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Furigana books

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Furigana books

Postby Bulgar » Thu 08.16.2007 2:52 pm

Do light novels typically have furigana on all the kanji?

What types of books other than manga have furigana?

I have a good idea of Japanese grammar, but I'm not the best on words. I've looked at non-scanlation Japanese manga online, but none of them have furigana.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 08.16.2007 3:07 pm

I believe that most light novels do have furigana use (assuming by "light novel" you actually mean the JP term ライトノベル).

Very little aside from manga and kids' books have furigana. Sometimes you can find older literature that does if you actually get period books, but that stuff is pretty hard even with furigana.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby two_heads_talking » Thu 08.16.2007 4:20 pm

From what I remember the main places you will find furigana are in books that are hard for japanese to read, thus the need for furigana.

it's not a light novel, but the Bible has quite a bit of furigana. and it's there because the majority of the words are uncommon or hard to read to begin with.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby NocturnalOcean » Fri 08.17.2007 9:07 am

The harry potter books have lots of furigana, not on repeated words, or some of the simplest words, but 90 percent is with furigana. I really recommend reading them, though they might be too hard.
Last edited by NocturnalOcean on Fri 08.17.2007 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby Infidel » Fri 08.17.2007 12:43 pm

I used to have a kids.goo.jp link that would furiganize a website. Unfortunatly they moved it and I haven't been able to find it since.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby richvh » Fri 08.17.2007 1:36 pm

This is an interface to the kids.goo.jp furigana-ize utility.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby JaySee » Fri 08.17.2007 2:15 pm

Furigana in my experience aren't used very much at all in Japanese books... at keast, not in a way helpful to foreigners learning the language (unless you get books specially made for that target group).

Books for children tend to use hiragana for words normally using (difficult) kanji, so you mostly won't find many characters in them at all (meaning that even if there are furigana you probably won't really need them anyway, presuming you know some kanji).

Adult literature generally doesn't make use of furigana, except for words that either use non-jouyou kanji, are rare/new, have an exceptional pronunciation, or in case the writer uses kanji for a word that is usually written with other charatcers or kana; knowledge of the basic readings of most of the jouyou kanji is presupposed. Basically you can assume that the more furigana you'll find, the harder the book is probably gonna be, because this means even for adult Japanese these words are considered to be difficult to read.

A notable exception is the harry potter series, as nocturnalocean mentioned. It has furigana for all but the easiest of kanji words while still using them wherever they are normally used. This might be because both kids and adults might want to read it, so it seems like a good compromise. It's also the reason why I read some of the books when i got to an intermediate-ish level... it saves you a whole lot of time looking up kanji which you cant read so you can make progress much faster, and at the same time it does introduce you to the characters, allowing you to get used to their shapes and perhaps memorise some in the process.
Last edited by JaySee on Fri 08.17.2007 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 08.17.2007 2:51 pm

Generally, yes.

Furigana are used when the writer (or publisher; whoever's doing the adding) does not think the reader will know how to read the kanji. This can be because the kanji is rare (the Jouyou List is not a reliable indicator for what will be given furigana and what won't), the target age level is young, or the author is using an unusual reading for a kanji.

Furigana used to be a lot more common than they are now. But the construction of the Toyo Kanji list (and later Joyo) killed off the frequent use of furigana because now they had a list to point to for what people "should" know.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 08.17.2007 3:03 pm

the one downside to furigana is that you get into the habit of reading the furigana and not the kanji. on the other hand, i know just how much of a pain it is to look up every single kanji you can't read in a dictionary when trying to make your way through an article or a book.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 08.17.2007 4:12 pm

I find it just as annoying to look up a lot of words -- I guess I don't have much experience with relying on all furigana material because there was never a time in my Japanese study where kanji was the only thing holding me back. I think that's why I tend to question the utility of all-furigana things for learners, but maybe more patient people than me can get use out of it.
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RE: Furigana books

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 08.17.2007 4:53 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
I find it just as annoying to look up a lot of words -- I guess I don't have much experience with relying on all furigana material because there was never a time in my Japanese study where kanji was the only thing holding me back. I think that's why I tend to question the utility of all-furigana things for learners, but maybe more patient people than me can get use out of it.


In my studies I noticed that furigana was only used on less commonly used kanji rather than on all kanji. but then again, maybe our studies were different.
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