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How I Transitioned into Reading Manga — 13 Comments

  1. Strangely enough I had the opposite experience. My transition back to Japanese happened when, after 4 years of not even looking at Japanese, my friend gave me a Ryu Murakami book and said, “read this”.

    I transcribed every kanji on every page as I read along, writing furigana on those that I still remembered and still knew the meaning, and not looking up the new kanji until I saw them at least 10 times. Then I put down the book for a while and bought an JLPT N2 textbook and reviewed kanji and grammar with that. Picked the book back up, noticed a drastic difference in the amount of kanji I knew and just kept going like that.

    Two years later and I’m now picking up manga again. I had gotten tired of the anime scene back in late high school. But now, because of that novel, manga is so easy that I’m enjoying it again as I can read it as if I were reading English. It has been nice to get back into manga. Maybe I’ll try anime again.

    • kure, you say: “I transcribed every kanji on every page as I read along”, What does that exactly mean and how did you benefit from it?

      • When I say that I transcribed every kanji, it means that I used 原稿用紙(げんこうようし)and every time I encountered a kanji in the book I would write it down. One kanji per block. Enter 原稿用紙 under Google Images and you can see what kind of paper that is.

        If it was kanji I already knew, I would write out the furigana. If it was kanji I didn’t know, I would just leave it be. As the book progressed and kanji started to repeat itself 5, 10 times and more, then I would look it up and write down the furigana and meaning.

        So basically, the benefit is that you are basically creating a vocab list for the book that you are reading and have within the source a chance of continuously seeing that vocab and those kanji you’ve just studied in action.

        Unlike an external vocab list where you then have to seek out sources that include your vocab.

        Basically in a year and half it took me from a weak N4 kanji level (after 4 years of not using kanji I recognized a lot but forgot how to read a lot) to a strong N2 level, beginner N1 level. So there was great benefit in me transcribing kanji.

        This was in combination with studying a N2 kanji book. I will be buying a N1 kanji book soon to go up even further in kanji level.

        Please let me know if you’d like further explanation.

  2. That’s very interesting and inspiring. I haven’t tried manga at all. One question: what exactly do you mean by “I began transcribing the pages on a regular basis into a notebook”?

    Could you please elaborate?

    • After I had read the first couple of volumes of manga in full, I went back to the first volume and copied fown each page of text into my notebook. I only finished the first episode, as that took a long time. After copying down everything, I inserted every vocab that was expressed with kanji and put the kanji, furigana and Japanese dictionary meaning (or a simplified meaning) and inputed them into anki. The procces of inputing them into anki I imagine is similar to Kure’s experience with writing each kanji down into his book. Where we differ is that he wrote down just the kanji, and sometimes furigana, every time he saw it. I wrote down the kanji with its sentence, then later singled out the kanji with just the vocab it was used in and paired it with a definition in Japanese.

      • Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems like Rachel’s method is more to learn vocab in context (with additional kanji learning) while mine is mostly for kanji reading recall. I end up learning vocab through the fact that the words are repeated throughout the book.

        … and I’m a girl! ^o^v

        • It does seem that way. I was looking for a way to learn kanji, but coincidently found a method for studying the language of manga. Kanji ended up being a minor plus to the method, as I learned more about dialogue than kanji, enabling me to read manga freely, if it had furigana.

          Sorry!! <(^_^)… I get called a boy a lot to under my internet alias Lumiina. Just no way to tell.

  3. I believe they’re saying that, by transcribing each page or every kanji, they were writing out a page from the manga or writing down the kanji from each page.

  4. I have a question on this. I have a copy of CardCaptor Sakura I purchased 10 years ago at Half Price books. Back then I didn’t know the difference between Chinese books versus Japanese books. Would this methodology work on a Chinese copy, since it’s all kanji? Or is it not to be messed with for now?
    I know, strange question. I just ran across it in my shed after years in book storage, and noticed it was Chinese.

    • Is your goal to learn Chinese or Japanese?

      I tried learning Chinese awhile back, and the hanzi in Chinese is very different than the kanji that you will find in Japanese. Take for instance the Japanese character 気, which you might recognize from the word 元気(げんき). In traditional hanzi, this character is written 氣, while in simplified hanzi it is written 气. So I think using Chinese hanzi to learn Japanese kanji should be avoided, as there are easier, more efficient ways. Though, it might make for an interesting comparison study if you had both the Chinese version and Japanese version of the manga.

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