Road to 22 Million Moji: Extensive Reading Log

I’ve read roughly 1.5m moji so far in my Japanese learning journey. Most of this was intensive reading. I’m now making the switch to almost entirely extensive reading. In line with Professor Paul Nation’s recommendation to read 11 million words of comprehensible input to develop native-like diction, and a liberal guess that there are roughly 2字/word, I’m just gonna start counting up from zero and shoot for the 22 million moji mark, and see how my reading speed, comprehension, and reading level improve.

Not doing any sort of active study other than extensive reading, and if I do, it’ll only be phonetics/pitch or related to classical Japanese grammar, as I would like to be a proficient reader of classical Japanese literature, and hopefully study it in grad school in Japan eventually.

Reading this web novel at the moment. It’s at the perfect level for me linguistically where most of everything is true i+1. I am never lost about what a sentence means, but I often run into grammar/words/phrases/usages that I don’t automatically understand, and I occasionally (once every 1-3 pages) run into new words that I can almost always understand by context but may have to look up the readings of.

My reading speed on this book is roughly 7000字/hour. I would like to see this climb to 10,000 by December.

I would also like to see my general comprehension improve enough that the physical novels I’ve bought (贖罪 and 星の子) become comfortable pleasure reading materials. At the moment, they’re both a bit out of reach, and I’m not confident or accurate enough in following the story for either to be enjoyable just yet.

I should get to 1 million 字 Before JLPT with some room to spare, so I’ll make that my tentative goal. Stay tuned, or not. I’d like to find some way to test my general language improvements as I hit milesones like 6 million moji (roughly 3m words), 11 million moji (halfway to goal), and then at 22 million. Any suggestions for doing so are appreciated!

Week 1:
Started at 92336, ended at 225934. Total: 133598字.

That’s it, that’s all I read last week :sweat_smile:.


Best of luck with your journey!

I’m curious how you find the moji counts across different types of media. Do you have a special tool, or will you estimate?


Thank you!

The moji counts are coming from ttu-reader, which tells me where I am in a book in terms of moji. I read mostly on paper or on my kindle, but I keep the ebook open in ttu-reader and at the end of the day I grab the number I started reading at and the number I ended at and subtract them, stick them in a word document, and add them up at the end of the week.

For blogs or articles that I read in one shot, I can just copy-paste the content into a character counter.

Since this is just an extensive reading log, I’m not counting any words from anime or youtube. I haven’t messed with VNs yet, but when I do, one of my friends mentioned a tool someone made to count the characters with a texthooker.


that’s quite the journey you have ahead of you. After about 2 years of reading I am sitting at approx. 8 mio 文字 :see_no_evil:

Good luck and hope you enjoy it! :slight_smile:


Thank you much! Yeah it’s gonna be a long road, but one I’ll have to make if I want to do creative writing nonetheless.


Good luck! Absolutely no clue how many moji I’ve read, but I’m sure it’s nowhere near that amount, haha. I hope we can see you in a book club or two along the way!


I don’t know how accurate it is, but a google search told me that the web version of 本好き is 5,681,540 characters, though. That gives me some idea of my character count.

Stats if interested:

I took the pages I read times 300 (which is a low guess… it could theoretically also be 450 per page) plus my stats for ebooks and VNs which do have character counts.

(I did not take into account websites [partially incl. in readtime before I stopped tracking that] or manga I read - but those are negligible in comparison.)

Kinda OT - stats

That’s a reasonable bracket… With the stuff I added on bookmeter, that gives me between 35M and 53M. I need to add the web novels, so probably +10M

I have read 711 manga volumes according to Natively (thus ignoring repeats). I feel like that’s not completely negligible :sweat_smile:

Sorry for hi-jacking the thread

The bot I log my stuff in awards points and there is a leaderboard and basically it calculates 70 characters per manga page, which would give me another 600k. :sweat_smile: ok, so maybe not completely negligible. :see_no_evil:

Sorry I am OT too 🙈

Whoa, with this calculation method I am over 22 mil 文字 (approx. 75,000 pages x 300 = 22.5 mil)! :open_mouth: When did that number get so high?! Ahh

Now after I’ve made that discovery, some related personal anecdotes and data to make this actually somewhat on topic and valuable for DuoUnderscore! 🙉

After reading that muchI would say my diction is natural, but I don’t live in Japan so muscle memory and spontaneity are kind of issues compared to another foreign language I speak where I live a country where it’s spoken. However, when I visit Japan feedback on my speech is still genuinely positive. It’s just that reading alone isn’t enough to make you highly natural.

I can comprehend any modern book very easily (unless we are getting into avant garde or 三島由紀夫 territory — that still requires a lot of dictionary use) and my reading speed is also high, but slower than a native speakers or my reading speed in my own native language. A 200 page book may take 4-6 hours to complete depending on complexity.

Comprehension drops off with anything pre/Meiji due to unfamiliar kanji use and nouns for objects, things that don’t exist anymore or that I don’t know causing me to need to google. This could get better if I read more pre/Meiji lit, so if it’s important to you to comprehend it make sure to read it regularly. :slightly_smiling_face:

Creative writing is a separate skill which needs dedicated practice. I don’t think it would be completely out of reach for me at this point, but I would need regular feedback and editing from a native to find awkward areas and mistakes and then work on developing my own style. Maybe around 10 mil 文字 or when you feel comfortable, start doing some regular writing practice in addition to your classic Japanese studies to develop this? :thinking: Just my thoughts! :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m excited to read your progress updates since I love quantification and data based progress plans! :popcorn: Hope to see you around in bookclubs as well! Have fun reading!


Mmm, this. I’m definitely over the 22 million character mark, but that just means I don’t find reading a problem. I haven’t done any kind of output or output practice for years, so my output is not good and I’m pretty sure my accent is terrible too…


Good luck! I recently did the math and I have around 25M read in these almost 4 years learning. Most of it manga, I can’t imagine reading 22M characters of novels :sweat_smile:.

OT about manga characters

I have processed with OCR a lot of mangas and the average sits around 85-90 characters per page for what i’ve seen. This are my manga stats:

From left to right “volumes”, “series”, “characters”, “pages” and “hours recorded”

Rough computation of my stats

Using @Biblio’s method for book pages and manga pages, I’ve read…a measly 4 mil moji. :see_no_evil:



I am surprised. I would have thought you’d be easily in your 20 mio. moji. :eyes:

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I appreciate the vote of confidence, haha. I’ve played a few video games (JRPGs, no VNs) in JP, which would boost the number, but probably not by a majorly significant amount.

Just think how powerful I’ll be once I hit 20 mil, haha.


Absolutely! Many of the principles should carry over from storytelling in English, but I do intend on doing lots and lots of corrected writing if possible.

Very cool to hear your stats! I love that people are posting their numbers too, it gives a bit of a clearer guess for anyone looking, and these anecdotes are hard to find on google.


Week 2:


こぐまのクーク物語 空のピクニック:

This was so stupid lol. Short and amusing though.

Weekly Total:

Running Total:

Had a light reading week, but when I consider what I’ve had going on this week, lots of life-related stress mixed with the budding interest that comes with starting a new project mixed with spending some really great time with my family mixed with finding my first Japanese friend and spending some time actually using the language, I feel great about how much I was able to manage. A few months ago, this much in a week is something I could only do if I was devotedly glued to my computer with a dictionary in hand, so it’s a great feeling to see the progress, even if I am reading easier stuff right now.


Week 3:


Rereading this. It “felt easy” the first time I read it (I think it was my third or fourth book) but now that I can read it without consulting a dictionary, I’m a lot more perceptive to subtext, picking up on puns, following the story better, and just having a very clear scene playing in my head as I read. If you read it once early on and found it boring, I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a second try.

Weekly Total:

Running Total:

Reading feels good. Adapting to different writing styles is still quite slow. This will only continue to improve as time goes on though. I need to pull ~120k字 per week to meet my goal of 1m before the N2 exam. Even if I don’t hit it, I’m not at all worried as I’m already comfortably passing the mock exams I’ve taken. I just picked it because it’s a convenient marker.

What’s everyone’s favorite slice-of-life stuff right now? I’m hoping for something around また、同じ夢を見ていた’s difficulty (lvl 25) that I can just exhaust myself on before I finally branch out into a different genre.


Hum, for slice-of-life specifically, I’d say and 乳と卵 | L39 are my favorite but they are a tad above the level objective you gave, especially the second one.

From the same author as また、同じ夢[…], I did enjoy but that’s probably because it was the first book from that author that I read. I enjoyed less the other one I read since I could see really early that the author would set up the same kind of plot twist…

The easiest slice-of-life ish novel I know must be but I guess you might have read it already since it’s a popular book (220 people marked it as read on Natively? That’s a lot!)

Edit: wow, only one of those links automatically updated for me.

Edit2: ah, it’s more “drama” than really slice-of-life, but was fun too, although it felt like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Edit3: and now none of the links update. Great.