When should one jump into Satori Reader?

Title basically.

I’m what, level 8 or something right now? Going pretty well, got all the kanji basically finished so shouldn’t be long til lvl 9 and beyond. Got a ton of desk-warming time since returning to Japan to resume my ALT job, as I visited the UK for summer vacation. Didn’t do any studying there though, unfortunately. Had a ton of reviews. But, back on track now!

I’ve heard people, or more specifically Tofugu (?), say wait til lvl 10 before studying grammar, but already been through Genki I and yeah feeling pretty good. Reviewing N5 points on Bunpro. But manga absolutely kicks my butt haha! Picked up one from the absolute beginner book club and promptly felt deflated, lol.

So, I’ve heard Satori is a decent first foray into reading, is it better to just get cracking asap? Or wait until I’ll be able to recognise more kanji & vocab? Just wanted to see what others thought.



Go for it now. You might find it useful, you might not, you won’t know until you try.

Just expect to be doing a lot of look ups. Some people have no problems with this, while some people do. If you’re finding all the lookups too tiring/cumbersome, park Satori reader for a bit. Study more grammar and keep going with WK and try again in few months time once you have a bigger grasp of the language. If you find you don’t mind all the lookups, then now is the time you should jump into it.

I get there’s always a hesitation of when the best time to immerse is, and there’s a million different opinions on it too.

The thing to remember is that it’s always going to be difficult to begin with, even if you’ve got to level 60 and finished all N1 grammar and have 10k vocab words under your belt. If you’re not actually reading then it’s gonna be just as hard as someone level 20 with N4 grammar and 2k vocab words. At no point is there a line where it’s going to be easy to just begin reading, it’s a skill in itself. (this goes for speaking and listening too)

I’d just dip in now, if it’s too overwhelming you can just keep dipping your toes in further in the future as your confidence grows. Only you really know when the right time, but you’ll never discover that until you try.

The waiting to learn grammar advice is pretty terrible, imo

EDIT: I just reread and noticed you mentioned manga kicked your butt, I’d therefor have some expectation of Satori kicking your butt too.

The advantage that Satori has is WK integration (hides furigana on kanji you know), and instant look ups, plus they’re more light novel style so the grammar and vocab is going to be more ‘dictionary’ than the ‘slangish’ stuff you get in manga (depending on what manga you were reading of course).

The biggest barrier to entry is actually enjoying the content, you’ll find yourself willing to put up with more faff if it’s a story you actually want to read. I never found anything I’d want to read on Satori so have not used it, but it’s a really powerful tool.


You’re gonna hate this but your ability to read the stories on Satori are not only contingent upon your Wanikani level. I’d say you can reasonable jump into Satori reader and expect some progress after you’ve finished your first textbook. Really though, just start when you want to read. Don’t be afraid to learn words that don’t have kanji, or to (God help us all) learn a word without learning its kanji.


You did well ignoring Tofugu misguided advice about waiting to level 10 before starting studying grammar. I would say that using Satori (or any other reading resource) does not really depend on Wanikani level, but more on your grammar knowledge. I would suggest to complete Genki II as well as that would bring you approximately to JLPT N4, which is sufficient for reading simple stuff. You can always look up the occasional kanji you don’t know on simple material (although they often have furigana anyway), it is far harder to decipher content of which you don’t understand the underlying grammar.


I think that you can jump into Satori Reader at any level; the only thing you really need know before jumping – is hiragana and katakana.


Like for real, can we finally get that removed? :joy:

Erm no, at that point you’re more than fully qualifies to read manga.

In general waiting is not going to help you much if you’re only doing WaniKani. You need another resource for grammar (preferably a comprehensive textbook) and need to read in order to get better at reading. While I don’t necessarily agree with @pembo 's extreme example, even if you know a lot of words, reading will still require you to look up words mostly because of how vocab-intensive Japanese is as a language.

The best you can do is guestimate the meaning of new words if you know the kanji used in those words well, however even that’s not guaranteed.

And depending on what light novels you were reading of course :wink: . I can guarantee that light novels with a college/high school setting are going to contain quite some slang. It’s maybe not going to be “broken” Japanese like in manga, but it’s bound to be quite colloquial either way.


I was emphasising for effect, of course. The point being that you can learn everything in a vacuum and still struggle to read, it’s a skill itself that needs to be practised.


Right, but then you made this comparison

which I think is a little wild :sweat_smile: . Then again, maybe I don’t have the needed perspective anymore, since I’ve been reading stuff since a while.


Ello ello ello, you got a loicence for that manga?

You can think of it like riding a bike. Sure, if you’ve studied up on the inner working of a bike, you’re fit and can do a tightrope walk like no one else, you’re bound to have an easier time with it than a random person, but you’re not gonna get around the fact that the first time you set your cheeks on that gorgeous pleather, it’s gonna be awkward!


I’ve written a lot about Satori and you can see which series I’ve read here. I’m a huge fan because it’s helped me so dramatically in the last year and I love their new content.

I’d say if you start after N5 grammar (genki I) then it’s going to be tough but doable, and you’ll want to / have to focus on the less exciting series like the beginner grammar series and Sakura and Suzuki. That Sakura and Suzuki story is what enabled me to read manga, because I learned a lot of short forms and slang from it.

Once you get a bit stronger grammar and more vocab, say N4 (Genki II), then the narrative stories (especially the newer ones that show up at the top of their series list) become more approachable. I really love the two newest beginner stories Kiki Mimi Radio and Jam Maker. They are constantly putting out new content and in the last year the interest level has dramatically improved, especially for the intermediate and advanced content.

I’d say just start with the free version to see if you like it at all. Make sure you link up your WK API so it removes furigana for kanji you know. Then subscribe for a month, if you still like it after that do a year. If after a month it’s a big struggle or you haven’t found a series that you’re consistently working your way through by then, then try it later or try something else (e.g., graded readers).


Unfortunately, I only have a loincloth :frowning: .

I understand the comparison, but legit if someone knows 10+k vocabulary + level 60 kanji + N1 grammar, I feel like that person would be able to reason out stuff in manga way easier than a level 20 + N4 grammar + 2k vocab (which honestly is not a lot). Unless they were studying grammar and vocab with apps only, in complete vacuum from actual sentences. If they were using proper textbooks I don’t see a problem.


I think the biggest hurdles for someone who knows a lot of vocabulary and a lot of “textbook grammar” but doesn’t have a lot of experience with reading are things like

  • Idiomatic phrases (気にする、気になる、気をつけるなどなど)
  • Dialect
  • Casual speech forms (ちゃう・ちゃった、しなきゃ、すげえ)

And manga are really much harder to jump into than a lot of people assume, because of how much of all of these they have!

Now, most of these things, you can study, if you know that you need to study them. You can read one of the books that tries to teach Japanese through manga. I think the really tricky bit is having a basic intuition for the way that sentences are put together. That’s something that you can really only get from reading and listening.


I have difficulty with the idea that you could get to that level in vocab and grammar without doing any reading (or lots of speaking and listening). Memorizing words and grammar only works up to a certain point and as a base for actually using and encountering the language. I don’t think it would be possible to proceed that far down an “abstract learning of facts” path and retain all of it…


I mean, it’s not unheard of to just learn all the words in a language and still not speak it.

But everyone seems to be missing my point, exaggeration or not.


Don’t worry pembo I understood your point. I think. Words mean what they mean in context and the only way to get truly comfortable with reading is to actually read and even then there are domains we will be more comfortable reading in and domains we’ll be less comfortable reading in, depending on our background.

1 Like

I recall a Level 60 post (+ speed run) of barely knowing any grammar. Not even failing at learning grammar, but just not yet. Some people just can do it.

Not sure about grammar part. For example, not sure if someone can speed run Bunpro, like no staggering building blocks, and no mnemonics.


Thanks for all the responses everyone!
I have a copy of Genki II that I’ve been a bit nervous to jump into lol but I’ll crack on with that and try out the free version of Satori to try having a go at some reading.

Yep this is true for the reasons you mentioned! Lots feels kinda random at first but I’m looking forward to getting it figured out. I’ll look for resources that specifically teach that stuff when the time comes!

Thanks for the specific recommendation, I’ll be sure to check it out and report back :stuck_out_tongue:

Pretty funny how much everyone hates on the ‘Wait til level 10 advice’ lmao. Thought it was a little bizarre when I read that.

Thanks again you guys are awesome. Inspiring. Unwavering in your quest to learn Japanese and aid newbies such as myself. Godspeed.


In my experience, Satori Reader is best utilized after you complete N4 grammar. I tried after completing Genki 1, had to look up every other word, got disheartened, and put it on hold. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. But I picked it up again after completing Genki 2, completed their Nutshell Grammar series, and now I’m getting a lot more use out of it. But if you have the willpower to persevere despite having to look up every other word, more power to you.

If you struggle with manga, you could try graded readers, children’s stories, or NHK Easy News. That’s what I read around your level.


It depends what your trying to get out of it. I used it for a short bit and found it a good way to get started reading and get that “Look! No hands!” feeling, but once you can read its not that fun or interesting.

1 Like

I totally agree with this. I found Satori Reader the most enjoyable after completing N4 grammar. After completing some stories on the application, jumping into manga was also less stressful and more enjoyable too.