Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content

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:


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 )


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:


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

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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.


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.


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:


As you mentioned this thread in another post, I think I’ll write a bit about some resources that have been of use for making my own transition from Graded Readers to native material.

I’ve read the three graded readers series mentioned here (up to level 3 that is), so I’m confident anyone reading any of those could do this transition smoothly.

Find your level.

If you’re already into the Graded Readers series (which I think are the easiest way to get you into reading japanese) there are some suggestions for native content related to the Graded Reader material you are able to read.

- Tadoku Recommendation
- Liana’s Extensive Reading Journal

For children’s books there’s hiragana… and there’s hiragana madness.

Sample pages will save you from the madness. And shortly you will see that 1st grade aimed books can be found with some kanji too (albeit the 80 kanjis that kids are supposed to learn during that year). There are series like the 10分で読める that follow this grading system, going from 1st to 6th grade, with the kanji been more present in every step. I’ve found that even with the 1st grade book and their small amount of kanjis the text was fairly well parsed and it’s not madness at all in the hiragana department.:+1:

The WKstats website provides with the reference for the when you reach completion for the joyo kanjis in the different school grades following the WK system in case you’re wondering

I’ve started with the 10分で読める伝記. This are biographies, so if you want a break from all the demons and the japanese vegetals / fauna stories, this should be fine, plus you can learn tons of different vocab, since there’re lots of famous characters mentioned that setted a landmark in various fields.

As free resources I would recommend

EhonNavi and Pibo, you can find how to sign up instructions here and here as to make the most from the 立読み options they provide.

Well, that’s all I an think from the top of my head. But yeah, kids have lots of options in Japan, and so have we, japanese learners :wink:

I’ll post any other resource I think about later.


This is awesome, thank you so much for sharing!

I’ve actually seen the 10分で読める伝記 series around before, and similar, so I’m a bit annoyed with myself for having forgotten them in the first place.

Any thoughts on the graded reader sets? I’d be interested to know from someone who’s tried all three whether any set is ‘better’ than the others or if they cater to different tastes or anything (you don’t have to reply, haha, you’ve already been tremendously helpful ^^ ).

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Honestly same.


FREE reading materials aimed at beginner readers (yay!)

On the Tadoku graded readers website there is a page with links to a number of teacher-made pdfs at the various graded reader levels. Some of them are very low budget productions, but I think still worthwhile for the impoverished beginner. :wink:

Kansai International Centre has similar home-made pdf booklets, and these ones also come with mp3s of someone reading each booklet aloud.

Slightly better production values (but same style of home-made PDF) available at Nihongo Tokuhon. Hover over レベル別の読み物 at the top to access materials at levels 0 - 2.

And if you were wondering about the word Tadoku (which I was because I kept seeing it on all these websites):



Quick question, but does anyone know how exactly the point system for eBookJapan works? I signed up yesterday because a manga I wanted to read on was region locked. Unfortunately I only have PayPal available as a payment method, which eBookJapan doesn’t accept (bookwalker does).

Now eBookJapan gave me 300 points as a gift and I’d like to use them to get that manga I’m eyeing with, but once I get to the checkout I can’t use the points. I know there’s an FAQ but I didn’t get all of it. :sweat_smile:

I don’t, sorry… I’ve always just applied my available points once I get to checkout :thinking: they’ve never covered the full cost though, so I’m not sure how that would work / whether you can use them to pay for shipping as well as the book itself.

Hopefully somebody else can give you a better answer.

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Well since it’s an eBook there wouldn’t be any shipping fees at all.
But I just noticed that the manga itself is 400 Yen, and 300 points are apparently the equivalent of 300 yen.

From the FAQ:


So I guess I just solved my own problem. :joy: God I’m stupid sometimes.



I didn’t even twig you were wanting to know how much the points are worth :see_no_evil: :see_no_evil: :see_no_evil:

I’ll just see myself out now… of my own thread…

Ahh no, I just thought that maybe the points were for something else and that’s why I couldn’t use them for paying. But it didn’t cross my mind that the points were basically just Yen, haha. I thought they were two different currencies.

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