Satori Reader appreciation thread

Satori reader, if you don’t already know, is a reading platform for Japanese learners. Some people use it as a stepping stone to approach native manga and books, and many of us continue to use it alongside diverse reading sources.

This thread is a place to post your reviews and guides (see table below), track reading (poll in next post), and review content warnings before starting a new story if you wish (see table at the end of this post). This post is a wiki so free to add to this, using the formatting that is there. If you want to make a major formatting change, ask people first in this thread just in case to get a general consensus.

More on why I created this thread

A lot of us were discussing Satori reader on @Akashelia 's log and I linked to a post I had on my log dedicated to how I use Satori reader. Akashelia suggested creating a Satori appreciation thread, so that someone looking for information on it might more easily find something like my guide and other people’s comments before shelling out for yet another Japanese learning subscription. And here we are!

Basically, for the very few people on the forum who haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of Satori. I’m not connected to them any way, and they don’t do affiliate sales. It has just genuinely been the single most useful tool for unlocking Japanese reading comprehension for me (link to my log), and I like to share the love. The team has put their heart into creating and continuously improving the service. I have huge respect for projects that are high quality and created with passion.

Table of reviews

There are links to different kinds of reviews:

  • Product - helpful for people considering a subscription
  • Story - story synopsis (without spoilers, or put spoilers behind spoiler tags)
  • Guide - share ideas with each other about how we use it!
User Links
2tea Guide
Akashelia Story reviews
danjrambo85 Product review and guide
eglepe Product review
matt_llvw Product review
mitrac Product review and guide and Story reviews
Shannon-8 Product review
yukitanuki Guide and Story reviews

Other stuff

from @MikeyDC65 (this thread): Anki info specific to Human Japanese
separate thread: List of all non-WK kanji on Satori Reader

Content warnings
Expand at your own risk-spoilers!

The River Sanzu
Content warning 1 (major spoiler)

This story is based on the scenario of a drunk driving accident

The Jam Maker
Content warning 1, episode 45 (major spoiler)

The main character’s house burns down in a forest fire and she almost dies

Akiko's Foreign Exchange
Cheating (minor spoiler)

Its mentioned several times that her ex husband had an affair

Death (major spoiler)

In week 13 part 4 her grandmother dies

Hole in the wall
animal death (minor spoiler)

In chapter 2, two of the main characters’s baby sisters are killed by a cat.

Bullying (major spoiler)

Bullying is a common theme throughout the story, and it does get physical.

Fujiki Consulting Services
Episode 12- animal death

The whole episode is a graphic depiction of a cat dying from drinking poison outside. Episode could possibly be skipped without affecting the plot.



What have you read on Satori? After seeing what most people have actually read, we could do a poll on favourites if you like

“Easier” Narrative series
  • The Jam Maker (60 episodes)
  • Kiki Mimi Radio (27 episodes)
  • Hole in the Wall (58 episodes)
  • Akiko’s American Foreign Exchange (133 episodes)
  • Sakura and Suzuki’s Long Distance Relationship (43 episodes)
0 voters
“Intermediate” Narrative series
  • John and Friends (ongoing)
  • Kona’s Big Adventure (45 episodes)
  • Oku Nikkou (62 episodes)
  • The River Sanzu (20 episodes)
  • Koibito (52 episodes)
  • The Neighbor (12 episodes)
0 voters
“Harder” Narrative series
  • Trees of Happiness (in progress, 103 episodes)
  • Fujiki Consulting Services (41 episodes)
  • The Wedding of the Fox, Fujiki Case 2 (in progress, 84 episodes)
  • Kona’s Big Adventure II (68 episodes)
  • Secret (98 episodes)
  • My Sweetie is Japanese (28 episodes)
0 voters
Grammar series in order of difficulty
  • Human Japanese Extra Credit
  • Human Japanese Extra Credit Intermediate
  • Nutshell Grammar
0 voters
Other series
  • Meditation
  • Streetside Interviews
  • Close up: Obon Society
  • Close up: The Zama 9 Murders
  • Close up: After the Tokyo Subway Attack
  • News
  • Dialogs: Restaurant
  • Dialogs: Hotel
  • Dialogs: Train Station
  • Dialogs: Airport
  • Dialogs: Bus Stop
  • Dialogs: Hospital
0 voters

The guide

How mitrac uses Satori reader

I experimented a lot to create these routines. I’m sure you will, too, and create your own routines. Perhaps this guide helps you get started more effectively.

Why I love it
  • It’s awesome - training wheels for reading in Japanese that works.
  • Adjustable furigana based on what kanji you know, however you like it.
  • Translations by word, phrase, or sentence.
  • Underlined text has additional glosses on explaining grammar in context.
  • All of this is embedded in the text and accessible with one click.
  • Built-in flashcards if you want, ignore if you don’t.
  • Native voice actors read everything, which you can access at the sentence, episode, or series level.
  • There are now immersive sound effects (that can also be disabled).
  • All amazingly hand-made (no machine translations or machine text-to-speech).
  • And questions are answered in depth in the comments sections of each episode.

Furthermore, they are constantly making small improvements based on user requests, and they release new content at a rate of 3 episodes a week. Recently they made a knowledge base section which will eventually enable searching for some of the most useful and commonly requested grammar explanations.

Best for - many levels

First, don’t get too theoretical, just make a free account and try it out. You can get the first 2 episodes of every series free and this will be enough to see for yourself what it’s like. Then try a month paid, and if you really like it after that, then do a year.

But if you really want to know, here are my thoughts on what you can get out of Satori at various levels.

This was my progression and it worked well (potentially ideal?)

  1. Study beginning grammar and read some graded readers levels 0-1 or maybe through 2 if you like them (search the forums for Tadoku)
  2. Start Satori reader as soon as you’re bored of graded readers.
  3. After your first 1-2 series on Satori, try the ABBC here on WK.
  4. Continue with Satori and ABBC level reading, branch into BBC as well.
  5. Read whatever you like: Satori, book clubs, news, whatever you like, considering Natively level if you want to make your life easier.

Ability - still studying beginner grammar (N5)

You could start using Satori from the beginning of your Japanese journey, especially if you use it in conjunction with their Human Japanese app to get the basics of grammar. At this level, though, the most approachable content will be their Human Japanese grammar series, and the narrative stories will be very tough. But if you have a high tolerance for the unknown and you want to learn all vocab and grammar in context, and you want to skip graded readers, this could be for you.

Ability - covered much of beginner grammar (N5/N4)

If you’re joining at this stage, Satori will give you the ability to break into native material.

Based on my experience and the comments on their forum this is the ideal stage to join Satori: Their “beginner” stories are accessible to someone who has covered N5 grammar (e.g., Genki I) and has been adventurous in using multiple resources. Or someone who has covered closer to N4 grammar (e.g., Genki II) without venturing beyond textbooks.

Ability - covering intermediate grammar (N3), can read some native material

If you’re joining at this stage, Satori will make you much more comfortable with grammar in context, help you understand nuances and exceptional use cases for vocab and grammar, and explanations for many cultural links to the language that you just don’t figure out when reading a book on your own with a dictionary.

This has been a recent discovery and convinced me to continue using Satori alongside other reading. Just like you can’t grade native books very accurately by JLPT, you can’t really grade these stories, either. My online grammar course is in N3 territory, and I find all levels of content on Satori incredibly helpful. For reference, I currently read manga and books outside of Satori at Natively levels ranging from 20-25 and I still find Satori reader both interesting and incredibly helpful to further develop my reading skills. When I started, I thought I would just “graduate” from Satori as soon as I could, but now I see it as an easy way to learn a lot alongside reading outside of Satori. It doesn’t need to be an either or thing. The more I know, the more nuance I can start to learn.

If anyone is past N3 and studying for N2 let me know if it’s still useful at that stage.

Ability - any, wanting to improve kanji reading ability

Independent of your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, you can use Satori to train kanji reading. For example, use the Wanikani API to automatically remove furigana based on your level. Or create a custom list of known kanji, or use one of the many other options to set your known kanji. Then, any word that contains only known kanji will appear without furigana (that is a much shorter and quicker list to manage than if you trained all of your known words). You can also toggle furigana on/off completely on the reading page.

About Satori's terminology on levels

What Satori calls easier, intermediate and harder is just their subjective way of graduating their content to help subscribers navigate the content. Think of it as relative to their readers, i.e., easier for the Satori reader, intermediate Satori reader, harder for the Satori reader. In terms of how most textbooks frame these words their three levels are perhaps roughly: upper beginner/lower intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate. There are some exceptions where there is some (textbook language) beginner content and (textbook language) advanced content, but that is the exception, not the rule. That is why on Satori’s homepage they say “Satori is designed to help intermediate language learners”. I think this is a pretty accurate target, but as discussed above, it can be enjoyed at various abilities.

Anyway, don’t get too hung up on subjective words. It’s like how the “Absolute Beginner’s Book Club” on these forums is not for Absolute Beginners to Japanese, but absolute beginners to reading. Everyone will have their own comfort zone for when that is right for them.


The program has amazing flexibility and so many options, which I found increased the discipline required to use it effectively, and I had to figure out for myself what I needed.

This is just my view on what not to do, so perhaps just take this as advice: With great flexibility comes the requirement to figure out your own best use. So in the beginning, sure, just play around with it and do whatever feels right. But at some point, I think it’s a good idea to be systematic and reflect on what ways of using it are more or less helpful right now. Keeping in mind that might be different in a few months.

Some pitfalls I now avoid (and you’ll see what I do instead in the sections below): overusing the lookup feature without thinking about it first (grammar and vocab), creating flashcards for too many words (especially more advanced vocab and too complex sentences), starting too many series, not being consistent using the app, and pressing forward too quickly (not repeating content, or not taking the opportunity to learn from what I’ve read).

A list of negatives isn’t helpful, though. See the next section

For brevity, my key strategies
  • read on it every day
  • think for yourself - what do you think a word or sentence means - before revealing the translation or notes
  • choose a strategy to read intensively and extensively
  • choose a strategy for learning words that are most relevant to you and most needed now
  • read enough of the beginnings of some series to find one that catches your attention - then stick with it until you complete all episodes. Consistency wins.

I go into more specifics below about my strategies, yours might be different!

Method details

In general, I only read one story at a time, and I go through one of the grammar or travel-related series quickly alongside it as time permits.

Here’s what I’ve done at various stages:

Very beginner to reading
If the story is painfully difficult, then just start with the grammar series on their own as your daily activity. Perhaps work on a story as well, but don’t expect to get through a whole episode everyday. For this purpose, the Sakura and Suzuki story is good because each episode is really short. It wasn’t the most captivating story, but what I learned from that story (casual speech forms) enabled me to break into manga, which was really exciting. Just keep in mind it’s one of their early ones and widely commented on as their least engaging series. So for efficiency to learn short forms it’s great, but if you want to see the best of Satori start elsewhere.

Once you can do a whole episode per day
Each day: I read something I’ve already read intensive (see below). Then I start a new story episode. First, listen and read along the full episode without stopping. Then read through more slowly, one sentence at a time. I’ll look at some translations, etc and the underlined notes. I save a few words to flashcards, I’m really picky though (see notes below). Then I listen with/without reading and enjoy understanding more! Then I do my flashcards. This takes 15-20 minutes.

I try to remind myself to ask: Are there any words I can infer the meanings of? Did I see some grammar patterns I learned recently? I definitely read and listen one more time on a different day before marking an episode complete. This means my dashboard is where I start to click on something I’ve read before at the start of a session.

Reviewing and rereading
I’ve used two different review strategies.

  1. In the beginning when it was a lot harder to get through one episode per day, it was nice to go back 2 episodes or 8 episodes and read those again. It’s a great warmup and possible to see what I learned since then or to notice something new. Then I would work a bit on the new episode to keep from getting bored. You don’t have to be rigid about it, just look at the episode number you’re on and decide if you want to warm up with one 2 or 8 earlier.

  2. Now that I’m a lot quicker, although I suppose it would be helpful to go back in time multiple episodes, what I do for simplicity is to just read whatever I read the day before. Then I start today’s new reading. I still only read 1-2 new episodes per day. And to read even higher volume, I do that in my paper books and manga, or more recently some digital sources.

Other strategies

  • Choose the easiest possible content for listening only practice (For example, the Human Japanese Extra Credit series). As in, push play at the top, and listen for what you understand. Then read it afterwards.
  • Shadow while listening and reading.
  • Reread or relisten to a previously completed series. This allows additional nuance to get picked up, it’s amazing what I miss the first time around.
  • I’ve decided once I run out of new content, I’ll go back and redo my favourite series for listening only practice.
Keeping up motivation

Of course, in the beginning despite all the support, I didn’t have 100% comprehension. But the above method kept me going. In the first instance, consistency made mangas and books for 2nd graders accessible. Now these native books are getting more and more enjoyable to read. For me it’s essential to spend some time reading increasingly challenging content outside of Satori. The harder the content I read outside of Satori, the more nuance I get when using Satori.

Choose a series based on interest but keep in mind it can take 10-15 episodes for the story to really capture you. But once it does you have a strong foundation to enjoy the story.

Commit to at least a few months of reading every day if you haven’t already. After several months of Satori + manga/easy books, I found the manga and books getting dramatically easier. I wish I had (and I could have) done this much earlier.

It’s a great boost to finish a whole series on Satori! Make it fun and you’ll keep going. Once you finish a whole series you will be amazed how much further you are.

Choosing a story

First sort by difficulty and figure out what level is roughly appropriate. Then if it’s your first story, I recommend prioritising something with fewer episodes and short episodes so that you actually make progress on the story line.

Above all, make it interesting. Read the descriptions and see what draws your attention. If the first episode feels like way too much work, then choose something easier if possible. My favourite beginner’s stories are Kiki Mimi radio and Jam Maker. At the intermediate level I especially loved Oku Nikkou and Kona’s adventure (it’s a cat!).

The first one I finished was Sakura and Suzuki. This story wasn’t that interesting to me on the face of it, but the episodes are really short, slice of life, and use casual speech. This helped me hugely to become able to read manga (and I did get drawn into the story by the halfway point).

Akiko’s adventure is interesting - but as a long series with a slow intro, I’ve only recently (after finishing the intermediate stories of most interest) gotten into it. I personally think it’s really nice at a pace of 1-2 episodes per day. Slower than that and I got bored, so I’m glad I left it for later. Also, it has some elements that tie into other stories and that was super fun to experience.

Adding flashcards

This is so easy that it is a pitfall. Multiple times I deleted my deck and started over, before I settled on this strategy:

I only add as many new words/cards as I can reliably get through daily (2-3 new words on most days means 20-30 total cards per day review for me). I only add a word if it’s the only unknown in that sentence and seems immediately useful to my Japanese level. It doesn’t sound like much, but I find the process of being picky about what I deliberately learn boosts my memory and quality of attention. Of course, you learn more than 2-3 words through daily exposure to the language - the point is to spend way more time reading than on flashcards. I’ve actually confirmed this on my study log if you’re interested.

Whereas, if you create loads of sentence cards that have other unknown words besides your target word, then reviewing flashcards becomes cumbersome and time wasting because, of course, you’re also reviewing the other unknown words in that sentence. It just balloons.

I create flashcards in both directions. I tested a phase of doing only JP->EN cards and my active recall was much worse for newly learned words. So, I personally find straightforward nouns and verbs very helpful to learn EN->JP as well, which I notice during my speaking practice. The reason some people recommend against this is at some point your vocabulary gets large enough that synonyms become a problem. At that point (for me, from around a 2000 word vocabulary), flashcards become less and less relevant to practice output (EN->JP), and you have to do something like writing or speaking practice for that.

So for words with synonyms (that I know), I delete the English to Japanese card when it comes up for review. Fortunately, Satori makes it really easy to delete flashcards. I still create both cards, but delete that direction about 70% of the time now if I think I’m just going to end up wasting time thinking of synonyms. It’s also fun down the line when some really old cards come up for review and I realise, wow, now I know several other ways to say that - delete! Or if I notice I keep missing a word - delete! No sense in keeping leeches.

By the way, before deleting cards you can download them first. And at first I did this. I believed that someday I might reimport them or use them on Anki. And then I didn’t, and it feels very freeing to let a previous less-good thing go. Just saying!

Review your study methods now and then and let go of old ways of doing things that aren’t serving you any more.

Reviewing flashcards
  • I always try to recall the flashcard word before reading the sentence. Although there are some classes of words that require the context, those are easy to identify/remember, then I will read it. Then I read the sentence (without pushing play, so I can practice kanji reading), then I check the answer. Then I listen to the sentence (!). Then I select whether it was known or missed. The discipline to wait for the listening for EN->JP is essential. And that all sounds overly complicated, but since it’s a habit I honestly haven’t thought about it. And I think it really helps my reading skills long term because I get regular practice at a sentence level for about 30 sentences a day in addition to my other reading.
  • have the discipline to mark a word as missed if literally the only reason I got that word is that I remembered the meaning of the sentence, not the word, i.e., I know I wouldn’t have gotten the word in a different sentence.
  • delete any cards that are unhelpful

How am I supposed to vote when I only read half of a story? :smiley:

I agree that SR is fantastic. I wish it existed for every language :dizzy: Some of their explanations of certain concepts still come to mind when I encounter them in the wild. It has served me extremely well!

How I used it

I read 3 episodes a day:

  • the episode from 2 days ago
  • the episode from 1 day ago
  • a new episode

For each episode, I first listened to the audio and read the whole episode without pausing, trying to understand as much as possible. Then I went through each sentence in the same way: Audio first, then check that I understood everything.

I stopped when I reached the most difficult category. I started with Secret, but felt I was ready to move on to native material instead, which was doable, albeit hard.


good question, I guess complete the poll in a way that is most meaningful to you! For example, if someone is using it for tracking, then they would wait until it’s finished. But if you’re done with Satori, then maybe check it off if you feel like you saw enough of it to maybe answer a couple questions? Like if someone wasn’t sure if they should read it, maybe they would ping some of the people who have it checked off. Like I would want to know - how scary is it? I want to read it because Brian said it’s the same voice actor as Kona I (who was brilliant imo), but I’m not really into anything that will give me nightmares (my dreams are full on Hollywood style which has its pros and cons depending on what I fill my head with)

That reminds me @Akashelia , you could copy over your reviews to a comment here! or anyone else for that matter, if you want to do a review of particular stories you read that would be fun and I’ll link your posts in the home thread


I’m using it to transition from simple 1 sentence manga (like Yotsuba&) to actual native books and so far it’s working really well.

I used to be scared of a wall of text, dreading it. Thanks to satori reader, not anymore!
Their explanations of grammar and sentences is good.

If i had to find some issues:

The content is a bit boring at times. I loved Kiki-mimi but that’s it for the beginner section.I’m starting Intermediate now.


Thanks for putting this post together mitrac!

I wonder if we could put together a list of content warnings for stories, because some stories have dramatic turns that happen rather suddenly. It can be a little bit hard to know what kind of content you’re getting into from the descriptions Satori provides on the site.


The long awaited post (and thread) ! :partying_face:
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This is priceless :pray:


Just here to say The Jam Maker made me cry like a baby. Twice. Full on sobbing/can’t breathe/snot running down my face.



I would be very grateful for some content warnings ! :pray:


Content warnings seconded thirded! (I’m kinda scared to read Koibito and The Neighbor…)


Thanks @mitrac for making the thread!

Nice idea with the trigger warnings, maybe with spoiler tags. I’ve seen several times that people had to drop stories that they wouldn’t have read at all if they had known.

My reviews:

  • (B) Sakura and Suzuki’s long distance relationship: ouch this one was hard as a first one, I wasn’t prepared for casual speech at that point. Now I would maybe breeze through it?
  • (A) Closeup: The Zama Nine Murders: tough one, don’t think I got much out of it learning language wise
  • (B) Akiko’s American Foreign Exchange: very long but that wasn’t bad. Unexpected turns of events. I think this one helped me quite a bit on building my reading stamina
  • (A) Closeup: After the Tokyo Subway Attack: interesting (quite shocking) events, tough one language wise, so I started to think that maybe I would get more out of Satori Reader by not reading too hard stories yet
  • (B) Kiki-Mimi radio: okay story, great one for language learning
  • (B) Hole in the Wall: nice story, it surprised me that it took that direction, awesome for learning about some aspects of the Japanese culture / daily life
  • (B) Meditation: okay
  • (B) The Jam Maker: this one moves a lot of people who read it, I found it only okay, sorry!
  • (I) The Neighor: okay
  • (I) The River Sanzu: liked it quite a bit
  • (I) Kona’s big adventure: very predictable story in my opinion, but nice language learning wise
  • (I) Koibito: haha loved that one the most, just really enjoyed the narration switching and not knowing how it would end. I did like how it ended.
  • (I) Oku-Nikkou: already enjoying this one, both language wise and for the story, makes me travel to a part of Japan I haven’t been before :slight_smile: Edit: review after I’m done reading, mild spoilers I really enjoyed the setting of the story, a child staying with his grand parents at an 温泉 in 奥日光 and wouldn’t have minded more descriptions of their daily lives over there.
    Then I got pretty captivated by the grandma’s disappearing and really curious about what had happened to her.
    Then from when we learn what happened to the end of the story, I found it a bit less interesting story-wise, too fictitious for me, but still enjoyed it language wise. I also thought the epilogue was a nice touch.

Right now reading Oki Nikkou and wow I have had a big moment of how beautiful the Japanese language is in one of the episodes, kuddos to the writer.
It’s a spoiler if you haven’t read that story yet until episode 21.

Oki Nikkou episode 20

So the grandma hasn’t came back from picking up mushrooms, the family goes to bed. The kid wakes up and hope she came back home while he was sleeping. In the previous chapters they described the noise that he was hearing every morning when she was making breakfast.
The sentence goes like this:
So I’m like, yay she is back!
And then the sentence goes:
Loved the effect with the reveal in the verb at the end of the sentence!


So glad to see everyone enjoying themselves here!! :star_struck:

oh great idea, and it looks super popular! Anybody have ideas of how should we do that? Perhaps I could I ask the mods to make the first post a wiki and I could make a table for people to update? I agree with Akashelia to put them under spoilers

yes, I couldn’t believe it that I got so into this story

This was a strange one, in the beginning it was really variable between way too easy and then perhaps a bit harder than some of the easier reads? In any case I agree overall it is by far the easiest of the intermediate series that I read. I have the feeling that as it’s one of the older ones it came before they found their stride in terms of hitting roughly the same difficulty and length per episode. The newer ones like Kiki Mimi and Jam maker felt fairly consistent from start to finish.

thanks for putting in your reviews!! And I agree, Oku Nikkou has so much beautiful writing, I love the sentence you pulled out. I had forgotten (so not a big deal), but since you mentioned the scene with the grandma - her voice was so annoying for me until I played her at the max speed, and then I was like, ok grandma, I like you, too.


I checked a couple of stories in the poll even though I haven’t finished them.

What’s my ‘excuse’? I’m slow :cowboy_hat_face:

I’ll get to the end of them ‘someday’.

Thanks for starting this thread.


thanks for joining the party :smiley: I say, check off the stories in the poll in a way that is meaningful to you!

1 Like

I agree, if @Mods could make the first post a wiki, that would be great.


Great, thanks for sending out the ping!

1 Like

I am a huge Satori Reader fan! Such a great resource and I love the fact Brian and his team reply to every comment on the stories provided further grammar/vocab breakdowns and reasoning for usage.

Currently reading Kona’s Big Adventure 2 having finished the “bigginer/intermediate” stories and now working through the “advanced” ones.

In terms of my approach, I already do Wanikani as well as an Anki Deck for Quartet 2 which I am currently studying so I do not use the SRS system, a lot of the stories reuse the same vocab almost like a built in SRS. I read every story twice, firstly with an extensive approach just read straight through it parsing what I can from it, then will do a second run through breaking down the sentences and vocab a bit more bit by bit.

It has massively improved my reading ability and also reading stamina (and voiced recordings are a massive help for listening ability too). Highly recommend!


Satori Reader was a great transitory step into native material for me. I would have liked to keep up with the newer material too, but I wouldn’t be using it enough to justify a new subscription. I wish they had a lifetime subscription like Wanikani


Thank you for this wonderful topic! Appreciated.