Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

ラ (ra) – Katakana


– Pronounced as the Japanese ‘ra’. This can be a difficult kana to pronounce for new students. There’s no direct word in the English language that has this sound, it’s rather a cross between the English ‘r’ and the English ‘l’. Imagine a sort of soft ‘r’ where your tongue doesn’t roll, then add the Japanese ‘a’ at the end of it – ‘ra’.


ら, in hiragana, or ラ in katakana, is one of the Japanese kana, which each represent one mora. Both versions are written with two strokes and have origins in the character 良.


Mnemonic 1: Just like with the hiragana, this is another picture of the angry man depicted in the hiragana symbol (perhaps drawn by a more stylistic artist). You can see his eye and open mouth.

Mnemonic 2: This is a picture of the side of a ship vessel that is about to ‘ram’ into an island in the distance (which is represented by the top part of the kana).

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com