Category Archives: websites

Manga websites

For people who are looking to try a variety of manga, a number of websites offer free previews, but more importantly free volumes of a whole range of titles.

Each website offers different options, and often uses its own proprietary reader, even if the titles are the same. So, it makes sense to do some exploring before deciding which one(s) you prefer as a go-to source.

In my case, I sample here and there, but because I am limited to using a US credit card, there are only a few options for me to actually buy digital copies of the manga that I want to read.

I have been using eBookJapan the longest. It has made some changes recently by merging with Yahoo! Japan so that Japanese folks can use Yahoo! Japan money, but I am still able to use a US credit card.

BookWalker is another site that I have looked at this year. It includes manga, light novels, novels, nonfiction, game strategy books, and interestingly enough doujinshi. There is a sister site called BookWalker Global for the English translations of manga and light novels. So, flipping between the two can really be useful if you are the type who wants to read first in English before dipping into the Japanese (or vice versa). There are lots of manga that are available for free for a limited amount of time.

Now the BookWalker Global website does allow payment by PayPal. There are also notes about licensing restrictions (the English language editions not allowed to be sold in Japan) And if you are wanting to look for the Japanese original of a manga/light novel that you enjoyed, look at the product details towards the bottom of the page.

CMOA is an example of a comics/light novel website that offers a monthly subscription to either unlimited or limited (missing BL, TL, light novels aka the good stuff) but only accepts credit cards issued in Japan. So, that lets it out for me. BUT, there is a free login option that you can use to either read through the browser or use the reader. The reader (bookshelf) application is available for Windows, iPad, and Android.

If you want to use the website for research – looking at rankings, genres, etc. The categorization is pretty good and I really appreciate the adaptation (which titles have been picked up for anime, movies, dramas) information.

twitter feeds

Here are a handful of twitter feeds that you may find useful for your studies.

EasyJapaneseE
@EasyJapanesee
An Australia-based Japanese teacher from Kyoto. My blog gets updated daily from Mon to Sat. Please follow EasyJapaneseE in Facebook, Instagram & YouTube!

Hiragana Ninja Flag of Japan Nihongo
@hiragananinja
ひらがな忍者©︎ / For Everyone to Learn Japanese / Created by みつお

insidethatjapanesebook
@japanesebook
Inhae – French of Korean descent – Japanese learner – Goal: read books in Japanese Right-facing fist – N1: passed in 2019 Grinning face with smiling eyes- blog: reviews in English of Japanese novels Books

JLPT Challenge Questions
@JLPT_nihongo
I’m a freelance Japanese teacherFlag of Japan I’m going to ask the JLPT question every day

Flag of JapanLearn JapaneseFlag of Japanwith Taro
@Taro_o_Japanese
Watch the full video with subs on YouTube!!! An intro video for beginners in Japanese to learn Hiragana and essential Japanese words in daily life.

Reading Japanese 日本語
@jpn_tadokuorg
やさしいにほんごを読(よ)みましょう。リプライにはお返事(へんじ)します。Reading Japanese can be fun! Will reply to your message.

Eve Kushner
@joyokanji
I’m writing (and selling) 1 study essay about each Joyo kanji (that’s 2,136 essays!), exploring all of its facets to help people understand deeply and remember.

mangabites
@mangabites
Learn Japanese through manga with Yotsuba Four leaf clover in this video Yotsuba finds something that’s a bit scary!

Read Japanese
@ToReadJapanese
Author and Publisher of Japanese Textbook

Team JapaneseFlag of Japan
@team_japanese
We love the Japanese language. Our mission is to make learning Japanese fun and easy for all!

Japango -Free online magazine for Japanese-
@Japango_life
Japango is a free online magazine to study Japanese for those who want to learn and speak the Japanese language.
https://japango.life

online bookstores

Amazon Japan
Amazon Japan will ship books to the United States. They come fairly quickly. I have used it in the past when I needed a book and wasn’t making a trip to Japan in the near future. We do use it at work when we have rush requests.
Amazon Japan’s Kindle Store is not available to people who do not have a Japanese address. This is unfortunate, but it is life. There are a small number of Japanese books in the US Kindle, but very few.

Honto.jp
I really love this online bookstore for locating books. I used to be a big fan of Junkudo and used its online bookstore to order books and have them held for me at a store closest to where I would be staying during my Japan visit. Junkudo has stopped its online service, Honto.jp is the online shopping presence for Junkudo, Maruzen, and Bunkyodo. I really do find it easier to use and gravitate to honto.jp for book searching over Amazon.jp. There is an ebook component and a print book component to the website. It is possible to register without giving any credit card information or personal details, and download the free books. I see from the website that it advertises a service called Buyee – an online proxy shop for people wanting to buy Japanese things (like from Yahoo Auctions) from overseas.

I just revisited Honto.jp to figure out why I haven’t been using this for Japanese ebooks and found that it is not a good store for me as a resident of the United States to use for a couple of reasons. For the print part, I would have to use a proxy service to buy and deliver the books for me. For ebooks, I can use the honto app on my Mac, but there is not one for my iPad/iPhone and that is a serious drawback because I really enjoy using the dictionary feature on the iPad/iPhone and now that I have started using the dictionary lookup on my iPad I am not giving it up.

Kinokuniya Bookstore
Kinokuniya has both a physical and online presence. It also has its own proprietary browser called Kinoppy. In theory Kinoppy books are available to users outside of Japan – one of my students used it – but I have also read that the number of titles is very limited. There is a separate search engine for overseas users. So I am on the fence about this one and would appreciate feedback.

eBookJapan
eBookJapan is the service that I used the most until recently because it let me use a US credit card and had lots of books and manga that were free or had good previews, But when it was bought out by Yahoo! Japan and newly purchased books no longer download into the app. I much prefer reading on my iPad than the monitor or my laptop, so this makes eBookJapan less appealing to me.

BookLive
The BookLive reader says that it is available either through the Apple App store or Google Play. I am not seeing it in my App Store though. It is possible that it is only available through a Japanese login. I tried using the preview feature on my iPad, and am unable to get the dictionary feature (press your finger on the word you want to look up to invoke the dictionaries) to work. So this makes it less useful to me.

BookWalker
BookWalker 日本ストア is my current go-to site for Japanese ebooks. It is very clearly aiming at a light novel and manga crowd, but it contains much more than that. For the zine folks, you will find 同人誌 available there. I have found most of the books that I would have bought in print here, and now that I am not making frequent enough trips to Japan to be able to stock my shelves with Book-Off priced books, I can still satisfy my reading urges here. And, more importantly, the viewers works like a charm.

BookWalker Global
The BookWalker Global Store is for English language books and manga. It really looks like it is for light novels and manga. One of the things I really appreciate about BookWalker Global Store is that it provides the Japanese title for translated works so that I can go back and easily locate the original. Also your login and bookshelf are the same for the Japan and the Global Store, so it is all neat and tidy.

Inside that Japanese Book

Inside that Japanese Book is a blog and twitter feed from Inhae who has been studying Japanese and passed the N1 test in 2019. Lots of good recommendations for reading. What is great from my perspective is to learn from actual language learners what is and isn’t challenging for them. In this case, the writer finds that most literary fiction is too difficult-even at an N1 level. This rings true to me and serves as a good reminder when students ask for book recommendations.

He happily reads Higashino Keigo 東野圭吾, and I have had several students ask me about him since they have read his work in translation. I bought a copy of ナミヤ雑貨店の奇蹟 (角川つばさ文庫) but that is a huge reading commitment. This blog recommends some of his short story collections, so I think I will try a few of those.

This blog has lots of book reviews for mysteries. I will be keeping up with the blogger’s progress.

Blog http://insidethatjapanesebook.com
Twitter feed @japanesebook

Learn Japanese with Manga

I am very late to Twitter, but I have found a number of folks/organizations to follow for good information about recommended reading and new publications.

Learn Japanese with Manga @MangaLearn
Updates about YouTube videos where Naoto explains the contents and grammar in particular Japanese manga to help Japanese language learners learn through reading manga. Sample sentences, vocabulary, and grammatical points are provided with English translations. His explanations are provided in closed caption with furigana. He uses manga that are available for online 試し読み. Altogether a useful resource – both for learning Japanese and for selecting manga for the collection. Naoto’s YouTube channel has over 2.45 thousand subscribers, so it is entirely possible that our students are watching these even if we aren’t.
Here is the link to Naoto’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC59ZURfw529EQEE1gVUMSlw There is a good series on words and phrases used in Doraemon.

Intermediate
Blame ブラム
Yabai うちのクラスの女子がヤバイ 
Ghost in the Shell 攻殻機動隊
黄色い本
No Guns Life
Naruto
One Piece
Sunny

Advanced
Hunter x Hunter
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Demon Slayer
My Hero Academia
喧嘩商売

I have some shopping to do! Some of these we have but some we don’t. Even if students are using them for tadoku, I think having access to grammatical explanations will be very helpful to them so I will add a sticker with a link to the manga he reviews.

free websites that work well for L2 Japanese readers

Watanoc.com stands for 和楽しい日本語
It looks like the bulk of the text was written in 2016 but there is plenty there to read. Texts are tagged for reading levels N5 to N3 and have a built in dictionary function as well as translation into English, Vietnamese, and sometimes Chinese. Some texts have audio accompanying them.

Hirogaru Nihongo
Texts focus on aspects of Japanese culture (food, calligraphy, manga). You have the option to turn on/off both the subtitles and the ruby in the subtitles. This is a really good way to improve your listening skills. While the responsible organization isn’t listed prominently, in the about section it says that it is the Japan Foundation, Kansai Center.

Matcha Easy is a website with articles focussed on travel to Japan. Lots of lovely photos, travel tips, all written in easy Japanese.

niponica is a multilingual web magazine on the Web-Japan website (sponsored by MOFA – the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs). There are a few wonderful things about this web magazine. You can read it first in English to find articles you want to read in depth. You can switch over to Japanese to read it (and use a pop-up dictionary if you want) and/or the pdf version of the Japanese text contains furigana over the difficult words. This would be my preference for reading slowly and carefully. I often recommend this title and its predecessor to upper level undergraduates.

Japan Video Topics is also sponsored by MOFA. The videos are available for download or on YouTube. Remember to turn on the closed captioning if you are watching the Japanese version. Don’t look for gritty views of Japan in these videos that are sponsored by the Japanese government, but they are good for listening/reading practice and useful for learning more about Japan.

Kids Web Japan has a Japanese interface. There are lots of short essays written in clear Japanese with furigana. Should be good for students reading around N4-N3 level (?)

Students who love folk tales should add Hukumusume’s Ohanashi kikasetene to their reading/listening repertoire. There are fairy tales, folk tales, ghost stories, and Edo witty stories all with both text and audio. Great for students who are wanting to build up their comprehension skills in small bites. And, because this is an old-fashioned html site, you can use Rikai as a mouse-over dictionary to help you with the words you want to check.

Wasabi is an online Japanese instruction website that also provides quite a bit of free information. For example, Japanese Radio Programs has a rating of JLPT N3 and you can choose to listen to the audio at a slow speed or a normal speed. They have also created some graded readers set at JLPT N4 with the same audio options.

Learn Japanese Through Visual Novel is aimed at students in the very beginning of their studies using Genki or similar textbooks. It is the brainchild of a Japanese instructor at U of Michigan and would be approved of by any of your instructors.