When to Read Yotsubato

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on here. As my profile probably gives away I’m currently on Level 7 expecting to hit level 8 in the next two days.

I picked up the first volume of Yotsubato yesterday after having every few weeks read some pages of it online. I wanted to change my routine up a bit… While I do feel that I understand way more compared to my initial attempt a few levels back I’d still say that 50% of the words used I’m forced to look up. Ideally I wished that only 20% would be needed to look up (I know patience).

For those who’ve read the manga, at what level do you think I need to be on WaniKani to feel like I’ve got enough of a vocabulary to read it with a bit more ease. I should also say that I am also using anki core 2 deck as well, introducing 20 new words a day.


Read it any time. Join the Yotsubato Reading Club as you do so. :smiley:



I’d say it’s fine to start reading any time. There’s vocabulary packs for the first two volumes to make reading much more smooth.

The tough thing about Yotsuba is the slang. Watching lots of anime or being aware of how Japanese speakers shorten words helps a lot. It can also help to study grammar; knowing the N4 grammar points (Tae Kim helps a lot here) should be enough.

1 Like

Sorry to sound like a total noob, but these vocabulary packs are they on anki? Where could I find them?

It is kind of nice seeing words recently introduced in level 7 pop up in the opening chapter even though they are fairly basic, I still felt good picking up stuff like 高校 and 夏休み.

On a side note being level 27 do you feel like you’ve covered most of the vocabulary that can be found in Yotsubato?

The reading club links to them. The prior discussions can help guide you over any points of confusion, and we can also answer any new questions you may have.

As for vocab, I think it’ll vary by person. Using solely WaniKani vocab, I doubt I would get everything in Yotsuba. I’m supplementing WaniKani with other sources like HouHou, BunPro, and a JLPT SRS flashcard app. I’m in the first 3rd of the N3 words and grammar and would say I look up about 10-15 words per chapter.

1 Like

No matter what you’re reading, the best time to start reading it is now. This is of course under the assumption you have at least a basic grasp of grammar. If you keep putting it off, no matter how much more you understand, in your head you will go “but I still don’t understand this this yet” and keep putting it off. Just dive right in, if there’s a lot of words you have to look up, that’s fine. Take it slow, add the unknown words to an anki deck or something to help remember them better, and as you progress more and more you might even find it gets easier as you go along.
I have so much Japanese material that I’ve just barely started because all the new stuff scared me. I just recently realized myself I have to just brace myself and go for it if I really want to learn from the material.


You can read the first few pages on amazon.jp (https://www.amazon.co.jp/よつばと-1-電撃コミックス-あずま-きよひこ/dp/4048690663)

When you feel OK reading those you can take the plunge and read the rest!

1 Like

I started reading manga when I was around N4 (that should be equivalent to lvl 16 on WK, I think? At least if you study grammar along)

I mostly focused on stuff that I really liked, so I was really motivated to understand what was going on. I had to look up a lot of words at first, but the number of new words past the first volume decreases considerably and you get context to help you.
My point is that I agree with the previous posters that starting right now is the best. It will be hard at first, but it will get better.
And, indeed, if you go with Yotsuba, people on the forum can help you.


It will feel like advertising, but for a beginner (and also not-so-beginners), I really recommend starting with Satori Reader.

Although people recommend Yotsubato as beginner level reading, it’s not THAT easy. In fact, I don’t think any manga is really beginner friendly, since they all contain a good dose of slang, contractions, and other linguistic traps that are not gramatically correct.

Having to stop every other word to look for them in a dictionary is also very time-consuming and exhausting (or worse, sometimes not even being sure of what word to look for because some gramatical rules change the word so much that if you don’t know it, you can’t tell the dictionary-form of that word). And even if you understand all of the words, if you don’t know the grammar it uses, sometimes the phrase still doesn’t make sense.

On Satori Reader the meanings and explanations of words and expressions are a click away, being much less time-consuming. Every phrase also has a complete translation, so you can see if what you understood from that phrase is what is really means.

Getting into “pure native” content is important, but for a beginner, I think it’s more helpful to use content made for foreigners than using too much energy on understanding very little and quitting because of frustration.


Pre-study the vocab using the links already mentioned above. This way, you’ll know them already during your reading. Follow the conversation on the yotsubato discussion thread. It will help you a lot :slight_smile: So yeah, it’s possible to read it now.


I think it depends on you. I’m on level 4 but I picked up yotsubato and love it so far. I only had 1-2 vocab words I needed to pick up per chapter, but I do have an okay vocab and can read children’s books without any problems. I noticed that it does contain a lot of slang, which might not be a problem if you are used to watching anime/J dramas/speak Japanese.

I haven’t tried Satori Reader, but I agree that it should be good practice no matter what level you’re on.

If you prefer something good for beginners (and doesn’t require login), then reading NHK Easy News via the TangoRisto app is easy since you can tap to reveal readings and meanings. TangoRisto is easier than Yotsuba, especially if you’re unused to seeing slang.

thank for the suggestion, seems like a great resource

Thank you for everyone for the suggestions. I downloaded the anki deck and ran through the first 150 words during this past week. I told myself to only read Yotsuba every Sunday, hoping to see a more noticeable improvement in kanji recognition and vocabulary from the week gone.

I picked up Yotsuba and read 30 pages today. Definitely agree that once you get past the first chapter it gets easier. It was a much better experience, probably due to the added vocabulary from anki. However I also think a lot of key vocabulary used in the manga so far came up in Lvl 7 and 8 which I just completed this week. Overall, I felt immensely proud when I would go three pages or so without having to look up any words or sentences.

I’ll let you guys know how I go later on!


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.