Japanese Ads – Learning Japanese Through Print Ads

Harvey Beasley has produced a new blog based on the idea of learning Japanese through print ads and posters. Japanese Ads features one ad per post and Harvey’s dissection of the meaning and cultural nuance therein. It is, like all great ideas, simple in its elegance and a great way to learn Japanese in the context of real word usage. Harvey does a great … [ Read more ]

Nihongo Journal (日本語ジャーナル)

NJ contains regular sections, interspersed with feature and seasonal articles. The regular columns:
* NJ News
* Kanji Breakthrough
* Passing the JETRO Business Japanese Test
* Composition Clinic – improve your written Japanese
* Passing the JLPT
* Reading Time
* Using Manga to Improve Conversation

Most of the articles are either bilingual or have English language explanations sprinkled here and there, but the layout … [ Read more ]

Yomiuri Shinbun letters page (発言小町)

Looking for some light reading material? Try the letters page of the Yomiuri Shinbun. The letters make a great read because:
* they are free of painfully difficult kanji
* the writing is conversational and straightforward
* they are not too long
* we all like to read about things going wrong in other peoples’ lives

The subject matter varies from the mundane to the depressing … [ Read more ]


Here is a large collection of novels in electronic form.

Editor’s Note: I am not sure if these are actually complete texts or just excerpts…

Hitokuchi Douwa (ひとくち童話 )

This site offers a series of short readings. In fact, the title ひとくち can be translated as mouthful, one word or bite. Douwa is fairy tale.

Ken Ijikevich Ujie’s Reading Materials

This site, written entirely in Japanese, offers numerous pages of Japanese reading aimed at covering everyday and other topics. Others have recommend the daily life/culture reading materials (「日常生活に見る日本の文化」読み教材).

Digital E-hon Site (デジタル絵本)

This site offers lots of digitized versions of e-hon (picture books) and in multiple languages. You can see the books covered by picture or title indexes.

Editor’s Note: the standard display is an image of the page so the text can’t be highlighted (and thus is not useful for tools like rikaichan). But, if you choose the big characters (大きな字) option then the text is … [ Read more ]


1. Yomihoudai is an application to help read Japanese text.
2. Texts are culled from the Web, Sources are Acknowledged wherever possible.
3. Texts are rendered in 3 ways:
1. Hyperlinked Words: Japanese text scraped from original pages, morphanalysed and linked to Edict/Enamdict dictionaries.
2. Hardcopy: Japanese text presented as a static page, with a vocabulary at the end.
3. ChaSen … [ Read more ]

チュウ太の読解教材バンク (Reading Comprehension Teaching Materials Bank)

This site from Reading Tutor has reading material in Japanese and you can choose the difficulty level from 1 star easy to 5 stars difficult. The writing is supplemented by a dictionary of the word that you click on and the word is also added to your list at the bottom. Just check it out to get the picture.

Logos Children’s Library

Find online text and audio for various children’s stories in Japanese. Stories include:
– いっすんぼうし
– うらしまたろう
– かぐやひめ
– かさじぞう
– かちかちやま
– さるとかに
– たなばた
– つるのおんがえし
– ももたろう
– やまんばと牛方
– 舌切りすずめ

Aozora (青空文庫)


This site is completely in Japanese and is above my level, but I think it is an online library of Japanese writings that are no longer covered by copyright. There is no listing by level of difficulty but I guess all of the entries are for more advanced students. A downloadable ruby .zip version or an HTML version of each entry is available. … [ Read more ]

Japanese Text Initiative

The University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center and the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library are pleased to sponsor the Japanese Text Initiative, a collaborative effort to make texts of classical Japanese literature available on the World Wide Web. I haven’t read through the site yet, but it appears appropriate only for intermediate to advanced levels. There appear to be some really good … [ Read more ]


Here is a collection of simple short reading stories about a character named BOTさん. The grammar and vocab appears appropriate for lower to intermediate level students.

Old Stories of Japan (日本昔ばなし)

This site is fantastic. Masahiro Kudo posts famous old Japanese stories in both Japanese and English about once a month (there are more than 170 as of this writing). He has also posted some famous Japanese songs.

Why Japanese reading comprehension matters

Adamu at MutantFrog Travelogue has written an excellent piece on the importance of developing good Japanese reading comprehension skills. Adamu points out a number of great resources for practicing reading and the discussions carried on in the comments sections make some good points too. [courtesy of Nihongojouzu.com]

Harry Potter and reading for vocabulary

Will at Nihongojouzu.com details his method for learning new vocabulary in context. Maybe it will work for you as well…


This site offers up a series of short manga panels with translations and audio readings. The manga are listed by subject.

DoCoMo Digital Library – 日本のむかしばなし

This site features several childrens books online, in flash format. They have cute little animated pictures, and are written mostly in hiragana. However, there is some kanji, but they all have furigana. Tales are the ‘common’ ones, such as Momo the peach boy. Some of them also are accompanied by a voice reading the text, but not all. Great for reading practice if you can’t … [ Read more ]