Source: Gaijin Pot
There are a few things that unite the Japanese people no matter their class, age or background. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Japanese person who has never tried motsu (beef, chicken or pork entrails) or shiokara (paste of fermented seafood and innards) for example.
Likewise, most Japanese follow the same traditions of going back to their hometowns on the New Year’s and obon (Festival of the Dead) holidays or eating gathering together to share a hearty nabe (Japanese hot pot) in the winter.
Japan is filled with unifying cultural traditions. While there are many, one of the most beautiful and most widely indulged in form of Japanese popular culture is, of course, manga (Japanese comics). When you’re on a crowded train and see people with their heads buried into small books or even their smartphones, much of the time they’ll be deeply engrossed in their manga of choice.
Manga is a form of storytelling that is also a great study method for those learning to read and understand the Japanese language.
In the eikaiwa (English conversation school) industry, we encourage reading — especially in our younger students. Not only to promote literacy, but also because seeing the language in written form tends to help students build a stronger understanding of the concepts used.
The same goes for us foreigners who are trying — and struggling — to learn Japanese. If you choose the right books for you, reading manga can be a surprisingly effective and enjoyable way to learn Japanese. To that end, here are five relatively simple and helpful manga for Japanese language learners.
Note: These recommendations are for people who consider themselves intermediate or high-beginner Japanese language learners (around JLPT N5 and above).
One obvious pick for beginner manga is Doraemon.
If you’re currently teaching or plan on teaching Japanese …continue reading