Mangajin’s Basic Japanese through comics – Review

by Buddy Lindsey

I recently was able to come accross this book, Mangajin’s Basic Japanese through comics, from a friend in my Japanese class. At first I was skeptical at how much use this book would be on learning practical Japanese, but I can honestly say I am/was impressed.

The book is broken up into 24 lessons (or chapters) that are all standalone lessons. you don’t know to read the previous one to understand the one you are on. They use a lot of practical examples, like actual manga panes. They show several the kanji, romaji, rough translation, and readable translation for all the text in each pane. Here is an example:


It also explains different parts of what you read so you can better understand.

I think the best part about the whole book is it explains a lot of cultural things and how culturally things are said over standard Japanese. I think the greatest thing I you can pick up is when you start listening to conversations after reading this book you will understand a lot more of what is being said as it goes over subtle nuances that usually aren’t explained in a textbook, but through experience.

After reading this book I would like to say a chapter is the best, but I really can’t. However, the most interesting one, that confirmed a few suspicions, is the the kanji section. It goes in more detail, but basically sometimes the furigana isn’t necessarily the actual reading. The kanji is there for you to know what “type” of something is taking place. The book gives a lot of examples.

If you are interested in reading untranslated manga, Mangajin’s Basic Japanese through comics, is a good bet on getting started since it is geared towards the gaijin. So go ahead and get it read it and let me know what you think.

Also there is a Mangajin’s Basic Japanese Through Comics (Part 2). I hope to get it sometime and i’ll let you know how it is too.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miss. J August 27, 2009 at 12:23 pm

A little off-topic… Do you know if the Genki books are good to use as self study, and if not which one is good if I'd like to focus on reading and grammar?


2 percent20 August 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I know of a few people that use it for self study and i use it in my class. I would definitely recommend it to learn Japanese. I was planning on reviewing it sometime, but I can solidly say it is a good resource as long as you follow it. For sure if you use it also use the website as there are some good tools on there to accompany what you are learning in the book. Plus if you need help feel free to ask.


3 Miss. J August 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Thank you for answering my question. :)


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