Here, Have a List of Aozora Books by WK Level

Yup, that too :laughing: This is fascinating though! …and makes me feel much more optimistic about how much Japanese I’ll actually be able to read when (if? no, when!) I hit level 60.

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Thank you for making this!!

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I’m happy that it’s helpful! Looking forward to next level when I can finally read 80% of my first book :relaxed:

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Sorry for the noob question but if I am reading that list correctly, I should be able to start reading some of the books on the list once I hit Level 10?

If that’s the case… only 6 more levels to go! :smiley:

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You can even start earlier than that :slight_smile: It’s just that you’d need to look up some more kanji (but that’s not too painful as you can copy-paste them into Jisho and look them up).

The bigger limitation is usually your level of Japanese grammar and general vocab knowledge, though.

But there’s nothing wrong with giving these books a try and see what you can get out of them!

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Here’s my thing with grammar. I’m able to understand a lot of spoken Japanese watching TV shows, Anime, etc so I think, as long as I can “hear” the words in my head, I can HOPEFULLY (fingers crossed) understand it without getting the grammar rules straight in my head. But I can’t do that until I know more Kanji unless it is all written in kana which… well I don’t know if that is useful for learning Kanji. :sweat_smile:

I think I will bookmark this list (already did) and see what I can do around level 8 in a couple weeks… or months maybe given my speed. :smiley:

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Wow, sounds like your level of understanding spoken language is pretty high!

I just had a look at the lowest-rated story from that list, かいじん二十めんそう, and it’s actually mostly in Kana, so even if you don’t know some of the kanji yet, they are pretty rare anyways in that text.

It’s pretty hard to tackle everything at once though… Learning to read text is probably still a bit different from listening to TV because it is written and not spoken language after all… And learning Kanji is yet another skill. I think there’s nothing wrong with somewhat separating those two at least in the beginning, but ymmv of course :slight_smile:

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A lot of these works also have furigana on some kanji (especially the tougher kanji), so if you’re pretty good with spoken Japanese you might actually be able to handle books that are marked as higher level!

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Hero! Thanks!

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:+1:

A lot of those you can also read on Yomi.ai with some extra helpful features, so feel free to include the Yomi.ai link to your list, too.

If you have an account with us and WaniKani, you can also sort all of our readings based on your burned kanji.

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Hey @kemily88 :slight_smile: I was just thinking of doing something similar to what you’ve done, except I was thinking to make it so you can paste a sentence / paragraph in and get the readability level according to the WK difficulty. BUT I’ve never done any string matching with japanese before, and I’m not a super great programmer (to put it mildly).

How long did this take you to do? Did you happen to share it on github by any chance?

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Hello! My code is indeed up on Github (GitHub - ekawaler/AozoraWK) if you’d like to play with it - it was pretty straightforward to put together!

I think if you do some editing in the get_level() function (replace bk_text = aozoracli.client.get_content(id=book_id).text with bk_text=[your sentence here], and change up what the function returns so it prints the max value from kanji_levels instead of returning a percentile), that should give you what you want. You’ll also want to edit the main function so that it just calls get_kanji() and then get_level() once, rather than going through the whole Aozora list.

Take a look and let me know if you have any questions!

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I think 云 and for sure 勿 are on WaniKani. 惡 is the old form of 悪, actually used in the manga Aku no Hana (written as 惡の華) for stylistic purposes. Jisho.com says that 華 is still in use in words like 華やか (showy, brilliant, flamboyant?).

Super big big thanks for putting this together! I was actually planning on picking up some books from Aozora Bunko to start reading and learning new vocab so this helps a TON!

I’ll have a look at your GitHub repo later to see whether I can help out a bit :slight_smile:

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I’m so glad you’ve found it useful! 云 and 勿 are on WK as radicals but not as standalone kanji - since WK radicals are not always given the same meanings as their kanji, I left those out. (You will definitely run into 華 later on in WK though!) Enjoy your Aozora reading :slight_smile:

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Ah, that explains it! Yes, I don’t mind 云 being “just” a radical, since it anyhow appears in several kanji.

Glad to hear I’ll see 華! :smiley: Thank you!

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is this list on OP updated for the new additions to WK levels? Can you also reorganize the list as well in excel?

I have found some of those books on archive org

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Good questions! You can definitely reorganize the list in Excel - just like with any other Excel file. Also, the list hasn’t been updated, but now that I have FINALLY defended that thesis (as of yesterday!) I will go back and re-run it, so there’ll be an update soon!

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Coming back here after a long long while to mention that the difficulty of books with low kanji frequency and/or difficult might actually be deceptive, because sometimes it takes a while to parse a kana-rich text :slight_smile: .

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Double-posting, because I just finished reading the first book from the list and thought it might be useful for some.


Book Title: 怪人二十面相 (The Fiend with Twenty Faces)
Author: 江戸川乱歩 (Edogawa Ranpo)
Difficulty: N4 grammar (sometimes a little into N3, but not much) + very basic, often kana-only vocab
Synopsis:
Detective novel, first of the Boys Detective Club series. It introduces us to Kobayashi, the chief of the detective club, a couple of other club members and the titular Fiend with Twenty Faces. The main story is about the theft of a precious painting collection.
Pros:

  • Good to give a rough idea how a book narrative looks like in Japanese
  • Overall, relative fun to read

Cons:

  • Horrible abuse of kana, making it almost unreadable at times
  • Halfway through the book even less kanji is used
  • Casually introduces elements specific to the Boys Detective Club, like their BD badge without explaining what these are for

Recommended?
No, sadly. As a first read it’s extremely tough and more frustrating than fun. It feels like the book would suit a native speaker better, one which will for sure be more familiar with the vocab used, even if they don’t know enough kanji at a young age yet.


Book Title: 眠い町 (Sleepy Town)
Author: 小川未明 (Ogawa Mimei)
Difficulty: N4+ grammar (lots of dated expressions and grammar structures)
Synopsis:
The story follows a boy called ケー (not his actual name) who likes traveling and eventually decides to go to the titular “sleepy town” to check out why whoever goes there inexplicably feels tired and falls asleep. What he finds there will shock both him and the readers :wink: .
Pros:

  • very good balance between kanji and kana
  • lots of new vocab items, especially verbs
  • pleasant writing style

Cons:

  • tons of dated expressions, terms and especially spelling
  • possibly not suitable as an early read due to the above

Recommended?
Actually, yes. The writing style is very descriptive and one feels like visiting the “sleepy town” themselves. Despite the dated language, the story is fairly easy to follow, enough to get the gist of it.

Covered by one of our fabulous book reading clubs: Week 3: 小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories


Book Title: 赤いカブトムシ (The Red Beetle)
Author: 江戸川乱歩 (Edogawa Ranpo)
Difficulty: N4+ grammar + some minor N3 points here and there
Synopsis:
A group of 3 teenage girls witness the appearance of a strange man clad entirely in black with a black goatee, looking like a bat. They follow him to an abandoned house in the woods where they witness a possible crime. Kobayashi Yoshio and Kimura Toshio go to investigate. What they find in the house will terrify them to the bone…

Another entry in the Boys Detective Club series.
Pros :

  • great plot - really feels like an adventure story
  • fairly modern vocabulary, including loads of verbs and onomatopoeia
  • better sentence structure than in 怪人二十面相 so it’s easier to decipher snakes of kana

Cons:

  • still way too much kana. Later in the book when descriptions with lots of particles kick in, that’s difficult to follow
  • probably not ideal if one wants to practice reading kanji

Recommended?
Actually, yes. If one has good kana recognition and some vocab under their belt, reading it isn’t really a chore and the plot is fun as hell.

Chapter 1 of the Red Beetle as audiobook: 【朗読】江戸川乱歩『赤いカブトムシ』第一回【青空文庫】 - YouTube


Book Title: 天空の魔人 (Monster in the Sky)
Author: 江戸川乱歩 (Edogawa Ranpo)
Difficulty: N3 + several N2 points (kanji around N4-N3 level)
Synopsis:
小林君, leader of the Boys Detective Club and two of the top club members, ノロちゃん and 井上君 go for a short trip to the 矢倉 hot springs (not an actual place) in 長野県. There they hear a strange rumor of a monster hand from the sky which cripples cattle and levels fields. A little doubtful at first, they’re intrigued as the crimes of the mysterious hand quickly escalate…

Another entry in the Boys Detective Club series.
Pros :

  • very good plot
  • fairly modern, well-balanced vocabulary
  • some N3 and N2 grammar in context
  • more kanji than in the later entries in this series
  • doesn’t require being familiar with the Boys Detective Club

Cons:

  • weird balance between kana and kanji. After big chunks of sentences with kanji there are suddenly a lot of sentences with almost only kana.

Recommended?
Very much so!


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wow, you were level 11 only 2 years ago :o