What is furigana? It can sometimes be found next to Japanese characters. It will give you the reading for the word and let you know how to pronounce it. In Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko, almost all kanji will have furigana. The text might also be bigger with more spacing between words and sentences, meaning there will be less words per page. There may also be additional annotations and pictures included through out the text.
Here is an example that shows what the inside of Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko books look like.
What is the difficulty level of these books?
The grammar and vocabulary words used in these publication series are at a somewhat advanced level. For example, in Your Name(君の名は）the Tsubasa edition and the ‘normal’ Kadokawa edition both have the same story inside. They use the same words, the same grammar, and the same kanji. The main difference is that the Tsubasa edition is easier to read as it has furigana and larger text. If you are looking for novels that are both have an easier grammar and vocabulary level and have furigana, I recommend the series Aoitori(青い鳥）made by the publishing company Kodansha. I will write a blog post later explaining Aoitori books and how to find them.
Who would benefit from reading Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko books?
Those who want to get started reading Japanese novels, but lack knowledge of kanji or feel imitated by seeing a large amount on kanji all at once. These books could help you get started off on the right foot! You would have the pronunciation for each word available to you and this can help you to look up the meanings of new words. Or maybe you read books often and are looking to have a break from constantly being challenged. It could be a nice change of pace! It could also help intensive readers get a taste of what extensive reading feels like.
They also are a great choice for new readers who would like to read a story line that they are already familiar with. Many well know anime movies have novelizations published by this company. The novels tend to be extremely loyal to the movie’s plot. Here is a list of a few examples.
Your Name – 君の名は
Weathering with You – 天気の子
A Whisker Away – 泣きたい私は猫をかぶる
Penguin Highway – ペンギン・ハイウェイ
Her Blue Sky – 空の青さを知る人よ
Wolf Children – おおかみこどもの雨と雪
What are the disadvantages of books with furigana?
As a learner, you will need to do some self-reflection on why you want furigana and if it will help you level up your Japanese. For some people, they may end up relying on furigana as opposed to really actually learning the readings. If you feel that furigana will prevent your from progressing in your Japanese, I would advise purchasing the normal publications.
How can I find these books?
Look for green edging around the cover. Also look for the 角川つばさ文庫 icon. It is green with white writing. It has the phrase 『ひらがな、どこでも』or 『角川つばさ文庫』. They can be found online and at physical book stores. In America, I have seen them at Book-Off and Kinokuniya. Below I have added an example of a Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko to help you see what they tend to look like.
For a more applied review of Tsubasa Bunko novels, check out my review for Wolf Children(おおかみこどもの雨と雪).