Japanese Reading Practice on a Computer Screen

When you are ready to do some serious Japanese reading practice, you will save time and avoid certain kinds of frustration by reading on a laptop or a desktop computer, where you can view files in separate windows and copy material from one window in order to paste it in a search box inside a different window. To do this, you will need the PDF version of one of our Japanese Readers and the PDF version of one of our Core Kanji catalogues. You can also use the PDF versions of our Glossary and our Pronunciation Index for reference when you are reading on a computer screen. All of these files are available at our PDF store.

The major advantage of reading Japanese on a computer screen is that you are able to look up kanji in the Core Kanji catalogue by simply copying and pasting them. This means that you will rarely need to refer to the Pronunciation Index when you need information about a kanji character. Other advantages include the ability to open two copies of a document in separate windows and compare materials side by side, plus the general advantage of not having to reach for another book when you need to look something up.

Please note that we do not recommend that you use our PDF files on electronic devices such as phones and tablets because our tests showed that searches conducted in those files on such devices were too slow. In addition, when we conducted experiments on such devices to try to copy materials from one window in order to paste it into a search box in another window, we were unsuccessful.

On the other hand, I have spent many rewarding hours reading these materials on a 14-inch touchscreen laptop, with six open windows. The windows contained two copies of one of our Japanese Readers (one copy showing the Japanese text, and the other its romaji equivalents and English translations), two copies of the Core Kanji catalogue (allowing me to compare different kanji side by side), the Glossary, and the Pronunciation Index. At times, I have also opened a window containing text from the supplemental reading practice material that we suggest in Volumes 2 and 3 of our Readers.

Although one of the windows on my screen is devoted to the Pronunciation Index, I do not need to refer to it very often while reading on my computer, since one of the advantages of such reading is that it’s possible to look up kanji by simply copying a character from any on-screen document and pasting it into a “Find” box in the Core Kanji catalogue, thus proceeding directly to the kanji listing and bypassing the Index. However, sometimes a character isn’t available for copying, and I need to look it up based on my memory of its pronunciation. In such cases, I am able to use the Pronunciation Index to locate the kanji’s listing.

To learn more about this reading-practice method, please visit the Suggestions for Efficient Reading Practice page.

Although reading practice on a computer is more efficient, it requires a certain tolerance for the frustrations that are inherent in such machines. If you want to avoid those frustrations and don’t mind spending a little additional time as you study, you needn’t worry about this option. Using only the printed versions of our books, you will find it convenient to access the Japanese Readers, the Core Kanji catalogue, the Pronunciation Index and the Glossary while you read.

Next: Suggestions for Efficient Reading Practice