Japanese Light Novels vs Chinese Web Novels

First I just want to say I'm fairly new here and apologize if this isn't the right place to post this topic or if it was discussed before.

Basically I just want to hear people's thoughts between the two types of novels. Do you read both? Any strong preferences? What aspects draw you to each? Whatever is on your mind when comparing the two. I imagine people here have experience with both groups but who knows maybe it's more of a distinct crowd for Chinese web novels.

I'm new to the whole Chinese web novel thing in general even though I spent a bit of time learning Chinese first before Japanese. Now I just use the best of both language worlds to read JP light novels (sometimes I choose to read it in Chinese if it's more readily available). Main reason I read JP light novels is because they are more lighthearted (fantasy romance genre in particular) and it's something nice to unwind with after a long week. Moreover, it makes for good reading practice. I just don't get that same vibe with Chinese web novels, but I figure it's just not a good genre match for me. I also have not done THAT much research into my options but perhaps recommendations can be made another time.

Comments

  • edited December 2016
    I read both. I am Chinese, native in Madarin Chinese, proficient in Japanese.
    Some Japanese light novels are like Qidian novels, for example, Sword Art Online and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, which first appeared on-line. Some don't. There are also many unique Chinese web novels, like 临高启明. I found no counterpart of 临高启明 in other countries.
  • yxwh said:
    I read both. I am Chinese, native in Madarin Chinese, proficient in Japanese.
    Some Japanese light novels are like Qidian novels, for example, Sword Art Online and Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, which first appeared on-line. Some don't. There are also many unique Chinese web novels, like 临高启明. I found no counterpart in other countries.
    i don't think 临高启明 is a typical "Chinese web novel", compared to the other qidian novels here. 
    Japanese light novels are "lighter" in background and story, i think it is the most different part between JP and Chinese light novels.
    So i think it will be relaxed to read those JP light novels after u have bored with those same qidian stories...lol

  • I personally don't read Japanese novels at all, most of them have whimper Mc who is shy at everything and can't do much by himself.
  • Japanase light novels are full of tropes like cats ,lolitas ,plot around pervs and harem , spineless MC & overpowered MC ,otakus /nerds becoming from socially cringe to heroes all girls look up to and all males strive to be better than him. Doesn't help the every sentence nee chan/kun stuff
    Or atleast those that are translated and have read. Mushoku Tensei was one piece of work I had great hope to end up amazing ,but all it had was a great start which was the build-up for wish fulfilment reborn otakus in super bad way ,other novels are kinda the same. One-two-three novels ,same shit ,different name. Decided to drop the japs forever.
  • just read chinese web novels

    watch anime 

    read manga

    but not japanese light novels

    somehow, i cannot bring myself to read japanese lightnovel


  • lafiel11 said:
    Japanase light novels are full of tropes like cats ,lolitas ,plot around pervs and harem , spineless MC & overpowered MC ,otakus /nerds becoming from socially cringe to heroes all girls look up to and all males strive to be better than him. Doesn't help the every sentence nee chan/kun stuff
    Or atleast those that are translated and have read. Mushoku Tensei was one piece of work I had great hope to end up amazing ,but all it had was a great start which was the build-up for wish fulfilment reborn otakus in super bad way ,other novels are kinda the same. One-two-three novels ,same shit ,different name. Decided to drop the japs forever.
    this sums up my opinion on japs novel, i am tired of that , people say "that not all japanese novels are like that and some are good , how would we know if we only read just few" , then why the fk you translate all the garbage, if there were some amazing novels out there and you pick only those shity ones? oh well ~ 

    Just looking at a jp tittle and you already know how stupid the novel  would be , just look at the most recently translated ones , just look at their tittles , i can't even take them seriously.
  • lafiel11 said:
    Japanase light novels are full of tropes like cats ,lolitas ,plot around pervs and harem , spineless MC & overpowered MC ,otakus /nerds becoming from socially cringe to heroes all girls look up to and all males strive to be better than him. Doesn't help the every sentence nee chan/kun stuff
    Or atleast those that are translated and have read. Mushoku Tensei was one piece of work I had great hope to end up amazing ,but all it had was a great start which was the build-up for wish fulfilment reborn otakus in super bad way ,other novels are kinda the same. One-two-three novels ,same shit ,different name. Decided to drop the japs forever.
    this sums up my opinion on japs novel, i am tired of that , people say "that not all japanese novels are like that and some are good , how would we know if we only read just few" , then why the fk you translate all the garbage, if there were some amazing novels out there and you pick only those shity ones? oh well ~ 

    Just looking at a jp tittle and you already know how stupid the novel  would be , just look at the most recently translated ones , just look at their tittles , i can't even take them seriously.
    I agree with you about the titles, it's one retarded thing after another...
  • edited December 2016
    Both are great in their own special ways, but I think that Chinese novels are more serious. In general, Japanese ones seem to target a younger audience and or people that would really appreciate erotica. I think this stereotype does not just apply to novels, but to the manga and anime industry as well — they are all connected. I would say Korean novels and manhwa are somewhere in the middle, they feature the romance that Japanese readers enjoy, while trying to portray the seriousness of Chinese authors that we are all familiar with.

    This is what I've noticed over the years, and I've been following the whole anime/manga/novel scene since a child.
  • I wouldn't say Japanese MCs are "wimpy"... they just are usually kids.

    If it's a battle story, they are usually willing to battle and if it isn't, they don't fight.

    Chinese stories though seem to follow a bit darker of a route and the MC is always over powering everyone.

    Japanese stories also follow many of the same troupes, but the MCs are usually more moral cause their world is more moral and they don't have to worry about someone trying to kill them or rape their family.

    The difference I feel is that while Japanese stories copy the same troupes, often the stories have a but more variety (though that may just be because we have over 16 years of translations from way more translators).

    Chinese web novels though seem to follow the same basic outline:
    • MC finds an object/teacher/technique (basically, some sorta lucky chance -*reincarnation counts too)
    • Some tragedy or danger to family/friends
    • Meets super beautiful woman
    • Meets spoilt douches that hate him and act badly for nearly no reason
    • Makes enemies with their families and rich people
    • Make ally with some random powerful person
    • Starts becoming a super powerful cultivator for his rank
    • Beats people of a higher level
    • Uses medicines to help himself level up
    • He gets mocked, looked down upon and then crushes those people
    • Eventually becomes known as a genious
    • People think MC is dead
    • He eventually finds a group of people stronger than the last group
    And the story just repeats all this sh*t over and over again (different parts in different amounts and not always in the same order).

    That said, even though I say they have "more variety", they are kinda just rehashing a few stories multiple times, so the variety isn't that much  better. But instead of like 1 type of novel, there are 5-6.

    And most stories are wish fulfillment if you think about it. But I feel for Japanese novels, rather than "wish fulfillment" it's more that they just expect these troupes. The anime/manga community expect the troupes as a part of the culture and language of the genre and it's just makes writing the story easier if they just rehash some stuff.

    But Chinese novels often affect your emotions a bit better. With the super douches that we just want suffering, the looked down upon OP MC crushing the super douches just feels too good...
  • DMR said:
    I wouldn't say Japanese MCs are "wimpy"... they just are usually kids.

    If it's a battle story, they are usually willing to battle and if it isn't, they don't fight.

    Chinese stories though seem to follow a bit darker of a route and the MC is always over powering everyone.

    Japanese stories also follow many of the same troupes, but the MCs are usually more moral cause their world is more moral and they don't have to worry about someone trying to kill them or rape their family.

    The difference I feel is that while Japanese stories copy the same troupes, often the stories have a but more variety (though that may just be because we have over 16 years of translations from way more translators).

    Chinese web novels though seem to follow the same basic outline:
    • MC finds an object/teacher/technique (basically, some sorta lucky chance -*reincarnation counts too)
    • Some tragedy or danger to family/friends
    • Meets super beautiful woman
    • Meets spoilt douches that hate him and act badly for nearly no reason
    • Makes enemies with their families and rich people
    • Make ally with some random powerful person
    • Starts becoming a super powerful cultivator for his rank
    • Beats people of a higher level
    • Uses medicines to help himself level up
    • He gets mocked, looked down upon and then crushes those people
    • Eventually becomes known as a genious
    • People think MC is dead
    • He eventually finds a group of people stronger than the last group
    And the story just repeats all this sh*t over and over again (different parts in different amounts and not always in the same order).

    That said, even though I say they have "more variety", they are kinda just rehashing a few stories multiple times, so the variety isn't that much  better. But instead of like 1 type of novel, there are 5-6.

    And most stories are wish fulfillment if you think about it. But I feel for Japanese novels, rather than "wish fulfillment" it's more that they just expect these troupes. The anime/manga community expect the troupes as a part of the culture and language of the genre and it's just makes writing the story easier if they just rehash some stuff.

    But Chinese novels often affect your emotions a bit better. With the super douches that we just want suffering, the looked down upon OP MC crushing the super douches just feels too good...
    yeah, a lot of them, you did really good conclusion.
    what you said is a big part of qidian, and some part of qidian has really good novels doesn like what you said on the list, and also qidian now is just  a part of web novels in China. I am looking forwards to see ppl here willing to take time share(translate) some really good and unique novels with everyone.
  • Jap novels really do follow the same troupes quite often. I can't say they are wimps though, because you would have to ignore the whole anti-hero genre. Arifureta, Re-Monster, and to Deprive a Deprived Person all have extremely ruthless MC's that have harems built around them. Only one of those titles involves no lolis in the first half. It happens in every Jap novel. But I will say this, as a man that has read his fair share of Chinese novels, I can conclude that they have just as many troupes and the quality is not over all better when it comes to writing style.

    However, with that being said, I do feel as though the Chinese Web Novel community have far more amazing novels and a superior translating environment.

    The good novels in are far more frequent on the chinese side, and the great ones are addicting as all sin. I.E- Coiling Dragon, Desolate Era, ISSTH, MGA, ATG, Transcending the Nine Heavens, God of Slaughter, Spirit Realm, Xian Ni, Doulou Doulou, Way of the Devil, World of cultivation, True Martial World, Dominating Sword Immortal, Ancient Godly Monarch, and many more.- Those  aren't the only ones I read or have read, those are just the few that come to my head

     Jap novels for me, don't do it anymore because they all are about reincarnation of some op guy that girls fall in love with but he never touches any of them cause reasons or cock blocks. At least things of that nature are prevalent in basically every one of the novels. 

    So in this one Chinese novels, to me, are the better read. You have far more things to read that are unique with interesting powers, methods, and characters. 
  • edited December 2016
    DMR said:
    I wouldn't say Japanese MCs are "wimpy"... they just are usually kids.

    If it's a battle story, they are usually willing to battle and if it isn't, they don't fight.

    Chinese stories though seem to follow a bit darker of a route and the MC is always over powering everyone.

    Japanese stories also follow many of the same troupes, but the MCs are usually more moral cause their world is more moral and they don't have to worry about someone trying to kill them or rape their family.

    The difference I feel is that while Japanese stories copy the same troupes, often the stories have a but more variety (though that may just be because we have over 16 years of translations from way more translators).

    Chinese web novels though seem to follow the same basic outline:
    • MC finds an object/teacher/technique (basically, some sorta lucky chance -*reincarnation counts too)
    • Some tragedy or danger to family/friends
    • Meets super beautiful woman
    • Meets spoilt douches that hate him and act badly for nearly no reason
    • Makes enemies with their families and rich people
    • Make ally with some random powerful person
    • Starts becoming a super powerful cultivator for his rank
    • Beats people of a higher level
    • Uses medicines to help himself level up
    • He gets mocked, looked down upon and then crushes those people
    • Eventually becomes known as a genious
    • People think MC is dead
    • He eventually finds a group of people stronger than the last group
    And the story just repeats all this sh*t over and over again (different parts in different amounts and not always in the same order).

    That said, even though I say they have "more variety", they are kinda just rehashing a few stories multiple times, so the variety isn't that much  better. But instead of like 1 type of novel, there are 5-6.

    And most stories are wish fulfillment if you think about it. But I feel for Japanese novels, rather than "wish fulfillment" it's more that they just expect these troupes. The anime/manga community expect the troupes as a part of the culture and language of the genre and it's just makes writing the story easier if they just rehash some stuff.

    But Chinese novels often affect your emotions a bit better. With the super douches that we just want suffering, the looked down upon OP MC crushing the super douches just feels too good...
    Those web novels that follow the same outline are called 小白文(literally means, articles for layperson) in Chinese. They are popular but not all Chinese web novels are like that. For example, 临高启明(Lin Gao Qi Ming), which I mentioned before(笑). However, I don't think 临高启明 will be translated easily(>_<), because it is 历史穿越(time travel stories that change the history, so it means one can HARDLY enjoy this story without understanding of the history of China) + 种田(stories that build a country/society from scratch, like Robinson Crusoe). This novel is also quite controversial in China, some readers like this novel bigly, some dislike it bigly.

    Japanese Light novel writers tend to use middle school / high school student as their protagonist. That may be caused by their editors. It is said that Takahashi Yashichirou first wrote Shana as a woman about the same age as Margery Daw, but was persuaded later by his chief editor to change Shana into a girl. (『灼眼のシャナ』のシャナは、初期稿では20歳代で現在のマージョリーに似たイメージだったが、三木の提案で現在の設定となった。https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/三木一馬




  •  Jap novels for me, don't do it anymore because they all are about reincarnation of some op guy that girls fall in love with but he never touches any of them cause reasons or cock blocks. At least things of that nature are prevalent in basically every one of the novels. 

    So in this one Chinese novels, to me, are the better read. You have far more things to read that are unique with interesting powers, methods, and characters. 
    thats why i stoped reading jap novels. that cock block is retarded there. so urealistic lol
  • So i can only share my experience with translated/machine translated novels and whilst many of the jap novels has right to critiqued but truthfully there is a variety in novels against chinese novels which all feels like the same (I only know two novels which are somewhat different amber sword and bringing the farm). Chinese novels has unrealistic MC with plot which seems to be the same in all novels, they rarely goes away from the battle to bring few slice of life moments (I mean what is the meaning of OP character if he lives only for battle, there should be some politics, romance, etc. included). They have pretty unrealistic politic systems where strong take everything (many times i thought that if stronger kill weaker every time they should have problem with population). 
    If we think deeper it means one thing the MC of chinese novels are mainly children(mentally) against to MC of japanese novels which are teenagers (there are rare exception in both). I mean mainly children don't know how to resolve conflicts in more peaceful ways (have you ever heard about child soldiers?).


  • Chinese novels all the way!
  • although i have much more to say on the subject, it keeps coming out too long-winded, so i'll keep it short and simple.

    no matter where the story is from china/japan/korea/US/UK/ect. all have their good and bad points. it just depends on what you like.

    are the current chinese WN better than the current Jap WN/LN? not really, you could even say no on most cases. there are lots of reasons for this but i'm keeping this short and simple. (this is from a literary standpoint)

    now, i do prefer chinese WN's over Jap novels, but that's mostly because i'm sick of the jap style. i've spent a good 15+ years watching anime, reading manga, and finally picking up LN's and later WN's, and frankly i'm sick of the same shit. the stories might be different but the characters are all the same. dumbass, dickless MC, and damn near mandatory loli tsundere character with other staple characters just recycled from previous stories. in the recent years WN's have thankfully moved in more original directions but sadly are still heavily influenced by the jap culture.


    so back to the topic, jap vs chinese. just depends on your mood. and whether or not they have a story you like.

    (and yes this is the short and simple version, the long version is like an essay)
  • dullman said:
    So i can only share my experience with translated/machine translated novels and whilst many of the jap novels has right to critiqued but truthfully there is a variety in novels against chinese novels which all feels like the same (I only know two novels which are somewhat different amber sword and bringing the farm). Chinese novels has unrealistic MC with plot which seems to be the same in all novels, they rarely goes away from the battle to bring few slice of life moments (I mean what is the meaning of OP character if he lives only for battle, there should be some politics, romance, etc. included). They have pretty unrealistic politic systems where strong take everything (many times i thought that if stronger kill weaker every time they should have problem with population). 
    If we think deeper it means one thing the MC of chinese novels are mainly children(mentally) against to MC of japanese novels which are teenagers (there are rare exception in both). I mean mainly children don't know how to resolve conflicts in more peaceful ways (have you ever heard about child soldiers?).


    Well,All your guess is guess.You may just read quite few Chinese web novels,so you may not know that most of the MC are adult(more than 1000 years old may be),and children will grow up in one chapter.Some MC acting immature and childishly is because the authors are lack of politics knowledge.Such
    books are not recommended to read.
  • edited December 2016
    Many years ago, I tried to read 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 because I loved the anime so badly at that time but finally found that it was quite boring. Then I dropped Jap light novel at all from that time

    As to Chinese web novel, I would say, they are so diverse so it is not easy to summarize it but you could always find something which can attract your attention, even for a picky person like me.
  • @copasi ;

    Hmmm, well I'd disagree about diversity... they all follow the same outline, but they also easily hook people.

    And if you only tried 1 Japanese novel, then you should probably try more before judging them.

    Cause it could be a bad writing (or at least writing you don't like), but Japanese novels have the diversity of like 5-6 types.

    But it's not diversity that matters... just how well it's written (or how well the author makes douches you want the MC to kill).

    I mean, look at ISSTH... it follows so many of the troupes in other chinese novels and I wouldn't claim that it's original.... but it's written so damn well that you wouldn't normally notice....

    And in the end, that's what matters... how well a story is written...

    Of course, there is also taste and age group.

    I find that Chinese web novels usually are more interesting for adults than Japanese LNs that seem targeted towards teens in middle and high school....
  • edited January 2017
    @DMR , as a matter of fact, I have tried 文学少女”シリーズ later, which is ranked 1st of light novel in Japan at that time, but still make me feel boring. 

    As to diversity, maybe because most novels translated here are 小白文 except <terror infinity> and <Horizon, bright moon, sabre>
    ,so the MCs are always 龙傲天 kind of person. 
  • DMRDMR
    edited January 2017
    You read Book Girl???

    And can you use more English??? Don't just randomly put Chinese/Japanese text.

    And did you read SAO, or Mahouka, or Devil is a Part Timer?

    What do you mean by "Xiao Baiwen" or "Small White Text"

    And is 龙傲天 supposed to be "Long Aotian" or something?
  • edited January 2017
    Japanese Novels, some are boring, some are cool, but the story goes so slow, at least for me. Probably the only JP LN I read upto near the end is Mushoku Tensei, I left it cause I was nearing the end and I dont want the adventure to end. Makes me dry thinking about it ending. And that fiery girl, the sword woman, is that one girl that I like.
    Chinese Novels, cool because its fast and we got OP Destiny luck and stuff. The MC be showing off how powerful they are, stuff they have or made, and then their reactions are what I like. ISSTH has that part when he was at Chu Yuyans Sect and he made something that made him get remembered as Pill Caldroun I believe. And that part when he was wrecking those Chosens at one of the 3 Daoist Societies.
  • DMR said:
    You read Book Girl???

    And can you use more English??? Don't just randomly put Chinese/Japanese text.

    And did you read SAO, or Mahouka, or Devil is a Part Timer?

    What do you mean by "Xiao Baiwen" or "Small White Text"

    And is 龙傲天 supposed to be "Long Aotian" or something?


    小白文 means the books for the beginners of Chinese web novel. They are not too hard to understand, and the story is simpler than some famous web novels.

     龙傲天 means the OP MCs of these novels. Once there is a guy write a novel of that type with only 140 characters on Weibo(Chinese twitter). The story was retweeted many times and it became very famous among Chinese. The name of the MC of that story is called 龙傲天.

  • edited January 2017

    my obvious choice is Chinese (some, not all) novels that are not harem. in general, I prefer to stay away from erotica/porno and enjoy the pure story... I got sick of the pervert writers who only fantasize heavily pornographic stories, so I am not reading any Jap novels (except Re:Monster)... I tried a Korean novel sometime ago, which turned out to be pure Jap same shitty style, so dropped it immediately... dungeon defense???

    anyway, it is a matter of taste, nonetheless Jap novels suck big time, it's like they are designed for perverts.. coincidentally that's what promoted in those novels...

  • Hello everyone. I just started reading Asian novels and did not realize there is a difference between Japanese and Chinese novels. I do have one question though, why are the books always so lengthy? over 2000 chapters is no child's play. 
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