Japanese uses a combination of three writing systems: HIRAGANA, KATAKANA and KANJI.

What is Hiragana?

HIRAGANA is the basic Japanese phonetic alphabet, which represents every sound in the Japanese language.

Theoretically, you can write everything in Hiragana. However, Japanese is written without spaces, and if you were to use only those characters, you’ll find yourself in some troubles right away.

In Japanese, writing the strokes in the correct order and position is essential, specially if you are writing a Kanji.

Kana are the syllabic Japanese scripts, as opposed to the logographic Chinese characters known in Japan as kanji (Japanese: 漢字) and the Roman alphabet known as rōmaji.

There are three kana scripts: modern cursive hiragana (ひらがな), modern angular katakana (カタカナ), and the old syllabic use of kanji known as man’yōgana(万葉仮名) that was ancestral to both.

First, we will start learning the basic alphabet. The attached file on this post has a full set of Hiragana characters, and I took my time to add the number of strokes for each one. I’m sure you’ll find it useful and easy to understand.

When practicing by hand, remember the stroke order and direction of the strokes.

You’ll notice a couple of intriguing symbols: dakuten ( ゛) and handakuten marker ( ゜).

Both are able to modify the sound of a kana and allow you to modify a voiceless consonant into a voiced consonant. Sounds complicated, but you’ll get used right away.

Dakuten (濁点?), colloquially ten-ten (“dot dot”), is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced voiced.

Handakuten (半濁点), colloquially maru (“circle”), is a diacritic used with the kana for syllables starting with h to indicate that they should instead be pronounced with [p].

Finally, you’ll see what a double kana is. Basically, all of the double Hiragana are combinations of a Hiragana for a consonant + “ya, yu, yo” (や, ゆ, よ).

Resources:: 1, 2

Leave a Reply