One goal for many learning Japanese is to be able to enjoy manga in it’s original language. It is one of my goals as well. I have quite a few manga in Japanese, collected from many places, such as YesAsia.com, I have mostly used these as motivation tools – “look at these manga, I will read them!!”
After about one year of studying Japanese, I tried. And surprised myself – I could do it!
Two Reasons Why Reading Manga Is Easy
- The Sentences are very short, to fit in the little dialogue bubble. So for the most part, someone with even a small amount of grammar knowledge will be able to read the sentences.
- There are pictures to help with meaning. Even you go through a page without understanding a word, often you can guess what was going on. Or you will later.
For instance, in Sugar x Life, there was a page where she was watching TV and I thought she was thinking back on the two guys she just met. Well, she was, but it wasn’t til she ran into the boys again that I realised the boys had been on the TV at the time she was thinking about them, and they were singers/idols.
Two Reasons Why It Is Hard To Read Manga (For Me)
Others might not have these problems, but here is what was hard for me when reading manga for the first time.
- Kanji. While knowing kanji isn’t necessary because – at least in the manga I’m reading so far – they have furigana. So I know how to pronounce words, and sometimes I even learn a new kanji from knowing the word before. But often I think “If only I knew just a basic meaning about the kanji – even just an English key word from Heisig – then I would have an idea of the word’s meaning. Building slowly on my previous knowledge I’d be able to get more of an idea of meaning plus I’d probably be more likely to remember the word/kanji next time I encounter it.
- Vocab. I simply don’t know enough words. At the moment I am working on vocab building exercises. The more words I know the easier it will be to infer meaning of unknown words, especially with the aid of pictures.
So get reading some manga now! You may be surprised in how much you understand. It’s a huge confidence booster. And if you give it a go and find you can’t understand, do not worry. Just put the book down, and then try again in a month. You’ll have something fun to aim for!
TagsBooks & Manga, feature, Heisig, kanji, reading, vocabulary