Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content

I draw them in the Midori Japanese dictionary app on my phone. It works really well, but it’s still much slower than when I know the reading already.

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@Radish8 You should also make this a wiki post.

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Done, and I added a section for kanji lookup tools. I forgot that I could make wikis :grin:

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I added some more details to the kanji lookup section. :slight_smile:

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Just a thought: As stated above, native sources are often harder to read, because of the needed amount of word translation than for example NHKEasy. Funnily however, I often find “native sources” much easier to overally understand. Don’t get me wrong - I know next to none Japanese, but when after translation I understand the meaning of the sentence almost entirely and pretty quickly (even when I don’t really know all the grammar), in News Easy, in spite of lower amount translating, because of over-complicating use of simplified grammar, it ends up being less understandable and you end up spending a lot of time thinking about what you just read. And even then, the sentence might not become “understandable”.


Just a thought and an encouragement (I guess…?) to read some of these sites that end up in your browser when you decide to Google®
something in japanese for fun.


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I’ve been finding Japanese Let’s Plays a surprisingly good way to practice reading. Of course, you wouldn’t want to make something like that your only resource, but many games involve a lot of written dialogue, which the player usually reads out loud. It can be fun to try to read along, you get to see a lot of words you already know in context, and when you come across one you don’t know you have both the kanji right in front of you and the reading spoken aloud by a native speaker, so looking it up is a cinch. It’s become one of my favorite “I’m too tired to do any real studying for now, but I want to do something at least somewhat productive” activities. Japanese songs that have the lyrics onscreen are good for that too. :blush:

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Nice plug for the phonetic composition script :wink: thanks for putting that all together.

Does anyone know much about browser extensions to look up kanji on websites? I’ve heard of yomichan but don’t know whether it’s the best / there are other good alternatives.

@Onomatapop nice idea that I’m sure many people won’t think of. I’m not sure whether to make a specific section for it or have an ‘other reading ideas’ section :thinking: I guess manga got its own section…

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I use Yomichan, which is pretty good. The developer used to be really active, but I don’t think he’s done much in several months. Hopefully he doesn’t completely drop support.

It can’t hurt to list out all the ones we know of anyway.

TangoRisto is a good phone app that I have started using. It takes the articles from NHK news easy or NHK news and makes them easier to read for a beginner (you have furigana and can click on words and see the meaning in english). It also pulls out the vocabulary on separate section so you can study it.

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Apologies in advance if I end up rambling. :sweat_smile:
tl;dr ebook Japan has a lot of good, free, full volumes of manga.

One resource that I use pretty much every day that I’m surprised more people don’t mention (or at least it feels like it). Is ebook japan, specifically the app.
It was surprising to me how many really popular series end up on limited free, especially considering I only checked it out because I’d heared you could use it to check if something had furigana.
Like right now on they’re limited free section they
have multiple volumes of food wars, haikyuu, and that one horror series on the beginner book club list.
And in the past they’ve had multiple volumes of hunterxhunter, skip beat, and a silent voice (though this might’ve had just one volume, I can’t remember) just to name a few.
Plus with the limited free section you’re on a bit of a time limit (usually about two weeks), which is good motivation to get some reading done.
And they usually add a bunch more stuff every other day or so.

And I haven’t even mentioned the not limited free manga. But this post is already pretty long, so I’ll stop here. :slightly_smiling_face:

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So I just wrote this:

Not sure if it’s worth adding to the list.

(this is the thing we’ve talked about this afternoon @Radish8 )

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Nice one! I stopped using English and Spanish because they became procrastination traps but now I can use it guilt free again. Yay!

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I use this app (TangoRisto) everyday at lunch. I would also recommend it. I have really been able to see my reading improve with it as I have been advancing through WaniKani. I have all the furigana turned off by default so I am not tempted to just read that. If I do not know the reading or I am not sure I can click to show the furigana and check myself.

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Phew, okay, I’ve tidied up the order a bit, and added a few new sections on:

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I want to add that TangoRisto also has a lot of folk tales from hukumusume.com.

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I found this yesterday. I’m not sure exactly where it should go so I’ll leave it here and let you decide.

Read Real Japanese - Essays
(There is apparently also an earlier one called Read Real Japanese - Fiction)

Short works by eight established contemporary Japanese writers.
Each double page spread features translations of sentences and phrases, plus at the back of the book are more detailed discussion of various points, and a CD of someone Japanese reading the essays aloud.

You can see inside the book via the Amazon link. I also took a couple of photos.
This is the first page of a story by Murakami, 真っ白な嘘


And this is the associated page from the back of the book.

I haven’t read much of it yet (although I did come across a vocab word I only learned yesterday, thank you WK) but it looks excellent.

And what do you know, I just now found a Tofugu review of both books, where they recommend them for intermediate-advanced students, particularly those interested in translation.

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Ooo, I’ve bought that. It remains on my shelf unread, though…

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It feels strange to say it’s aimed at advanced readers… I feel like people have different conceptions of what “intermediate” and “advanced” mean.

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I would +1 for Tangoristo and read real Japanese series. The first one is a very useful reading app for all level maybe the best on the market and the second one is a good guide to understand the language deeper as the author explain words usage and inference (best for upper intermediate students I think)

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I added them to the bilingual book section for now as that seems most fitting even if they don’t quite have an ‘English version’ sitting alongside the Japanese text. Thanks very much for the recommendation - they look fantastic! I will aspire to them in time…

@Talena - thanks for the heads up! I added a mention of that and the travel magazine articles to the OP :+1:

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