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Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure Bilingual Edition

80 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1880656907
ISBN-10: 1880656906
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Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure + Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners: First Steps to Mastering the Japanese Writing System (CD-ROM Included) + Japanese Vocabulary (Quickstudy: Academic)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–In concise, meticulous prose, Lammers intends to teach absolute beginners how to use manga to learn to speak and read conversational Japanese. This seems like a daunting task, and it is, but for someone who has the patience, drive, and desire to learn the language, the book will be an immense help. The author's primary method for teaching it is to present a panel or scene from a manga (a list of the manga used is included in an appendix), then offer a four-tier translation of what the character is saying. Beneath the written Japanese is the romaji ("Roman letters") text, then comes a word-for-word translation so nonnative speakers can understand the structure of the Japanese, and finally a polished translation that expresses what the sentence means in natural English. Between these panels and translations (which take up the bulk of each page) are detailed explanations of the grammar, pronunciation, and sentence structure of each example. Although Lammers suggests that this book will be useful for beginners, he presents information in such a fast-paced way that readers will best be served by using the book as a supplement to a language class. No exercises are included, but the author does recommend specific titles for the purpose of self-testing. This volume will be useful for libraries in schools in which Japanese is taught as well as public libraries serving college-bound patrons.–Steev Baker, Kewaskum Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Get a jump on preparing for that eventual pilgrimage to Japan by learning the language now -- and what easier way than with manga? "Japanese: The Manga Way teaches the differences and structures of the language using actual manga panels. Sneaky!" -- "Wizard Anime Insider

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press; Bilingual edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656907
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.6 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Ohio but raised in Japan, Wayne P. Lammers grew up speaking both Japanese and English. He taught Japanese language and literature at the university level for a number of years before becoming an independent translator and author. He was translation editor for Mangajin magazine during its run in the 1990s, and this work subsequently led to his writing Japanese the Manga Way. He has won two translation awards for his literary work, which has included short stories, novels, plays, memoirs, and a classical romance; titles include The Shadow of a Blue Cat (Naoyuki Ii), Spinning Tropics (Aska Mochizuki), Woman on the Other Shore (Mitsuyo Kakuta), Undercurrents: Episodes from a Life on the Edge (Shintaro Ishihara), Strangers (Taichi Yamada), Taken Captive: A Japanese POW's Story (Shohei Ooka), Evening Clouds (Junzo Shono), Still Life and Other Stories (Junzo Shono). Much of his recent literary translation work has been for the Japanese Literature Publishing Project supported by the Japanese government. He lives outside Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By tremorviolet on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
You've taken a class or two at school, you've learned kana and you've got a kanji dictionary so you're all set, right?

Not so fast. If you've ever picked up a real Japanese comic (manga) you've probably realized that spoken Japanese is very different (and downright incomprehensible) from what you're learning in the textbook.

Well, this book is what you need. Forget "Japanes in Mangaland" and all the other cutesy manga related Japanese titles. They're just basic Japanese texts gussied up with a few pretty pictures. This book uses real manga strips to illustrate key grammar points. The author also goes into detail with each panel so you get vocabulary and cultural references. And while the manga strips aren't the most current Shonen Jump, they are interesting.

Bottom line: if you want to read manga, get this book. If you're doing Ok in Japanese but are still fuzzy on some of the casual, spoken constructions, get this book. I wish it had been around a few years ago when I first started learning Japanese and trying to decipher my manga.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent supplementary book to your Nihongo arsenal. It covers a suprisingly large amount of grammar, all in a well thought out description. This book covers mostly colloquial speech, which is nice for those of us who dont have access to hearing Japanese conversations very often (if at all). In-formal forms of speech are explained (along with their polite equivilant) which I loved, because unfortunatley in classes and textbooks, they concentrate almost soley on polite speech and no informal contexts. So you wont be suprised to find out the Japanese person you are talking to isn't talking like a textbook.

This book uses kanji/furigana/katakana along with romanji and then translated into english, so if you havent memorized your 3 alpahbets yet (especially the motherlode, kanji), dont fret.

I wouldnt recommend this book to fresh beginners, I think to have some understanding of it you need to have at least some basic Japanese (few months or so).

I gave it 4 out of 5 because I think this book is lacking without some kind of workbook to go along with it. With a workbook, this book could probably replace alot of textbooks.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Andrei Formiga on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is quite possibly the best language textbook I've encountered so far. Language textbooks use to have this little problem: they are quite boring. Mr. Smith at the airport; Mr. Smith at a restaurant; Mr. Smith shopping. Not this one: Japanese the Manga Way is fun to read. Who would've thought that language textbooks could be fun?

Its format is quite unique: there aren't long grammatical explanations, and almost all the examples are taken from manga. A lesson begins with some explanation, then a panel from some manga, followed by its translation and notes explaining new or unusual grammatical constructs found in it. Other books use manga panels as examples, so what's new here? Two things: first, the author explains the context in the story for every panel, so that the reader can follow the chain of events and understand what the characters are saying; and second, the book is organized so that examples only rarely use language constructs that weren't explained yet. Furthermore, there are a lot more examples than in similar books, as the whole exposition is guided by them.

This is all very good and dandy, especially if you want to learn to read manga, but it's important to be aware that the book is "an illustrated guide to grammar and structure" as it says on the title, so it's not a complete japanese course. It doesn't present any method to help learning the japanese writing system (kana or kanji), only kana charts at the beginning. Also, it obviously won't help with the spoken language. But within its own objectives, it's a very good book.
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful By R. Brown on April 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
At last, the melding of two of Japan's greatest exports: manga and the study of the Japanese language. Not exactly at last-others have trod this path before, notably the magazine Mangajin-but in book form Japanese the Manga Way is setting a precedent.

Author Wayne Lammers grew up in Japan and has written a "real manga, real Japanese" text and study aid that will benefit the many students struggling with nihongo. The text begins with basic pronunciation and works its way onwards and upwards, throughout supplemented with topical and humorous selections from Japanese graphic novels and comics.

Even for someone who has spent the better part of ten years studying Japanese, the format in which the material is presented in Japanese the Manga Way is refreshing and easy to understand. Lammers does an excellent job in explaining the use of Japanese particles, the bane of many a student. Another section that merits mention is that on giving and receiving-so crucial to life in Japan-that suddenly set off a lightbulb in this reviewer's often dim brain.

Highly recommended for both beginners and even those with a lot of classroom time under their belts.
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