Japanese writing systems

I created fun short lesson about Japanese writing systems. I am a visual learner so I enjoy using textbooks which contain many illustrations, images and colors. It makes learning more fun and effective. So I wanted to create something which helps visual learners like myself. Enjoy!

Japanese language has three types of writing systems (Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana), This short lesson will explain where they came from and how they are used.

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Japanese Book-Visual Lesson 1


Japanese language has three scripts

1. The first script: Kanji (漢字)
*originated in China.

2. The second script: Katakana (カタカナ)
*this is used for words which originated from foreign countries. For example, in Japanese, coffee is Kohi. And instead of written in Hiragana, we use Katakana for this word. So it would be コーヒー

3. the third script: Hiragana(ひらがな)
*this is used for words that originated in Japan.

So Japanese writing system consists of these main three scripts.

Those who have not learned Hiragana/Katakana often use Romaji.
Romanized Japanese script is essential since this script is needed in order to type these main scripts on a computer.
Ex) watashi wa nihonjin desu. (this is romaji)– 私は、日本人です (hiragana/kanji)。

Traditionally these scripts are written vertically from right to left, but we mostly write horizontally today. It is actually a much more common form of writing right now.

I recommend that you learn Romaji and then Hiragana first. We often use computers nowadays so it is very convenient if you know how to write Romaji accurately, and this converts into Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. But you will have to know these scripts to choose the right syllable.

Hiragana Chart

あ い う え お
a I u e o

か き く け こ
ka ki ku ke ko

さ し す せ そ
sa shi su se so

た ち つ て と
ta chi tsu te to

な に  ぬ ね の
na ni nu ne no

は ひ ふ へ ほ
ha hi hu he ho

ま み む め も
ma mi mu me mo

や ゆ よ
ya yu yo

ら り る れ ろ

わ を ん
wa wo n (type nn or nl on your computer)

*For Katakana, you will learn the same syllables.

Katakana Chart

ア イ ウ エ オ
a I u e o

カ キ ク ケ コ
ka ki ku ke ko

サ シ ス セ ソ
sa shi su se so
タ チ ツ テ ト
ta chi tsu te to

ナ ニ ヌ ネ ノ
na ni nu ne no

ハ ヒ フ ヘ ホ
ha hi hu he ho

マ ミ ム メ モ
ma mi mu me mo

ヤ ユ ヨ
ya yu yo

ラ リ ル レ ロ
ra ri ru re ro

ワ ヲ ン
wa wo n (type nn or nl on computer)


川:かわ: river

山:やま: mountain

we will introduce you to Kanji in later lessons!

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