Advice/Thoughts on Japanese Korean reading crossover

I’m posting here about a post I made on the Japanese book club side of Natively here:

I’m competent(ish!) in reading Japanese, but have 0 Korean skills.
I feel like there’s a world of Korean books coming out which I would really love.

So I was wondering if there was interest in Korean in Translation (either informal readings or even a book club).

On the Japanese side, we’d be looking at reading the Japanese translation.

If anyone would be interested in reading the original Korean version alongside, that would be amazing!

Equally, if anyone here has any recommendations around books or authors, I’d love to hear them.

Probably we’d be thinking short novels, or short stories, which are quite readable, but also fufilling for adults. (keen to have lots of people able to join, but also would like something slightly more adult orientated than a kids book)

Hope my idea makes some rough sense, but would love to hear what you think.


I tried researching a bit on the Korean side for books and mainly audiobooks, and I got frustrated with the lack of recommendations on the usual places, like the reddit for Korean won’t even allow a good post about audiobook recommendations.
I got some on discord and here as well, but can’t even compare to Japanese. I think learners interest is just that different, with people mostly focusing on visual stuff.
So I mostly gave up on reading in Korean for now.

Back to the main topic, maybe looking at Korean books that got popular in the west and picking from there? Should be much better to read it in Japanese than English. Not sure if there would be enough people interested for a book club, maybe on the Japanese side of Natively.


I agree that it’s kinda hard to get good Korean book recommendations for learners (outside of Natively, of course). I wouldn’t say that Korean learners don’t read, but to me it seems that many of them are just really not confident in their reading comprehension level. I’ve seen a lot of people who prefer having the “crutch” of graded readers over reading any native material. I also feel like quite a lot of beginners aren’t as inclined to try to read anything, and consider reading as an insurmountable task at that level.

But then maybe my persepective is a bit skewed :thinking:. After all, the Japanese learners that I’ve seen have been either on Natively or WK, which are both heavily focused on reading (or making reading possible/easier). I wonder if within a group of Japanese learners that don’t use WK or Natively, the amount of reading wouldn’t end up being similar to that of a regular group of Korean learners.


Based on what I’ve seen on discord groups it’s much less.
I also saw some natives saying that because of how education works in Korea, people don’t really associate reading with fun. I don’t buy that entirely but I guess it could be a part of the problem as to supposedly books not being as popular in the country.


At least in the Refold discord server, a good number of people seem to be heavy readers, especially of webtoons and web novels. In contrast, I think that there are less people reading “pure literature” by writers like Park Wonso and O Chonghui because they’re much more difficult to understand, even for native speakers. They have a lot of different themes and ideas in their works. However, web novels are quite popular among both natives and learners since the language used is much more straightforward and the plot is usually quite fun and exciting.


The kr learning community is much smaller than the Japanese one and exists in small pockets so I think it also suffers from a lot of ppl not knowing about tools that could help them like good dictionaries, natively, kimchi reader, migaku etc and not passing that info down to new learners.

Edit to bring it back to OPs topic: this sounds really fun. there’s quite a few kr translations of japanese books that are popular with learners but would be fun to do a book that was originally in korean instead. You could browse the kr recs on here on natively and just see if there are jp translations of the ones that pique your interest?

I also found this site that has a list of kr novels in japanese translation 小説 – K-BOOK振興会 that looks worth a browse


Sorry I’ve been busy for a few days, but thank you all for your advice!!!

I did get a good number of suggestions, so I put them into a poll, and hopefully we’ll try out a book club soonish.

I put them together in the post here, so if anyone is interested please come along!

The K-Book site linked looks really helpful, 小さな町 in particular looks like my kind of book.

As always, once I start looking into something I ended up with way more books than I could ever read :sweat_smile: