What’s the next step in learning Japanese? How to read manga?

Q: I love your site and your  helpful instruction Mr. Richard.

I have finished Micheal Thomas beginner and advanced audio course. I learn the katakana and hiragana. I watch anime daily and listen to japanese songs. I’m currently listen to Rocket Japanese.

I can handle small conversation. But I still can’t read manga. I’m quite confused, which should I study next? I think I have to learn Kanji but find it quite difficult to memorize them. Can you recommend some good resources? – Sun

A: You’ve certainly made a great start!

If reading manga is the main aim you have (and that’s great if it is) then the best advice is simply to “read more manga!”    The trick would be to get manga that has “furigana”, the hiragana readings of the kanji. Most managa aimed at teenagers will have it.  Then when you come across a word you don’t yet know, put it in your Wordtank or electronic dictionary and test yourself on them often.  It can seem like hard work (and kanji is) but after a while you’ll find yourself understanding more and more each day.  The fact that you are learning new words in context, and not just a list from a textbook, will hopefully make it stick more as your brain will associate that kanji with that particular story or image.  And anything you day everyday you’ll get good at.

So that’s my tip, gets lots of manga with furigana, curl up in a chair, sit down and look up all the words you don’t know as you read the manga and do it everyday!

Be genki,


One Response to “What’s the next step in learning Japanese? How to read manga?”

  1. Katleen says:

    hello Richard!
    thanks for your great website!

    I think we should we should be able to comment on the Q&A !!!

    I have an answer for the question:
    «What’s the next step in learning Japanese? How to read manga?»

    I would recommand him:

    I’m at the same level than him, and the next thing that helped me a lot to understand manga and japanese was to understand the ”particules” … wa, ga, ka, ne … and context word that help to understand the sentence! like nani, nan, dare, itsu, doko, ni… also, to understand a bit how the verbs works (masu, masen, mashita, masendeshita)
    beacause you can understand some vocabulary, but without understanding thoses littles words, you cannot make sense of the sentence!

    for that, I need to say that http://www.nhk.or.jp/ was a great help since they have done conversation, with explanation on how to use words in it, and everything is pronunced by native speakers. Also, you can have the hiragana/kanji and romanji transcription for everything said! And the plus is that the conversation are about everyday situation, so easy to remember and to make links in our head!

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