When you're learning Japanese, it can be super-difficult to find books to read at an intermediate level. And yet, reading — and particularly reading Japanese short stories — is one of the best, most enjoyable ways to improve your language skills.
Luckily, if you're looking for easy Japanese short stories for learning learners, I can recommend this short story collection I put together based on my years of experience as a language learner:
The eight Japanese short stories in this book have been written with learners like you in mind.
This article will fill you in on exactly what to expect when you open this Japanese short story book. And I'll explain why reading short stories is such a satisfying way to master your new language.
Why Japanese Short Stories Will Work For Your Learning
Many people are surprised to hear me recommending that they learn through stories rather than picking up a Japanese dictionary or grammar book. And yet, in all my years of teaching, I've found stories to be the most effective and enjoyable way to learn a new language.
Indeed, in each of the eight languages I've learned, stories have been a vital part of the journey.
Why? Because they cement the learning into your long-term memory in a way that classroom practice and textbooks can't imitate.
When you're reading a story written at the right level, you naturally absorb vocabulary and grammar. The key is that the story is at the right level for you – just enough to challenge you and make a conscious effort, but not so difficult you give up. Being at the right level for intermediate learners is what makes these stories different from just picking up translated literature.
Here's why the short stories collection in Japanese (or stories for whatever your target language) work:
- You're reading in context. Instead of meeting unfamiliar words and grammar in isolation, you understand them as part of a whole sentence or paragraph. Even if you don't exactly know what they mean, the context lets you make a good guess and carry on.
- The meaning gives you clues. When you're reading a series of related events, they become easy to follow. Fiction is great for language learning because it makes your reading experience so much fun.
- Emotion kicks in. Stories engage you on an emotional level as well as an academic one. Because stories are emotionally rewarding, they make the language more memorable and also engage your memory cells. So you're more likely to recognise those new words when you come across them again, whether that's in Japanese fiction or conversation.
- You read about different characters and diverse voices from your language which help you with cultural understanding.
Successfully reading a Japanese short story brings a tremendous sense of achievement and a real boost to your confidence.
So forget traditional literary superstars in Japanese and pick up a book of short stories to start learning Japanese.
Introducing… “Intermediate Short Stories In Japanese”
I've published one Japanese short story book so far.
This book uses my unique StoryLearning® method to teach you Japanese naturally through repeated and meaningful exposure to common words and grammar.
This fascinating collection of 8 stories ranges from thriller and crime to science fiction and history. What’s more, the plots keep you hooked and you’ll dearly want the characters to succeed.
As is usual in Japanese, the whole book is written right to left, so the first story starts at the back. However, you will find the English introduction at the front.
Every Japanese short story is written at the low-mid intermediate (ACTFL) level of Japanese, which equates to B1-B2 of the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference.)
You get to read at your level and focus on the plot without feeling overwhelmed by a wall of words you don't understand.
All of a sudden, reading in Japanese becomes easy. You can ditch the frustration and concentrate on learning instead.
Click here to purchase your copy now.
What's Included In Easy Japanese Short Stories?
While it may not be modern Japanese literature, I've crafted these books to be fun and easy to use. Yet they're comprehensive enough to include enough challenges to help English language readers get the most out of their learning.
Inside you'll find:
- Short fiction reading practice that's fun — so you can spend your time with the story instead of the dictionary.
- Controlled language at an intermediate level — helps you read and understand thousands of commonly-used Japanese words.
- Authentic spoken dialogues in a range of polite and casual forms— introduce conversational expressions and improve your speaking while you read. The dialogues occur in real settings to help you to improve the flow and accuracy of your spoken Japanese.
- Accessible grammar — learn new structures naturally and with less confusion.
- Vocabulary lists — bolded words throughout the stories let you quickly check their English translations without interrupting your flow.
- Beautifully hand-drawn illustrations — bring the stories to life, making them even more memorable than other stories.
- Eight fantastically varied stories in exciting genres, from science fiction and crime to history and thriller – making reading fun, while you learn a wide range of new vocabulary.
- Controlled language at your level to help you progress confidently.
- To help you advance your kanji recognition skills, furigana is used to support reading higher level or unusual kanji and for the first appearance of common kanji.
- Common vocabulary from levels four and five of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) along with vocabulary carefully chosen from the higher levels help you learn useful new expressions and progress through the intermediate reading levels.
- Accessible grammar so you learn new structures naturally, without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.
- Practical tips help you to unlock the meaning of Japanese sentences and new kanji words successfully.
- Pleasure! Research shows that if you're enjoying reading in a foreign language, you won't experience the usual feelings of frustration – ‘It's too hard!' ‘I don't understand!'
- With intriguing plots that will spark your imagination and keep you listening, Short Stories in Japanese for Intermediate Learners will take your grasp of Japanese to the next level with key features to support and consolidate your progress, including:
- Full plot summary.
- A bilingual word list.
- Comprehension questions after each chapter.
Of course, reading stories is vital, but you'll want to practice your listening skills too.
While Japanese Short Stories is originally published as a book, we can now offer you a high-quality new audio recording of Short Stories in Japanese to double your learning; available now for separate purchase.
As a result, you will be able to focus on enjoying listening and reading, delighting in your improved range of vocabulary and grasp of the language, without ever feeling overwhelmed. From science fiction to fantasy, to crime and thrillers, Short Stories in Japanese for Intermediate Learners will accelerate your journey towards fluency.
And there's also a handy Interactive app so you can read, listen and learn all at the same time whether you're at home or on the go!
If you want even more content to listen to about your chosen language, you can check out the Storylearning podcast. You'll find a bunch of content about language learning in the English language, as well as storytelling podcasts in your language of choice.
With these resources, the words “I don't have enough time to learn Japanese” will never cross your lips again!
Click here to purchase your copy now.
About The Author
In case you’re new here, let me introduce myself. My name is Olly Richards and I’m a language educator, author, and polyglot from the UK, who speaks 8 languages.
I’ve created dozens of critically acclaimed language courses and published a bestselling series of short story books in sixteen languages.
I’ve also been featured widely in the international press from the BBC to the Independent, and am a regular speaker at international language events.
What Do Readers Say About These Short Story Books?
Students from around the globe love learning with my short story books. But don’t take my word for it.
Here’s how readers describe the experience of learning with short stories:
Language Teachers Love These Short Story In Japanese Books Too
As you can see, language learners around the world love learning with Short Stories in Japanese. But they’re not the only ones…
Language teachers often tell me how much they enjoy using these stories in their lessons because they make learning fun and minimise all those hours of stressful lesson prep.
Reading traditional Japanese literature and trying to make sense of how it conveys Japanese culture and language is time-consuming and many students find it dull! When they can read a fun short story collection with an English translation, it takes the hassle out of your lesson preparation and brings joy back to learning.
Supplementary teaching materials are available to accompany these books for teachers who want quick, easy, and engaging supplementary materials for their lessons.
If you’re a teacher, click here to find out more.
Short Stories In Japanese: A Great Way To Learn Fast & Have Fun!
As you can see, reading short stories in Japanese is one of the best things you can do to improve your language skills. Not only will you get used to Japanese writing, but how the language is used in modern life.
And best of all…it allows you to learn the language in a fun and natural way, without memorising long lists of words and grammar rules.
So what are you waiting for?
Head on over to Amazon or your favourite local bookshop and grab your copy of my short story collection in Japanese now!
Click the link below to purchase your copy (available in Kindle & Paperback):