Have you ever read a comic book? If so, you know they’re full of action-packed stories and engaging characters. Raw manga, or Japanese comic books written using Japanese characters, have likewise been a prevalent source of convenient entertainment in Japan for decades. And, if you’re here to learn Japanese, you’re in luck! Manga readers (apps or websites designed for digital manga reading) are an excellent way to reinforce and learn Japanese characters when used in conjunction with Japanese study.
Starting with Japanese’s phonetic hiragana alphabet and expanding to complex kanji with furigana (hiragana underneath for clarity), manga readers are an amazing tool for any Japanese learner. They help you remember Japanese characters you studied in class while organically introducing you to new ones. Even better if you use manga readers in conjunction with flash cards or a Japanese character journal. To get you started, here’s our list of the seven best manga readers to get you started on your fun learning journey.
Top 7 Raw Manga Readers to Learn Japanese Characters
Ready to get started? If you run a quick search of your own, you'll find that lots of manga readers only feature translated manga in English. These seven manga readers are the exception; they give you access to untranslated raw manga so you can learn Japanese characters while you get lost in the plot.
Manga Reader is one of the most popular manga reading websites, and for good reason. This is an easy-to-use manga reader great for those who want to be introduced to manga with a comprehensive and user-friendly website.
Manga Reader is free, easy to navigate, and has a large library boasting over 50 series for your Japanese learning pleasure. As another huge plus, it is completely advertisement-free! The only drawback is that although you can “favorite” the manga you’re currently reading for easy access, you cannot make an account. Instead, you have to leave a tab open in perpetuity or manually find your spot when you revisit the website.
Another great option to begin as a manga reader, Mangapark has a wide-variety of titles, including many lesser-known gems. One of my personal favorites is Kimi Ni Todoke (translating to From Me to You), a kindhearted tale that is sure to leave a smile on your face.
You do not need to register to use this website, but if you do, you’ll be able to save your favorites and come right back to them when you log in. Another major plus of using Mangapark is the ability to download the titles you like and read them offline. That means you can indulge and learn Japanese language from wherever you’d like.
KissManga is a branch of KissAnime, a famous anime-viewing website. This is a reliable, free, and ad-free website with over 500 series to read at your disposal.
One of my favorite features of KissManga is the ability to switch between English and Japanese character bubbles with a simple click. If you’re using manga readers to learn Japanese characters, this lets you see exactly what you’re reading to fully understand every sentence for great Japanese practice. On top of that, the KissManga application boasts a clean interface and is wonderful for those interested in on-to-go manga reading.
Manga Rock has just about every genre of manga you could ask for. You can use this manga reader to navigate to exactly which chapter you’d like, making it simple to find your place. The website is designed well, with ratings on every title to help guide you to some of the best manga choices available. This is another great option for those who wish to read manga offline, as you can download them to access them without need for wifi or data usage.
Even if you’ve read a lot of the popular and famous manga series, you’re guaranteed to never run out on MangaPanda. There are over 3,000 series and millions of volumes to choose from on this popular manga reader. You can also categorize by genre, so you can indulge in whatever you like, from science-fiction, romance, comedy, drama, and much more.
You can subscribe to MangaPanda for no cost at all, giving you access to exclusive stories. In fact, this website is completely free as well. Just bear in mind that there are some pop-up advertisements. Beyond that, it’s a great resource to learn Japanese characters.
MangaHere is easy to use, has a bookmark feature to save what you like, and even a history tab. This means if you forgot to save a manga you were enjoying, you can find it again with ease.
MangaHere, like KissManga, lets you see English translations of what you’re reading with the press of a button. If you don’t understand a Japanese character, you can view the English understanding to assist you.
This choice has fewer genre options than some of the rest on our list. However it’s still a great resource to get you started on your manga learner journey, especially if you haven’t used many manga readers before and don’t mind a limited library.
Last but certainly not least, Comic Walker is an incredibly popular manga website in Japan. The entire website is in Japanese, but don’t worry; if you’re not at a level where you can figure out a Japanese website, you can conveniently switch to the English website version with a click. If you’re at a more advanced Japanese reading level, try to navigate the website in its original language. You might surprise yourself!
There are plenty of free series on this manga reader, but be aware that there are some premium series that you have to pay to read. Each manga title has a detailed description, which is great if you’re unsure of what to read and prefer browsing.
Use Raw Manga Readers to Learn Japanese Characters Today!
You can probably tell from all these fantastic options that Japanese manga readers are an incredibly accessible way to learn Japanese characters. You may have noticed that the majority of these resources are completely free as well, so dive in and enjoy the renowned storytelling of Japanese manga entertainment while mastering Japanese characters.
When you’re taking a break from a story, check out some other articles from Speechling on everything Japanese, from Learn Japanese Music Lyrics to Supplement Your Japanese Language Course to The Best Way to Learn Japanese if You're Busy. With help from Speechling and all of the resources we’ll continue to provide, you’ll be well on your way to mastering both written and spoken Japanese.