Hiragana 1

Basics of Japanese writing systems and the first 3 rows of hiragana: あ, か, さ

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Hiragana 1

Japanese consists of three different writing systems:

  • Hiragana: ひらがな
  • Katakana: カタカナ
  • Kanji: 漢字

Words in Japanese can contain one or more of these writing systems, and all three of them be used together in a single sentence. Hiragana, katakana, and kanji have different visual styles and are generally used for different purposes. There are 46 basic hiragana and katakana characters that you will need to learn and over 2000 kanji.

In the Kana level of the Yomimono curriculum, we will go over all the hiragana and katakana with the first four lessons focusing on hiragana.

Hiragana

Much like the English alphabet, hiragana is used to represent sound. Hiragana is primarily used for native Japanese words, grammar particles and verb conjugations. Hiragana has a simple and roundish shape compared to the other writing systems.

Romaji

There is an additional writing system called romaji which is used to represent Japanese sounds using roman letters. We will use romaji in this level, but after that all sounds will be represented by hiragana only. This is to help you practice your kana, but also to force you to start 'thinking' in Japanese.

あいうえお

They are only vowels in Japanese and other hiragana consist with consonant-vowel paris. あ is often mixed up with お (o). う is often mixed up with つ (tsu).

a

i

u

e

o

かきくけこ

き is often mixed up with さ (sa).

ka

ki

ku

ke

ko

さしすせそ

さ is often mixed up with き (ki), ち (chi) and ら (ra).

sa

shi

su

se

so

Complete Lesson
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