Start reading manga... which level ? which manga?


at which level do you recommand starting reading some japanese materials (especially mangas) ?
and which materials to start with ?

Well the higher level you are, the less time you’ll be spending looking things up, but it’s also important to have some grammar knowledge, otherwise you’ll probably have a hard time making sense of what you’re reading

But! If you feel confident enough to start, you can try to find something you’re interested in (and probably something with furigana), it makes the process more enjoyable that way – that being said, Yotsubato is a popular manga recommendation for beginners, there’s even a Yotsubato book club here on the forums

Other popular beginner manga recommendations are things like Chi’s Sweet Home, Polar Bear Cafe, Doraemon, Crayon Shinchan, etc

Maybe check out this thread as well for more info on ways to jump into reading:


I have started with よつばと! and so far so good.

I have also bought another one I don’t remember the title, which is harder…

The other day I saw in Instagram a company that sends you 3 Manga every month based on your level… maybe you can find it :slight_smile:

There’s a company called “box of manga” that does that, so maybe they are what you saw?(well, I think they send four used manga, but otherwise it sounds like what you’re describing).

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Yes! that’s it.

I also recommend this page for suggestions:


I’d also recommend that rather than waiting for a certain level, you just try to read a sample. If it’s too difficult now just check back later.

For instance, you can check out the first few pages of Yotsuba on here., or on dengeki online here.

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To be fare, the first chapter is one of the most difficult ones…

What I do, is to read it and get what I can. Then I re-read it with a dictionary. Then checking with the bookclub…

Once you are done, and because probably several weeks has passed. You just re-read it… and because you already learned so much… it’s much easier. Then you check Vol 2… and the same, but i’s easier because you are used to the story, font, style… you know more, etc…


Read anything that hits that intersection between comprehensible enough and entertaining enough to be enjoyable.

That’s a really broad criteria, but I think it’s the only one that works. Sometimes it means doing something boring but easy because you enooy that, sometimes it means doing something way too hard but it’s entertaining enough that you enjoy it anyway. You have to try to figure out what will keep you going.

But Yotsubato is always a great suggestion because it’s not suuuuper hard and it’s hilarious and charming.

Beyond that, reading anything that you’re already familiar with is useful because even if there’s a bunch of language you don’t understand, you still already know what’s going on. If you’ve read a manga in English or seen an anime that you really liked (dubbed, subbed, whatever), take a look at the manga in Japanese. A lot of the time they’re practically scene-for-scene. It lets you feel a lot less overwhelmed.


Yeah, second this - I was honestly astonished at how much the first manga I read followed the anime (well, vice versa obviously, but you know what I mean :stuck_out_tongue: ).

Also, if you buy something and find you can’t read it or it’s too boring or tedious or whatever… try, try again!

I think the more vocab you have the easier reading will become, so whatever vocab outisde WK you have will give you points here… In the end WK gives you 6000 words… which will account for roughly material at 小学 level… so don’t expect for any level at WK to get you ready for much reading… that’s mainly vocab and grammar (which later could be treated as vocab too… basically a new term to get acquainted with after you bump into it while reading) .

Mangas have the extra that they sort of “show but don’t tell” a lot of what’s happening, so you can cope with spending too much time searching for words… wich you’ll do :sweat_smile:

exactly my experience… books in the bookshelf after a disapointing first try… revisited months later, and voilà!! they are rippen and ready to be consumed :hugs:

Ditto to that… Start as high as you are able to tolerate the level of the material you’re able to read… I mean… with 500-700 words… you can’t read no native material that will be apropiate for your age (seriously… don’t even try to flip those pages on books aimed at toddlers)… so you can work on graded readers perhaps (I did that) until you reach a point where native content seem fair fight, or stoically handle the struggle to make your way too comprehension :sweat_smile:

I went the Graded Readers Way… until level 2… then picked up some basic 小学 aimed series (which you could replace with your favorite manga (I mean the ones mentioned by others here).

Reading is a skill… so just start … material you’ll find, and progressively you’ll be able adjust it to your likings as you get better at it.:+1:

I took a book out the library just a couple of days ago from the kids’ section. It has no kanji in it at all, which makes it really hard to read - is this what you mean? Otherwise though, I’m quite enjoying the challenge.

Actually I meant toddlers… like before 4-5 year old kids aimed books. I remember picking these books and be really lost both in the hiragana sea of words but more than that (which I can cope if well parsed) because of the “cute” words (うんち and such) and overpopulating onomatopoeias I found in the ones I opened…

So short as they were, they weren’t specially easy, as I was not related to that kind of speech.

Then books aimed at 小学 level use correct words and it has been easier to progress following a series. More hiragana in the earlier levels, but still well parsed and with gradually more kanji appearing those are fine.

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Ah, I see what you mean… and completely agree!

The one I picked up is 小学 level, perhaps just a bit earlier. It ought to be easy, and doesn’t have the challenges you describe with a book for toddlers, but, with no kanji to cling on to and no frame by frame pictures, it’s harder than Yotsuba, and, being a story rather than facts, harder than なぜ?どうして?. But still, something fun to read on the train!

I get what you mean. I found the format of biographies specially appealing… Something I can relate to and honestly be interested in 15-20 pages… while still having the easy wording and simple way of telling it as other kids material do.

I’m hesitant to continue with a novel after I’m done with the series… I have some 中学 level novels, but still look like such a huge gap from my current material. :sweat_smile:


I personally found Aqua/Aria to be easier than Yotsubato, but maybe that’s also because I gained a lot more experience between reading them.

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As reference, I’m following along (albeit a good bit slower than the crowd) 時をかける少女 and it is definitely doable at my level. It’s a struggle, yes, and there are a lot of grammar points I just don’t get, but I enjoy it very much, even though I’m exhausted after a couple of pages. Reading somewhere you can look up words without manually entering is a big requirement, I wouldn’t do it if there was no built in dictionary. I see myself coming back to the story and dissecting things at a later point in time.

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