Hiragana - ひらがな
Warning! There is Japanese text on the documents below. If it looks like this: $BI4@i instead of this: "", then read this.
Follow the links from the column headings to study that whole column, or each individual kana character.
Note 2: You can watch hiragana movie by clicking the hiragana image in the individual character page. You will hear the following words while watching the movie: nagareru "flow", haneru "hook", and tomeru "stop." Pay attention to these three points when practice writing characters.
How to write syllables in Japanese
The Japanese writing system consists of three types of symbols: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana (both of which are referred to simply as Kana symbols) are phonetic symbols and represent pronunciation, whereas Kanji are Chinese characters which have been assimilated into the Japanese language and express ideas or concepts. Because the Kana symbols are phonetic and represent pronunciation, they are somewhat similar in usage to the letters of the English alphabet. But Hiragana symbols constitute syllabary, rather than an alphabet, and the same phonetic symbols always represent the same sound or combination of sounds and vice versa.
Hiragana and Katakana have their own unique functions. Hiragana underlies the basic structure of the writing system, whereas Katakana is limited to words of foreign origin. One of the characteristics of Kana is that the symbols are syllabic, which means that one Kana represents one syllable. There are five types of syllables in the Japanese language.
(1) Vowels: a, i, u, e, o
(2) Consonant + Vowel: na, ki, yu, etc.
(3) Syllabic consonant: n
(e.g., the word, KONNITIWA, ‘good afternoon’ has 5 syllables)
(4) Double Consonants: kk, ss, tt, pp, etc.
(e.g., the word, GAKKOO, ‘school’ has 4 syllables)
(5) Consonant + y + Vowel: KYA ([ki] +[ya]); TYU ([ti] + [yu]), etc.
Warning! Use Google Chrome to work on the following Practice. Other browsers may or may not work.
- Day 1 Hiragana Practice from A to KO
- Day 2 Hiragana Practice from SA to TO
- Day 3 Hiragana Practice from NA to HO
- Day 4 Hiragana Practice from MA to YO
- Day 5 Hiragana Practice from RA to N
- Day 6 Hiragana Practice (Voiced and Semi-Voiced Sounds)
- Day 7 Hiragana Practice /Consonant + y + Vowel/
- Day 8 Hiragana Practice Double Vowels and Double Consonants
- Writing Sentences - Dictation