What to start reading (with samples) with my current level?

Hi all!


I have been focusing on JUST learning kanji and vocabulary since last July, as I only have so much time per day.

In parallel I have been going slowly through Human Japanese and Tae Kim. I can “read” and “understand” a lot of the samples, but I would like to force myself to read something in full japanese BUT…that is also kinda mapped to my current kanji level (should be 13 in the next couple of days, so still a beginner), and that is also “cool” to read through.

Could you share some beginner samples of “interesting” reading material? (Hiragana + N5-N4 Kanji?) It can be regular reading, or manga, whatever you feel is easier.

I tried to test my current status in anime but while I can recognize phrases and vocabulary and a lot of the grammar structure, I get lost EASILY. So I would like to start by reading a lot more before bed each day…

Thanks in advance!


I feel like stuff from the absolute beginner book club might be what you are looking for?

You could have a look at their past books too. In particular
Book 3 | しろくまカフェ
Book 4 | チーズスイートホーム
Book 5 | 結婚しても愛して

I don’t know what counts as “‘cool’ to read through”, but those look reasonable. Plus, the club has a ton of vocabulary and grammar explanations to help you through those.


Thank you! Didn’t know this was a thing.

Are there any options that I could attempt (read) for free before purchasing those recommended ones?

I was thinking like maybe some folk tale or fairy tales with pictures and some kanji thrown in alongside the hiragana (don’t know if this actually exists).

Yes. If you follow any of the links, you will find somewhere below the picture of the book links to where you can find those books. Amazon.jp and eBookJapan have free samples (試し読み)

Book 5 started as a webcomic, so that version is completely free anyway. I don’t know if there’s any difference between the webcomic and published version.

Fairy tales aren’t such a good idea, as they are quite hard to read for beginners. They tend to use grammar that isn’t in use in common language, relegating them to N2 or N1.

I remember there was a thread about reading kid stories, though.


Thank you! I will start with that particular one :slight_smile:

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Update: just being able to read “試し読み” in your picture “Try-read, read trial or something” is … such a great feeling! Thanks again!


I just read daily web-manga (ツイ4 | 最前線). 1 page a day for each series so not a huge commitment.

This one is very beginner friendly:

So is this:

But browse through them yourself and see what catches your eye. I’ve been reading these for years daily and it’s a big part of what helped me reach fluency.


Thank you! I honestly have no “sources”, that’s why I opened this thread. Your links are very helpful and I will definitely attempt to go through all of them!

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There’s also a bookclub for graded readers and parallel texts! If you find the manga and books in the absolute beginner bookclub too difficult, graded readers are a really nice first step into reading, since they’re scaled for foreign learners.


There are a number of free graded readers here:


Thank you so much! This is really helpful!

Thank you as always @athomasm, I will review all options and start with the easier ones.

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Yeah, you’re welcome. Some may be too simple depending on your grammar and vocabulary level, but they are at least a good way to dip your toe into reading.

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Matcha Travel Magazine has an Easy Japanese section that has a bunch of short articles. I like that they sometimes explain more complicated Japanese words in simpler Japanese right after the word occurs.

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Ah well, that one’s easy:

You’re probably largely after the section in the sidebar under まいにちの昔話 (daily stories):

・日本の昔話 = Japanese fairy tales
・世界の昔話 = international fairy tales
・日本の民話 = Japanese folk tales
・イソップ童話 = Aesop’s fables
・江戸小話 = Edo comical stories
・百物語 = Ghost stories



Thank you I will go through these during the weekend. I’m excited!

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On amazon uk you can look at the first few pages of this and it’s really cheap to buy. Big simple kanji without furigana. It was one of the first things that I felt like I could properly read

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Love it, thank you!

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I have been going through this, this is pretty much what I had in mind (simple pictures, simple words, simple grammar) and it has been a bit rough at first but I’m “getting it”.

Thank you again!

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If you’re having troubles finding books, and don’t mind reading ebooks, I suggest signing up for an amazon.co.jp account and either buying individual Kindle books there, or signing up for Kindle Unlimited. There’s no shortage of things to read, at all levels, using that approach.

Signing up for an amazon.co.jp account is pretty simple – Amazon already has an English UI for their Japanese site, and you just need to provide any Japanese address (e.g. use a hotel address or something).

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