On this page, you can learn the basic information of Japanese alphabets.
Three types of Japanese alphabets
Japanese people say Kana to indicate both Hiragana and Katakana.
Romaji is used to write the sound of Japanese alphabets in Roman alphabets (a, b, c, d to z).
Romaji is convenient if you know English alphabets and just want to learn spoken Japanese.
For example, Romaji for the Japanese word 「はは」 which means ‘mother’ is ‘ha ha‘ as the Japanese alphabet は sounds ‘ha’.
Japanese writing system
Let’s watch a video (up to 1 minute and 30 seconds) to understand how Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji characters are used.
Japanese sound system
In English, the same alphabet can be pronounced differently in a word.
For example, the word ‘Australia’ has three ‘a’ in the word which are pronounced all differently.
This does not happen in Hiragana or Katakana.
Basic rule for writing a Japanese alphabet
When you write a Japanese alphabet, it is important to remember that you write them:
- from left to right
- from top to bottom
For example, when you write い, the first stroke is the left line and the second stroke is the right line.
Another example is う. The first stroke is the short line at the top and the second stroke is the curve line, which you need to write from top to bottom as well.
This rule applies to Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji symbols.