Great news for novice Japanese learners. The Japanese Graded Readers series has released a special beginner's collection for people who have mastered hiragana and katakana and are ready to take on kanji. As long as you know kana, you can jump in and begin building on your Japanese right away.
Japanese Graded Readers (JGR) Level 0 is designed for the ambitious newcomer. It utilizes a vocabulary of 350 words, beginner-level kanji (coupled with furigana), and verb conjugations including ~desu, ~masu, present tense, past tense, and question form. JGR is challenging but not overwhelming. Each word, sentence and carefully constructed paragraph is chosen to help you steadily improve your Japanese.
Among the stories in JGR Level 0 Volume 3 are two classics - one familiar and the other distinctly Japanese. Usai to Kame is the Japanese title for Aesop's fable "The Tortoise and the Hare", which is a delight to read in a new tongue. The other looks at the legendary love story of Orihime and Hikoboshi and the origin of the Japan's Tanabata summer festival. You'll also learn about Japan's infamous train system, where to go when you lose something on the streets of Tokyo, and drop in on the Kimura family for a traditional wedding.
The language of JGR is natural and controlled - the kind of Japanese that comes up in daily life - and the difficulty level from book to book is graduated by complexity of vocabulary and grammar structures, as well as the total number of words per book.
When picking up your first JGR, we encourage you to forgo the dictionary. Try to skip words and phrases that you don't understand and simply keep on reading. Their meanings will become apparent from the context and illustrations, and your memory retention will be all the better for it.
Many consider reading to be the most challenging core competency of learning Japanese. There are always new words, expressions and kanji to absorb and remember. But research has also shown that students who become proficient readers of Japanese improve the other core competencies - writing, speaking and listening - at a faster rate than those who do not. If your goal is to master Japanese, the JGR series will help get you there.