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Apr 19, 2012

Why You Should Read Manga

Early on in my time learning Japanese I began to read manga. I had never really been interested in manga prior to learning Japanese, but I thought it would be a good place to start. To my surprise, it was not only an amazing way to start reading in Japanese, but also a great way to continue reading long into my journey. I am fully convinced that manga is one of the greatest tools for learning Japanese, so here's why you should give it a try.

There's a manga out there for you

One of the best things about manga is the diversity of subject matter. Unlike with English comics, Japanese manga is much more mainstream, so you have a lot of genres to choose from. There are of course manga that cover all genres of fiction, such as fantasy, action, historical/period, slice of life, etc. But did you also know that there are non-fiction manga? For instance the Manga de Wakaru (マンガで分かる) series has titles that cover all sorts of subjects, such as organic chemistry. Or Inside Darling's Head (ダーリンの頭ン中) which uses amusing conversations between the characters to discuss differences between Japanese and English. So whatever it is that you're looking for, there's bound to be a manga for you.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Which is pretty fortunate for language learners. In the beginning especially, the illustrations in manga will be a great aid in understanding what is going on in the manga. Having images alongside the text will help you to puzzle out new vocabulary meanings from context and help to reinforce grammar by showing you who is doing what. Plus, because a lot can be understood simply from the pictures, you don't necessarily have to look up every single word in order to follow along. This makes it easier to enjoy Japanese, which will help you to stay in contact with the language for longer periods of time – and when it comes to language learning, the only thing that really matters is staying immersed.

An abundance of furigana

When it comes to Japanese media, there are certain types that are easier for learners to get into than others. In my experience, one of the biggest factors in determining difficulty for media is whether or not it features furigana. Some novels will have a little bit of furigana, but most video games and other types of media completely lack it - aside from manga, that is. Many manga series have furigana for every single kanji, which means it's extremely easy to look up words. So while manga can cover just about any subject, the abundance of furigana helps to keep the difficulty level much lower.

Wherever you are in your journey to learn Japanese, manga has something to offer you. Check out the media introduction section for some series recommendations, or search around on your own for a title that you'd like to read. So if you haven't tried reading manga yet - what are you waiting for? Grab a volume and starting living Japanese.

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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post. Such a diverse range of genres and subject matter in the world of manga, indeed.