Learning Japanese- When Manga is Your Textbook



Manga is a surprisingly good textbook for those who are too lazy to study but are really up for learning Japanese. It’s like a picture book, easy to read, but with plot lines and characters that can compare to actual novels. It’s great to help you get used to reading Japanese and get used to Japanese speech as well. But only that. It should be used as a stepping stone to actual Japanese books.

We foreigners are actually really lucky because we get praised for being able to read Japanese manga, when Japanese students are scolded for reading too much manga. You all know what I mean.

I, personally, LOVE shoujo manga, and I use it when I’m too lazy to study Hiragana and Katakana on Anki. I’ve improved a lot thanks to Anki, though, since I can almost read all manga (thanks to all the little hiragana next to the kanji). It does also help that I’m Chinese and can guess when it comes to Kanji (Japanese Kanji meanings are different from Chinese Kanji meanings, but it’s somewhat similar).

It also makes it so much easier to read Japanese if you watch anime, since the speaking is clearer and slightly slower than Japanese spoken on the news and such, so it’s easier to listen to and helps train your understanding of Japanese. Although you can’t completely rely on anime as your main source for learning Japanese. That will take forever, and the characters in anime aren’t always what normal Japanese people sound like.

I have volumes 1-5 of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch in Japanese (but I only brought 1 and 2 with me to America) and all seven volumes of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne in Japanese as well, plus the Japanese seventh volumes of both Full Moon wo Sagashite and Momo.

I am planning to work through all my Japanese manga, reading on my own with some help from the kana charts if I need it and labeling absolutely everything because it looks good. XD

If you’re planning on learning Japanese and you love manga, Japanese Manga makes the best (and most interesting) first textbooks.

I suggest you use the software ANKI as well by downloading it here, which will help you along with the kana memorization, otherwise it’ll still be a lot of work.

Here are a few websites that will help with the kana memorization and  as well:

Hiragana Drag and Drop

Real Practice- Kana

And here’s a great website for Japanese vocabulary in Romaji:

Basic Vocab

When you are able to read through manga fluently without help from any kana charts or dictionaries, then you can finally move on to actual Japanese books. Maybe, though, you should get the picture books first so you can actually read some sentences that aren’t speech like in manga before moving onto novels and such.

And you can also get some audio books to help you with the speaking! Anki has great decks for grammar and vocabulary as well, but some don’t have romaji so you have to get the kana down first.

Good luck! ;)


5 responses »

  1. Wow, at first I was gonna be all like “this sounds dumb” but no. This actually sounds like a great idea. I just wanna read Japanese so I can read the Gundam Novels, I need to pass this on to my bro.

    • Well, thanks XD I was writing posts that aren’t completely shoujo for readers who aren’t shoujo fans. And I also wanted to make a point. So thanks :)

  2. Hey, um there is a school in shanghai where tutors teach you japanese, Zoe told me she studies there. Sorry that the merchandise jigsaw will be postponed Yeah because an accident occurred….I’m now learning simple words (japanese)

  3. Hi there! I am very interested in improving my vocabulary and reading ability by reading manga, so I was happy to find this post! But I was wondering if you wouldn`t mind offering any suggestions as to what I should read? I need something not too complex, but Doraemon (for example) is far too easy, haha. I was advised to try shoujo which I`m not too familiar with in terms of what`s good/popular. I`d also prefer a series that is finished as opposed to ongoing. Thanks so much!

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