Japanese Graded Readers Level 0

Review: Japanese graded readers

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When I started to learn Japanese in 2012  I discovered this little series with easy text for Japanese beginners at WRJ. Back then I haven’t bought any Japanese manga yet and was just beginning to work my way through Genki I but was eager try to read some very easy stuff in Japanese. So I just ordered the first one of the Japanese graded readers series and was pleasantly surprised.

A couple of months ago I have already written about the digital version which is now available of the Japanese Graded Readers series. It’s quite comfortable but so far only available for iOS users and a little pricey with 3,59€ for ONE story.  The physical edition contains 5 to 6 stories, each one in the style of a little booklet. The paper feels great, the whole set is just a real pleasure to look at. And now for the best part: It’s nearly the same price. Each set goes for 2300Yen + an additional 800Yen shipping (e.g. to Germany). This comes down to 3100Yen for one set and if you convert the currency back to Euro it’s roughly the same price you’d pay for the digital edition.

Always wanted to make a couple pictures of my Japanese graded readers set for you but because I still keep it at my grandparents I never really got around to do so. Keep in mind that this is the first Level 0 package which is aimed at bloody beginners who are just beginning their way of learning Japanese so the stories are very “reduced” to say the least. But when you’re starting out to learn a new language there is no better motivation than being able to put your new knowledge to use for the first time. The hurdle you have to take when you want to read manga or any material which is aimed at native speakers is huge. Even with all these so-called easy ones, it will be a rather frustrating experience in the beginning.

japanese graded readersAnd that’s where the Japanese graded readers series comes in and gives you some graded reading material for every stage a Japanese learner could possibly be in. The graphic shows you how the JLPT levels would relate to the Graded Readers series. I’m not quite sure though how this is all matching up. JLPT 5 is way over the level 0 package I got. Even level 2 which is shown here to be challenging for JLPT4 learners should be too much on the easy side and doesn’t correlate with the preparation material I’ve seen.

So if you’re learning for the JLPT and want to improve your reading speed and comprehension with the Japanese Graded Readers series I’d advise you to “size up”.

I found the booklet with all these different Japanese groceries explained quite charming so I took some pictures even if it’s not a real story. You probably know by now that I have a knack for food and cooking.

  • Buy Japanese Graded Readers directly from Japan at CDjapan
    (If you buy the book through this link, I’ll get a small referral fee which will be used to buy even more awesome books for review)

Japanese Graded Readers Level 0 002

Japanese Graded Readers Level 0 005

Note 08.07.18: And here are a few new pictures from two additional sets of the Japanese Graded Readers series I just received. unfortunately, the two little box sets have been damaged during transit. Still made some pictures for of these two more advanced sets. One level one and one level two sets. A new addition for the series is the QR code which gives you the ability to stream/download the audio tracks for each story directly to your mobile. Neat touch. Especially because most new laptops don’t even sport a disc reader anymore.

Review: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readersReview: Japanese graded readers

  • Buy Japanese Graded Readers directly from Japan at CDjapan
    (If you buy the book through this link, I’ll get a small referral fee which will be used to buy even more awesome books for review)
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Chris Shinyuu
Chris Shinyuu
8 years ago

I just bought this Japanese Graded Reader Book 0 Vol 1 and 2 today. I just started learning Japanese like 5 months, and wanting to improve my listening. I listened to the 1st chapter CD and was trying to follow it, not too successfully, so i am wondering what is the most effective way to get the best out of this series of audio Japanese….

JapaneseTease
8 years ago
Reply to  Chris Shinyuu

I’d suggest reading the story first and then listening to the recording while reading it again. It’s totally natural that you’re struggling with understanding spoken Japanese but it gets a lot better if you listen to it more frequently. Regarding this I can only recommend trying Japanesepod 101. Helped me a great deal in understanding more and more spoken Japanese and I’ll definitely come back to it once my schedule clears up a little.

John
John
8 years ago

Heyya mate! I’m John(filipino btw) and i’m currently living and studying in Italy. I’m really into japanese culture, language, writing, watching drama and animes in japanese with english subtitle obviously. How does it feel to speak and write japanese? But I really wanna emphasize the writing here, is it the same as writing abc’s? I mean at the first glance of the word do you rapidly or in a twink of an eye understand what does the word says? ありがとございます^_^!

Gaijin San
8 years ago

I am making my way slowly through Genki while doing intensive vocabulary learning at Japanesepod101. I’m starting to think that some extra reading practice might be interesting. That might be worth a try! Thanks for the info!

JapaneseTease
8 years ago
Reply to  Gaijin San

The JGR packages are really great for beginners. Especially in the very early stages of learning Japanese it’s so hard to come by relatively easy reading material that you can manage. Just give these a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

GreenTeaLeaf
GreenTeaLeaf
8 years ago

After long time debating whether I should buy these books or not (they are pricey…), I bought them! The first level was entertaining and easy to read with just a few unknown characters. The second level was a little bit more difficult, and therefore more enjoyable. And now I am beginning to read the third level. These books are extremely helpful as a confidence booster especially during the plateau stage. I got motivation to continue my studying, try to read children’s books and manga. Now I am sure I am not giving up the last few years of studying Japanese.… Read more »

GreenTeaLeaf
GreenTeaLeaf
8 years ago

After long time debating whether I should buy these books or not (they are pricey…), I bought them! The first level was entertaining and easy to read with just a few unknown characters. The second level was a little bit more difficult, and therefore more enjoyable. And now I am beginning to read the third level. These books are extremely helpful as a confidence booster especially during the plateau stage. I got motivation to continue my studying, try to read children’s books and manga. Now I am sure I am not giving up the last few years of studying Japanese.… Read more »

JapaneseTease
8 years ago
Reply to  GreenTeaLeaf

Really glad that you enjoy the books so much. It’s awesome if you can finally understand the most part of what you’re reading and an extreme confidence booster, right. Thanks a lot for your thoughts about the graded readers series.

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[…] What it doesn’t do so well is teaching much more about the very basics of Japanese grammar. That’s not a bad thing though because you’ll still need to buy the dictionaries of Japanese grammar if you really want to get into learning Japanese. Regardless it just offers too less (not even covering Genki I) to justify the old price (120$, wow) for a lifetime membership. There was always talks about adding new content on a steady basis but unfortunately it wasn’t delivered. Instead the tofugu team was working on a new website with more grammar, shot stories and listening… Read more »

Didier Gentilly
Didier Gentilly
7 years ago

At wich point in your studies do you recommend getting these books, and starting reading easy manga ?

Is there a suggested order to learn japanese ?

JapaneseTease
7 years ago

Did you check my guide? https://www.japanesetease.net/how-i-learn-japanese-my-essentials/ I hope this one explains how I would start learning Japanese if I had to begin from zero again. I personally find it very encouraging if you can actually use some of your newly learned things and put them tooth use you intended. In our case this is reading/speaking/listening to Japanese. The neat thing about the Japanese Graded Readers series is that it literally start with zero and can be enjoyed after a finishing the first couple of chapters from Genki I. Maybe even earlier. Not much text in the first one but it’s… Read more »

Lucy Whitehead
Lucy Whitehead
5 years ago

Thanks so much for the review and photos – I have been wondering about buying the first reader but was put off by the price. They do seem worth it!

JapaneseTease
5 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Whitehead

They definitely are. Which set are you planning to pick up?

Lucy Whitehead
Lucy Whitehead
5 years ago
Reply to  JapaneseTease

I’m just finishing Genki 1 so will probably start on 0 and work my way up.

Lee Yonghwa
Lee Yonghwa
5 years ago

Thanks for a wonderful and detailed review. My Japanese friend gave me all the volumes of Japanese Graded readers as a gift hoping that it could help me gauge what have I learned so far before attempting to maybe take a JLPT exam in the future. I’m so excited now to be able to read it all by the time it arrives.

Tothok
Tothok
5 years ago

Hi 1. you recommended a few manga to try out as first time reads, like Chi’s Sweet Home and the panda one, but also recommended Yotsuba as the first manga to try out. Which one should I really start with? 2. Also if I was looking for a first time read of anything Japanese, should I try the mangas above first or graded readers? do you think Yotsuba To is difficult to start with without having something like graded readers first? 3. If I went for the japanese graded readers , just wondering, do they really build on each other?… Read more »

JapaneseTease
5 years ago
Reply to  Tothok

You can start with the one that appeals to you the most. Just look at the pictures I made which hopefull give you a pretty decent first expression about what to expect.
In the very beginning I would recommend the Japanese Graded Readers though. Tailored to a non-native audience and much more simple to grasp. Start with Vol.01, Zero is fun to look at but not really reading material.

Let me know what you decided. Hope I could help.

Geekette
Geekette
5 years ago

I found Level 0 doable after Chapter 6 of Genki 1. I’m just finishing Genki 1 now, so I’ve got Level 1 ordered. I’m assuming that I can try level 2 about halfway through Genki 2, and then Level 3 at the end. Would that be accurate?

JapaneseTease
5 years ago
Reply to  Geekette

That’s a good approach. I think you’ll manage just fine.

Alex Faria
Alex Faria
4 years ago

Hello, when i buy these Graded Readers.. i’ll be able reading normal book japanese and speak?

JapaneseTease
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Faria

Nope, you won‘t. These books use easy Japanese with a graded difficulty level and are there to give you some basic. Manageable reading material in the beginning.

Alex Faria
Alex Faria
4 years ago
Reply to  JapaneseTease

Thanks man! i’m learning english recently 100% with Graded Reader, although I’m brazilian native. Are 5 levels: elementary (level 2), pre-intermediate (level 3), intermediate (level 4), upper-intermediate (level 5) and advanced (level 6). My reading was 50 books each level = 250 Graded Readers. And this are very fast to learn.
However, at the japanese i would like to learn from reading though. Is there any way like that at the japanese?
thanks!

Aramis Cunha
Aramis Cunha
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Faria

Fala alex beleza?
Te achei aki justamente por conhecer esse método dos graded readers.
Eu terminei de ler os primeiros 50.
Vc acha q depois q terminar os 300 eu estarei apto a ler livros normais em inglês?

JapaneseTease
4 years ago
Reply to  Alex Faria

Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that with Japanese. It’s much more grammar-heavy than English and the whole sentence structure way of expression very different from any Indo-European language. Start with the basics and go from there. Without any grammar knowledge you won’t understand anything.

Check this post for more information on my study tipps and where I think is the best way to start https://www.japanesetease.net/how-i-learn-japanese-my-essentials/

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