Fluent in speaking but still a beginner at Kanji, what can i read?

Hi everyone.

so as the title says, i’m very fluent in Japanese that japanese people think i’m japanese when they hear me on the phone. but unfortunately i cannot read kanji yet. i decided to start learning kanji seriously through wanikani but i believe it’s not enough practice.
i want to read more to practice my Kanji but i feel all material is either too easy and boring. or interesting but too hard for me to read yet (because i will need to translate all kanji that i come across)
right now i know around 150-200 kanjis but my grammar and vocab is very good.
can anyone recommend anything that i can read which will grab my interest and help me improve my kanji? i prefer if it doesn’t have too much furigana.

thanks!

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Join the book clubs. Specifically if your language skills are otherwise fine, beginner or intermediate could work well.

We are actually starting a new book this weekend with the Beginner Book Club

These would probably be hard enough to not be boring while also having not too many kanji.

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Great free resources:

https://drdru.github.io/twc.html

Not free, but also a great resource:

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thanks! i will check it

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Absolute Beginner Book Club, upcoming one or previous picks, could be a nice choice, since the general rule is to have Furigana (dunno if the policy has changed), and there are discussion threads for each book.

If you want to get ready to read without Furigana, Beginner Book Club or Intermediate, could be nice.

Sometimes book clubs have read-aloud, if you want to practice that way.

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If you’re OK with reading ebooks you might also want to look at sorting out a reading setup that makes it really easy and low friction to get the reading for a word (mouse hover-over, etc). Then you can go for reading material that holds your interest and isn’t too far below your overall Japanese level without it being too much of a pain to look up readings for the kanji you don’t know yet.

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I’m curious, wouldn’t reading with furigana would make you understand what you’re reading from the context? You don’t use Kanji to speak, so the question is where is the line when it comes to your speaking level to be able to understand if everything was written in kana. There should be some sweet spot for sure.
If there is a field you are familiar with the vocabulary of speaking wise, reading about it with kanji would be easier, perhaps.

You might want to reconsider. Having furigana for words you know but aren’t familiar with the kanji of will teach you the kanji meaning and reading, at least some of it, so you would actually benefit from it. There a chance you’ll need less hovering in order to translate, and if it’s a physical book, you won’t have to constantly look it up in a dictionary.
It’s possible to understand new kanji vocabulary you haven’t seen before when you have enough knowledge, but from what you are saying you’re not there yet, and not using furigana is a missed opportunity for connecting the the reading and meaning to the kanji itself, if you know them already.

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At that level of kanji and your desire to have low furigana and few lookups, you’re looking at Satori (will remove furigana based on wk level) or children’s books for third graders, and if you don’t find these interesting, then basically you have to go the route of manga or a book and doing a lot of lookups. Frequency lists will help you a lot there -

So I agree with others, join the next beginner book club, that manga that doesn’t have furigana but does have an analysis of the highest frequency kanji that will appear in that manga on the website: manga-kotoba.com (links are all on that book club thread Gorbit posted). Or if that doesn’t interest you there is the IBC or IMC clubs. Look for IMC picks that are on manga-kotoba or past IBC picks that are on jpdb.io to take advantage of learning the highest frequency kanji first, and having the ability to sort premade vocab lists by chronology to view while reading. It massively reduces lookup time.

The trick is consistency. You have a massive advantage being a fluent speaker, so perhaps the most helpful thing for you to know is that even if all those lookups feel painful at first you’ll get past that much sooner than you think. If it’s true for those of us who don’t already have the vocab knowledge, it must be doubly so for you.

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I’d say, start with getting over the fear of looking up Kanji you don’t know the reading. The fastest way over that is probably handwriting all of Kanji in RTK. Alternatively, learn Kangxi radicals and variants. Then, looking up in a smartphone dictionary can be done with handwriting. And indeed, another requirement is allowing yourself to use a dictionary more.

A slower way is to learn at least one of the readings of each Kanji, maybe via vocabularies, like what WaniKani is doing. But then WaniKani not only not having some Kanji, but also missing some useful Kanji readings. In the grand scheme of things, for most Kanji, at least one On’yomi is required to be known.

Learn phonetic-semantic compositions and the guess would be better. Wiktionary.org might be a useful inter-lingual resource.

Keep reading and continue to lookup, until you feel that you don’t have enough time to lookup, as well as you have a good enough guess. Even then, there will be many vocabularies that are good to know in advance.

For just prepping vocabularies, but perhaps not really directly Kanji, manga-kotoba, jpdb or koohi.cafe can be helpful.

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the problem is when there’s furigana i tend to ignore the kanji and i end up not learning any new kanji at all. usually when reading a book or a novel about a certain topic then the same kanji/vocabulary will keep coming up and i feel that will help me memorize it.

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I see. Well, you can check out Bookwalker to find books you like. The free samples are quite generous with their number of pages and it really helps to decide interest and ability wise.
Personally when it comes to dealing with reading material with kanji I’m not familiar with (I just realized the game I’m playing now has no furigana what so ever… haha), I try to balance it between just reading and moving along time and studying time where I deal with unfamiliar kanji and grammar points. At the end of the day it’s really all about the way you use the material you read. So if you know you ignore the kanji when there is text with furigana, writing it down on a peace of paper while reading for instance, and moving on, will make you stop and pay attention to the kanji. It about finding the best way to do what you need instead of what you want, which are sometimes (if not most of the times) not the same. Discipline is not the most glamorous part of learning but sometimes it’s the only way to get results, and results are fun but not immediate.
I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that gives you exactly what you need with all the great links people gave you here.

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There’s also plenty of manga where it’s expected for there to be furigana due to the magazine it’s in, but the intended audience is old enough to be able to read kanji. So a large number of the furigana will just give completely different words than the kanji for flavor/emphasis.

That quickly teaches you to still read the kanji when there’s furigana. Example, Blue Lock. It’s not in Shonen Jump, but I see it happen there quite frequently too. Once you’re used to that, you get used to just normally reading kanji (and the reading) side by side with works that don’t do this too.

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I must use this new cool loan word in border control when they ask me when I return to my home country :passport_control: :no_good_woman:

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Ahah, I hope this reading for 帰る is going to gain traction.

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If you are fluent, you could read most middle school aged stories since they have furigana. I might pick up 時を掛ける少女, and see how you feel. These types of books are in the children’s section of basically every Japanese book store, you can tell because they are all formatted the same and are color coded. Book Off even has a section life this. There’s even a novelization of the Demon Slayer Manga that would be fun. The Demon Slayer ones are with the orange.

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Only the つばさ文庫 edition of that (with the green border) has full furigana. The regular edition does not.

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Thank you! That’s the one I meant to recommend.

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thank you for your valuable advice! i can’t wait to level up my kanji more and more

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wait can you explain to me why is the furigana a different reading/meaning than the kanji? i’m a bit lost XD

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Sometimes furigana can be used as a sort of wordplay. Or a clarification for the reader. Basically, the character says one thing, but means another - the furigana is what they say, while the kanji is what they mean.

For example, the manga Aria is set on Mars in the reasonably-distant future, when Mars has been terraformed into a water-covered planet, and renamed Aqua. So whenever the planet is named in dialogue, it’s always written as 火星アクア - it tells the reader that what they’re saying is “Aqua”, but what they mean is “Mars”.

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