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Learning to read Japanese is the most daunting part of studying the language. It’s helpful to have a 先輩 (senpai, older student) or a teacher to walk you through some of your first few texts.

The online literature repository 青空 文庫 (Aozora Bunko, Blue Sky Books) is a different sort of ally in the battle for Japanese literacy. Aozora is a インターネットの電子 図書館 (Intānetto no denshi toshokan, electronic internet library) that contains works of literature in the public domain. These are works by authors who have died and the 70-year posthumous period of their copyright passed. Volunteers transcribe the texts and upload the files to make them available on the internet.

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