Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Welcome To Learn The Kana

Trying to learn Japanese is no easy task, and with the wealth of online resources out there, knowing where to start can be a difficult task. This site will guide you in the right direction by teaching you the kana (the two fundamental Japanese writing scripts), through the use of mnemonics and correct pronunciation.

The Japanese language is divided into three different writing scripts, known as the Hiragana, Katakana and the Kanji. The Romaji is a romanized form of written Japanese, used by new students, however it is recommended that students learn the Hiragana and Katakana scripts as quickly as possible and diverge from the simplicity of the Romaji, as the Romaji is not used in Japan for mainstream writing, and should not be replied upon.

The Hiragana and Katakana are both referred to as the ‘kana’. The Hiragana and Katakana each consist of 46 basic syllabaries, which can take on modifications through what’s known as the Youon and Dakuten/Hadakuten. Being able to interpret each of the basic 46 syllabaries is all that is required to understand all the additional Youon and Dakuten/Hadakuten (provided some basic rules are learned).

The Hiragana and Katakana both consist of the same pronunciation but different characters. Once the kana are learned, a student of Japanese will know how to pronounce every sound in Japanese, and will also know how to write any word in Japanese through the use of Hiragana and Katakana, given the phonetics of Japanese.

The Kanji (chinese characters) comes with more advanced study, and consists of many thousands of characters which each represent unique words. The Kanji should be learned after the student has first mastered the Hiragana and Katakana scripts.

The Hiragana is used to write native words in Japanese, especially words which don’t have a unique Kanji , or Kanji that is infrequently used. Hiragana is also used by people learning Japanese, or by young Japanese children who have not yet learned the correct Kanji for a word. Anyone that knows Japanese is able to read and write Hiragana, and therefore its mastery is essential as it’s going to be the only way you can write native words which you don’t know the Kanji for.

The Katakana is used to write foreign or loan words in Japanese, or words which have a special emphasis. A lot of foreign words are adopted into Katakana with only minor modifications to their initial form, and understanding the Katakana is essential to understanding how the Japanese interpret these foreign words.

One of the major difficulties faced by new students of Japanese is how to remember the Hiragana and Katakana characters. This site was designed to give you certain mnemonics, stroke order, and patterns of speech that will help you remember all of the kana in the easiest and most efficient manner. To get started, simply select either ‘The Hiragana Chart’ or ‘The Katakana Chart’ from the menu to the right. After you have mastered the Hiragana and Katakana, you will want to learn the Character Rules, which you will also find located to the right menu.

Feedback is much appreciated, and it is suggested you contact us with your feedback.

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com