When What and How


Wow such a great response to this question thank you all very much!. I got my self harry potter and the philosophers stone in Japanese yesterday and was feeling like I might have bit of more then I could chew, but with all the great feed back i’m sure if i work hard and study my grammar as well I’ll get there some day i would love to join the book club on here at some point and i feel like this has taken me one step closer

thanks again everyone :slight_smile:


@rodriogowaick thanks for the suggestions!


Like @Dadung mentioned, I also wanted to be able to read as soon as possible. However, you are better off studying lots of grammar and vocabulary before moving on to reading in kanji. It’s okay to learn a word without learning the kanji first! In fact, when you learn a kanji later, it will make the pronunciation easier to remember, because it’s a word you already know.

I’m not really at a level where I can read NHK EZ (currently 11), but I do visit from time to time to skim the headlines (and usually end up looking up a couple kanji in Jisho). Even though my primary language goal is reading, I’ve come to recognize that I need to know the language before learning kanji is useful to me (though I have heard of people who can hardly speak a lick of Japanese, but can read simply by knowing the kanji. Crazy!)

Also there are some great resources in this thread! Wow!


I will now add a little bit, because of the experiences I was able to make due to @NathaLire and @rodrigowaick. (Thank you again :smiley: ) I was just reading a whole article again (about dashcams whose batteries caught fire) and was able to read the whole article with only having to add about 10 words to my anki-deck. I was still struggling with grammar and getting the meaning out of more complex sentences in the beginning, but was able to recognize patterns during the read and in the end understand most details and not only the rough outline.

So to come back to the original question of @Angelic : You will need some grammar and idea of the language, for example ある/いる and a slight grasp on verb conjugation aswell as some common non Kanji vocab, but you will not need that much of your wani-kani vocab, maybe not even level 10, to begin reading. It takes some time though, with looking up wwords and trying to figure out the meaning of sentences it took more than 10 minutes to get through the article that takes less than 1:30 in the audio. But I guess that is a point in your studies that has a tremendous effect and will bring you way more of that grasp on the language I was describing in my first post.

So the essence is: Go to NHK-easy, whenever you feel like it, DON’T get shocked and demotivated like I did my first time, look for a non-political article, as they are probably easier and take the time to fight through the whole article :smiley: (be sure to do some grammar before that though, WaniKani is good for kanji, but without grammar all those kanji are worth nothing.)


Yessss congratulations :smiley: thank you for sharing your experiences and have fun reading more and more in Japanese!


I forgot to mention this, but the third-party app WaniKani Statistics ([STATS] Statistics site) actually estimates how much kanji you can recognize from certain sources based on your WK level. Just toggle to the charts tab, then “Reading”. For me, at level 11, I should be able to recognize ~68% of kanji in NHK EZ. Pretty cool!


this is great thank you for the update makes it seem less hopeless :slight_smile:


Have you got onto PIBO yet? It’s a Japanese picture book app that has about 300 free books, each read aloud by a native speaker. I wanted to start reading as soon as possible and even though I’m only a lowly level 5, I learn a lot each session! The stories are cute and the illustrations are very high quality, so it’s also a lot of fun and keeps me coming back. At this level, the grammar is simple so I start to pick up patterns pretty quickly. Maybe most important though is, because it’s so enjoyable, I’m forming a solid daily reading habit, which I can use to move onto more advanced material as I progress. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pibo-japanese-picture-books/id765195011?mt=8


a very cool app I have it on my tablet and I have a go at it before bed, I saw it in Micheal’s how I learn Japanese article I have been using it for about a week now very cool for beginners :slight_smile: (Corny high Five for being app buddies )


Wow, that is quite impressive! Thank you for sharing. When I pick up Manga one of my main problems is words that are not written in kanji.
And most of the time I can’t look them up online, because they are either some informal grammar ending or a slang word. And exspecially in Manga almost every speech bundle has one.
How did you deal with those?


Woop woop! :ping_pong:


When I started? Mostly bugging my Japanese buddies all too much or just ignoring them. But that isn’t really very helpful.

After I got my head on a bit more straight with the reading thing, I broke terminology into three different parts. First was just standard vocabulary and grammar. For that, I used a English - Japanese Dictionary. I have a couple physical ones along with using jisho.org a lot. I had similar issues with limitations of what was in said dictionaries until I ultimately started using a Japanese - Japanese dictionary. That solved a lot of the issues I had with not being able to find words. For that, https://kotobank.jp/ and http://nlt.tsukuba.lagoinst.info/search/ were super helpful when I started. Apple’s native dictionary is also really good. Also, just googling 「言葉意味」 would sometimes work too. If that didn’t work, but if I knew a synonym of the word, I would just google something along the lines of 「A言葉とB言葉は何が違う」and that would often bring up what I was looking for. If none of that worked, then I would bug my Japanese friends, and they were always supper helpful.

The second thing that often came up was slang and accent stuff. For that, the first thing I would try to do is identify the speech level/ type of accent. If I could figure out that out, then I could just google something like. 「何弁、言葉、意味」and that would often find it. If that didn’t work, I would either bug my Japanese friends or other Japanese learners. To be perfectly honest, senior Japanese language learners where probably more helpful with things like that, especially if they studied in that area in the past.

Finally are names and made up words. I would try to look these up if I could, but if not I would just self define them in my head and try to brute force my way through them. I figured this one out after talking to an acquaintance who was trying to read Harry Potter in English and was having a hard time with all the made up words in that book.

That’s just a quick once over on everything, let me know if there is something you want me to expand on or go over. I’m not really that great at most of Japanese, but I do a lot of reading and am always happy to help.


Thank you for that detailed answer. I’ll make sure to give those tips a try, and if I should have any more questions I’ll try to reach out to you again, if you don’t mind.


Started reading SRW J on the GBA, so mediocre graphics and squished kanji. This is my first real attempt to read something and it is actually going remarkably well! It’s slow but every sentence is a victory.

Gotta start somewhere, I figure the earlier I start reading things in the wild, the better. Even if I don’t achieve full understanding, just the experience of trying to translate stuff should pay off in the future.

So When is level 6, What is outdated japanese strategy rpgs about giant robots, and How is lots and lots of jisho.org.


What is this


Super Robot Wars J, on the Game Boy Advance

Sorry, in my first version of that post I actually wrote that out. Forgot to do that the second time around.


lol thanks :slight_smile: That sounds like a fun way to read!!


Wen Watt and Howe sounds like a legal firm.


Don’t mind at all, always happy to help.


My high school had a Japanese program so I started reading manga long before I ever started using WaniKani. I started reading manga in Japanese around my senior year of high school. I think the key is to find something you enjoy reading, whether that is a favorite manga, novel, etc. The first manga I read was Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden by Watase Yu. That manga is one of my all time favorites so I was highly motivated to keep reading even when I didn’t understand everything 100%.
When I read it, I would take note of what parts I didn’t understand and ask my Japanese friends to explain to me what they meant. In addition, I also bought the English version of the manga and would compare my unofficial translations with the official English version.
Honestly for me kanji has never been much of a deterrent for reading anything. I can look up an unknown kanji or word easily enough. If I have trouble understanding what I’m reading, 90% of the time it’s because of the grammar used in the sentence. So, my advice would be to make sure you have a good grasp of Japanese grammar before you try to delve too deep into Japanese literature.