Best Way To Learn Conversational Manga Japanese

Books teaching Manga Japanese

Over a third of all books and magazines published in Japan are Manga.

Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure (2004)

A great way to teach Japanese to beginners. In 265 pages Lammers presents 493 panels from varied manga published in Japan. For each panel he gives:

For each panels he gives a brief bite-sized and digestible description of grammar concepts. The book can be used as a pleasant supplement to a language class. It can also be read, a panel or two a day for a year, to gradually acquire Japanese. Note that the Japanese of the manga represented is primarily 'plain' Japanese (as spoken among familiars) but sometimes 'polite' Japanese (such as for strangers and for business) is shown.


Mangajin's BASIC JAPANESE Through Comics (1993)


Section topics:

  1. Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu: which is a polite [PL3] way to ask for someone's consideration and is used as a "pleased to meet you" phrase. It also means "please be nice to me" or "I ask for your kind favor" as well as a third-party request such as "Please take good care of them"
  2. Sumimasen: which is a polite [PL3] way to express "I'm sorry" or "excuse me" or "thank you". Use it before asking a favor or after receiving a favor or to thank someone for (and accept) their offer of a favor.
  3. Feminine speech
  4. Gaijin (foreigner) bloopers.
  5. Hiragana, Katakana, and Manga. Japanese children start with hiragana characters; books for them are written entirely in hiragana. In manga, hiragana characters are the most common. Katakana characters are used for sound effects (of which there are many!) and foreign words, especially foreign names.
  6. The idioms ohayō gozaimasu (good morning) and omedetō gozaimasu (congratulations or a greeting for auspicious occasions in general).
  7. Introduction to Kanji through Creative Kanji Readings: the pronunciation is often given in furigana, which is a phonetic reading (using hiragana or katakana) beside the kanji. This can sometimes be a non-traditional reading such as a foreign word or a slang word or even a more traditional reading of the kanji than is usually given.
  8. mo, the all-purpose word: indeed/really/quite and thank you and please. Can also mean hi/welcome/hello.
  9. zo, like mo, is added to expressions to make them more polite; means 'please' in the sense of offering something or granting a favor, of inviting someone to enter a home or to go ahead.
  10. Baka: (fool, idiot, SOB) the basic insult. With the addition of -na we get the adjective bakana (foolish/crazy/stupid).
  11. Shitsurei (rudeness/impoliteness). Used in an apology such as on entering and on leaving, including on ending a phone conversation. With the addition of -na we get the adjective shitsurei-na (rude [person] or 'how rude').
  12. Ii: "The 'Good' Word" (good, all right, ok, nice, yes).
  13. Yattā: the exclamation (yeah!/wow!/did it!/hooray).
  14. Saying 'Goodbye'
  15. The Concept of Komaru ("become troubled"): personal distress (I can't accept this; this is troubling/terrible/a problem; I'm distressed).
  16. Counters and classifiers. For long and thin (e.g. cylindrical) objects use -hon: ippon, nihon, sanbon, .... For small animals use -hikki: ippiki, ... juppiki, .... For round objects use -ko: ikko, niko, ....
  17. Baby Talk.
  18. Informal 'Politeness'.
  19. Introductions.
  20. -sama Words. A more polite form of -san (Mr/Mrs/Ms).
  21. Hesitating with anō: uh/um.
  22. The Wide World of Desu (am/is/are). But when a noun is followed by desu it can take other meanings such as have/rode [my bike].
  23. Hai (Part 1): can answer a plain 'yes' or 'no' question; answering a negative statement meaning that statement is correct.
  24. Hai (Part 2): can mean 'okay/sure/certainly/all right'

Japanese Hiragana for the five basic vowels

a あ i い u う e え o お

Books to Help you Learn Japanese

Japanese Step By Step


Berlitz Japanese Resources

Pimsleur Japanese Resources: Basic

Pimsleur Language Program:
Audio-only program.