Reading Japanese News the Easy Way

During these trying times, getting access to the latest news is essential. But for those who, like me, fall squarely in the N3 intermediate language camp or below, reading Japanese news content can be a slog, or even impossible. By the time I get to the end of the article, the disaster may already be upon us!

Fortunately, there is a news source that provides original Japanese-language news content that is a bit easier for foreign students of Japanese to consume and understand. It is called “News Web Easy,” and you can find it online at

NHK News Web Easy Web Site

The site, hosted by Japan’s national public broadcaster NHK, is updated several times per week with fresh articles, all based the latest news stories, and all rewritten for use by foreigners who read Japanese at an intermediate level, as well as for Japanese elementary school students.

「NEWS WEB EASY」は外国人がいこくじんみなさんや、小学生しょうがくせい中学生ちゅうがくせいみなさんのために、わかりやすいことばでニュースをつたえます。

“News Web Easy” provides easy-to-understand news stories for foreigners, elementary school students, and middle school students.”

Along with the readable news content, each article includes these helpful features.

  • Ruby text (furigana) can be turned on or off as needed.
  • An audio transcript of each article’s complete text is available.
  • Proper nouns are color-coded, highlighting the names of individuals, organizations, and locations.
  • Words that are more difficult include popup definitions in simpler Japanese.
  • Many articles include a video of the original, native-level broadcast associated with the simplified text.

The web site also includes fixed articles that provide useful information for foreigners in simplified Japanese. Most of these convey weather- and disaster-related guidance.

If you are looking for native Japanese-language content at an intermediate level, visit the NHK News Web Easy site regularly to peruse its ongoing stream of up-to-date articles.

[Image Credits: kimtoru/]

Tim Odagiri

Tim Odagiri is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and now life in Japan. Find his latest books at

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