Contemporary Literature

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Haruki Murakami Nice day for a Kangaroo

Don't be put off by the fact that Murakami is a famous contemporary writer. His Japanese is surprisingly straightforward with lots of repetition and references to Western pop culture to help along the way. カンガルー日和 is a collection of particularly short short stories which make a nice place to start if a whole novel still feels a bit too intimidating. g-bod
aozora bunko free Japanese books, you can just copy them and download to your e-book reader. clumsy
the girl who leapt through time
It was one of my first Japanese novels (or the very first), and it was easy to read, quite simple vocabulary. clumsy


Literary fiction, directed at adults (the cover includes an English title, "Call boy," although I don't believe it was ever translated), Ishida tells the story of a young bartender who is recruited to be a call boy. The language is straightforward enough that you could read it at B2 if you aren't too picky about details.


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Yotsuba &!

A great place to start as a gateway into manga. I found it comprehensible when most other native materials were well over my head. Follows the adventures of a 5 year old girl who has a tendency to misunderstand things. It's cute and funny, loads of very clear visual clues to the plot and beautifully clear typesetting, including full furigana. g-bod

Classic Literature

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Works in Translation

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Books for Kids and Tweens

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Why? Science stories

Series of graded readers aimed at elementary school children, going from 1st grade to 6th grade. Answers lots of the kind of science questions inquisitive kids are likely to ask, like "Why did dinosaurs become extinct?" or "Why do people sleep?". Use of kanji increases as the series progresses, but all levels have complete furigana. g-bod

Why? Familiar questions

Similar format to the 科学のお話 graded readers, but broader range of questions including society as well as science. A chance to read about Japanese traditions and a Japanese view of other cultures in relatively simple Japanese. g-bod


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Azumanga Daioh!

Anime series set in a high school with relatively clear Japanese and relatively simple dialogues. Based on a manga written by the same person who wrote よつばと!(although the manga is more challenging reading with no furigana) g-bod

Films, Audio, etc.

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