[Seeking Nominations!] Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading: Prefecture Stories

It’s not too late to jump into reading レンタルおにいちゃん, by the way! We’re still on chapter one, and the first few chapters are freely available from the author’s Pixiv site.


I’ve been reading こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏,
And it’s really good practice as it’s mostly short sentences.

I’m on chapter 5 rn (夏 chapters), and it’s a pretty cute story, but since it’s targeted to kids, lots of words do not use kanji, which can be a headache at times haha.

Still, I would recommend it :slight_smile:!


「日本の昔ばなし」 単行本 第一巻 一寸法師編 - Folktales from Japan Volume 1 - Issun-Boshi and other stories

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eEHON コミックス (e-Picture Book Comics) is a label that produces a number of colourful children’s books in (as far as I can see) an ebook only format. This volume collects six stories together in a full colour illustrated book. It was first published in 2014 and there are about 12 other volumes produced since.

“Issun-boshi” (The Inch-High Samurai) is a boy who is full of courage even if he is born small. On a boat made of a rice-bowl, using a chopstick paddle, he goes to the capital Kyoto on a journey of training for warriors. There, Issun-boshi tries to be brave as he encounters a terrifying demon.

The other stories in the book are: “The Man Who Bought a Dream”, “The Rat Sutra”, “The Transforming Hood”, “The Love Potion”, and “The Village of the Nightingales”.

Summary in Japanese



BookLive! : BOOK☆WALKER : eBookJapan : Kindle

There is an associated animated series on Crunchyroll as described in this Wikipedia Article.

No physical version available that I can see (which is presumably why the label is called e-Picture Books).

Personal Opinion

We’ve had a couple of suggestions of fairytales/folk tales for the club. One is a collection of 16 books that is difficult to get hold of as a set now, and the other is a website with lots of free stories available.

What I like about this collection is that it’s a complete standalone book ( 単行本) that you can tick off on your list of books read, is illustrated in full colour throughout, and it’s not text dense so very approachable for beginners.

In addition, the script of the animated version seems to largely match the book version, so you can practise your listening skills as well. I’m not familiar with using Crunchyroll but I was able to start watching the episode for free (with adverts).

It’s 400 pages long - but as you can see from the text density, it’s the right length for a bookclub pick.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Very approachable language level for absolute beginners
  • Full colour illustrations
  • Traditional Japanese Folktales
  • Animation with largely similar script for listening practise
  • Available on a number of ebook sites
  • There are lots more volumes available if people want to carry on reading


  • There is no physical copy, so you won’t be able to display it proudly on your bookshelf
  • No kanji


Table of Contents

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First Three Pages of Chapter One

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Additional Pages

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Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters


I’d like to second the nomination about the bear cub named Kuuku. I know it’s not necessary, but it seems cute!


I’m guessing that will be popular! Will get the poll up later. :bear:


Vote For The Next Book!

It’s time to decide on which book we read after レンタルおにいちゃん. We are voting for a book we would start to read in early November.

You can vote for up to three choices, and you are allowed to go back in and change your votes if you wish. I will keep the poll open for a few days.

Guidance on book difficulty:

The number next to the books is a guidance on book difficulty, as rated by forum users. A score of 3 means the difficulty was judged to be about right for this club. A higher score means it has been judged more challenging. The maximum score is 5.

This is only a very rough judgement of difficulty. Do look at the sample pages for yourself in the original nomination posts. Japanese Folk Tales was nominated late and not yet rated by the group.

The Choices

Title Description
日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 Japanese Fairy Tales Picture Book Set of 16 (physical books only)
福娘童話集 Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection (website)
10分で読める伝記2年生 10 Minute Readers - Biographies - 2nd grade student level (book & ebook)
こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏 Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer (book & ebook)
日本の昔ばなし Japanese Folk Tales Collection Vol 1 - Issun-boshi & other stories (ebook only)
あたしンち My Family (manga)
Wanted Short stories from the creator of One Piece (manga)
ドラゴンボール Dragon Ball SD - remake for younger children (manga)

The Covers

Open to View

Japanese Fairy Tale Picture Book Set of 16

Lucky Princess Fairy Tales

10 minute readers - Biographies

Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story

Japanese Folk Tales Collection (Issun-boshi and other stories)
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Dragon Ball SD

Vote Now! Which book would you like the Absolute Beginner Book Club to Read Next?

  • Japanese Fairy Tale Picture Book Set of 16 [2.9]

  • Lucky Princess Fairy Tales Website [3.2]

  • 10 minute readers - Biographies (2nd Grade) [3.0]

  • Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story [3.0]

  • Japanese Folk Tales Collection (Issun-boshi & other stories)

  • Atashin’chi [3.1]

  • Wanted [3.4]

  • Dragon Ball SD [3.2]

0 voters


Can someone change the start of the thread title from “SELECTING NEXT BOOK” to “VOTE NOW FOR NEXT BOOK” please. Thanks!

Done :slight_smile:


I’d add to that, no kanji.


I’d add to this:

Very large font, easy to read without a magnifying glass


That is the best argument! Relief for my poor eyes


I’m noticing now that that can be a huge issue with some of the manga I’m reading. If it’s a kanji I don’t recognize, I sometimes can’t make out the furigana so looking it up is more difficult than necessary.

Glad I decided to pop back into this thread since it’s been a few days. Managed to get my votes in and my top 3 match the current top 3 so that’s a good sign. The various folk tale suggestions look good, and I almost voted for Folktales from Japan Volume 1 - Issun-Boshi and other stories. Main thing holding me back was the lack of any kanji, though that sometimes helps me realize I need to work on memorizing the readings more. I liked the idea of being able to practice listening alongside as well… I may still change a vote.


How long is the poll going to be open for?
(I only made one vote, for “Wanted”, and I’m hoping for a sudden surge!)

I was just about to say I was still rooting for Dragon Ball SD, but then I scrolled up and saw it dropped to fourth place :scream: Maybe I should put on my big girl pants and try to read it by myself :thinking:

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My own nomination is coming dead last right now…

Though, I kinda wanna vote for getting 10分で読める物語 二年生 finished instead…


Votes are drying up now so let’s close this Wednesday evening UK time. That’s about 24 hours from now.

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The vote is tied! Would we do another vote if it doesn’t change?

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I’m always sad that it doesn’t win because it’s a free resrouce and we can pick whatever story we like. I also like that it comes with audio, so one can practice not only reading but listening, too.

(You also don’t need a magnifyin glass. You can either zoom in on your phone / computer or copy the text and make the font bigger in word etc.)


Maybe I just need to spend more time hyping it up every time a poll goes wandering past. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve closed the poll - the biographies book was the winner. It was a close run for top spot with Kuuku but the 10 minute reader kept its nose ahead most of the time!

I’m happy to let someone else run this one if they are keen to. Otherwise I’ll get the home thread up later this week.