How Japanese Alphabet Can Make You Sick

How Japanese Alphabet Can Make You Sick

One of the things needed in understanding a language is knowing how to read and write it. But with Japanese Alphabet, it can proved to be a huge hurdle. It is a long torturous battle that I'm not surprise many gave up reading and writing altogether.

Unlike the English alphabet which consists of 26 letters, Japanese alphabet is made up of 3 alphabets. All containing more than 26 letters. Each significantly important in learning or heck even attempting to read Japanese. And as a beginner you need to have a bit of knowledge with those three before you dive on to memorizing each.So without further a do

lets begin!! ˭̡̞(◞⁎˃ᆺ˂)◞*✰


The most basic out of the three. In other words, the beginner level. If you took a Japanese class like me, this is the first thing your professor will make you memorize.
You can used this to make simple sentences like:
  • おはようOhayou (Good Morning)
  • ありがとうございます。 Arigatou Gozaimasu (Thank you very much)

hiragana, hiragana Chart, Japanese Alphabet
What Hiragana looks like

hiragana, japanese alphabet, nihongo

But as you go deeper in your study, you'll see less and less hiragana. I guess professors tend to use this a whole lot in class for students to get familiarized with Japanese. But in reality, Hiragana are use for furiganas, particles e.g (wa) or(ga) and mostly a substitute for words that doesn't have an equal kanji e.g  たし (atashi).


The next set of Alphabet, what I like to call the Intermediate level. Katakana is used to derived foreign words, names and  country to Japanese.
Words like:
  • ケーキ ke-ki (cake)
  • アメリカ Amerika (America)
  • ジャスティン Jasutin (Justine) 
It can also be used in company names like トヨタ(Toyota). So If you ever want to translate your name in Japanese use katakana.

katakana, katakana chart, japanese alphabet

Both Hiragana and Katakana are alike with each other (even some of the characters are the same), the only difference is how its used. Since katakana is used to Japanesized foreign words, it has another set of combinations apart from チャ(kya), チュ(kyu), チョ(kyo) and so on. Example of those are ファ(fa), ティ(ti), ドゥ(du), ウェ(we), ヴォ(vo) which is used for words like ハロウィーン harowin (halloween) or パーティpa-ti (party). 

katakana, nihongo
Above is the special combination of katakana (the green one)


The toughest to learn. The last ultimate boss to beat, and I'm not even exaggerating this at all. Kanji has 5000 characters, where the 3000 of it are used for Japanese names (Thank the heavens that we can get away of not learning those). While the remaining 2000 are the common kanjis used in everyday life. Which means you need to learn 2000 kanjis in order to read a Japanese book. There is no way out of this in case your asking, because almost 80% of Japanese language is mostly kanji. Hiragana and Katakana can only get you far but not enough to fully understand Japanese.
kanji, nihongo, japanese alphabet
Some examples from those 5000 kanjis mention above

Unlike hiragana and katakana where one character has one pronunciation e.g.ま(ma), テ(te). Kanji has 2 or more per character e.g. 日(nichi, jitsu, hi) 子(shi, ko).Kanji is also adopted from Chinese characters so be prepared to see 極楽, 賜, 道 which can be pretty intimidating the first time you see it and a pain in the ass once you start memorizing.

So that's basically what you need to know about Japanese Alphabet. I might make another separate post solely for kanji because there are a lot of things I left unsaid here. For any questions and suggestions, feel free to comment and don't forget to share.


Thanks for Reading



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