Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Restaurants
Shopping
Jobs
Friends
Arts and Crafts
-
Entertainment
-
Etiquette
-
Food
-
History
-
Language
-
Photo Gallery
-
Religion
-
Tradition

Home - Language
Katakana

jump to:   links

Around the 9th century, the Japanese developed their own writing system based on syllables: Hiragana and katakana (together: Kana). Of the two kana systems, hiragana is more cursive while katakana characters are more angular.

Hiragana and katakana each consist of 46 signs which originally were kanji but were simplified over the centuries. When looking at a Japanese text, one can clearly distinguish the two kinds of signs: the complicated kanji and the simpler kana signs.

Among the syllables are the five vowels (a i u e o). The rest are syllables combined by one of these vowels with a consonant (ka ki ku ke ko ra ri ru re ro...). One exception is the n.

In addition, most syllables can be slightly changed by adding two small strokes or a small circle in the top right corner next to the character. For example, ha changes to ba with the addition of two small strokes, or to pa with the addition of a small circle.


Katakana table

Katakana is mainly used for writing loan words and the names of persons and geographical places that can't be written in kanji.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

Advertisement

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Hiragana Times
A monthly bilingual magazine about Japan and effective tool for studying Japanese.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages
Language

Studying Japanese
Language Schools
Proficiency Test

Kanji
Hiragana
Katakana
Keigo
Loan words
Japanese on computers
Names

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: May 31, 2008
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising