Site News

* April 20, 2024

On the Lesson Download Portal, we have just removed the requirement that students provide an email address in order to download the free audio files, transcripts and other documents. Some students were having trouble getting through the portal, and we no longer think that it will be necessary to contact students regarding upgrades to our material.

* March 12, 2024

We have just introduced Kanji ID, an innovative technique for identifying kanji that you encounter in your reading. You can read about it on the Kanji ID page.

In addition, we have made revisions to all six of our books, especially to our kanji catalogues. The Kanji ID technique requires that we be a bit more precise in our kanji descriptions. If you purchased a book prior to March 12, 2024, it will still be fine for reading practice, but at some point you may want to get Core Kanji, our all-in-one kanji catalogue that can be used with all of our Japanese Readers, in order to have access to the most up-to-date kanji descriptions and cues (mnemonics). The Core Kanji book contains all of the information that you will need to use Kanji ID, the kanji identification tool described above.

It is now possible to buy our books directly from Ingram Spark, our other publisher, by using the links on the How to Read Japanese page. Previously their books were only available through bookstores. The books are still available from Amazon where, in our experience, there seem to be fewer problems with quality control.

Since we have just made these revisions, if you own any of our PDF files, we will be happy to provide you with updated versions by sending you 100% discount coupons. Please write to us on the Contact page and tell us the file names for the files you have (which include the dates when they were published), and we will get the coupons out to you.

* August 26, 2023

My Adobe Acrobat Reader, which I use for Japanese reading practice, just updated itself and changed its look to something called “Adobe New Experience.” As a result, I was no longer able to resize the windows below a certain size, making it impossible to fit all six of the windows that I routinely use for reading practice onto my screen. (The six windows contain PDF files consisting of a Pronunciation Index, a Glossary, two copies of the Core Kanji catalogue and two copies of a Japanese Reader.) These files are all available from the PDF Store, and you can see how to use them at Suggestions for Efficient Reading Practice.

If you are using Adobe Acrobat to practice Japanese reading, please turn off this “Adobe New Experience.” In Windows, click the hamburger menu (the three horizontal lines at the upper left corner) and choose “Disable New Acrobat.” In macOS, go to View > Disable new Acrobat.

* January 6, 2023

We have published three new books in our Learn to Read in Japanese series: 1) Learn to Read in Japanese, Vol. IV; 2) Core Kanji: a Catalogue of 2,088 Essential Kanji; and 3) Learn to Read in Japanese, a Glossary, which has been expanded to include 9,300 Japanese terms. In addition, we have extensively revised the Core Kanji catalogues that are attached to our first three Japanese Readers and republished them. All of these books are available for purchase on, through independent bookstores and, in the PDF format, at our PDF Store.

* March 27, 2021

Guilherme Nery has completed Review Lessons 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36. You may download all of the Review Lessons after passing through the Lesson Download portal.  Thank you so much, Guilherme!

* December 30, 2020

We have just published Learn to Read in Japanese, Vol. III, which teaches 320 more kanji, for a total of 1528 kanji in the three books.

We have also just published a Glossary containing 7,200 Japanese terms that are used in our three Learn to Read in Japanese books.

*June 2, 2020

Guilherme Nery has produced five more review lessons by removing all of the English speech from the original versions. Review Lessons 1-20 are now available for download after you pass through the Lesson Download portal. These Japanese-only lessons are an excellent way to improve your 聞き取り kikitori (listening comprehension), but you may want to keep a copy of the Transcript nearby as you listen to them. Thank you, Guilherme!

*May 15, 2020

We’ve just added an Excel version of the Transcript which is available for download after you pass through the Lesson Download portal. Many thanks to Paul Moss for converting the file to this format. The reason for adding this version is to allow students to place the material into a flashcard app such as Anki.

*January 28, 2020

I recently made a new video that demonstrates how to use our second book, Learn to Read in Japanese, Volume II.

Among other things, this video shows how to use the new Copy and Paste technique that I mentioned in my previous message. You can use this technique for looking up kanji quickly while you read the digital versions of both of our Learn to Read in Japanese books.

This new technique is not suitable for everyone, since it only works well with computers on which one is able to copy and paste kanji characters precisely between open windows. If you don’t think that you would be able to do a lot of reading practice on such a computer, let me assure you that there is nothing wrong with the physical books. You can continue to use them just as they are, and you will learn to read in Japanese by doing so.

However, if you are a book owner with access to a laptop or desktop computer and if you find yourself constantly turning to the Kanji Pronunciation Index in order to look up kanji, this new technique will allow you to bypass the Index entirely and make more rapid progress. It will be particularly helpful when you start reading the 117 supplemental online reading lessons that we suggest for readers of Volume II.

If you adopt this new technique, you will still find the physical book to be useful in a number of situations, and not just when you are away from your computer. For example, if you are reading on a computer desktop and notice that a kanji in the Kanji Catalogue is being compared to other similar kanji, it is very convenient to use your physical book to look up those similar kanji, without losing your place in the Kanji Catalogue on your desktop.

*January 18, 2020

1. New Review Lessons

I’m happy to inform you that Review Lessons for Japanese Audio Flashcards are now available for download at Guilherme Nery, who lives in Brazil, is removing all of the English dialogue from the lessons, leaving only Japanese sentences and phrases.

I’ve listened to the 9 lessons that he has completed, and I think that students who have studied the original lessons will find these revised versions very useful for review. Thank you, Guilherme, for your excellent idea and for the hard work that you are doing to implement it!

2. Japanese Grammar Quiz

If you’d like to test your knowledge of Japanese grammar with 40 multiple-choice questions, I’ve recently updated the Japanese Grammar Quiz and brought it back to the web site. Please check it out at: