the stories are. It includes Sakura Momoko’s America Sarigani.

I have purchased all the levels, though I am only at level 2, and I agree that they are really good. The difficulty doesn’t increase to rapidly, but I always feel like I am constantly challenged to improve, which I love. The stories themselves are also really good. Some are funny, other quite informative about something quintessential Japanese. My favourite stories though are the Japanese folk tales.


I mean, Yotsubato was about the first thing I read, and I got a lot out of it, but I’m also of the opinion that slamming your head against something until that something breaks is a good way to learn a language, so.


I get the physical reading material when I’m in Japan.
I’ll check it out then.
Right now what I find most intriguing (and comforting as weird as it may sound) to read is A dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.