Kana Page

One of the first challenges you’ll face in learning the Japanese language is mastering its writing system. Japanese uses three scripts: HiraganaKatakana, and Kanji. Romaji (the Roman form of the syllables) are rarely used by the Japanese, but we’ll be using them to help you learn the scripts. We strongly recommend that future KCP students who have had no previous knowledge of Japanese memorize the hiragana and katakana before attending.

 

Hiragana

Hiragana is the first script that Japanese children learn in school, so you will do well to start with hiragana. The hiragana table introduces you to all possible characters and sounds that you need to learn Japanese. Remember that stroke order is important in writing Japanese so that you get the right shape. The best way to learn hiragana is to practice writing them with pen and paper–download the PDF hiragana worksheets as a guide. After you’ve mastered hiragana, test your skills with our basic hiragana quiz and modified hiragana quiz.

 

Katakana

Katakana are used for words derived from foreign languages. If you’re not Japanese, katakana is the script that you use to write your name, so learning katakana is important. Just like hiragana, katakana is divided into basic katakana and modified katakana. The katakana table will introduce you to this writing system. Katakana are used for onomatopoeic words and technical or scientific terms. They are also used for emphasis. Try writing katakana on our PDF katakana worksheets and test your knowledge with our basic katakana or modified katakana quiz.

 

Kanji

Kanji are similar to Chinese characters. They are ideographs that are used for nouns and verb stems. Since there are no spaces in Japanese writing, Kanji assists in distinguishing words in a sentence. You will be introduced to kanji and learn approximately 150–200 kanji each term at KCP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Related posts from KCP Window on Japan:

Japanese Language Basics: Katakana

Hiragana: The First Japanese Alphabet

Standard Japanese: The Unified Language

Japanese Language Basics: Kanji, the Japanese Writing System

KCP Offers Second Set of Kanji Textbooks (with CD)

Reflections on grammar structure

Playing cards, Japanese-style