Is it worth learning Mandarin Chinese for danmei webnovels?

Learning a new language is challenging and requires dedication over a long period, and it can be difficult to decide if it’s worth it.

Have you been considering taking up the challenge of learning Chinese for danmei? Are you wondering if it’s worth it at all? Have you also wondered if anyone else has managed to achieve the goal of reading danmei webnovels in Chinese?

Let me tell you, it’s completely worth it. Many fans have already achieved this. You’re not alone, and you won’t be! There are many learners of all levels joining this space every day.

So that you will be more informed before you make up your mind, let’s dive into the pros and cons!


Cheap webnovels

When compared to their translated or published counterparts, Chinese webnovels are extremely cheap to purchase on the platform on which they are serialised.

Let me put this into perspective for you as we have different understandings of the term “cheap.”

Name of webnovelJJ CoinsUSD
Heaven Official’s Blessing2692$4.03
Kaleidoscope of Death2406$3.60
Run Wild: Sa Ye2406$3.60
Can Ci Pin2591$3.88
Drowning Sorrows in Raging Fire2004$3.00
Stars of Chaos (Sha Po Lang)1603$2.40
Ballad of Sword and Wine (Qiang Jin Jiu)2823$4.23
A Break in the Clouds (Po Yun)2225$3.33

The table above speaks for itself!

Open doors to a whole new world.

Translations take time, and only a very small amount of danmei webnovels have been translated into other languages.

By learning Chinese, you will unlock your access to untranslated danmei webnovels and open doors into a whole new world.

These doors would lead to the discovery of new content, travel, job opportunities, reconnecting with family, making new friends, and much more.

Danmei is only the start!

Say goodbye to translations

Waiting for translations, whether fan translations or official translations, can be painful. Besides these long waits, there’s always the risk of translations being dropped or restrictions being put in place!

There are many middle people involved, adding many layers of complexity and control.

By learning Chinese, you will never need to wait for translations again and never need to rely on these middle layers.

The webnovel scene in China is highly competitive, with many authors consistently releasing new chapters every day. Authors often complete a short—to medium-length webnovel in a few months, and the risk of dropped webnovels is also not that high.

Understand nuance, puns and memes

No matter how good a translation is, it still cannot replace the original.

A translation is ultimately the translator’s and editor’s interpretation of the text, and unfortunately, some things can be misinterpreted or missed.

Chinese is very different from European languages, and often, there simply isn’t a word or reference that is equivalent to the one used in the original text. Word and reference choices can change your perspective of the story and characters.

Reading danmei webnovel in its original form is the best way to experience the story’s richness and depth.


Time and dedication

Language learning requires regular, continuous dedication and discipline over many years. You will need to carve out time each week to focus on studying Chinese. Life can be busy and full of surprises; dedicated time simply may not be possible.

Patience and motivation are also essential for this journey to be successful. It’s not going to happen overnight.

Novels with a historical setting require more work

Historical setting novels are infamous for being more complex than those set in modern times due to the archaic language style and cultural references often found in these novels.

Very specific knowledge and experience are often required. Let’s use “Ballad of Sword and Wine” (Qiang Jin Jiu) as an example. This novel is heavy on politics and involves many members of the imperial court, which is extremely difficult for second-language learners.

There are plenty of approachable historical webnovels, but unfortunately, most of the famous ones are difficult, and it will take a long time to get there.

Physical Chinese danmei books aren’t easily accessible

For those who don’t live in Asia, the shipping cost for physical Chinese books will be very high — it may be similar to or more expensive than buying the translated books.

Danmei webnovels that are published physically in Mainland China have the same-sex relationship removed (e.g. kissing will be changed to hugs, and any form of confession is completely removed). It’s possible to buy uncensored danmei from other regions, such as Taiwan, but bear in mind that the shipping cost will be very high. Some prints are also limited, meaning that once they’re gone, it’s gone forever.


The answer to the question of this post is, YES!!

Learning Chinese for danmei is 100% worth it for the long-term benefits of increased availability and reduction of dependencies (i.e. translators and publishers).

Learning a new language can be daunting, particularly as there are many completed translated danmei webnovels that are easily accessible; it’s very easy to pick up a translation and start reading.

You may often find yourself saying, “I want to read this danmei now. I’ll just read the translation.” But remember, you are relying solely on translators and publishers to release this content. Unfortunately, they have full control over their availability, and there have been many times when translations were pulled or licensing issues have restricted translators from translating a new edition.

By learning Chinese, you can remove this level of dependency, and you will have more control over the webnovels that are available to you.

With consistency, dedication, and patience, it’s possible to learn enough Mandarin Chinese to start reading danmei in as little as six months! There are plenty of fans on the 看剧学汉语 Discord Community Server who have achieved this, and they’re happy to point you in the right direction!

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