Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content


Too bad. Here you go:

Or if you prefer:




Just a note, the japaneseammo website has been down for a while, I haven’t heard any news about when it’ll be coming back up but in the meantime maybe replace your link with this so people can still see the article


Ah, thanks for the heads up :+1:


I heard about the PIBO app for my iphone on the tofugu website and I’ve started to use it just to hear Japanese and see it used in context. Sometimes I can even understand words. You can read/listen to three stories a day via the app. I really recommend it. There are 369 books for kids, with pictures. Some of the stories are really hilarious, like the little girl who powers a rocket with her farts, or the greedy kid who wants all the toys, so he cries in the bathroom and the magical toilet sends him down to pick just one toy… of course he wants more, what happens? I’ll let you find out.


I’m so sorry that I missed you posting this! I’ll look it up and add it to the OP asap :blush:


The PIBO android app will be closing very soon :frowning:

But the app is the best thing ever for beginners :v:


Ooooh. How come? So it’s only available on iOS now? D:


I can’t even find it at the store anymore. I just opened the app and got this:

I guess it’s because the android app isn’t sustainable? :man_shrugging: It’s a sad thing indeed though. It’s something I was aware that existed for more than 1 year, but never really recommended in here (because I didn’t use it that much). But it’s such a good app for beginners, the short stories have awesome visuals and native audio. It really feels like your grandma reading you a bedtime story.


Yeah, the PIBO website only has a link a link to the Apple store with no mention of Android at all.

That is sad D: the fact that it’s free and has native audio makes it a pretty awesome combination, even if it does lack basically any kanji. I’m a huge fan of stories with audio, because of the potential for bonus listening and/or shadowing practice. They look really cute too.

Thanks for the heads-up, anyway ^^


let’s all start a petition

Make learning Japanese great again! Bring PIBO back!


Haha :joy: I do wonder whether if sales for the iOS app went up significantly they’d consider bringing back the android version. iOS users, unite!


Aaaand in adding PIBO, I just managed to waste quite a lot of time re-structuring the OP :joy: hopefully it’s laid out more logically and is a bit easier to read.

I’d love to know if anyone has particular suggestions for good games to play in Japanese for beginners, but I suspect I’ll have to mine existing threads / start a new one specifically to find out that information…


I can’t translate how to pay for more than 3 stories but I love this app. Seriously. I get a variety of stories from simple to complex.


This is a real lifesaver on iPhone! Very versatile since you can use it in any app whenever there is a text input field.

I wish Apple would also include a Japanese handwritten keyboard supporting Shinjitai and Kana.


Sorry for this very, very late answer! Here is a little bit of information about the Hikoichi book:

Contents: I have not yet read all the stories but from those I know I can say that the setting is in medieval Japan. Hikoichi is of the daydreamer, good-for-nothing type who cunningly tries to trick his environment - but always in a friendly way. In my opinion they are funny and interesting to read.

Explanations: Each story comes in three versions: Japanese with extensive breakdown, Japanese-only, and English. Each kanji comes with furigana. The pages with breakdown are usually only filled with about 6 lines of Japanese text (in HUGE print), the rest is a meticulous breakdown of the text, with each word being given as vocab, plus the grammar parts are translated. I checked two pages for completeness of breakdown, and on these pages they only omitted the basic particles は and を. There is also a vocabulary list at the end of the book. Plus there are audio recordings of each story in normal speed and slow speed (for download).

Contained grammar: There is lots of non-beginner-friendly grammar (read: JLPT N4/N3 level, high beginner to low intermediate). This is not a big issue if you just want to read the text with the help of the breakdowns provided, but if you want to read and fully understand the texts on your own, it might be quite a stretch for a beginner, so this might perhaps be a demotivator.

Overall impression: Due to the more advanced grammar, the texts give a feel of “realistic Japanese”, especially when I compare them to the Graded Reader books I own (which are supposed to be lower N4 level).

So, as I said before, if you (as a beginner) want to fully understand everything, then this book might be too overwhelming, but if you’re up for getting into the flow of non-textbook texts at the cost of having to lean on the breakdowns, then it might be worth a try.


@Radish8, I’ve found an interesting post on Reddit that might interest you for this post :3


Wooooooah, that’s a lot of resources! Thank you JP :grin: I’ll take a look through later today and see where I can squirrel them in (or maybe I’ll just add this link :joy: ).


Anything for you :purple_heart:


Does anyone know of a Japanese language resource like Longreads?

For those who aren’t familiar, this website aggregates longer articles and short fiction as well as some original content (all in English). In particular, these are pieces a native-level English reader can get through in 5–20 minutes (sometimes longer), and covers a wide variety of topics.

If there was something similar in Japanese that aggregates and curates longer articles available online, it would be an incredible resource. I’d imagine something like this would be great JLPT preparation. Also, it is a longer focused reading without being the commitment of a novel.