VIDEO: “But We’re Speaking Japanese” + 4 Learn Japanese With Manga Books

VIDEO: “But We’re Speaking Japanese” + 4 Learn Japanese With Manga Books

Okay, so this is not exactly directly manga-related, but I thought it was too good not to share. Author, satirist and prolific YouTube filmmaker Ken Tanaka created a new video that skewers how some Japanese people in Japan just can’t reconcile that a person can be white, black, anything but Japanese, and still speak Japanese fluently; sometimes more fluently than an Asian person.

Go watch:

I can totally relate to being the clueless Japanese-American person in Japan who’s with non-Japanese people who can speak Japanese way better, way more fluently than I can, but whenever we encounter Japanese people, they talk to me instead of them. Never mind that it should be kind of obvious after the first time I open my mouth that I can’t speak Japanese very well, they keep directing their comments / questions at me. It is what it is, but hopefully, this will change as more people who aren’t ethnically Japanese make Japan their home.

Check out more of Ken Tanaka’s videos on his YouTube page!

Japanese the Manga Way by Wayne Lammers

Japanese the Manga Way by Wayne Lammers


Anyway, if you’re like me and want to learn how to speak Japanese “more better” — here are a few helpful resources that use manga to teach you how to speak and read Japanese.

Each book presents Japanese language with examples from manga. The advantage to this approach is that it teaches conversational Japanese by using actual dialogue from Japanese comics. The result is that you have don’t have those simple, but not terribly useful “Taro has a pencil” sample sentences that are typically found in traditional Japanese language textbooks. (Seriously, I have never had to say that sentence in normal conversation in Japanese). Go check ’em out, and get introduced to the mother-tongue of manga.


  1. Hah, some of my TAs in college apparently had this problem in Japan one summer and funny enough the guy who was relating it IIRC did look Asian but I guess not Asian enough. And I know another young lady (American, looks white) who went around Japan with a friend (Chinese) and said that since she spoke Japanese and other people would tell the answer to her friend (who didn’t speak any) they managed to get around fairly well. I am a little surprised there are so many stories like this, but then again I sort of expect everyone I meet to speak English just since the US is so diverse/English is spoken in some many different countries.

  2. Haha, I’m actually working on a comic where the main character is half Chinese and half White, so people (mainly screaming, glomping otaku girls) think he’s Japanese. One chapter involves a trip to Japan, and there will be a scene where a waitress keeps speaking to him, even though the white guy behind her is answering all the questions XD.
    Mind you though, there will also be lots of glorification of monoculturalism and “why can’t Britain show price in it’s own culture like this?” pondering. Before anybody thinks I’m a Debitist.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *