List of Free Audiobooks



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The creation of this list of free audio downloads was inspired by this discussion at the How To Learn Any Language Forum and copied directly from my learning log over there. I've only listed the audiobooks for which I could locate both a Japanese transcript and an English translation. For translations of works by Japanese authors I've either linked to an online source or provided a source for a commercial one. Transcripts of works by Western authors are, for the most part, easy to locate online. If anyone has any more to add to this list I'd greatly appreciate it.

----------------LIST OF FREE JAPANESE AUDIOBOOKS W/ TRANSCRIPTS------------------

O Henry "Gift of the Magi" (25 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
O Henry "The Last Leaf" (25 min)Audio Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" (63 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Red Headed League"[/b] (79 min) Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Adventure of the Dancing Men"[/b] (Incomplete) (69 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "Captain of the Polestar" (27 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Gloria Scott" (79 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Stock Broker's Clerk" (67 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "A Scandal in Bohemia" (70 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" (Incomplete) Transcript Audio
Edgar Allan Poe "The Black Cat" (44 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Edgar Allan Poe "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (100 min) Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Brothers Grimm "Hansel and Gretal" (28 min)Transcript Audio
Brothers Grimm "Rapunzel" (11 min)Transcript Audio
Brothers Grimm "Little Red Riding Hood" (9 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
Brothers Grimm "The Bremen Town Musicians"(14 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
Brothers Grimm "The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats" (13 min) Transcript Audio (HQ)
Brothers Grimm "The Frog Prince" (17 min) Transcript Audio 1 2 3
Hans Christian Andersen "The Red Shoes" (26 min) Transcript Audio
Hans Christian Andersen "The Little Nightingale" (38 min)Transcript Audio
Hans Christian Andersen "The Little Match Girl" (9 min) Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Hans Christian Andersen "The Emperor's New Clothes" (21 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Hans Christian Andersen "The Fir Tree" (42 min)Transcript Audio
Hans Christian Andersen "The Snow Queen" (115 min)Transcript Audio
Hans Christian Andersen "Picture Book Without Picture" (Incomplete) Transcript Audio
Oscar Wilde "The Happy Prince" (32 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Oscar Wilde "The Selfish Giant" (16 min)Transcript Audio Parallel Text
Charles Perrault "Puss in Boots" (17 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
Charles Perrault "Blue Beard" (17 min)Transcript Audio
Charles Perrault "Sleeping Beauty" (25 min)Transcript Audio
Charles Perrault "Cinderella" (27 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "Spider's Thread" (10 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "The Truck" (17 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "Rashomon" (18 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "The Three Treasures" (26 min) Transcript Audio 1 2 3 Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "Kappa" (120 min)Transcript Audio*
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "The Dog, Shiro" (28 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "In a Grove" (30 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "The Christ of Nanking" (40 min) Transcript Audio Translation
Ryunosuke Akutagawa "Oshino" (19 min) Transcript Audio1 2 Translation
Kido Okamoto "The Stone Lantern" (65 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "The Mystery of the Fire Bell" (69 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "Hiroshige and the River Otter" (59 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "The Mansion of Morning Glories" (48 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "Cacophony of Cats" (52 min) Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "Benten's Daughter" (65 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "The Room Over the Bathhouse" (49 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "The Death of Ofumi" (58 min)Transcript Audio 1 2#
Kido Okamoto "The Death of Kampei" (49 min)Transcript Audio#
Kido Okamoto "The Dancer's Curse" (61 min)Transcript Audio#
Basho Matsuo "Oku No Hosomichi" (66 min) Transcript Audio (5 parts) Audio (45 parts) Translation
Antoine de Saint-Exupery "Le Petit Prince"(165 min) Transcript Audio (HQ) Parallel Text
Leo Tolstoy "Ivan the Fool" (95 min) Transcript Audio (HQ)
Kenji Miyazawa "The Restaurant of Many Orders" (17 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation Video@
Kenji Miyazawa "The Nighthawk's Star" (21 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Kenji Miyazawa "The Acorns and the Wildcat" (20 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation Video@
Kenji Miyazawa "The Poison Powder Police Chief" (12 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) Translation@
Kenji Miyazawa "The Dragon and the Poet" (12 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Kenji Miyazawa "Night on the Milky Way Train" (134 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Kenji Miyazawa "Gorsch the Cellist" (44 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) 1 2@
Kenji Miyazawa "The Earthgod and the Fox" (41 min) Transcript Audio (HQ)@
Kenji Miyazawa "Ozbel and the Elephant" (22 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)@
Kenji Miyazawa "The First Deer Dance" (20 min)Transcript Audio@
Kenji Miyazawa "Night of the Festival" (17 min)Transcript Audio 1 2 3@
Kenji Miyazawa "The Great Bear of the Crows" (20 min) Transcript Audio 1 2 3 Translation
Ogai Mori "Down the Takase River" (36 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Maurice LeBlanc "Edith Au Cou De Cygne" (52 min) Transcript Audio (HQ)
Lyman Frank Baum"A Kidnapped Santa Claus" (22 min)[/b]Transcript Audio
Madame de Villeneuve "Beauty and the Beast" (36 min)Transcript Audio
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dreams" (66 min)Transcript Audio (HQ) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Translation
Osamu Dazai "Memories/思い出" (114 min) Transcript Audio$
Osamu Dazai "Monkey Island" (19 min)Transcript Audio$
Osamu Dazai "Melos, Run" (35 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)$
Osamu Dazai "A Poor Man's Got His Pride/貧の意地" (27 min) Transcript (Scroll past table of contents) Audio (Halfway down the page)$
Osamu Dazai "The Monkey's Mound/猿塚" (13 min) Transcript (Scroll 1/4 of the way down the page) Audio$
Osamu Dazai "Crackling Mountain/カチカチ山" (44 min) Transcript (A little past halfway down the page) Audio 1 2$
Osamu Dazai "The Sound of Hammering" (47 min) Transcript Audio$
Osamu Dazai "Undine" (27 min) Transcript Audio v1 Audio v2 1 2 3 4$
Osamu Dazai "Heed My Plea" (40 min) Transcript Audio 1 2 3 4$
Osamu Dazai "Taking the Wen Away/瘤取り" (17 min) Transcript (Begins just after intro paragraph) Audio$
Niimi Nankichi "The Fox Boy" (31 min) Transcript Audio Translation
Beatrix Potter "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" Transcript Audio Original Text
Beatrix Potter "The Tale of Two Bad Mice" Transcript Audio Original Text
Gilbert K Chesterton "The Sins of Prince Saradine" (Incomplete) Transcript Audio Parallel Text

Murasaki Shikibu "Tale of Genji" (24 Chapters--one audio link is dead)(1594 min)Transcript Audio Translation
Soseki Natsume "Botchan" (Complete)(366 min)Transcript Audio Translation Parallel Text
Soseki Natsume "Sanshiro"(Complete)(583 min)Transcript Audio*
Soseki Natsume "Three Cornered World" (Complete)(275 min)Transcript Audio*
Soseki Natsume "Kokoro"(Complete)(over 9 hr)Transcript Incomplete Audio (HQ) Complete Audio 1 2 3 Translation
Soseki Natsume "I am a Cat" (Complete)(22 hr) Transcript Audio 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11*
Osamu Dazai "The Setting Sun"(Complete)(392 min)Transcript Audio*
Osamu Dazai "No Longer Human"(Complete)(248 min)Transcript Audio*
Robert Louis Stevenson "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (Complete)(224 min)Transcript Audio (HQ)
E.C. Tubb "The Winds of Gath" (Complete) (5 hr) Audio

* - Couldn't find a translation online, but commercial translations are available.
# - Found in the collection of short stories, "The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi : Detective Stories of Old Edo," translated by Ian MacDonald.
HQ - Audio labeled 'HQ' usually have clearer sound, better voice acting, and sound effects.
@ - Found in the bilingual text "The Tales of Miyazawa Kenji," translated by John Bester.
$ - Found in "Crackling Mountain and Other Short Stories," translated by James O'Brien.

7/20 Added Natsume's "Three Cornered World," known as "Grass Pillow," in English.
7/22 Added "Oku No Hosomichi." Included 2 different audio links--one has the audio split into 5 parts and the other into each of the 45 short chapters.
7/27 After some research I advise against using "Tale of Genji" until one has reached a fairly advanced stage of learning, since it appears that both the Japanese text and the translation are modern interpretations of the original text written 1000 years ago. Hence it is likely that both works will differ significantly from one another in certain parts.
8/11 Added downloadable audio links for "Undine."
10/12 Added J/E parallel text I made for "Le Petit Prince." (Open Office format)
10/14 Added the SciFi classic, "Winds of Gath." Since this is a relatively recent book, I suspect there may be copyright infringements involved with this audio, so download it ASAP if you're at all interested in using it. Japanese version of book available at AmazonJP or YesAsia.
11/24 Added Two stories by Beatrix Potter. Added parallel text I created for "A Scandal in Bohemia." (MS Word)
11/25 Added better audio versions for "Kokoro," "Three Cornered World," and "Down the Takase River." Added video versions of "Acorns and the Wildcat" and "Restaurant of Many Orders."
12/2 Added "Sins of Prince Saradine," and "Picture Book Without Pictures." Added better audio for "Gift of the Maji."
12/22 Added "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

LINKS (Audio) (Audio) (Audio) ?categoryid=17 (List of Audio Podcasts) (List of Audio Podcasts) (Japanese Transcripts) (Parallel Texts) (Parallel Texts) Extensive list of online resources.
Edited: 2010-04-02, 3:08 pm
Sheetz, I can't thank you enough for this. I've been enjoying *trying* to get through some of the Japanese works that I had read in translation (several on your list!). My listening comprehension is quite horrible, so these should help immensely (whereas I find films are good mainly for dialogue).

Thanks for the list sheetz!
Thank you! I was just asking the clerks at Kinokuniya whether they sell audio books. I was hoping to find Wagahai wa neko de aru. When I got home, I found that you have provided the link!
Cue raise to the sheetz Smile

EDIT: Perhaps Fabrice could sticky this thread?
Edited: 2007-09-13, 3:10 am
Oh yeah! Definetly sticky! Big Grin
Fantastic list sheetz, cheers.

One of the stories I copypasted into Word, and those kanji that had their readings in brackets afterwards were converted into furigana in Word. Rad.
Thanks sheetz
SHEETZ! Thanks!!
I hadn't heard of Kenji Miyazawa before. But after reading "The Restaurant of Many Orders" I look forward to reading more of him.
Kenji Miyazawa is a great place to start for someone wanting to read Japanese lit post-RTK because his stories, though generally regarded as children's stories, are loaded with RTK kanji. Yet because they are children's stories the writing itself is relatively easy to understand.

OTOH, if you look at the transcript for "Le Petit Prince," you'll see that it's written with almost no kanji at all.
I read 銀河鉄道の夜 which is probably his most famous work. There are quite a few versions that you can buy which have a lot of furigana, which was nice for me when I read it. I also saw a theatre production of it and went to a museum dedicated to Kenji Miyazawa's works. There's also an animated film of it, which I haven't seen yet. I think he has an absolutely fantastic imagination.

He writes in a more old fashioned style but it's still fairly accessible I think. If you get a chance to visit the museum then I recommend it. I was very interested to see the samples of the hand written original manuscript. I couldn't believe how messy it was!
Edited: 2007-09-16, 12:23 pm
Hi sheetz,

thanks for the excellent post, stickied!
amazing!! thanks so much!
I recently found this site as well
Thanks a bunch! Peter Rabbit really brings back the memories.
Hi folks. It gives me a kind of warm fuzzy feeling to report that this thread is serving a purpose I never would have imagined! A very close family friend (a Japanese Canadian woman ins her 70s) is recovering in hospital after surgery for a brain aneurysm. She's not yet able to read or watch TV. I've been trying with some difficulty to find some suitable books-on-tape for her when I remembered this thread. I brought in my laptop and she enjoyed one of the short stories and was surprised both by the technology and that it was in Japanese. She typically lives and reads in English, but understands Japanese from growing up in Japan and family life.

Here's the favour I'm asking: if any of you are familiar with any of the stories in this list, I'd be grateful if you could let me know if there are any which you highly recommend or any which you would suggest avoiding for this particular listener (i.e. save me some embarrassment).

Many many thanks
That's fantastic, Thora! There are actually many, many other audiobooks available if you follow some of the links. I've only listed the ones with English translations. What types of stories do you think might interest her?
I think there's only one in the list that I've read so I can't compare it to any of the others but I enjoyed reading it:

宮沢賢治 銀河鉄道の夜 Kenji Miyazawa "Night on the Milky Way Train"

It's quite old, so the language is a bit old fashioned but it's written for kids so it's very understandable. It's generally accepted as a classic and is very imaginative.

SPOILER: the ending is quite sad though.
Edited: 2007-12-05, 5:06 am
Hey all,
Just wanted to let you all know that I got Winds of Gath, both the english version and the Japanese version. I have been casually checking it out. So far I can say that the translation seems to be pretty spot on. Also the person reading the book seems to be semi professional which is pleasant to listen to.
Its pretty fun to listen to the Japanese translation while reading the english and see how much I can understand.

That all being said, I have showed the book to a few Japanese friends and they all pretty much agree that the Japanese is unusual. That is to be expected I guess, since it IS a Sci Fi book (even the english is unusual :0).
Also there are a lot of rare Kanji, since it is pretty much a direct translation. For example, I found this kanji:

Which I had to use a special "Engineers" Dictionary to find the definition. It means "eddy current" which I didnt know what that was till I looked it up in english.

As a rare a fun side project, I am enjoying this book in English and Japanese, but would not recommend it as a serous source of study!

Just thought I would let others know if intersted.
zazen666, thanks for the review! Do you know if the audio is complete? I assumed it was but I have no way of knowing for sure without a copy of the book.
zazen 666, I'm sure the Japanese is "unusual" only in the SF sense, and grammatically it's fine. Big difference in the two.
billyclyde Wrote:zazen 666, I'm sure the Japanese is "unusual" only in the SF sense, and grammatically it's fine. Big difference in the two.
That is a good point and I should mention that I agree with it. Grammar is of course technically fine and I especially enjoy reading the japanese for basic things such as:

He stay crouched in the box.
He held his hand up to the light.
etc etc

That part of it is really fun actually. I just meant that some very unusual kanji pops up, so I would not suggest it as a means of Kanji study for beginners or even intermediate students, since it is unlikely you would run into some of these kanji again.
However that being said, its fun to be able to write "eddy current" (thanks to RTK) and show off to Japanese friends...even if they dont understand it!

And so far the audio seems complete, but I haven't listened to the whole book yet.

Also, a Japanese friend and I were talking about books and translations recently and she made a comment that I am not sure how much I agree with, but does seem to make some sense. She said that since books that are translated from E=>J tend to try to translated the the English as complete as possible, you often get phrases and such that would not be used in everyday Japanese, or even in books and such. She recommend that I read Japanese authors to get a better sense of natural Japanese.

Although that does make some sense to me, I am having to much fun reading SF books now, so maybe later Smile! What do you guys think?
Edited: 2007-12-18, 9:22 pm
I have heard about a "translation style," though I'm not good enough to notice it yet. Basically my teachers have told me that foreign books have a certain style generally, and Japanese books another. It must be a stylistic-- not grammatical-- difference, and if you think about it, the average Japanese has so little overseas experience, they must go some distance explaining foreign customs.

I think Murakami Haruki has been criticized as writing like a foreigner, as he has had a second career as a translator of Raymond Carver etc. (This may have been by Oe, or another "pure literature" guy, so take w/a grain of salt.) Everyone still loves him, tho.

Your friend's suggestion is certainly well-meaning, but you'll do better with stuff you're motivated on. Why turn it into studying that's supposed to be good for you, when the fun stuff you're already doing is good for you? Right now I bet you can read 10 SF novels in the time it takes to read 1 "real Japanese" novel.

And I guess it's the compounds that aren't common? All the kanji in "eddy current" are pretty common... enough to infer pronouncination & meaning, if roughly.
update on winds of gath.
It appears that it is not complete, only contains first 10 chapters(out of 15).
However I can say that his reading is very good, very professional, and the translation seems to be spot on.

I might contact him to see if the audio for the rest of the book is available. (I was already considering contacting him to see if you would consider readin Frank Herberts Dune!).