Recommendations for a beginner learning keigo?

Hi all! I’ve been reading a lot of manga lately, including Yotsubato and Card Captor Sakura. I love these stories and I’m very proud of myself for being able to read them without having to check my dictionary much to understand it. However, I’m worried I’m not challenging myself enough.

So I’m looking for any manga (or other media, but manga is preferred) that has a lot of keigo. I’ve been struggling with keigo for a while now and I think I just really need to see it in practical use for me to really get a grasp on it, instead of staring at a grammar book without really absorbing it.

Any advice for learning formal language is greatly appreciated as well!

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What I did to be able to use the different levels of language was exactly what you don’t want to do; get familiar with the grammar.
Genki II has a pretty good base for keigo on chapter 19 and 20 I believe?
Simply staring at the grammar explanations I agree won’t get you anywhere, you have to do the exercises over and over again to absorb the logic.

Even though this answer is maybe not compatible with what you want to do, my advice would be give the keigo exercises a second chance, in my opinion it would be more efficient than hoping to encounter keigo being used in different types of media :wink:

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Japanese people struggle with this as well. Go into any Japanese bookstore and you will find shelves and shelves of 敬語 books.
You wanted a manga so here is Doraemon to teach you 敬語.

My wife has been working through this to prepare to interview Japanese business people


Thanks for the input! I won’t be giving up on my grammar books for sure, but it’s just so frustrating at times. When I think I’ve got something down, I go and make a mistake again haha I was hoping I would find a way to make studying keigo a bit more fun instead of feeling so overwhelmed by it.

Thanks so much for this! I’ll be checking this out.
I have heard that keigo is tough for the every day Japanese person, but unfortunately this is something my company requires me to learn if I want to move up. Thanks again for the recommendations!

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Doraemon may not be your only option, but I’m pretty sure Doraemon will teach you anything through the medium of manga.


I’m an anime/manga otaku-type, so if you’re like me, you might enjoy some material related to that. Basically, for keigo practice nothing beats ojou-sama characters (even if they sometimes use weird constructions like ですの or ですわ). Basically any story that has rich young ladies or royalty of some kind will have characters that speak in mostly keigo, bonus if they have servants (they will speak humble keigo). Prominent examples:

  • Marika from Nisekoi
  • Basically most girls from Shomin Sample, since the setting is a private school for rich young ladies.
  • Kaguya-sama has some characters that fit the bill as well
  • Railgun also has some ojou-sama characters that speak keigo
  • This season’s Rising of the Shield Hero also has a lot of characters speaking keigo
  • Re: zero also has some
  • Basically any fantasy/historical setting with nobles/royalty and butlers/maids will feature keigo prominently

Remember, the important thing is to have fun :+1:


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