How To Read Japanese Manga Online (A Guide To Building Your Manga Library With eBookJapan)

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how to read japanese ebooks online

Today I’m going to show you how to read Japanese manga online so you can improve your Japanese (yay!). I know how frustrating it can be trying to find manga in the original Japanese if you live outside of Japan. You probably don’t wanna pay the outrageous shipping rates involved in importing the physical copies to your home. And you might have noticed that Amazon Japan has copyright policies that stop you from accessing Japanese ebooks outside of Japan.

But never fear! There’s a great website (and app) called eBookJapan that will let you download, read, and enjoy Japanese manga straight to your computer, mobile, or iPad in minutes. This site is aimed at Japanese people and there isn’t an English version of the site so, if you’re not already pretty fluent, it can look quite difficult and intimidating. But don’t worry. I’m going to walk you through exactly how to sign up for this site so you can start reading Japanese manga TODAY!

How To Read Japanese Manga Online:

You will need:

  • eBookJapan open in another tab/window
  • 5 minutes to go through the sign-up process
  • A burning desire to read awesome manga in Japanese

Step One: Go to

Step Two: Click the log in / sign up button

This button is in the top right corner of the site. It’s the first option next to the search bar.

It says: ログイン / 会員登録   – this just means log-in / membership registration.

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Step Three: Put in your email address

After you click the membership registration button, you’ll be taken to a page that prompts for you email address (as highlighted below).

Put your email address in the box and then click the big green send button.

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Step Four: Verify your email address

Just like you would expect if you were doing this in English, you will now receive a verification email.

Go open up your email inbox and find that ebookjapan just sent you.

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Step Five: Click the verification link in your email

The verification email will look like the following picture.

The link is time sensitive so make sure you click it right away (or within 24 hours).

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Step Six: Fill in your details

Clicking the link in your email will take you to the second stage of the registration process. 

Fill your details in using the guide below.

Once you’ve filled in all your details, click the green button at the bottom of the screen.

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Step Seven: Set your security question

These potential security questions are the same as you’d expect in English.

Pick one and put your answer in.

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Step Eight: Review your information

Check that everything you put in is correct/how you want it.

If it something’s wrong, clicking the grey button at the bottom will allow you to go back and correct.

If everything’s correct, click the green button at the bottom to proceed.

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Step Nine: You’re in!

Now you’ll be logged into eBookJapan with your own account.

Your account details are next to the smiley face.

You can now shop for manga and add them to your cart.

But how do you do that? Let me show you!

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Step Ten: Find a manga you really wanna read

You can check out the highest ranked manga  in the menu on the left hand side.

It’s the bit that has the crown symbol and ランキング (ranking).

Shop around and click on anything that interests you.

I grabbed the latest Card Captor Sakura (I LOVE this manga).

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You’ll see that, once you choose a specific manga, you can either buy it or read a sample.

Click the blue button to read a few sample pages.

Click the red button to buy it.

You can see that my beloved Sakura-chan cost 400 yen (under 4 bucks).

You also get points with every purchase that can be collected and used to get free books in the future.

Step Eleven: Read a sample

If you decide to read a sample before buying, you’ll get this pop up box.

Click the green button to start reading the sample.

You can also click the blue link on the bottom right of the pop up to download their app.

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Step Twelve: Buy the manga

If you click the red “buy now” button, you’ll be taken to another page that will show your cart and the total cost.

Click the red button to proceed to payment once you’re sure.

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Step Thirteen: Select payment method

Click the grey button underneath the Visa, MasterCard, etc. section to pay with your credit or debit card.

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Step Fourteen: Fill out your credit / debit card details

You know the drill. 

Once you’ve filled this stuff out, click the blue button on the bottom right.

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Step Fifteen: Confirm your payment information

Double-check your info is correct.

Then click the blue button on the bottom right to register your information.

You won’t have to do this anymore next time you buy manga because your payment details will be set up.

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Step Sixteen: Confirm your purchase

Almost there!

Now review the manga you want to buy and click the big red button.

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Step Seventeen: Choose how to read your manga

You can read the manga in your browser by clicking one of the blue buttons.

Or you can download the app by clicking the grey button.

If you already have the app downloaded, click the red buttons to read your manga there.

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Note: If you can’t read your manga when you click the blue ‘read now’ button, try the one underneath that says ‘open your library’. That’s the one that works for me.

Step Eighteen: Have fun reading manga in Japanese

You have now been granted access to a world of wonderful Japanese learning resources at your fingertips.

Now you don’t have to feel sad about having to wait until you get to Japan or putting up with shipping costs and delays in order to read Japanese manga.

You can read as much Japanese manga as you like. Right now. YAY!

This is what my online manga bookcase looks like:

Pretty cool, right?

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Manga recommendations

Need some ideas for what manga to grab?

Here are a few recommendations based on approximate Japanese level.

Manga for beginner Japanese learners

Orange by Takano Ichigo

Orange is a high-school drama/romance about what happens when a girl receives a letter claiming to be from herself 10 years in the future. The Japanese is super natural, so you won’t sound weird if you copy it, and the characters talk about lots of common everyday things so you’ll get good practice using the most useful Japanese vocab. If you love time travel stuff or you’re a fan of shoujo, Orange is a good series to dig into. It’s super popular too, selling over 1.6 million copies since its first serialisation, so you’re bound to find people who’ve read it and can chat about it with you. 

My Anime List Score: 8.65

Volumes: 5 (quick series to get through)

Genre: Drama, romance, sci-fi, shoujo, school.

Buy the ebook for Orange here.

Major by Mitsuda Takuya

You don’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy Major – although you might become one while reading it! Major is a great manga for beginners because, aside from the baseball terminology, it often uses super simple Japanese and everyday language. The story follows Gorou Honda as he grows up with ambitions to be a baseball player. We also follow his professional baseball player father, who lost his wife many years ago, and is recovering from an injury that put him out of the game. It’s a simple story but it’s great drama and a lot of fun. This series also won the Shogakukan Manga Award for best shounen manga in 1995.

My Anime List Score: 8.38

Volumes: 78 (it’s a big series so there’s lots to explore if you love it)

Genre: Drama, shounen, sports.

But the ebook for Major here.

Kimi ni Todoke by Shiina Karuho

Kimi ni Todoke is another high-school drama/romance. It’s a girl called Kuronuma Sawako who is completely misunderstood (and feared to have supernatural powers) by her classmates. The only one who sees her true personality is the happy-go-luck Kazehaya. Shoujo might not be your sort of genre but, for learning Japanese, it really is a great tool. It’s so much better to learn Japanese from a manga like Kimi ni Todoke than something like Dragon Ball because the language is very natural. This manga also won the Kodansha Manga Award for best shoujo in 2008, so you can see what an award-winning girls’ manga looks like.

My Anime List Score: 8.37

Volumes: 16 

Genre: Drama, romance, shoujo, school.

Buy the ebook for Kimi ni Todoke here.

Ore Monogatari!! by Kawahara Kazune and Aruko

Starting to see a pattern? Another shoujo recommendation for beginner Japanese learners! It’s honestly not because I love the genre. I actually just think that these kinds of stories – what with their themes and natural language – are best for beginner Japanese learners. Ore Monogatari!! is basically the love story of this big guy called Gouda’s first love. Maybe it’s repetitive but repetitive is good when it comes to learning Japanese. It’s also a sweet story so maybe you’ll love it. There’s an accompanying anime that’s pretty good too.

My Anime List Score: 8.20

Volumes: 13 

Genre: Drama, romance, shoujo, school.

Buy the ebook for Ore Monogatari!! here.

Manga for intermediate Japanese learners

Bakuman by Obata Takeshi and Ohba Tsugumi

From the creator of Death Note comes another awesome manga: Bakuman. This is a manga all about making manga – specifically the pursuit and hardworking required to become a popular mangaka. The story follows high-school students Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi in their quest to fulfil their dreams and loves. This is a great story and I find it very motivating because it shows you all the hard, unglamorous work required to be a success at anything. Bakuman is very dialogue heavy so it might take you a while just to finish one volume but it’s worth it. In addition to the manga boasting a great story, it also has very natural Japanese that you can feel safe learning from.

My Anime List Score: 8.51

Volumes: 20 

Genre: Drama, romance, comedy, shounen.

Buy the ebook for Bakuman here.

Nodame Cantabile by Ninomiya Tomoko

Nodame is great fun. It’s all about this awesome high school musician called Chiaki who dreams of making it big in Europe. The manga shows what happens when Chiaki meets an astoundingly talented (yet complete slob) pianist called Nodame. She falls in love with him and the manga follows their hilarious relationship together. This is one of my top personal favourites.

My Anime List Score: 8.54

Volumes: 25

Genre: Comedy, romance, josei.

Buy the ebook for Nodame Cantabile here.

Boku dake ga inai machi by Sanbe Kei

Boku dake ga inai machi (otherwise known as ERASED) is an artistic treat. The storytelling and artwork are superb and I consider this to be ranked as one of the best manga (at least, it’s one of my personal favourites). It’s about a failed mangaka called Satoru who is mysteriously able to travel back in time before disasters happen (he calls it “revival”). We follow him back to a point in time in which his classmate from 18 years ago, Kayo Hinazuki, disappears. I won’t say anymore because everyone hates spoilers but you just gotta read it. The anime is also very good (but differs a bit from the manga). 

My Anime List Score: 8.51

Volumes: 9 

Genre: Drama, mystery, supernatural, seinen.

Buy the ebook for Boku dake ga inai machi here.

Manga for advanced Japanese learners

Death Note by Obata Takeshi and Ohba Tsugumi

You must already know about Death Note, right? It’s a kami (god) manga and one of the most popular series around. It’s pretty dark but a heck of a lot of fun. It’s about a brilliantly intelligent high-school student called Light Yagami who gets a death note – a notebook in which you can write someone’s name and, in doing so, kill them. Light is accompanied by a shinigami (death god) called Ryuk as he starts by killing a ton of criminals in Japan. But very soon things get out of control and Japanese investigators (one of which is his own dad) start to hunt Light without even knowing who he is. Crazy good manga!

My Anime List Score: 8.78

Volumes: 12

Genre: Drama, mystery, supernatural, shounen, psychological.

Buy the ebook for Death Note here.

Gintama by Sorachi Hideaki

Gintama has got to be the funniest manga (and anime). I laugh out loud so many times whenever I read a volume or watch an episode. If you’re a fan of absurd and kinda rude humour like Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park, you will LOVE Gintama. 

My Anime List Score: 8.41

Volumes: 70+

Genre: Comedy, action, parody, shounen, sci-fi, samurai.

Buy the ebook for Gintama here.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Arakawa Hiromu

Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who try to achieve human transmutation in order to bring their deceased mother back to life. It doesn’t go well and Edward loses a leg and Alphonse loses his entire body. Edward gives up his right arm in order to preserve his brother’s soul inside a suit of armour. The two brothers then travel across the country in search of the philosopher’s stone. Fullmetal Alchemist is another example of a kami (god) manga and it’s definitely a must-read. The anime is also superb and one of my favourites.

My Anime List Score: 9.14

Volumes: 27

Genre: Action, adventure, military, shounen, drama.

Buy the ebook for Fullmetal Alchemist here.

Naruto by Kishimoto Masashi

Naruto is my favourite manga of all time. It’s my childhood. I was obsessed (still am) with this manga. I used to wait at the store until midnight on the day the new issues were released and would read it immediately. I’m not sure what I can say about this amazing series. Read it and discover how great it is for yourself. 

My Anime List Score: 8.12

Volumes: 72

Genre: Action, adventure, martial arts, shounen, drama.

Buy the ebook for Naruto here.

You can find more great manga at ebook Japan.

I hope this guide has helped you. Now you can enjoy manga in it’s original Japanese right away. 

If you have your eyes on any particular manga series and you want to know what level of Japanese learner it would be best for, you’re welcome to ask and I’ll let you know my thoughts!

Ganbatte! And have fun reading manga!

Translator / Linguist / Japanese Teacher / Happy World Traveler/ manga, anime, comedy lover. Speaks Japanese, English, Russian and German.


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