When can I start consuming media?

Hello! I’ve been taking my time through WaniKani, making sure to pace my lesson completion so I can also focus on grammar via Genki + Bunpro. As I progress, what would be a good point where I can start consuming japanese media, and what would be good to start with? Particularly interested in starting with manga and perhaps handheld + classic video games, as those would be easiest to pull out while on break at work.



you can start anytime! Music, movies, dorama and anime will always be good for your listening skills, even if you use English subtitles. Because you will be listening out for grammar structures and words you can recognize. Music is good for pronunciation, because if you like a song, you’ll want to sing along.

As for genre: slice of life anime and drama will be more useful vocab wise, since they use a lot of words used in daily conversation.

look around on Netflix if you are subscribed, some shows will have japanese subtitles available, too.


Might as well start now. Check out one of the book clubs on here. Current or former are both good. Good recommendations, and people are helpful to any questions, even if you’re asking in a volume the group has long since finished.


You should start now!

There is the absolute beginner’s book club. And the graded readers club. A lvl 0 graded reader’s only requirement to read is to know your kana, ~ます form and the past tense.

If you have zero grammar knowledge it might be a little hard on the beggining to read any manga, but the bookclubs usually have vocab lists and really hold your hand with the grammar too! Good luck!


Right now.

Don’t get scared if you do not understand while consuming. In time, you’ll get more familiar. Brain solves puzzles easily when it recognizes faster. You’ll hear and read specific patterns over and over. This will help a lot later.


Tried to translate a song when i started, had my fair share of trouble, because songs a lot of times dont add as much context like movies where you can see whats going on. Hard to get it right when youre not comfortable with japanese.


Thanks all for the suggestions and info! I’ve been watching subbed anime for a while, but I’d like something in written form that I can explore while at my desk at work during downtime :slight_smile: I’ll check out some of the reading groups for sure!


Start ASAP. Like @Hyva said, song translation is good. I would suggest looking at the original lyrics of songs and translated versions so you can get a feel for it. Use them to help your pronunciation too!
One thing people don’t think of a lot is just lurking in Japanese language chatrooms on discord, or skype, or whathaveyou and trying to keep up with the conversation. Once you can keep up with it comfortably then join in.

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Bro start right away you are gonna love it. Search qooapp in android and download it japanese games only! and watch japanese youtubers, also watch anime and drama without subs or with jsubs netflix and rakuten viki!!! Also to buy japanese manga and light novels without being in japan search Renta! manga in google there you can buy manga with paypal!!

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Echoing what other said, it’s indeed good to start as soon as possible. For me, consuming media and translating it auto didactically was how I started Japanese to begin with. You mention anime. What worked for me was to take an anime I knew quite well, and started watching it raw. Because you know it well, you’ll roughly know what’s being said, while still having to attribute individual words/grammar to your intuitive translation from memory.

If you’re looking for a concrete example of something to read, check out ‘yotsubato!’ or よつばと!
Very lighthearted and easy to follow, with plenty of humour for probably all ages. It’s imo the ideal starting point. There is a book club for this manga as well, so if you don’t understand anything, just go there (even if you aren’t reading the same volume…).


I’ve struggled a lot to take my reading skills and apply it to listening. The most success I’ve had is probably watching Japanese shows with Japanese subtitles on. It ends up being a mix of listening practice and speed reading practice.


I’ve struggled with finding things that are easy enough for my level, so here are some things I found useful before jumping in into manga/anime/games:



They’re both kinda the same thing, except japanese.io is more geared towards using it on a computer, while TangoRisto is for phones. You can read the good old NHK Easy on both of them, but also the plain NHK News, various other news sorted by subject, Japanese fairy tales, classics of literature… while at the same time having a built in dictionary, difficulty options and both apps look great (to my eye at least and both have dark modes). J.io has translations that TR doesn’t have, I think, and TR has audio readings for NHK Easy that I think J.io doesn’t have, though.
Japanese.io’s selection is especially incredible. I didn’t even realize it until recently, I just clicked on the “Recommended” tab, but if you click on “Search”, you’ll se 12k+ works and a ton of filter options (you can apply multiple filters for maximum efficiency):

Terrace House is also often recommended, though it’s not an anime. It’s available with Japanese subtitles on Netflix.


You can start whenever, I’d recommend the book-clubs in this forum such as the absolute beginner book-club, as it means you can ask questions with people who are reading the same thing.

Though I don’t think I could really read much until at least level 25, maybe even 30 or 40. But everyone differs.


Similar to TangoRisto is Manabi. iOS only though. Installed it on my work phone and really liking it. Bunch of sources, though NHK Easy is the only one I’ve looked at thus far.

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I have an Android, but that’s useful for people that use iOS :+1:

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Any time, and don’t be afraid of settling for partial understanding. The only way to get better is by tackling stuff that’s too hard for you at you current level, until it doesn’t feel too hard anymore.

Whatever level you’re at, I also second the notion of turning on Japanese captions for Japanese media that’s still somewhat difficult for you. (It isn’t as good as raw listening practice then, but it can aid comprehension and help you pick up new phrases and vocab that might otherwise have flown by you. Right now I generally try watching shows without captions first, then if I feel like there’s enough I’m not picking up (high-register dialogue, fast delivery, specialized vocab, etc.), I’ll turn Japanese captions on.) This is probably more a down-the-line thing (I’m sorry; I did elementary Japanese years and years ago, and recently came back to learning it starting from a low-intermediate level, so other members can give you better ideas for what to start with at the very beginning), but … whenever you feel like you have enough vocab and grammar under your belt to not be utterly lost, give it a try.


Today I learned the word autodidactically.


My own experience is that I started pretty much immediately, knowing basically no kanji and very basic grammar/structure, and was able to struggle through real media by painstakingly looking up everything in a dictionary. So that’s one option, though it’s a pretty slow slog.

On the other hand, I suspect that if you work all the way through WK60 or a 10K Anki deck or whatever, it will still just be a slightly less slow slog to understand words and structure in a real context.

Either way, don’t get too frustrated if it seems slow at first. There really is no substitute for active practice with real material, and no way to be perfectly prepared before you start.


Personally, what gave me the biggest boost up to now was studying N4 grammar. I went from understanding around 25%-30% of what I read to something like 75%. There’s obviously a long way to go still, but it made reading so much more enjoyable.


Can I suggest following a few japanese language accounts on Instagram? I’ve found this really useful as the picture helps with the context, and it’s very easy to dip in and out of during my work day. I particularly like the suekichiiii account, which tells short stories using poseable action figures.

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