When to start reading


So i’ve been keeping a pace of a lesson every 8 days or less and was wondering when I should start reading stuff to reinforce vocabulary and kanji. I would probably start getting lazy with the vocab lessons in the levels 20 in 2 months and feel like reading would be rewarding. What do you guys suggest for reading practice when I hit close to lvl 20?

Also, is it normal to to get like 40 vocab lessons from the previous level when you level up?




You should be able to read something like NHK Easy as early as level 10. You will probably need to look up a lot of words, but don’t let that discourage you.


you can start reading whenever you want, but you’ll have to look up a lot of new kanji while doing so. its slow and a bit frustrating at first, but it’ll be easier to learn those kanji later on with wanikani.
for me the news didn’t work so im reading light novels (kino no tabi is a great start). you can purchase them on line and read on your computer or mobile (the chepest solution i found).

and yes, its nornal (you level up when enough kanji is guru level, and new vocab is tought with at least guru level kanji).


Good answer, mate


Good comment, mate


It’s really dependent on your grammar knowledge. If you want to comprehend what you’re reading, having a strong foundation of basic grammar is a must. If you feel that you have this foundation, then as Heiopei said, you could be able to manage NHK Easy with the help of a dictionary. In the end, you’re going to have to take the dive and see what you can do to best gauge your ability.

EDIT: Error correction


Thanks everyone for the great info


What’s wrong with his comment?

@Leebo I don’t want this to come off wrong, or start something but sometimes you sound like a Elitist jerk. Everyone is not you, and I can’t see a problem with his question? Why do you put energy into answering people in this fashion, instead of just moving along with your day? I don’t want to sound disrespectful or anything, but I have seen you acting like a elitist jerk more and more recently :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t think he was being sarcastic


Well since he answered in the same fashion as the OP it smells sarcasm from a miles away. I could be wrong though :slight_smile:


How is this a response you have an issue with? The best time to start reading is whenever you can, and saying “yesterday” is just a way people say that. It doesn’t take much explanation. Are you suggesting he thought I had a problem with his question?

This is pretty low on my “jerk” posts.

Also, “more and more”? I’ve been a jerk since before I signed up for WK.


Really, the earlier you start to read, the sooner your going to get through the wall of not knowing how to read and the large number of unfamiliar vocabulary. As long as you have some basis of grammar and vocabulary, there isn’t really any reason to hold off on reading.

As for recommendations on where to start, a lot of people seem to suggest NHK easy news. My only issue with that is that I don’t think Japanese news is written in a very interesting way, so that might be boring to start off with. Personally, I started manga and moved my way up to short stories and lighter level fiction, which are things I found interesting. Really, the biggest thing with starting to read is to find something that your interested in and keep with it as you go along.


I started using NHK easy recently and it’s honestly been awesome. I wanted to start a few months ago as well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually read an article. So recently I did and I try to read around 3 articles everyday while keeping a list of words I had to look up, and I notice it becomes easier to read every single day. It’s amazing, I feel way more motivated because I really feel like I’m improving. NHK easy has short articles with audio attached (not sure if anyone mentioned this) so it’s just perfect to be honest!


As others were saying, grammar is just as important as kanji knowledge. Even if you didn’t know any kanji, you could start reading children’s books. There are a number of Japanese kids’ books that are free on Amazon Kindle (there’s a free reading app; you don’t have to have a Kindle device).

On a side note, I just noticed that Kindle has a “Loan this book” feature! Has anyone tried it?


I will try the NHK since many recommend it. Do you mind me asking on what kind of level you are on grammar? Im halfway through genki 2 and know the material pretty well. I feel kinda reluctant since I want to master the basic grammar in the two books first but will try and read.

I will refrain from posting in the future since that just brings people that assume you should know everything. I have found that im better off just going at a pace im comfortable with and not worry too much about how fast or slow others progress in their learning.

Thanks for all the answers and see you at the finish :slight_smile:
England is not my city btw


You should try NHK easy and maybe graded readers at your level. At around level 20-25, you can start reading easy light novel-web novels like kuma kuma bear. For complicated light novels, its better to wait until you are 40-45+. I’m currently reading Rakuin no Monshou as well as Mahouka, but I still stumble upon some kanji and a decent amount of vocab that I do not know, especially in Rakuin no Monshou. I’ll post a random page here from some easy and hard ones, so you can look at which kanji are in which level and a get a rough idea of a level required to read them. Also if you don’t have the grammar to back up your kanji+vocab knowledge, you won’t be able to read most light novels. As for learning grammar, rather than going through textbooks, I personally just read as much as I can and if come across an unknown grammar concept, I learn it.

An easy one , Kuma kuma bear page :

睡眠? 睡眠はちゃんと八時間とっているよ。

Page from a mid level light novel, omae wo otaku :


A page from Rakuin no Monshou :

The text from that page :

た戦士その人にまちがいないが、いまやその象徴たる仮面はおびただしいひび割れを走らせ、 左側の上半分などほとんど吹き飛んでいる。しかし素肌の色は見えない。あふれる血のりが覆 いつくしているのだつた。

「オル、'ハ、オルパ。しつかりするんだ。こんなところで倒れるきみじやないだろう] 彼の乗せられた荷車と併走するように、シークとギリアムが裏路地を駆けている。シークは

さっきからしきりにオルバの身体に触れ、揺り起こそうとしていた。ギリアムが何べんも、 「いまは触れないほうがいい」

と押しとどめ、シークもその都度従うのだが、また数秒も経たないうちに同じことをくりか えすのだった。

がはっ、とオルパがそのとき咳き込んだ。口をまるで糊のように固めかけていた血の泡が辺 りに散る。「オルパ!」となおもシ-クがその名を呼んだ。

返事はない。息はあっても、意識が途絶えかけているのだろう。激しく、しかし時に弱々し く波打つ彼の胸を見て、シークが息を呑んだ。

——昨夜、突如として国境を越えてきたメフィウス軍を、タウーリアは都市部に残されたわ ずかな兵力、そのほぼすべてをもって迎え擊った。オルパたち傭兵隊も当然参加させられた。 それも、ボーワンの判断によって作戦の中枢ともいえる部署を任せられたのだ。


A page from mahouka :

Text from that page :



通りの角から「全員、動くな!」という警官の声が聞こぇる。全てが終わつてから来るなど 役に立たない、とは思わなかつた。少なくとも、達也は。

彼は左右の街路樹を見て眉を颦め、背後を振り返って狂信者たちの惨状に軽いため息を吐い た。警官が巻き添えにならなくて良かったというのが、達也の偽らざる感想だ。魔法科高校最 寄りの交番に配属される警—は全員が格闘訓練を積んだ魔法師だが、第一高校駅前交番の警 官が今のSB魔法を防御、あるいは無害化できたかというと、かなり疑わしかつた。

達也は「動くな」という警告に従い、その場にじっと立っていた。今は、動く必要が無い。 データを追いかけるのに身体を動かす必要は無い。

必要な情報は剌青"敵魔法師の術式媒体を分解した際に読み取っている。達也は情報の次元 で敵の足取りを追いかけていた。

魔法の効果は既に切れているが、術者と直接接触し魔法を中継した人間がすぐ近くに転がっ ている。魔法発動時点との時間的距離の近接と、魔法発動の媒体との空間的距離の近接。そし て達也自身が魔法の標的になったという因果的距離の近接。

これだけの材料が揃つていて、術式そのものに関する情報も手元にあるとなれば、その主、 即ち魔法師本人の情報を追いかけるのは達也にとつて困難なことではない。


Seriously? You really had an issue with my post? Start reading. You don’t need our permission.


Well, to be fair dude. Commenting “yesterday” is not really a constructive way of saying that, If you can’t see that then wow. You are right, it doesn’t take much explanation but do you think such a comment will be well-recieved to a person that is asking for help/looking for guidance?

My main issue is, what’s the point of puting energy into answering topics like this if that’s all you have to say?
I understand you want to build up some sort of persona, but my main question still stands:
What do you get from acting this way? I sincerely can’t understand the thought-process that’s put into this.
Do you like coming off as a jerk? Do you feel better about yourself brushing off new learners since you are so much better in the language?

Like you said, this is pretty low on your “jerk” posts, but why do you find the need to be a jerk towards people for no particular reason? What goal do you have in mind?

And once again, you have been a jerk since you started WK, but why?
Do you feel great recieving attention even if It’s seen as negative? I don’t understand, please enlighten me.
I’m sure people find your attitude to be a cool thing too, but if it potentially makes newcomers to this site feel unwelcome, then me (and I’m sure many other people) will have a real problem with it.

This is not the first time you have acted like this, and I’m sure it will not be the last.
And this particular post have nothing to do with it, it’s just that It’s a regular behaviour from your side.
Many other times I think you sound like a decent guy, and have a lot of great input.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but please give me some insight towards why you put precious time into answering like this.


I felt the same way when I began studying Japanese; I could not wait to begin reading news and fiction. The following suggestions will be based on my own decade long experience with Japanese, and you should feel free to adjust these recommendations to suit your personality and abilities.

To comprehend written Japanese, whether it be news or fiction, you will need a firm grasp of basic Japanese grammar. What I mean by this is that you should probably be finished with Genki I and II or the minna no nihongo series or whatever online resources are equivalent to the topics covered in the above texts. There will be no way around it. Sentences lack meaning if you cannot determine the relations between words contained therein.

Knowledge of kanji is helpful but not required. Rikaichan can aid in reading newspapers and will help familiarize unknown kanji that commonly appear in them. Try reading articles on asahi shimbun (more liberal) or yomiuri shimbun (conservative).

I think the best recommendation for fiction will be short stories. One author who is perfectly suited to this task is hoshi shinichi. His short short fiction collection ‘ボコちゃん’ is filled with entertaining and surprising stories that average 3 or 4 pages in length each. Though these stories may contain some ikkai level jlpt words, you should be able to use a dictionary to finish one story per day in a reasonable amount of time.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your time reading Japanese. I couldn’t wait to start either.