Compelling Content:

How To Get Started with Raw Japanese Material

Table of Contents

A long alternative to this guide is available here.

Easy Mode

Grab a manga. Try Amazon and Rakuten, or check a buyfag thread for other raw manga sources. If you live in a country that does not import from japan, DJT's CoR has a selection of downloadable manga.

Learn kana with Kana Teacher.

Read Tae Kim. Note that all of Tae Kim is basic grammar, including the "advanced" sections. Note that the "Complete Guide" is incomplete and badly structured.

A medium-quality online dictionary is Jisho.

Use Anki to memorize vocabulary, either from something you're reading, or from a shared deck like Core2k/6k or anonymous core 5k.

Reading manga will make you better at japanese and better at reading manga.

You should be reading as soon as you're able to. The longer you procrastinate, the less likely you are to learn japanese.

For more depth, see the DJT Guide.

Non-comic material, like novels, raw anime, and VNs, have different tradeoffs than manga. Manga and VNs have the fewest downsides.

Where To Get Manga

- japanese Amazon
- Rakuten
- Nyaa, Perfect Dark, Share, etc
- DJT's "Cornucopia Of Resources"

Where To Get Anki Decks

- DJT's "Cornucopia Of Resources"
- Ankiweb shared decks page

Grammar Resources

Low level:
- Tae Kim
- Genki I&II

- Tobira
- Imabi
- An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese

These specific video resources are highly recommended, even for people that dislike video resources. Their only downside is being video resources.
- Steve's beginner japanese lessons on Nihongonomori (youtube) (note: most of Nihongonomori's other material is not worth watching.)
- Let's Learn Japanese I&II (AKA Yan And The Japanese People)
- Visualizing Japanese Grammar

Kanji Study

Kanji study is not for everyone. I've seen many people spend years on RTK before doing anything else.

Readers can benefit from kanji study, but it's extremely important to limit it, so that it doesn't interfere with your reading.

The best kanji study, IMO, is only "intentionally" studying a kanji if it's in a hard word in something you're reading, and that word keeps coming up.

It's with great regret that I give a selection of good isolated kanji study resources. Please don't learn kanji in isolation unless you cannot learn japanese any other way, and therefore cannot read raw manga.

If you insist on studying kanji in isolation, I highly recommend a particular doraemon-themed kanji study book meant for elementary schoolers. If you can't read simple japanese, use Conning's Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course instead, because it narrowly avoids the worst pitfalls of other common english-language kanji resources.

If you can't handle using a book, try GeneticKanji, Kanjidamage, or Wanikani. Note that WK is a subscription paid service that will cost a bare minimum three digits in USD before you reach a reasonable level in what it's teaching you, and you should avoid it unless you REALLY cannot use a book and REALLY need a spoonfeeding service.

Kanji writing practice is very time consuming and should only be done in low volume, or if you really want to handwrite kanji.

To the extent possible under law, the Author has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Compelling Content: How To Get Started with Raw Japanese Material. This work is published from The United States.