I’ve been dabbling in Japanese for years but never really had much direction other than thinking it would be cool to be able to watch anime without subs. Well that’s still a work in progress but I’ve just finished reading my first manga in Japanese. No surprises here, it was よつばと. It was great, really fun little book and I understood 99% of it. Kind of hard to stop myself reading the furigana though, it’s just right there, tempting me.
Anyway I bought that as a physical book from Amazon JP and it worked fine, but that’s now lead me to some questions…
Is there any way without jumping through a hundred hoops to buy manga digitally? Kindle JP was a flat no, so I tried Rakuten Kobo and that kicked me right out with a not available in your region message. (I’m in the UK) And that was after I jumped through all of their hoops too, it took ages to register only for them to say No in big red text.
On the physical manga side where should I go next? I was thinking of maybe reading a mixture of old and new, simple and complex - 日常, ナウシカ、City Hunter, めいぞん一刻, Chainsaw Man… maybe even trying my luck with AKIRA but I can see that one being beyond me. Pretty random grab bag really. I’m only half way through WK so there are a mountain load of kanji I don’t know and I’d rather not spend all my time in Google Translate, so I don’t want want to go too far outside of my comfort zone.
Yotsuba was fun and I have a few more volumes ready to read. What does everyone think? Where should I go next? And is it worth perusing the digital route? I don’t fancy getting into VPNs, pre-paid credit cards and other such hack your way out of your own country routes if I can avoid it.
For buying digital books and manga, BookWalker is a pretty popular option. No need to tamper with anything; you should be able to use your credit card and just log in and buy stuff. There is a detailed explanation here: Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content and if you still have questions left, feel free to ask here or there!
For manga, I’m afraid I’m not much help as I prefer to read books, but if you liked Yotsuba then maybe you might like Flying Witch? It’s a very relaxed slice-of-life manga about a young witch who spends an exchange year in northern Japan. I enjoyed it a lot, and there is even a book club where you can get answers to your questions if you have any: Reading Vol. 11・ふらいんぐうぃっち・Flying Witch (Beginner Book Club) 🧹
What issue did you have with Kindle JP? I buy/read Japanese Kindle e-books all the time without a problem. I use my (American) credit card. You might need a Japanese address, but you can (1) make one up, (2) use a real, random address, or (3) get an address from a shipping service (like Tenso)–if you don’t plan on every physically ordering anything it shouldn’t matter. (I used to need to use a VPN, but at some point it seems Amazon changed their policies.)
I’ll admit I’ve only “bought” (as in paid) money for actual books on Kindle, but I’ve gotten free samples and free volumes of manga, so I wouldn’t expect any issues buying manga. Another bonus for manga is that you can read it in the cloud reader (while books cannot, for some reason).
While it’s nice to have physical books, I think digital tends to be much cheaper and convenient (if you aren’t physically in Japan), so I’d definitely recommend trying to figure out a way to get digital content.
I think it’s more so that they mark your account as being okay by using a VPN once or twice. I used a VPN a few times and haven’t again in years, but I think new users would still get flagged after a few purchases and need a VPN a few times to clear that hurdle. Thankfully there are free VPNs that can be installed as browser extensions (so no security risk to the whole device), and again it should only be needed a few times.
Personally I like Amazon for digital manga (and books) since it’s easy (once the above-mentioned things are taken care of) and you can download copies to PC and can easily remove DRM, so you actually own them, unlike some other digital marketplaces.
I had a read about getting Kindle to work from outside Japan but the suggestions involved setting up a separate account. The trouble with that is that apparently you need to manually log out of your regular Kindle account then into the Japanese account, but that deletes all of your downloads.
Right now when I browse Amazon JP it won’t even let me download samples. It just says “This Kindle title is not currently available for purchase”.
Odd that Amazon are happy to ship physical paper half way round the planet but letting me download something is unthinkable. Digital rights are really quite irritating.
You should be able to fix that by setting a Japanese address on your account (any address should work).
Yes, unfortunately Amazon requires different accounts for each country, and you can only log into one account at a time on any device. I don’t read English books digitally, so it’s fine for me, but if you already use Kindle for another country you effectively need a second device for reading in Japanese. It’s quite unfortunate, and I don’t understand why they don’t allow multiple logins for this case.
I imagine you’re getting to a point where you’ll be fine reading some manga without furigana, but if you’d like to try something a bit transitionary (furigana on some kanji, and not on others), we’ll be reading 耳をすませば in the Beginner Book Club (starting next month) which is just that!
As others have mentioned, putting in a Japanese address is necessary. It should work out on your Kobo account, but if you plan on using that for anything non-Japanese, I recommend creating a new account for Japanese-only use (should you decide to give Kobo another try).
I expect this one to be very difficult, but that just means it would be very rewarding if you stick with it and learn along the way. (This is one of those series that isn’t available digitally.)
This is where it’s great if there’s anything of interest that we’ve read in a book club, because there are discussion threads with discussion on grammar, vocabulary lists, and you can ask questions even years after the book club ended and often get a response in a decent timeframe. It makes it a lot easier to gain knowledge and expand your reading capabilities.
It was sending me to an English language version of the site. I’m on the JP homepage now and a fair bit of the manga is honestly a bit on the hentai side for my tastes. I’m more into Rumiko Takahashi, that sort of thing. I’m just not seeing any series of authors I know, but that may just be me. I’m no expert.
I’ve registered a new Rakuten Kobo account with a new email address and with the country set to Japan but it just throws this wall of text at me when I try to buy something. They really don’t make it easy!
It’s saying that you already have an account with them at that email address (possibly some overseas or related version of the site), so try using a different email address. Are you sure it successfully made the new account?
That’s correct. You need a Japanese Amazon account, and a Kindle can only be loaded with one account at a time (but a Kindle from any region can be loaded with an account from any region). You should be able to use the cloud reader (manga only), however, and I the PC, iOS, and Android apps should be able to swap accounts fairly easily.
If you have a Kindle that you already use for English books and want to keep reading English e-books, then I agree using one Kindle for both languages is not a tenable solution. I’d recommend using your Kindle for one language and phone app for the other, or getting a second Kindle.
If/when you make an Amazon JP account, I’d recommend using a different email address than your English Amazon account. I’m not sure if it’s required or not, but I think it makes things a lot easier.
I haven’t messed around with multiple accounts in Kindle Reader, but there is definitely a way to work around this on Windows PCs.
Create a separate Windows account on your computer and log into it once. Then log back into your normal account and use your computer as normal. When you want to log into JP Kindle, hold shift and right-click on the Kindle icon and click Run as different user. Enter the other account username and password, and that creates a fresh instance of Kindle on that profile, and then you can log into JP Kindle with it. Run the Kindle icon as normal to access your normal Kindle content, and do the shift+right-click Run as different user when you want to access JP Kindle.
(I haven’t tested this, but this is how Windows accounts are designed to function when using alternate credentials to run apps)