Japanese Expressions: Learn Japanese from Manga for Free

Do you like Japanese manga? There are several popular ones in the world like ONE PIECE, NARUTO, and BLEACH. Well-known manga were initially unknown, when they were first published. In Japan, there are tens of thousands of cartoonists who are writing manga with hopes of becoming popular like ONE PIECE, and making their work available on the internet for free. Why not utilize these hidden gems for learning Japanese? You can learn very natural Japanese expressions from manga.


Romance with Comedy

徒然つれづれチルドレン (Children in Idleness*)


Author: 若林稔弥(わかばやしとしや)

Vocabulary Level: Intermediate

Description: His work is a collection of short romance and comedy stories. It’s easier to read than others and the quality is very high.

鈴木さん (Suzuki-san*)

Author: ヤマダ

Vocabulary Level: Intermediate

Description: Suzuki is the name of the heroine. She looks conservative and introverted in school, but one day the hero of the story found something unexpected. The story begins with some romance and comedy. Note: the table of contents is not easy to find, but it’s just on the left.


ミリオンドール (Million dolls*)

Author: 藍(あい)

Vocabulary Level: Upper-intermediate

Description: The author herself is a pop-star from otaku and the manga features the real world of otaku. Every reader is surprised by how realistic it is. She also explains otaku vocabulary at the end of the books. You’ll get to know the real otaku people, and what they do in Japan.

ネト充じゅうのススメ (Encouragement from an Internet addict*)

Author: 黒曜燐 (こくようさん)

Vocabulary Level: Upper-intermediate

Description: This is a story about a woman who quit her job and is enjoying a virtual life on an online game while pretending to be a good looking man. Note: if you are going to read this one via your smartphone, you’ll need to download an application.

Fictional Stories

虫籠むしかごのカガステル (Cagaster)

Author: 橋本(はしもと)チキン / Chikin Hashimoto

Vocabulary Level: Advanced

Description: There is a pandemic of the strange disease, Cagaster, which changes people into monsters. In the beginning of the story, a man who gets rid of the monsters helps a girl escape from them. How interesting! This comic is published in French as well.

Graphic Novels Based on True Stories

原爆に遭あった少女の話はなし (The story of a girl who survived an atomic bomb)

Author: さすらいのカナブン (Wandering Drone Beetle*)

Vocabulary Level: Upper-intermediate

Description: This is a story about The Women’s Domestic Science School of the Hiroshima Electric Railway Company, founded during WWII. It’s purpose was to fill up the vacancies of male workers with women and was completely erased by just one atomic bomb. Hiroshima dialect is sometimes used in the story, but you may understand it by using the English translation.

*These are not the original English names. We have translated them for the sake of easy understanding.


Reading manga is not only fun, but learning Japanese with manga is a really good idea because you can learn natural Japanese expressions with pictures, which enables you to get to know the real usages. It is also convenient to be able to learn on your own. Moreover, I am a fan of the above manga, so I can ensure its quality. Let’s give this a try!

Recommended Links

Materials for Japanese Lessons: Intensive Reading with Manga


(This post is reblogged from Wasabi, Learn Japanese Online.)

wasabi ロゴデザイン のコピー

“Wasabi” is a new online Japanese language learning service that started in June of 2015. They match the needs of those who want to communicate with foreigners, with those who want to study and learn the Japanese language.

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Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

Tadaima Japan Editorial Team

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