Find Japanese Translations of English Books

A while ago I introduced Aozora Bunko, a website where you can get free ebooks in Japanese.

Now, how do you use the thing? Here’s how to search for free eBooks in Japanese.


Search for the Book:

There are a few main ways to search for books on Aozora.

Search by Author

You can search by author by using the links in the「公開中 作家別」row. So if you want to find an author named 松本 (Matsumoto) you need to check the 「ま行」and the author, if he has been entered into Aozora, will be listed.

Search by Book Title

You can search by title by using the links in the 「公開中 作品別」row. However, the book titles are all listed in Japanese. So if you want to find a book called 「長い夢」you would need to look under the 「」link. You will see 「長い夢」listed.

If you are looking for a foreign book you will need to know the Japanese name for the book you are looking for.

Lastly, there is a site wide search in the upper right which is just a Google search against

So you need to know how to write the name of the book you are seeking in Japanese. Though, I guess you could assume that if you’re looking to read a book in Japanese you cean read and write the language huh?

Example of Finding an English Book

For example, say you’re looking for “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.

Louisa May Alcott in Katakana is written like this. 「オルコット ルイーザ・メイ」If you want to search for author on Aozora, you must know the authors Japanese spelling.

The title of “Little Women” has been translated to 「若草物語」in Japanese. If you want to search by title on Aozora, you must know the books Japanese title as well. Sometimes, the titles are in Katakana. Sometimes they have been translated, in this case.

Not easy huh!

Once you successfully up “Little Women” it will look like this.

At the bottom of this page you will see the Japanese text which says “File Download”.


Here you can see the entire Japanese text available in TXT and HTML format.

Of course, the Aozora website is still being built, so this information may become invalid someday!

Hope this helps.

If anyone knows a way to go from an English book title to the Japanese book title… Let me know!

– Harvey

Kanji Game

Since I launched Japanese Ads Blog I have been surfing around checking out the other Japanese language focused websites available.

The net is deeper than I thought…

I recently found this online Kanji practice game.



Set it up to quiz you Kanji → Kana or Kana → Kanji and give yourself a workout.

– Harvey

Free Hugs hits Japan

I first saw this Free Hugs” video about two months ago.

“Free Hugs” is a hippy-ish campaign in which volunteers stand around cities and offer free hugs to any willing person who happens to take notice.

I noticed on that someone has spotted the Free Hugs campaign in Japan. Personally I have yet to see this in Japan (Including Osaka, Yokohama, and Tokyo), though I have heard reports from friends who have traveled to Seoul Korea that they’re pretty common over there.

Here is the picture from of Japanese “Free Hug” campaigners.

Has anyone else spotted this in Japan?

Not that “Free Hugs” has caught on like wildfire in other places in the world, but think it will be especially slow gaining any popularity in Japan.

About the only time Japanese people interact with other Japanese people they do not know in big cities is when accepting the free tissue passed out on the streets by advertisers.

Most Japanese are friendly to foreigners if for some reason they have managed to work themselves into a situation in which they must interact with one… But when it comes to Japanese helping out Japanese… In the big cities it’s pretty much every man for themselves.

I think Murakami Haruki has managed to capture this feeling well in his book Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche.

I recall a portion of the book where a survivor who was on one of the subway cars that was gassed describes the reaction of the people around him. Some people did the typical 「見て見ぬ振り」or, “seeing it, yet pretending they haven’t seen anything” reaction you see so much in Japan. Even though passengers suddenly had tears streaming down their eyes, others were starting to cough and pass out, there was no cooperation between the victims. They would just stand in their place, wondering what was going on.

I remember there was even an incident in which one person who realized something was in the air was frantically trying to open up the windows of the subway car, yet no one moved to give him a hand…

On a more personal note…

One time, I was in a train in Osaka on the way home late at night. As usual there were drunks on board, this is nothing new… But there was one boy who had too much to drink, and vomited on the floor inside of the train after it had started moving.

He had been drinking, so it stunk. I quickly pushed my way past the other commuters and moved way down to the far in of the train.

There’s the point. I had to push my way past the other commuters, to escape a flowing sea of vomit. The other commuters saw him puke, and for sure smelled it, but were some how able to continue staring at their newspapers, or just lightly cover their nose with a handkerchief. A few people moved from directly in front of him… But that’s about it.

Also, no one bothered to ask if he was alright, or even offer him a tissue to clean up…

Maybe things would be no different in New York, I don’t know, I’ve never lived there… But sometimes things like this disturb me about the big cities of Japan…

Give a hug to the “Free Hug” people in Japan if you see them! I’m sure they’re probably lonely.

– Harvey

[tags]Free Hugs, Japan[/tags]

Live like a Boar

We’re well into the Year of the Boar now, anyone staying on top of their New Year Resolutions?

If you have been watching TV in Japan this month, you may have heard the phrase…

猪突猛進 (ちょとつもうしん) “chototsumoushin”.
This phrase means to recklessly rush in head first. This could be referring to rushing in to face a new challenge, to get something done, or though less common, to describe literal physical actions, for example in order to get onto a crowded train.

This phrase is associated with this year, because the first kanji in the phrase is the same kanji for Boar, 「猪」 「いのしし」。

Apparently when boars get angry and charge, they can only charge in a straight line.

So if a boar is ever on your tail, run a zig-zag pattern and you should be able to escape unharmed!

Does anyone else know any “boar-ish” cultural things about this year?
– Harvey

Tanaka News

For anyone looking for some hardcore study resources…

There is a website called Tanaka News.

It contains thoughts on society written by Mr. Sakai Tanaka, who among other things used to work for Microsoft. Since then he has become a freelance journalist and also publishes articles on this site.

He also makes audio files of his content available on the web.

So, if you’re looking for some academic discussion in Japanese that you can read, and listen to, this might be a good place to start.

The audio files are done by a female, and are pronounced extremely clearly. Quality material! I wonder who he gets to dictate his stuff…
Check it out!

– Harvey

ps. Also his articles are available in Korean and Chinese… Not sure who does his translation, but cool!

Singing Karaoke Dragons

I returned to Osaka for winter break this year, and noticed a lot of unique things about the city that I had forgotten about.

Gigantic and gaudy decorations on buildings being one thing.

I have heard that Osaka is known for this kind of huge fixture on the outside of buildings. I know for certain I have seen similar things in other parts of Japan, but they seem to be more frequent in Osaka.

This gigantic blue dragon is crawling down the side of a tiny Karaoke shop. Likely looking to get a snack of drunken salary man, or unsuspecting school kids.

Karaoke King Dragon!

– Harvey


Book: Kickboxing Geishas

Kickboxing Geishas: How Modern Japanese Women Are Changing Their Nation

I have not read this book yet myself, but it looks quite interesting.

It seems the author has taken the time to interview various modern Japanese women who have broken the mold and are pursuing serious careers in a society where women are still expected to “kotobuki taisha” 寿退社 and quit their jobs after getting married.

The Amazon review mentions that the author interviewed women from a variety of professions, but I wonder if she got out of Tokyo, Osaka, and the other large cities of Japan during her research. I’m sure the situation is a lot different for women working in the big cities versus those working out in the countryside 田舎.

I actually know a Japanese lady who is a programmer for NEC way out in Nagano. Apparently she is the only female on her team. She is unmarried, but some how I expect she is not the type to become a professional housewife (専業主婦) after tying the knot…

Thanks to komomola for the book tip!

(I’m into Spanish Blogs now because of the crazy attention that my new Japanese Ads blog has been getting from Spanish speaking countries!)

– Harvey

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