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Reading Japanese: How to Borrow

Resrouces for reading Japanese at any skill level.

🌐 How can I read Japanese Books Online?

Any book linked on this guide that does not say "print only" can be read online.

Select any book in the Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, or High Proficiency tabs at the top of the site.

  • Books available online will take you to the Maruzen eBook Library database (▼ see more below).
  • If the book is only available in print, it will take you to the CU Libraries catalog where you can borrow the book.

The record below is an example of a book you can read online, click it and you'll enter the Maruzen eBook Library. The database's inteface is only in Japanese, and this page will help you learn how to use it even if you only know a little bit of Japanese.

⚡ Accessing the Maruzen eBook Library Database

Your ability to access the Maruzen eBook database depends if you are on or off campus.

  • On campus: You don't need to do anything special.
  • Off campus: Download and install the VPN. Run the VPN software and log in with your IdentiKey and password.

📗 Understanding a Maruzen eBook record, and How to Start Reading

Every book on this guide that you can read online will take you to a Maruzen eBook Library record page.

Title of the book:

  • Japanese titles will never be in rōmaji.
  • A green book means CU Boulder has full-text access to the book.
  • Books we do not have access to will be gray.


Look at / Browse the Book:

  • 閲覧 (etsuran, read/peruse): read the book from the very first page.
  • This is inconvenient because you will need to scan through several pages of front matter before you read the first page of the book's story. (▼ use the index feature instead)

Listen to the Book:

  • 閲覧 (shichō, read/peruse): a new window will load to listen to an audio file of the text.
  • After you've clicked on the green shichŏ button, you can click the yellow etsuran button to go to the first page of the book (see ▼index below).



  • 目次 (mokuji, index)
  • 本文 (honbun, main text of a book)
  • The index feature is much more convenient. 本文 / honbun is usually the main option for going to the first page in a story.
  • If a book contains multiple stories. The titles of the those stories will be listed instead, only in Japanese.

👓 Reading a Book -- Understanding the Reading Navigation Bar

The reading pane menu features options you can likely guess just by looking.


Zoom Function:

  • 上下 (jōge, top to bottom) means show the whole page from top to bottom.
  • 左右 (sayū, left to right) means make the zoom match the width of the screen.
  • Then there are the typical 100%, 150%, etc. settings.


Display Options:

  • Show only one page at a time, or both pages at once as if you have it open in front of your like a print book.

Advance Pages, or Jump to a Page:

  • 移動 (idō, move) press this to go to the page number you've typed.
  • Always hit the right arrow to advance, even if you are reading a Japanese style book that reads right to left.


Share the Link to this Book:

  • 共有 (kyōyū, share): Share a link to this book.
  • Links can only be opened by CU Boulder affiliates.



  • エクスポート (ekuspōto, export)
  • Export the bibliographic data in BibTex format, not particularly necessary for most people.


Print or Save:

  • 印刷 (insastu, print)
  • 保存 (hozon, save)
  • Print or save from the current page and then specify how many pages after the current page you'd like to save.
  • This is a very awkward and unintuitive way to print or save pages (▼ see more below).
  • Some books have no option for downloading or printing.