Do you think playing pokemon is good for practicing reading?

I just started to play my first game in Japanese (or will when it comes out) Pokemon Mystery Dungeon DX on the Switch. I loved going through it and being able to read native content and understand it is very fulfilling. As I was going through it there were still parts that I did not understand such as vocabulary or grammar points so I might add them into an anki deck or something. Though not having audio will be annoying as I can’t hear how it sounds, but immersing myself in the reading will help me loads I feel.

Do you think this will be a good way to improve my reading? Should I add every new word I don’t know to an anki list or is that pointless? Also, is there a way to get audio/audio and sentence of something that I create?



I might try this out as well. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon has always been pretty dialogue heavy, so I’m assuming the new one is the same. Hopefully the gameplay is still fun, since it is modern Pokemon we’re talking about…

There might be some benefit to trying to understand it in the same way that it’s beneficial to read manga. If you understand most of the words, then adding the ones to anki that you don’t understand would be a good idea. If you don’t understand very much, then it’d probably be better to read something easier or get back to studying vocab lists :slight_smile: .

I’m pretty sure that you can put your sentence in google translate and play back audio. There might be better apps for that though.


If you can understand it well enough to enjoy it, exposure to native media is always a great way to help you learn! I personally find it incredibly motivating, because A) everything I do understand means my studying has paid off, and because B) everything I don’t understand yet means there’s still more studying to do!

I’d say definitely don’t add every single word to Anki, though. You’ll get overwhelmed really, really quickly if you do that. Instead, I’d recommend that you only add A) interesting words/phrases B) memorable words/phrases (the context you discovered them in will make them easier to recall), or C) anything you’ve had to look up multiple times.


Anything is good to practice reading. Just make sure to read a broad range of things.


I personally think you will get better mileage (i.e. effect per time spent) if you try reading manga.
Reason is - it contains everyday conversations, which is a great way to improve your general understanding of the language and practice the most common grammar patterns. Just pick something simple in slice-of-life genre and give it a go!


regarding that. do you think (or do you guys think) mangajin is a good source for practice (for a beginner of course)?

it contains some cultural notes, explained grammar points and a few pages of manga with translations. done by the guy who did thejapanese the manga way.

somehow [torrent] i ended up with first 50 releases of this series.


My level is around JLPT N3 , I have been playing games mainly in Japanese for a year now, here is what I learned:

  • Main thing should be to have “fun” while playing in Japanese.
  • My performance is not always great, ie I couldn’t fully understand some systems in some games so yeah… just relax and take breaks :slight_smile:
  • Like @Kai said, don’t use dictionary way too much. Just have fun or it will get overwhelming / boring. Ie more time spent staring at the dictionary vs actually playing the game.
  • RPGs are great like Disgaea, Fire Emblem as the text / speech can be paused :smiley:
  • Most games have no furigana, so it takes more time to find unknown vocab (compared to some light novels, manga)
  • Some of the grammar / way of speech would be very casual / or very old way of speaking depending on the game setting :smiley:

Manga is probably the easiest way to start reading Japanese as its easy to pick up context from the images.

One way to get Audio sentences is to use online web novels eg shield hero: and google translate or another reading website and download the audio file.


Do you have manga that is a good start? Nothing too complex or anything. I tried one manga that people usually recommended but I found the little girl annoying.


What’s slice of life genre? I have not heard of that before.


I am not sure which manga would be a good start… Everybody has different tastes :smiley:
I will use Bookwalker JP (there is also , ebookjapan etc…) store so that it is easier for you to see what the manga is like inside for free by pressing on the button “試み読み”:

Most of these websites have manga / light novels which are Free / 無料 for a limited time

I would say start with what you like, set in modern times (if possible )

Anyway here are some ideas:

When you feel adventurous try light novels aimed at kids which have simplified vocab and grammar and furigana on all kanji from 角川つばさ文庫:

Like: ずっと前から好きでした。~告白実行委員会~ link:

Hope that helped :smiley:


Just what it sounds like, a slice of life! Characters who are just living their normal everyday life, there’s no “plot”, no one is fighting evil or trying to become the best athlete or whatever.
It’s just people living normally.
I think they are usually comedic but I have a strong feeling that there are still lots who aren’t necesarilly a comedy.

something like “Friends” I guess would be a slice of life, it’s just normal people living normal people life

And regarding the main question, of course, every reading is good reading practice. A lot of people push for “everyday” content, but if you’re interested in pokemon… You’re gonna need to know pokemon lingo anyway to play future (Or past) games in japanese anyway.


My level is around JLPT N3 and I played over 15 video games in japanese, most of them for one hour, before switching because I prefered other resources or just playing in english.

I would like to share what are the two rules for me at this level in choosing games to play in japanese:

  • Play games with high production value : dub, characters animation…
    (because context is key in all communication, and 2D retro games is low context)

At first I played a lot of old games or games with low graphics, as they’re the most common in japanese learner circles (lots of retro gamers and Nintendo players at a time when the best options were Nintendo DS because 3DS is region locked), and they are my kind of games after all!
I was struggling in a lot of situations where the language was kinda basic. One day I played Chrono Trigger which I know very well with both versions side by side, and I noticed how much a dialog can be random and hard to understand what the point is, out of context (especially true with optional villagers dialog in JRPGs).
Playing games like Yakuza which have dub and rich characters animations, I was able to understand a lot more of lines which carried richer and weirder vocabulary. Speech intonation is giving such a relief to your brain to know what the dialog shoud be about. Once I got the global context, looking for the specific vocabulary and remembering it seemed much more easy (= cost less motivation) to me.

The only problem with dub is that it sometimes mean dialog can’t be stopped which is the biggest pain you can encounter in the beginning.

  • Go for what you WANT to play

Two extreme cases of this rule:
A low intermediate game which has been recommended but I have not real interest to play : I’ll drop it after (for me a good exemple is Little Charo which is basically an english course in japanese, sometimes recommended by japanese learners)
A high intermediate game which I want to play because it matches my taste: I spend hours on it, and each new word seems to stick in my brain. (latest exemple for me: 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim which I’m very interested in and I can only play it in Japanese)

So now I follow my motivation in choosing games, and I just don’t play recommended “japanese games to learn japanese”.

It might be different for the first games you are playing when your level is around N4, but once you become a solid intermediate in the Language Learning Plateau, I definitely prefer to go for things that motivate me.

Sorry it was more of a personal statement than an answer to your question, I personally don’t use self made SRS since a long time ago, only Wanikani and Bunpro. (I honestly don’t know if this is a good idea, it worked for me better until reaching intermediate but maybe I would learn faster with personal SRS now? Difficult to say, it has a motivation cost in the easy-to-keep-on-streak/intensive learning balance of self-learning)

I hope this personal rules can help!


I wanted to play Ni No Kuni with Japanese Text and despite the settings telling me that I can change the subtitles language in the Playstation settings, nothing worked. You’re right about using things with animation as it will help understand things more.

I’ll just try to find a game that has audio like Ni No Kuni I guess.


I study for N1 by reading my “serious” materials, like novels, articles, whatever during the day and the evening, then last thing in the evening I just relax with a game or manga. Weirdly though, reading manga and reading game text is better for your listening than it is for studying for N1 読解 heh.


I think switching the language setting to Japanese for any game you might be playing can only ever be a good thing for practice. But I would give the same caution as I would to anyone trying to improve their Japanese through manga/anime, which is that video game japanese is not always useful japanese. If you have spent 60 hours roleplaying as an ancient dragon in the body of a prepubescent girl, and then try to reproduce those speech patterns and mannerisms at your local konbini, you’re going to sound faintly insane. If you fill your anki deck with seven hundred words for obscure medieval Japanese weaponry, then don’t expect to be richly rewarded for that effort once the N2 rolls around.

The only pokemon game I’ve tried to play in Japanese has been X/Y, which I personally found very frustrating because a) as a children’s game, it was very hiragana heavy, and b) learning the names of all the pokemon is a mission in itself

For N3/N2 level, I think the Phoenix Wright series is among the best choices you can make - the dialogue is contemporary, the setting is non-fantastical, the vocab is mostly applicable to daily life (particularly if you murder a lot of people), and it frequently alludes to Japanese culture. Most of all, by making you answer questions about what you’ve just read, it tests your understanding and stops you from progressing until you’ve worked it out. The best part is that because the dialogue is specifically designed to help you grasp the crucial elements of the story, it greatly assists foreign language learners. So, for example, the witness on the stand will say something about the body being under the statue, and then the main character will talk to himself and be like “did he just say that the body was under the statue”, and then there’ll be an option to talk to the side kick about the body being under the statue, etc etc. - the redundancy is mostly built in.

With something like Fire Emblem: Three Houses, as much as I love it, it’s entirely possible to learn what all the menu buttons do, and then skim or skip the dialogue entirely, which there is a big temptation to do if you’re tired after a long day at work.


Honestly, I think anything that gives you motivation to read is worth your time. Pokemon can be a little frustrating as you have to relearn names and attacks etc, but at least SwSh gives you the option of Japanese or /simple/ Japanese. Before then, I believe it’s just a tad too kana heavy to be super practical. I played SwSh with Japanese and found it perfectly easy enough to follow the story (because Pokemon is known for having rich and original storylines :face_with_hand_over_mouth:), but it does mean whenever my friends are talking about the new Pokemon or the characters, I have to whip Google out because apparently Leon couldn’t just be レオン. You might find you won’t learn too much, but it will get you reading and recognising grammar, and if it’s something you’ll be playing anyway it’s not a waste of time.

I second playing something heavy in context with cutscenes if you want something a bit heavier, but maybe I wouldn’t recommend Yakuza/RGG. Purely because you might not want ふざけんなお前 to seep into your vocabulary :upside_down_face: In all seriousness though, it’s useful as long as you bear in mind that it’s not what you’re gonna want to be shadowing. I would absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for a fantastic game franchise with some of the most likeable characters I’ve ever come across, so it’s worth your time in that regard.

I tried playing FFXIV in Japanese for a while and, whilst I can’t say I recommend it too much on account of the antiquated manner of speaking due to the setting… I can say doing things that I was familiar with (like Alchemist quests, because I have them all but memorised in English) was useful and fun for me. I actually want to redo it now I have more knowledge under my belt and can make more gains from it, haha.

Like Bapden said, I think it’s all about what you’re actually interested in. Forcing yourself to play something that you don’t really want to purely because you think it’ll be useful language-wise isn’t gonna do you a fat lot of good. It’ll just hit your motivation in the dangly parts. If you incorporate learning into the things you already want to do, or would do anyway outside of language learning, it makes it a whole lot more fun and you’ll stick to it way more.

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This is completely incorrect.

This misinformation is unfortunately being perpetuated mostly by Japanese people who assume that other people would read manga and start speaking “korosu zo!” and “kisama!” when in reality this is nonsense.

People have enough thinking capacity to differentiate between different registers of speech.

The ONLY issue that could actually arise is choice of vocabulary. Since it’s a bit more difficult to realize what particular register of speech a particular vocabulary item belongs to unless you have encountered this particular item several times in different contexts. But even then, it is still a very minor issue if you continue consuming Japanese content.

Don’t let this nonsense stop you from consuming content you want and improve your japanese. ANY content is good. Even completely silly shounen manga where they speak using unrealistic japanese is still good for your language learning.

The rest will be unconsciously sorted by your brain and apply correct filtering to differentiate speech registers.

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Hi mate, possibly reread what I actually wrote before you get your knickers in a twist

Why are you getting agressive? :slight_smile:
I simply shared my opinion in hopes that it could be useful for other people, as that point comes up quite often and many people are afraid that it would affect them, which is not the case at all.
If anyone is getting something in a twist - it’s you :slight_smile:

@Kuromaku @ulurujamman

OK I’m going to step in. As an outsider looking in (someone who doesn’t have much to do with anime, games, Pokemon, etc.) I think you’re both making fair comments (albeit somewhat strongly worded) and the only two comments that really shouldn’t have been made are the ones that mention getting various things in a twist, as I feel they go against the following community guidelines:

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people . Please avoid:

  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content

On top of that, the “BS” remark probably shouldn’t have been made but I think we’re all grown up enough to understand that it wasn’t used in the context it usually is.
Agree or disagree, although strongly worded, @Kuromaku 's first comment does not appear to violate the guidelines and should probably not have been reported (unless the person in question took particular offence to the use of “BS”)

Let’s start the conversation again (none of these “well he started it!” responses) and attack ideas rather than individuals.