Blog, Challenge

Let’s read 「赤ずきんちゃん」

Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most well known fairy tales collected by Brothers Grimm. While not a Japanese story in origin, because of its popularity it of course has many versions and retellings in Japanese as well.

Since many of you are probably already very familiar with the story’s plot, (あか)ずきんちゃん is a great fairy tale to read in a foreign language. Let’s read it together!

Similarly to the #letsreadkaguyahime reading challenge, I’ve collected links to reading resources in Japanese for beginners up to advanced readers. Pick the text for your level and give reading it a try. On Twitter and Instagram we’ll use #letsreadakazukinchan to share opinions.

Reading time: March 24th until March 31st 2022

Abilities below JLPT N5:

This retelling only has a single word per page. It is a good introduction to the fairy tale and learners who’ve just finished learning hiragana will be able to read and understand it without issues.

Read it here: https://s4a912aeeecfb6c85.jimcontent.com/download/version/0/module/13936165124/name/赤ずきん.pdf

Abilities about JLPT N4:

Readers with N4 abilities will be able to read the full fairy tale in easy Japanese with this graded reader version. While some sentences are a bit long, vocabulary and grammar are just right.

You can order this fairy tale as part of a book set on Amazon Japan. An ebook/pdf of this story is purchasable here.

Abilities about JLPT N3-N2:

Note: All following texts are written with native speakers in mind.

Fairy tale database hukumusume has the longest of all versions I’ve put together here. The length of 3200字 is mostly due to added dialog. There are some difficult words and kanji in this text – I can recommend using a reading addon (yomichan, 10ten, etc.) for this.

Link: http://hukumusume.com/douwa/betu/world/01/31.htm

This version for NHK’s program おはなしのくに also mainly consists of dialog, but has less descriptive text. Not all expressions are easy to understand, but the conversations do lighten up the story. Mostly hiragana.
Read it here: https://www.nhk.or.jp/school/kokugo/ohanashi/kyouzai/004880.pdf

Read the Japanese translation of Grimm’s original version (N1):

The website grimmstories.com collects fairy tales as they were published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 as well as their translations into many languages, including Japanese.

Just as in the original German, this version has some old literary expressions but is pretty standard, modern Japanese. A great tool on this site is the comparative translation feature, where you can read the Japanese text parallel with a wide variety of languages!

Link: https://www.grimmstories.com/ja/grimm_dowa/akazukin

So, how was it?

Did you finish reading (あか)ずきんちゃん for your level of Japanese? How did you like it? Did you learn new words? What part did you enjoy the most? Post a comment below or share your thoughts with me on twitter or instagram!

Reading time: March 24th until March 31st 2022

1 thought on “Let’s read 「赤ずきんちゃん」”

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