Happiness Volume 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

Welcome to volume 1 of the Happiness Book Club!

We read volume 1 of this manga as part of the Absolute Beginner Book Club, between March 5th and May 6th 2022.

To read more volumes, check out the Happiness Reading Club, kindly set up by @msbrown, where they are planning to complete the series.

Links to digital sites for purchase/preview. From time to time volumes 1-3 have been offered for free on several of these sites:

Digital: BOOK☆WALKER | BookLive! | ebookjapan | Kindle


Makoto Okazaki is your run of the mill high-schooler, a perfect bullying target. One night, on his way to return a DVD to a friend, he notices a person on a nearby rooftop. The person lunges at him and bites his neck, drinking his blood. The attacker, a beautiful girl, then asks him: “Do you want to die or become like me?” He decides to live…

Who should join

We’re reading this as the Absolute Beginner Book Club. This book club aims to help readers who are new to native Japanese content successfully read their first book. It will be helpful if you have completed the first volume of a beginner Japanese textbook such as Genki 1 or Japanese for Busy People. That’s around the standard required to sit JLPT N5.

If you’re not at that level yet but interested in reading along you are still very welcome to join. You might need to look up more vocab and grammar, but we try to help each other by compiling a shared vocab list and answering each other’s questions. This is probably one of the most approachable books we’ve read in the Absolute Beginner Book Club in terms of difficulty.

How it works

We create a reading schedule, with a set number of pages to work through each week. Each week we create a new discussion thread for that week’s reading. In those threads we discuss everything from vocab and grammar to the characters and story. We try to help each other by contributing to the shared vocab list, by answering each other’s questions and by keeping each other motivated.

What to expect from this book

You can read the @eieio’s original nomination post here, which includes some sample pages.

It’s quite a visually driven story so there are sections where there is no dialog for several pages. Most of the dialog is casual Japanese spoken between friends. If it’s your first manga this will introduce you to a lot of common casual contractions of speech. These may be tricky at first but you’ll soon get used to these with the help of the group.

Virtually all the kanji have furigana, so you don’t need to be at a specific Wanikani level to enjoy reading. You’re going to get some practice in reading katakana words, in fact you’re going to be hit by loads of them in the first couple of pages!

If this book were a movie it would probably be a PG-13. As you’ve probably guessed from the cover it’s going to be a bit gory at times (yes, that’s blood around her mouth not lipstick…)! There are also some sexual references including looking up a girl’s skirt and out of shot masturbation.

How do I join in?

  1. Get yourself a copy of the book (see “buying the book” below)

  2. Click on the participation poll below to let us know you’re planning to join in

  3. Set this thread to “watching” so you get updates on the group (go just past the last post in this thread, click on the grey box that says “normal” or “tracking” and change this to “watching”)

Schedule & Discussion Thread Links

Links will be added below for each week’s discussion thread.

Week Starting Chapter Pages to read Dialogue pages
Week 1 Mar 5 Chap 1 - part 1 3 -19 7
Week 2 Mar 12 Chap 1 - part 2 20-42 7
Week 3 Mar 19 Chap 2 - part 1 43-58 7
Week 4 Mar 26 Chap 2 - part 2 59-86 11
Week 5 Apr 2 Chap 3 - part 1 87-111 9
Week 6 Apr 9 Chap 3 - part 2 112-128 6
Week 7 Apr 16 Chap 4 - part 1 129-140 6
Week 8 Apr 23 Chap 4 - part 2 141-158 9
Week 9 Apr 30 Chap 5 159-189 11
Page numbers for ebook readers

The page numbers quoted by ebook readers often don’t match the print version of the book. This is usually because they count the front cover and inside front cover as pages 1 and 2.

We’ll be using the original page numbering from the print version. These will be found on the bottom corner of some (but not all) pages in the digital version.

Often subtracting 2 from the “ebook reader page” will give the equivalent “print version page” but you’ll need to check your edition.

Vocabulary Sheet

Building the vocab spreadsheet for the book is a joint project and everyone is welcome to contribute. Please read the instructions on the first page if you are doing this for the first time.

Buying the Book

Physical: Not so easy to get hold of a physical copy. Second hand copies available from: Manga Republic | Amazon

Digital: BOOK☆WALKER | BookLive! | ebookjapan | Kindle

If you’re new to buying Japanese digital books then Book Walker is a relatively straightforward option that is popular among forum users. Purchases can be read on a tablet or computer. Here’s a brief guide to getting started on Book Walker.

If you want to buy on Kindle be aware that you’ll need to register your device specifically with the Japanese store. Here’s a guide to using ebooks from Amazon.

Participation poll

  • I’m planning to take part in this book club
  • I’m not sure yet
  • Not for me but enjoy reading!

0 voters

If you’ve read it before but will join in the discussion, please select ‘yes’!


I thought it was time we got a home thread up for this one! I’ve put a start date for March 5th, based on the current planned finish date for Mitsuboshi Colours, with the usual one week break between books.


It’s currently in stock at manga-republic, if anyone really wants a physical copy:


Thanks - I’ve added that to the opening post


Noice!!! My suggestion failed until it won!!!


Help - manga-republic refunded my money, saying it won’t ship to Canada due to covid. I checked amazon jp website and the cheapest price for the book with shipping is around $50.

Anyone knows where I can buy the physical copy for a decent price?

Thanks in advance!


Maybe someone else knows of another option, but if Manga-republic don’t work, I think you’re gonna have to go digital, unless you’re willing to pay unreasonable amounts for it on amazon.


Can’t wait for the beginning! I hope I’ll have managed to finish Genki I by March to have a decent grammar lvl. Just bought a paper book on Manga-republic, thankfully shipping to central Europe is available.
See you all in March! :hugs:


It looks like there are some copies available on ebay for around US $20 after shipping: happiness manga in Single Volumes: Search Result | eBay


I’m looking forward to this one !


The same thing happened to me (also in Canada).

I looked everywhere and it seems we’re out of luck…

Personally, I’ll wait for the restrictions to end. Here’s to hoping it’s before the start date!


Hmmm, interesting…

So I looked at @eieio’s original nomination post here.

It seems the character sizes are fairly small. Maybe the physical copy size is bigger?

Please share your thoughts, much thanks!

The pics were downloaded from a preview.
I think the actual version is bigger.

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I’ll have received my paper copy by the end of next week. I can let you know then.

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Ohh I’ve read this one before, really liked it (I remember I even made a thread asking a question about it lol)

I’m gonna try to join in so I can read it again

P.S: Gosho best girl


I’m hoping I am able to follow what’s happening by then. Still a newbie (emphasis on new). Working on Tae Kim, WK, and some Anki vocab, but haven’t really read anything yet. At this point even though I’m enjoying the process, I don’t understand much yet. We’ll see how I’m doing in March :slight_smile:


Started Wanikani a couple of weeks back, looking forward to joining in (if slowly at first!)


Leaving the comment, so I won’t miss the start. This book looks like a great pick for my first one. :hugs:


I want to give some insight into the mangaka of the manga HAPPINESS, Shūzō Oshimi, 押見 修造.

I read a few of his works, English version. Including The Flowers of Evil, Inside Mari, Happiness, and Blood on the Tracks.

I can say, I am quite a fan of his work, most of which are psychological thrillers.

On another note, can anyone confirm the size of the characters? Is it small, manageable, or whatnot?


I would have to check again to be sure, but I think they were easily readable, even the furigana part.