Japanese Literature discussion

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Reading in Japanese > Novels with lots of furigana

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message 1: by Christian (last edited Mar 05, 2016 02:22PM) (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments I just received the Japanese edition of The Borrowers and was pleasantly surprised to see how much furigana it has!
The only other example I know so far is Harry Potter. They seem to be comparable in threshold, for example they won't show the reading for 見る but they will for 壁, so there's definitely a lot.

I realize it's because those are both "children" stories, but errr... they're also appealing for the tall people ;P
I've heard most light novels also have them, but I personally have little interest in those... So if you happen to know/find novels with a good amount of furigana, please share them here!

Edit: Ha! Just realized that was not really "Japanese" literature though... Oops.


message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura (invierno) | 1 comments Even if this is not about Japanese literature, it's very interesting for those who want to read literature in Japanese!

Does anyone know more examples of books with lots of furigana? I'd be thankful!


message 3: by Christian (last edited Mar 13, 2016 07:05AM) (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments In fact, there's an entire series by the same publisher Iwanami. You can browse through their selection here: http://www.iwanami.co.jp/hensyu/jidou...
(EDIT: you first have to click on the blue pencil "岩波少年文庫")

The top bar are categories and you'll see lists of novels. The three digits number can tell you if it's targeted toward primary school (anything under 500, red books), or middle school (500+, blue books). The primary school are also classified in school years, 3-4 or 5-6. I'm not sure if that changes the level of furigana though, there's probably a lot in all of them. Other major publishers also have similar things (see here).


message 4: by Christian (last edited Mar 13, 2016 07:29AM) (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments For instance, there's the Chronicles of Narnia, Marnie (which inspired the Ghibli movie When Marnie Was There), some Sherlock Holmes, Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking among others), some Erich Kästner, the Little House on the Prairies series, Japanese folklore...


message 5: by Akylina (new)

Akylina | 92 comments It's mostly children's books then, right? I also asked my Japanese teacher if she knows of any books with furigana, or simply books in Japanese that are not insanely difficult to read and she could only recommend me some Japanese folklore tales..


message 6: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments Yeah, sadly! Adult Japanese don't need help reading common words.

But you know, those stories are children stories because of their content, they don't necessarily have an easier language than average contemporary literature (completely unsupported claim lol).

I also just compared the translation of The Borrowers with the original and it's a 1:1 translation, not a dumbed down version! :)


message 7: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments If you want to read adult books, there are a few modern authors who use a simpler style: short sentences, lots of hiragana instead of kanji... It's a style choice. Examples are Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto, but I'm sure there are more.


message 8: by Bill (new)

Bill Johnston | 704 comments I have several volumes in this series:
http://amzn.com/4062617064

I believe it was aimed at younger readers in Japan. They contain copious furigana, plus some annotations in Japanese describing uncommon or old-fashioned words.


message 9: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 362 comments Wow! Nice find Bill, thanks!


message 10: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 12 comments What we really need is an ereader that can automatically add furigana, with an J->E dictionary built in so you just have to tap an unfamiliar word to get the definition.

Christian wrote: "I've heard most light novels also have them, but I personally have little interest in those... "

The light novels I've looked at only use furigana for proper names or if the author wants to give an Engrish name to something while also using kanji to describe what it is. For instance, in A Certain Magical Index (To Aru Majutsu no Index), "Index" is written with the kanji for "catalogue of forbidden books" but with "Indekkusu" in furigana.


message 11: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 12 comments What we really need is an ereader that can automatically add furigana, with an J->E dictionary built in so you just have to tap an unfamiliar word to get the definition.

Christian wrote: "I've heard most light novels also have them, but I personally have little interest in those... "

The light novels I've looked at only use furigana for proper names or if the author wants to give an Engrish name to something while also using kanji to describe what it is. For instance, in A Certain Magical Index (To Aru Majutsu no Index), "Index" is written with the kanji for "catalogue of forbidden books" but with "Indekkusu" in furigana.


message 12: by Bill (new)

Bill Johnston | 704 comments Light novels and manga do have a habit of using furigana for something other than the pronunciation of the kanji. Sometimes it's to give an English reading for the kanji (like you mention), and sometimes it's to give another Japanese phrase that either contains a synonym or adds more information to the text. I'll try to keep my eyes open for the next time I see one of these and jot it down to mention here.


message 13: by Carola (new)

Carola (carola-) | 167 comments Sean wrote: "What we really need is an ereader that can automatically add furigana, with an J->E dictionary built in so you just have to tap an unfamiliar word to get the definition."

Not entirely the same, but there are some apps out there that may help learners: http://blog.brilliantyears.net/archiv...


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