At the moment, Kokoro no Ehon is my favorite site for basic Japanese reading material. It’s a collection of original kids’ stories, most between 150 and 350 words, which makes them the equivalent of fairly basic picture books. Considering that you might pay between $5 – $20 for a real picture book with just as many words and pictures, this is a great find! There are other story collections online, but this one distinguishes itself by the pictures (which are helpful for learners, not just for decoration) and by the fact that these are all new stories, so you’re spared from yet another version of 桃太郎. If you’re new to extensive reading, even if you’re not new to studying Japanese, try some of these stories!

You can see the list of stories by clicking タイトル一覧 or directly through this link. The stories are color-coded by theme, and the themes are not all that important so I’ll leave figuring out what they are as an activity for the reader. There’s an English version of each story, but pretend it’s not there. (All of the titles are the official English ones, though.)

The stories are sorted by the number of estimated words, so to find them search for
the title. There are 24 stories listed here, for a total of 270 pages and 5,464 words.

The Postman
11 pages, 25 words (est.) Level 1

おやすみ やまねくん
Good Night, Little Yamane
12 pages, 40 words (est.) Level 1

まてまて マロン
Wait For Me, Maron
12 pages, 60 words (est.) Level 1

うっき うっき O モンキー
The Eeky Eeky Monkeys
11 pages, 100 words (est.) Level 1

12 pages, 100 words (est.) Level 1

I Wish
12 pages, 144 words (est.), Level 2

Wanta lives on the 6th street
11 pages, 165 words (est.) Level 2

Rokko the Sea Otter
11 pages, 165 words (est.) Level 2

Pea, Charcoal and Straw
11 pages, 170 words (est.), Level 2

Ku-chan the Racoon
12 pages, 180 words (est.) Level 2

Aya’s Dog
11 pages, 215 words (est.) Level 2

The Song of Starry Sand
11 pages, 220 words (est.) Level 2

Wanta and the Crow
11 pages, 225 words (est.) Level 2

あかどん あおどん きいどん
Akadon, Aodon and Kidon
11 pages, 235 words (est.) Level 2

Sue’s Summer Vacation
11 pages, 275 words (est.) Level 2

Buckwheat Dumplings
11 pages, 275 words (est.) Level 2

ねぼすけ クンちゃん
Sleepy Kun
11 pages, 275 words (est.) Level 2

やさしい トントン
The Gentle Tonton
11 pages, 275 words (est.) Level 2

Roupa’s Lunch
12 pages, 300 words (est.) Level 2

The Swallow and the Old Man
11 pages, 325 words (est.) Level 2

The Moon Was Watching
11 pages, 325 words (est.) Level 2

The Two Lazy Men
11 pages, 385 words (est.) Level 2

ぼく とびたくないんだ
I Don’t Want To Fly
11 pages, 385 words (est.) Level 2

Kappa in Mikazuki-ike
11 pages, 500 words (est.) Level 2


3 Responses to Story Information for 心の絵本

  1. Yet another great find. Thanks for sharing!

  2. kanjiguy says:

    I love this site too. I been reading through all the books the past few days. There are a few familiar ones, but many surprises too. I also like the fact the the stories are are actual text and not pictures of text which makes it easy to read as opposed to which has a lot of stories where the text is in the images.

  3. Liana says:

    Koyami, thank Sloppie, she found the site ( I got this one from. There are a couple of other sites worth looking at on there, but they’re a little heavy on the music and things like that… I’ll go through them a little more by and by and maybe add a couple to the main links page.

    kanjiguy, yeah, this site instantly replaced that one in my heart. E-hon isn’t so bad if you go with the large text ones, but for the rest, it was such a shame to me — just the very thing I wanted, basic text AND pictures, and you could hardly read the things! What a waste, I wonder if they’d consider redoing the graphics…