What novels (not manga) could i start reading to learn grammar?

The ニャンニャン探偵団 on the absolute beginners book club!

There are also the 十分読める. These are the easiest actual books that I could find. But to me this only became actually readable after I was done with all n5 and n4 grammar. And by readable I mean that I still have to look stuff up but at least is mostly just vocabulary.

Or you could do something like Read Real Japanese they do a side by side translation of the text with explanations. But this one is recommended to Intermediate learners.

I don’t know how far you are into your studies, but a graded reader might suit your purposes better. They use limited grammar/vocab and increase the complexity of the text at each level. That way you won’t be flooded you with 50-100 new things to learn in a single text.

When you can read a lvl 3 graded reader with no problem, then you could move on to those first two books.

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The simplest book I can think of is 魔女の宅急便 (The Witch’s Delivery Service)

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Honestly, I don’t even read Japanese full-fledged novels that I have to purchase or pay money for. I simply just hop onto Novel Updates and look for books with ‘Web Novel’ tag on them and then look for the titles on google. Usually, the original version (Japanese version) is on syosetu, while the English version is already up there on the Novel Updates’ page.

The method I’m using to learn them with is:

  1. I look at the recommended titles on Novel Updates (I usually look for completed slice-of-life novels, but you do you)
  2. I check whether it’s a Web Novel or not, if it is then I’ll just look for the Japanese title at syosetu or just google ‘(Japanese title) syosetu’
  3. I click at the link and then copy and paste the whole text on japanese.io and read the whole novel there. It’s got so many useful features, ranging from a built-in dictionary and furigana reader. It also explains grammar points sometimes.

Right now, I’m reading a slice-of-life romance web novel called 妻を殺してもバレない確率 (The Probability of Killing My Wife Without Getting Found Out).

My advice: just read whatever interests you. If it suits your Japanese level but doesn’t interest you in the slightest, then it’d only be painful to read it. It’s better to read something slightly too advanced for your level as long it keeps you hooked until the end.

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I was going to recommend this one too. It’s a great first novel for beginners!

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I mean, I second people’s suggestion to check out the Absolute Beginners’ Club if you want the intersection of ‘super simple’ and ‘an actual book’. Of the seven items currently listed in the OP, four are books, so I don’t think it’s accurate to say most of them are manga!

If those are too simple for you, look at the Beginners’ Club. This is mostly manga, but the books we have read are almost certainly going to align with whatever other recommendations you get from people. I would say that 銭天堂 (Zenitendou) is by far the easiest book we’ve attempted.

If these are all too difficult, you’re going to have to look at other sources such as graded readers, bilingual texts, Satori Reader, etc. You could also go on FloFlo and pick out a book with a low unique word count. Books published by Aoitori are usually on the simpler end of the spectrum.

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Seconding this. I’m trying to finish a textbook (all reading sections of Tobira plus grammar exercises) right now, and while it was on a slightly easier side than my level, it was painfully boring to read. While when I was reading a manga (slightly above my level) where I needed to know what would happen next no matter what, I didn’t mind looking up at the dictionary. Of course, there’s still the delicate balance between what interests you and your level of Japanese comprehension/grammar. If you’re a total beginner, I’d say stick with graded readers and children’s books. I started with NHK News Easy and when I got bored, I tried children’s books. Then actual manga with furigana and few balloons. Now, I can read some mangas without furigana. I’m on my way to novels.

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oh, i apologize then! i haven’t really been much around the community section of wanikani so im still getting used to how everything works, i will have another look at it more carefully, thanks!

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Yeah, i see your point; i will try to read some manga and see how it goes, at the end of the day they are much easier to find for free than the actual novels, and practice is always good!

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thanks! i will have a look at it!

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my idea was to pull out a grammar book i have while i was reading something, because studying grammar on its own its really painful for me, and i think doing it while reading something will help me understand everything better + i will be able to learn some more vocabulary. I will definitely give manga a try, you guys convinced me!

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i will have that in mind, i think i should be more familiar with how the grammar works before start with actual books, thanks for your help!

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i will definitely have a loot at that one, thanks!

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thanks for the links, i will check them out!

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i will, im not really familiar with the community section of wanikani, i have to take some more time checking out the absolutely beginners club because it seems like an amazing tool to use!

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also, any manga recommendation you have? the simplest the better :sweat_smile:

I think this reply needs to be stickied somewhere. I am so going to use this process, thank you!

Edit: within 5 minutes I’m already reading an interesting novel, with instant access to all the furigana and word meaning if I need them. Brilliant.

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@VoidWalker89 You might want to check out the quote functionality on the forums. It’s okay to sometimes reply multiple times in a row, but 9 is excessive.


On topic, I’d definitely recommend studying all N5 and some key N4 grammar before trying to read. As @jacobalbano said, reading without at least some base understanding of grammar is likely to just be an exercise in frustration.

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I’d suggest hitting up the book clubs first, since having people to read along with and ask questions can help:


There are several manga listed in there already, and people kind enough to make vocab lists too! Definitely take advantage of it if you can :smiley:

If you can manage to squeeze in some grammar studies, like others mentioned, it will make things easier. Even just getting down N5 grammar first will give you a huge boost. (N4 is where the difference really starts when it comes to reading though.) Doesn’t hurt to try, and if it doesn’t fully work out, jump back to your old method. :slight_smile:

Best of luck!

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Flying Witch is a series I like a lot (the beginner club has read some of it, so you could look at the thread there). The grammar is pretty simple but a couple of the characters use tsugaru dialect, which can be tough to read – fortunately it doesn’t happen often and when it does, the joke is that the main character can’t understand them either.

Yuru Camp is good, but doesn’t have furigana – fortunately the beginner book club is starting to read it pretty soon, and it has a vocabulary list.

Yotsuba&! is a common recommendation for new readers (it was my first manga). There’s a reading club devoted to that series so I’m sure you could find a lot of good info in there.

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ohhhh i see, i had no idea this was a thing, thanks for the tip, and sorry about the load of comments, but i didnt want it to seem like i didnt care whether people commented on my post or not, so i just thanked everyone, again, no idea this existed!

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