Learning Japanese can seem to be challenging but there are several effective methods that help. A lot of people use a combination of courses, tutors, flashcards and language apps. However, one of the easiest ways to learn Japanese is by reading manga. While you may not learn Japanese fluently by reading manga, it is a fun and interesting method to improve your vocabulary.
Manga not only gives the reader a good understanding of the Japanese culture but also the use of everyday words and phrases. Although there are hundreds of different manga you can read, with the right choice of books, your Japanese learning experience can turn into something really effective and enjoyable. Here are some of the best Manga you should read if you want to learn Japanese.
One of the most popular manga series, Doraemon is an obvious choice when it comes to starting your Japanese reading practice. As it is catered towards kids, the vocabulary and language are simple which makes it easier to comprehend. It is a timeless series that the young, as well as old, would love to enjoy and learn from.
The story follows a weak and clumsy elementary school boy named Nobita who is often bullied by his classmates and friends. A robot cat is sent from the future to help him make life easier and gain his love. The stories are quite funny where Doraemon uses his gadgets to help Nobita but ends up making situations worse, teaching a lesson.
A highly recommended option for Japanese beginners, Yotsubato has a simple story of a young girl who faces everyday problems in daily life. The manga uses simple language and can help improve the vocabulary for beginners. The series is ideal if you are attempting to learn Japanese as it is based on everyday activities and conversations.
Yotsubato has very few kanji with furigana with each of them. Every chapter describes a new story so there is no need to understand the previous chapter before going to the next. With each chapter, you can learn a new vocabulary as the story includes scenes where adults explain the meaning of new words to Yotsuba.
Cowa means ‘scary’ in Japanese but the manga is a funny take on the supernatural world. The story is set in a world where humans live with monsters. It is about two friends who go undertake adventures to rescue their town from an infection. The manga also describes a ghost and a vampire who transforms into a powerful, fierce koala.
Cowa is a short series with just one volume and quite interesting to hook on to. Though the story is set in a world of fantasy, there is no use of new words. It is written keeping the focus on young readers and has furigana printed next to each kanji to help those who are new to learning Japanese.
Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) is a world-famous romance anime from 2016 that became the highest-grossing anime film of all time. The manga adaptation of the film is a great option for Japanese learners as it comes with English translations in the margin. The story has an interesting setting split between the Japanese rural countryside and modern-day Tokyo. It depicts the present Japanese culture and a useful vocabulary.
The story follows a high-school boy from Tokyo and a girl from a small town in the countryside. The two start switching their bodies in their sleep. The boy, in an attempt to warn the girl and the villagers about a comet collision, travels through time and space to save his love. Those who love romance anime would find this manga the best way to boost their Japanese language skills.
A series about everyday life, Shirokuma Café is picturized in a local café that people visit for relaxation after workdays. What makes this café unique is its location near a zoo and its service to animals as well. It is owned and operated by a polar bear called Shirokuma.
The manga is pretty entertaining and funny and features interesting characters like clumsy Panda and sarcastic Penguin. The story revolves around daily issues like karaoke sessions and camping trips. The plot is easy to understand and described using a simple vocabulary, ideal for beginner learners.
Chi’s Sweet Home
Another great manga for learning Japanese, Chi’s Sweet Home is about a white and grey kitten and her adventures in its new home. Chi can communicate with the readers but not with its family. In the series, you watch Chi’s journey from a lost kitten without a name to becoming a beloved house pet and enjoy all that happens along the way.
Just like Yotsubato, the stories are funny and based on daily life and each chapter tells a new story. Though it may seem to be a childish choice, it is an excellent source for those who want to improve their Japanese vocabulary. It contains kanji with furigana on every page and the words used are simple.
A Town Where You Live
Known for its realism, the romance manga ‘A Town Where You Live’ is a story of a high school boy, Haruto whose life changes when a girl starts living with his family and attending his school. Though the series includes the common traits of romance, it follows the entire timeline up to marriage. It is an engaging story covering the drama of everyday life and the problems generally faced by real-world couples.
The manga is set in modern-day Japan and uses common words and phrases from homes, schools and surroundings, helping beginner learners practice the language. It is certainly a good option for anybody starting to read something in Japanese.
If you are interested in learning Japanese with manga, one of the options on our list should definitely strike your fancy. It is important that you choose something that you like and enjoy reading. These simple stories should give you an idea of everyday words and phrases used in the language to help you learn quicker.