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japanesebookrec's Journal

Book Recommendations for Japanese Books
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
Japanese books, Japanese reading
Welcome! This is a community for discussing Japanese books and authors, and is especially for combating the problem of not knowing what to read next (especially difficult for language learners). So please share your experiences reading books in Japanese, and your recommendations.

Self-intros are welcome. Bookmooch users are very welcome! You can trade your used Japanese books (and books in any other language) here:

We also have a list of books that are fairly easy to read in Japanese, here:


Please let me (bblue23) know if there's a book that you think should be added to this list, and I'll be happy to add it with your comments about it. You can also use this site (booklog) to make your own "shelf" of books you have read/want to read in Japanese.


When you post a review of a book, please use a tag indicating its READING DIFFICULTY LEVEL.

When thinking about these levels, instead of interpreting them as "how difficult was the book to read for you", please think of them as "how difficult would the book be to read for a Japanese language learner whose Japanese may not be perfect". Your kanji skills may be awesome so it was a quick read for you, but what if someone had to struggle a bit more with kanji, would it still be a quick read?

Beginning Early elementary grades. These are often all kana or might include just a few kanji with furigana. Also includes beginning-level texts prepared especially for Japanese-as-a-second-language students. Think Japanese equivalent of "See Spot Run" type readings that use simplified language for the purpose of teaching reading skills to beginning readers.

Very easy Upper elementary level "chapter book" level readings. More complex vocabulary and greater length than beginning level texts, but furigana on most or all kanji. Often includes pictures. Kaoru Hayamine's books (e.g. the detective series Meitantei Yumemizu Kiyoshiro) would fit in this category.

Quick read (Young Adult/teen reading level). A person who has passed JLPT Level 2 or 1 could expect to read one of these without too much trouble. I would put Yamada Yusuke's books at this level. Some of Higashino Keigo's shorter books would be too, but I would put his longer works like Byakuyakou in Moderate Difficulty for greater length and complexity.

Moderate difficulty (a normal reading level for Japanese adults). This is just "medium" difficulty for people with experience reading Japanese novels who can read a large number of kanji. A person who has passed JLPT level 1 could expect to read at this level, maybe using a dictionary sometimes, but you would be able to follow what was going on in the plot without too much confusion. I would put Kishi Yusuke's works at this level.

Difficult Longer, more dense or hard to follow than normal prose. May require more effort and/or more use of a dictionary. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to put books in this category--we want to know if it's difficult!! If it had you thinking "what is going on?!" while you were reading, and you are usually a good reader, it should probably go in this category.

Extra-difficult Uses archaic language, and would be difficult for native speakers.

Lastly, we need more books reviewed at the BEGINNING and EXTRA-DIFFICULT levels! If you can help us out at either end of the spectrum, please do!

Have fun!