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Reading Japanese books.

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Reading Japanese books.

Postby Wolfie » Tue 06.07.2005 1:48 pm

I hope I put this in the right section, >_<;

Anywho, about how much kanji would I need to know in order to be able to read a first grade level Japanese book? So far the only Japanese book I have been able to read (and the only one I could get my hands on) was "Doko e iku no? Tomodachi ni ai ni!", which I beleive translates to,"Where are you going? To see my friend!" The book was a multilingual preschool/kindergarden book in Japanese and English. Sadly, it had pronounceation guides for the hiragana. xX;; And since it was from the library I couldn't white them out. I'd go practice Kanji now but...i'm not on my computer and the computer i'm on doesn't display Japanese. Grr.
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Mukade » Wed 06.08.2005 2:16 am

Well, most books oriented towards early-elementary school children will have the readings beside the kanji (furigana), so you don't need to know any, really. In fact, as you've found out, most first-grade children cannot read katakana, and so katakana words are either written in hiragana or have hiragana furigana beside them.

More specifically, though, first graders in Japan learn 80 characters during that year. It's a very specific set of kanji. I don't know if there is an English version of the list on the net (I'm sure there is somewhere, but I'm a little too lazy to look right now...sorry:(), but here's one page in Japanese that lists them:
http://www.taishukan.co.jp/kanji/archiv ... kanji.html

FYI, this 'grade-level breakdown' is referred to as 学年別漢字配当 (がくねんべつかんじはいとうひょう).
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Wolfie » Wed 06.08.2005 3:46 pm

Ah. ^^ That's a huge releif. I'm not as illiterate as I thought I'd be in Japan. I already know about 30 of the Kanji they learn in first grade, which makes me feel somewhat better at Japanese.

Thanks so much. ^-^ Now i'll know what kind of books to look at the next time I get to go to the Japanese store.
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby spin13 » Thu 06.09.2005 1:22 pm

http://www.nihongoresources.com has a listing of jouyou kanji broken down for the first six years of primary school, general use, and proper name kanji. My understanding is that the jouyou and JLPT lists differ, though, and Japanese children first learn the most graphically simple, while the JLPT aims more towards teaching the most conceptually simple so that you can make simple sentences. Just a thought if you are considering the JLPT.

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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Wolfie » Thu 06.09.2005 4:27 pm

I'll take a look at them both. ^-^ Thanks.

Though i'll probably wind up doing the jouyou Kanji because the ones with lots of lines are really overwhelming for me.
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 06.10.2005 9:03 am

Hi, all! This is my favorite topic.

I don't know where to get *First Grade* books, but in our local Japanese bookstore there is a section of "Aoi Tori" books -- they all have slip covers with a blue-and-white border and cover a big variety of books, such as translations of world classics, original kids' mystery series, original kids' sf, and even the Tale of Genji. There are very few kanji, most of them first grade level, but the stories are much more complex than the sort of picture books you have mentioned.

Personally, I have to say these are harder than reading "grown-up" books for me. Without the kanji to define where words begin and end, when I encounter new words it can be really tricky to figure out which part of the endless stream of kana to look up!

As for the issue of kanji, I highly recommend a program called Lexikan (no I don't own a piece of it, sadly.) It's reasonable (I think about $35) and it covers all the Jouyou kanji in grade order, in the order proposed by ten or so standard kanji teaching systems, or you can learn 'em in your own order, which is what I did for a bit over a year. The best part is it teaches you to write them as well as read, and it's easy to study not only a group of kanji but a LOT of jukugo that use kanji in that group. In short, a really nice tool.

I wish you LOTS of luck here. I spend at least an hour a day reading Japanese, and I am almost to the point where I can read simply for pleasure. I love it!

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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Schattenjedi » Fri 06.10.2005 9:45 am

That nihongoresources site kicks ass. Has some harder to find grammar points that are quite helpful.

RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby zengargoyle » Fri 06.10.2005 4:29 pm

i've been looking for some easy children's stories lately. so far i've found these.

http://www.his.atr.jp/~ray/stories 16 traditional children's stories with translation.
http://www.digital-lib.nttdocomo.co.jp/kikakuten/mukashi/mukashi1/index.html flash based, lot's of stories, at least some are read out loud.
http://beth.nara-edu.ac.jp/WAKAKUSA old scanned stories.
http://www.kodomo.go.jp/gallery/digi/KODOMO_WEB/index_e.html color scans of some stories from the 1920's.
http://www.library.umass.edu/subject/easian/pathfinders/jido.html UMass literature links.

anybody have any more?
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Wolfie » Sun 06.12.2005 2:58 am

Ahh, xD Thank you so much for all the help!

Right now, the Kanji is starting to overwhelm me...@@...and i'm only on grade 1.

Though, right now i'm putting Kanji on hiatus and just focus on grammar and vocabulary, and learn some Kanji on the way.
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby mithrila » Wed 07.13.2005 11:45 pm

My friend in Kobe sent me a few books, first one, which I have read so much that I have to use clear tape to hold the cover on, which is geared specifically toward first graders. It has about 15 stories, including Momotarou, Kintarou, Issun Boushi even the tortise and the hare (very cute in Japanese). Then there were the others. She got me 3 books of collections of Akutagawa Ryuunosuke and Botchan by Natsume Souseki :o. *VAST* differences in reading levels, I nearly choked. I've gotten through some of Akutagawa's stories, which are really strange especcially Kappa, but I had nothing but Harry Potter in between. I wish I had something else. It would have been easier.
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RE: Reading Japanese books.

Postby Adorerarin » Mon 08.01.2005 4:37 pm

Actually, if your goal is to acquire native proficiency in japanese writing, then I suggest you try out James W. Heisig's ''Remembering the Kanji'' series. There are 3 books, which will make your kanji studies much more efficient and rewarding. Since you wish to learn them all, there is no need to start with first grade kanji...I've been using this method and know so far 700 kanji. I believe it will make your learning experience much richer, though you won't be receiving any immediate benefits until you finish the second book. The bonus is that you'll never forget a kanji. This method works on anyone willing to devote at most 5 minutes per kanji. You can find the book on Amazon.com by searching with the author's name. This method is far much more faster than the traditional drilling method. Check it out if you have time.
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