Requirement to read LNs with dictionary

Just wondering at what level here + grammar level (N5 - N1) I could I start reading LNs without having to stop several times in every sentence to look stuff up ^^

I want to start reading stuff as soon as possible and dont mind looking stuff up a lot but naturally it is poinltess to start at my level since I’m still at under 100 Kanji and just started with N5 grammar so was just wondering what people think is a reasonable level to start trying to actually read things.

You don’t really need to reach a particular point to be able to read. It will be more painful the earlier you start, but you’ll also improve faster. It’s better to rip off the bandaid as soon as it doesn’t kill your motivation doing so.

But as a general rule of thumb. You might have seen the book clubs on the forum. In the Absolute Beginner Book Club there are barely any non-manga reads, since they are illustrated and that helps with filling in holes, but also conversational japanese tends to be easier than literary japanese. After that comes the Beginner Book Club, where it’s mostly harder manga, but some light novels pop up (夜カフェ as an example). One step past that (right now, there is an idea about a middle step, but anyways) is the Intermediate Book Club, where it’s mostly regular novels, harder light novels or more mature, more difficult and longer manga. Light novels generally lie inbetween these last two steps. Trying yourself out in the ABBC wouldn’t be a bad idea, there’s even one starting in a couple of weeks.


Well I guess it depends what you mean by “not having to stop several times”. Like do you mean you’re ok with 1 time per sentence?

If you are ok starting with an easier light novel and reading one that you have already seen the anime for, I think that you can start reading around the 2000 most common words known and n4 grammar ish and still be fine. Isekai light novels can be pretty tough to get into due to specialty vocab. Your level here won’t matter as much.

Real talk, if you want to start reading stuff as soon as possible and don’t mind looking stuff up, I would suggest you not use wanikani in the first place.


I would worry about grammar understandings first, rather than vocabularies. To start with, N4 + some manga / anime with sub experience.

After that, if you need to, prepare vocabularies in advance with or something. Learning Kanji is yet another route, but it might not help much with irregular readings and Kana vocabularies.

The general answer would probably be something like: N3 grammar done. For vocabulary and kanji, it is hard to say, but minimum N3 level, but definitely a lot more than that.

But that generalization might be so broad that it is useless. Someone have already mentioned 夜カフェ that was read with the beginner book club here on WK, and in general for the club it is recommended N4 grammar and a little reading experience. So for very easy LNs you could get started earlier and don’t have to look up one word or less per sentence.

On the other hands, LNs have the reputation (like VNs) of liking to use kanji for words mostly written with kana, and/or using rarer kanji instead of the more common one. So LNs can actually demand more kanji knowledge than an average adult novel.

I’d say to stop needing to look up grammar often, you need N3, that covers the most common grammar that you will see in most every sentence. N2 and N1 definitely shows up in most anything you read, but they will be less common.

Vocabulary will take a lot longer, unless you ignore grammar.

I would definitely check out the book clubs here on WK. If you have no interest in reading manga, each club have read at least a couple of books, so just pick a previous book read in absolute beginner book club and start working through it. If manga is something you enjoy too, then you have even more choice. And you’ll find both the absolute beginner and beginner book club read a lot of manga.


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