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Japanese Alphabets Hiragana and Katakana

Japanese Alphabets Hiragana and Katakana
Learn and practice Japanese Alphabets Hiragana and Katakana

Introduction to Hiragana and Katakana

Hiragana is used to write native words for which there are no kanji, including grammatical particles such as から kara “from”. Likewise, hiragana is used to write words whose kanji form is obscure, not known to the writer or readers, or too formal for the writing purpose. There is also some flexibility for words that have common kanji renditions to be optionally written instead in hiragana, according to an individual author’s preference. Verb and adjective inflections, as, for example, be-ma-shi-ta (べました) in tabemashita (食べました, “ate”), are written in hiragana, often following a verb or adjective root (here, “食”) that is written in kanji. When Hiragana is used to show the pronunciation of kanji characters as reading aid, it is referred to as furigana.

Hiragana is the basic Japanese phonetic alphabet. It represents every sound in the Japanese language. Therefore, you can theoretically write everything in hiragana. However, because Japanese is written with no spaces, this will create nearly indecipherable text.

Japanese Alphabets Hiragana

あ a い i う u え e お o
か ka き ki く ku け ke こ ko
が ga ぎ gi ぐ gu げ ge ご go
さ sa し shi す su せ se そ so
ざ za じ ji ず zu ぜ ze ぞ zo
た ta ち chi つ tsu て te と to
だ da ぢ ji づ zu で de ど do
な na に ni ぬ nu ね ne の no
は ha ひ hi ふ fu へ he ほ ho
ば ba び bi ぶ bu べ be ぼ bo
ぱ pa ぴ pi ぷ pu ぺ pe ぽ po
ま ma み mi む mu め me も mo
や ya ゆ yu よ yo
ら ra り ri る ru れ re ろ ro
わ wa を wo ん n/m

Compound sound Hiragana

A compound sound is made up of two letters put together. In the Japanese alphabet, people use 3 letters ya (や)、yu (ゆ)、yo(よ) combined with the letters in column i (except for い) to form compound sounds.

きゃkya きゅkyu きょkyo
しゃsha しゅshu しょsho
ちゃchya ちゅchyu ちょchyo
にゃnya にゅnyu  にょnyo
ひゃhya ひゅhyu ひょhyo
みゃmya みゅmyu みょmyo
りゃrya  りゅryu りょryo
ぎゃgya ぎゅgyu ぎょgyo
 じゃjya じゅjyu じょjyo
びゃbya  びゅbyu びょbyo
ぴゃpya ぴゅpyu ぴょpyo

Katakana is used to write foreign words or non-Japanese words and names.
They are characterized by short, straight strokes and sharp corners, and are the simplest of the Japanese scripts.

Japanese Alphabets Katakana

Related Post:
How to Read and Write Hiragana Alphabet
How to Read and Write Katakana Alphabet