Learning Japanese!

Hey everyone,

I recently joined WaniKani as a lifetime member, because the deal seemed appetizing to me.
I’m wondering when I should start reading manga or other Japanese books, because I really want to use the language skills i have obtained here.
I’m naturally good at learning languages with a pretty solid memory, being fluent in Dutch and English and i’m already pretty good at German and Ancient Greek (this is more about myself, which is pretty irrelevant but it will maybe help to try and assess my level of learning. am not tryna brag :slight_smile: ).
Grammar also shouldn’t be a problem for me, although I would really appreciate sources (without it costing money >_<)

Can anyone give me some tips about reading and about when to start?



Step 0 is to be confident with hiragana and katakana, if you’re not already.

My advice is after that to do a basic textbook or grammar lessons on something like Bunpro. Once you feel confident with the example texts in that material, I think you can start reading kids manga. It’s not going to be like reading English at first, but no amount of reading textbooks or SRS is going to make it that way. For context, I started when I was around level 8 on Wanikani and 60% of the way through the Genki I textbook.

What you can do to make it easier is follow along with one the absolute beginner’s book clubs on this forum. You can join in live to the current one 可愛いだけじゃない式守さん (Shikimori’s not just a cutie) or try some of the past ones at your own pace - people will still reply if you comment on the threads. The easiest ones are 小さな森のオオカミちゃん (the wolf of the small forest) and ハピネス.

There’s also this forum thread with tips and tricks: Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content


Japanese grammar is super different from all of the languages you mentioned, so I do recommend investing plenty of time in studying it. This is a prerequisite to understanding manga or other books. But kanji is not a prerequisite for starting, because there seems to be plenty of manga that has full furigana.

  • Grind grammar to at least N4 level and be fairly familiar with how particles, conjugations/declinations, etc. work. Start with manga and anime for younger audience.
  • ???
  • Profit

Regarding the other languages, I don’t think they’re too relevant here. If you said you learned Mandarin/Cantonese, that would give you a head-start at kanji.


I highly recommend

It is not free (it has some free articles so that you can evaluate it though), but the way it’s made it allows anyone to start reading, even a complete beginner. You’ll only need to know kana.

Once you learn some grammar, there are some good free resources:



P. S. Unrelated, but you might like this thread:



Oh, if you’re looking for free resources with Japanese grammar, here’s two:

Cure Dolly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSvH9vH60Ig&list=PLg9uYxuZf8x_A-vcqqyOFZu06WlhnypWj

The first 20 or so episodes cover about as much as Genki I, and would be a good start to grammar. The pitch shifted voice is a bit awkward to get used to.

Game Gengo’s N5 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ojVS-KgDEg

The order is not really optimal to use as your primary learning material, but it’s good source of native examples that he walks through.


TBH, grind a casual grammar guide as well. Maybe something like Japanese the Manga Way, or some websites.

It might also be viable to cram the grammar up to N4-N3 first, start reading, then revise grammar later on for better comprehension.


Welcome! If you already like learning languages, for sure you will have fun with Japanese :smiley:

For grammar, I used the popular textbook Genki and that worked for me.This textbook is so popular that many people have made great tools to go along it. Those tools are so great, that I ended up using them and not really opening the actual book anymore. (So basically you can skip the step where you buy the book and use the resources for free).

The way to do Genki, without buying Genki, is as follow.

For each lesson, first watch the video of TokiniAndy on youtube go through it:

Then do the exercises for the lesson on this website:

Then next lesson :slight_smile:


My advice is pick up something that you want to read, and see how it feels to try and read it now. If you understand a lot, then great, you’re reading. If you don’t understand much but enjoy it, then great, you’re reading. If you don’t understand much and don’t enjoy it, then put it down and try again in a month.

Other people have provided lots of resources you can try that may be close to your level, so why wait?


Hahaha, appreciate the fact that there’s also a Dutch community here

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I absolutely second this. Don’t wait for some imaginary hurdle like N4 or whatever, the important thing is, that you have fun at what you are doing. If it gets exhausting reading easy and fun things, do something else and come back later. Or read it first in your native language and then after a few days try to go for it in japanese. No matter when you start, it will be rough at first, probably extremely rough, but that is also normal. So better pick something you really want to read to not lose motivation too fast. :slight_smile:

Otherwise if there needs to be a grammar advice: Just read through any source that seems halfway decent. Just fly through it, get the gist of everything in there to get a rough overview and go from there. There is something you come across reading that you don’t understand? You might remember already reading about it and will find at some online resource, then just continue to read.


Gotta love a South Park Gnomes reference.

Huge support on Satori Reader! Great input!

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As you know from learning other languages, there are tons of free resources. With Japanese, I would recommend you continue practices used before, and as always stay consistent. The root language is different from those you already know. Good luck, and I’m rooting for you!


Crystal Hunters is a manga that teaches Japanese. The first volume is free and the rest are low cost (some can become temporarily free every time a new volume is released.) All guides that go along the manga are free.

Game Gengo on youtube is free and it’s learning Japanese through video games.

Thanks man, i appreciate it!