Japanese Manga, Novel, Dramas and TV recommendations for Japanese Learners

The best way to learn a language is to enjoy yourself interacting with the language, whether that be reading a manga/ novel, watching a TV show or anime, or getting out and having conversations with native speakers.

Getting the balance right between finding something that interests you but is also around your language level can be tricky, so here are some of the manga/ novel/ dramas that I have found both interesting and accessible as a Japanese learner (with links to posts where I have covered them on my blog)!

Easy Manga Recommendations

Most of the manga that is simple to read is within the genre called ‘slice of life’, which focuses on everyday situations. Dramas aimed at younger children will also have furigana (readings for kanji) which will make it much easier to look up new vocabulary. Therefore a lot of the manga I recommend tend to be ‘slice of life’ with a straightforward storyline:

Stories and Novels

I try to introduce reading materials through my Author Spotlight series of posts, which focus on introducing authors whose works are readily available and are relatively accessible:

If children’s books are something you’d like to try, check out my posts on the best resources for children’s books in Japanese.

I also introduce stories through my What I’m Reading Posts, which tend to feature books and manga for those at JLPT N4-N2 levels.

The books from these posts that I would recommend to other learners are:


As I’ve covered in another post, Netflix is a useful resource for anime and dramas, if you already have a subscription. In particular, the Netflix original content tends to have Japanese language subtitles which are useful for testing your language skills.

Some recommendations for TV shows are:

  • Japanese Style Originator
  • Terrace House
  • Good Morning Call
  • Itazura na Kiss
  • Erased
  • Case Closed

My Top 8 Netflix shows post goes into a bit more depth about the shows I’ve enjoyed and for each one I have written about how difficult I found the language used.

If you can’t afford Netflix, you can find a lot of popular J-dramas on other websites for free!