The number of people who are becoming increasingly interested in Japanese light novels has increased dramatically. This makes you curious about them so much and want to enjoy them for yourself. However, when you’re itching to read a light novel in Japanese, the big question is where to buy Japanese light novels. If you live in Japan, you can simply walk to the nearest bookstore and purchase whatever you want. But not everyone is so fortunate to live in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Fortunately, we live in the internet age, and there are a plethora of online bookstores eager to do business with us. This means that we can easily obtain our favorite light novels even if we live outside of Japan. Isn’t it fantastic? Scroll down to learn everything you need to know and do in order to purchase Japanese light novels. But first, let’s get the first thing out of the way…
I. What is a Japanese light novel?
In general, there is no consensus on what constitutes a light novel. To put it another way, light novels frequently feature an anime-style illustration on the book cover, as well as character illustrations inside the book. That type of novel began to be sold in Japan around the 1970s, and it is thought that light novels began around that time.
When Hajime Kanzaki’s legendary Slayers (illustrated by Rui Araizumi) was published in 1989, light novels became widely recognized, despite the fact that there was only a small minority of fans in the entire society. Since then, Japan has seen the release of numerous now-famous titles, and the light novel, along with manga and novels, has become one of the most popular book genres in the country.
You may have been perplexed by the distinction between light novels and novels. So, let us clarify it by pointing out the differences between the two.
Simply put, the writing style differs in both of these. In the same way that most novels follow Western patterns, Japanese light novels tend to follow a simpler path. The sentences are somewhat familiar with what we watch in anime. This means that these light novels are simple to comprehend and require little to no effort to understand. For a better understanding, we have an example for you here:
“Nyaa, I don’t like him.”
“You shouldn’t say that Nanami, he’s a good guy.”
The characters are easily discernible from the preceding sentences, and the premise is simple to grasp. In the case of ordinary novels, you can use the following example:
“Yes, Mr. Armin, Eren was kind enough to loan his Titan to me,” Reiner said, staring at the deep blue sky.
So, we’re guessing by now you’ve figured out what a Japanese light novel is all about. Let’s move on to the next point.
II. Why do you buy light novels from Japan?
The following are some of the reasons why we believe it is critical to purchase light novels from Japan.
2.1.Discover how the story concludes!
Too often, you’ll find yourself finishing an anime season only to discover that the story continues, not in a manga, but in a Light Novel.
As the practice of adapting Light Novels into anime becomes more popular, more and more series will opt for a single story arc as a form of marketing in order to raise awareness for the original Light Novel. So, if you want to know how these stories end, you’ll have to start reading light novels – but trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Many light novels will never be adapted or translated for an English-speaking audience. This means that in order to enjoy some of these fantastic stories, you must obtain the original light novel directly from Japan.
2.3. Improve your Japanese skills.
If you’ve gotten pretty comfortable reading manga in Japanese and are looking for a new challenge, but the thought of trying to read a full Japanese novel makes you cringe, then Light Novels are just what you’re looking for. Light Novels can serve as an excellent bridge for those of us attempting to make the transition from Japan to Japanese literature.
2.4. Options are endless.
There are so many light novels to choose from that you will become disoriented – which is a good thing! You may begin by reading familiar series from popular anime, but as you expand your reading list, you will discover hidden gems from genres you were unaware existed.
III. Where to buy Japanese light novels?
Is it true that because you don’t live in Japan, you can’t read Japanese light novels? Of course, the answer is no. Unless you’re looking for a limited edition of your favorite light novels, there are some ways for you to get the light novels in Japan directly.
3.1. Send by relatives in Japan
One of the easiest ways to get your favorite Japanese light novels is through your relatives who live in Japan. Just tell them what you want, and they will buy it at the local stores and then send it to you through an international shipping express.
3.2. Buy Japanese light novels online via an e-commerce platform
You can choose to buy the light novels in Japanese in digital too if that’s your preferred format. So, where can you buy them online? Here are the places where you can buy light novels in Japanese online regardless of where you live.
- Amazon Japan
Sure, Amazon is a nefarious behemoth, but they make a ton of cash because they’re so convenient. This is one of the best ways to get Japanese books, including light novels, in a relatively easy and convenient manner.
Amazon If you lived abroad, Japan used to be a pain to use, but in recent years, their services have improved. Most credit cards can be used to buy items on international websites, which are available in multiple languages.
If you want physical books but don’t want to support Amazon, Kinokuniya may be the best option. The online store (at least the one in the United States) is available in English, Chinese, and Japanese. However, it appears that the Japanese book categories are in Japanese, so you’ll have to search for any books you want in Japanese. Take care not to purchase the English version by accident!
- Honto Japan (BK1)
This Japanese website is not the most visually appealing. It frequently has a lot of information and options with very small text. However, Honto is included as an option for those who are more comfortable using Japanese websites.
>>Read more: How to Buy Manga from Japan with Cheapest Price
IV. How much do light novels cost in Japan?
Here is a comparison to help you find out the answer to this question: “how much do light novels cost in Japan?”. And the two websites being compared are Amazon Japan and Honto (BK1). Here are the specifics:
Amazon Japan charges a minimum of 3400 yen ($38) per shipment, plus an additional 300 yen ($3.32) per item, so ordering one book costs 3700 yen ($41) just for shipping! The shipping time is 3-5 days.
BK1 charges based on weight with no minimum charge, estimating 200 grams per book, which means 1 book = 280 yen ($3.10) for shipping using the SAL method. The delivery time ranges from 1 to 11 weeks!
It’s obvious that going with BK1 saves you a lot of money, but it’s not always that simple. Shipping via SAL means you have no way of tracking your shipment, and delivery times can be unpredictable, so you may be checking your mailbox obsessively before being fortunate enough to find something in it. There’s also no insurance, so if the package goes missing, you’re out of luck.
From here on out, things get even more complicated. Because BK1 charges based on the weight of your package, the contents of your order have a significant impact on the shipping cost and can be difficult to predict before everything has been packaged and shipped.
- Toradora 1 – 155g [light novel]
- Brave Story 1 – 227g [light novel]
- Gosicks 1 – 180g [light novel]
- The Twelve Kingdoms 1 – 188g [light novel]
- Major 72 – 161g [manga]
- Bakemonogatari 1 – 402g [light novel]
- Dragonball (Perfect Edition) 01 – 435g [manga]
- Please Save My Earth (Perfect Edition) 01 – 697g [manga]
As an extreme example, if you purchased the entire PSME series from BK1 all at once, your package would weigh 10*697g = 6970g, which is approximately 7000 yen ($77)!
In comparison, Amazon Japan would charge you 3400+10*300 = 6400 yen ($71) and reimburse you if it was lost.
That is the end of our article. Hopefully, you buy now know where to buy Japanese light novels. Have you ever bought light novels in Japanese? If you do, where do you get them? Feel free to share with us in the comment below.