Japanese Alphabet

This page contains a table including the following: Japanese alphabet, including Kana, Hiragana, and Katakana, letters which help you pronounce the words in a given language, you will also learn about the different consonants and vowels. Make sure to check our Learn Japanese page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.

Japanese Alphabet


The Japanese alphabet is usually referred to as kana, specifically hiragana and katakana. While the Hiragana consists of 48 syllables, it is a phonetic alphabet where each alphabetic combination represents just a single sound. Thus any Japanese word can be written in a way that can be read without having to remember how the word is pronounced. So the Japanese kana are much simpler, the way something is written is the way it sounds. There is also Kanji, a Japanese system of writing based on borrowed or slightly modified Chinese characters.


Hiragana Syllables (Alphabet)

The table below shows the 48 Hiragana syllables:

    

EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP
 
a ka sa ta na
i ki shi chi ni
u ku su tsu nu
e ke se te ne
o ko so to no
ha ma ya ra wa
hi mi ri wi
fu mu yu ru n
he me re we
ho mo yo ro wo

Maybe you have noticed that many sounds are missing, that’s why Japanese added some additional sounds using diacritics or combinations of syllables, the table below shows the additional sounds in Hiragana:


    

EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP
 
ga za da ba pa
gi ji ji bi pi
gu zu zu bu pu
ge ze de be pe
go zo do bo po
 
kya きゃ sha しゃ cha ちゃ hya ひゃ pya ぴゃ
kyu きゅ shu しゅ chu ちゅ hyu ひゅ pyu ぴゅ
kyo きょ sho しょ cho ちょ hyo ひょ pyo ぴょ
 
gya ぎゃ ja じゃ nya にゃ bya びゃ mya みゃ
gya ぎゅ ju じゅ nyu にゅ byu びゅ my みゅ
gyo ぎょ jo じょ nyo にょ byo びょ myo みょ
rya りゃ ryu りゅ ryu りょ (ja) ぢゃ (ju) ぢゅ

Katakana Syllables (Alphabet)

Katakana are most often used for transcription of words in foreign languages. used to represent sounds, technical and scientific terms.

Katakana's main feature is short straight strokes and angular corners, that’s why Katakana is considered the simplest of the Japanese scripts.

    

EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP
 
a ka sa ta na
i ki shi chi ni
u ku su tsu nu
e ke se te ne
o ko so to no
ha ma ya ra wa
hi mi ri (wi)
fu mu yu ru n
he me re (we)
ho mo yo ro (w)o

For a modern Katakana there was a necessity to add some sounds, below is a list of additions to the katakana, used mainly to represent sounds from other languages:

    

EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP
 
ga za da ba pa
gi ji ji bi pi
gu zu zu bu pu
ge ze de be pe
go zo do bo po
 
kya キャ sha シャ cha チャ hya ヒャ pya ピャ
kyu キュ shu シュ chu チュ hyu ヒュ pyu ピュ
kyo キョ sho ショ cho チョ hyo ヒョ pyo ピョ
 
gya ギャ ja ジャ nya ニャ bya ビャ mya ミャ
gya ギュ ju ジュ nyu ニュ byu ビュ my ミュ
gyo ギョ jo ジョ nyo ニョ byo ビョ myo ミョ
rya リャ ryu リュ ryu リョ (ja) ヂャ (ju) ヂュ

Kanji Characters (Alphabet)

Kanji are used together with three other systems to write modern Japanese, Kanji which is a Japanese system of writing based on borrowed or slightly modified Chinese characters is used to write parts of the language such as nouns, adjective stems and verb stems. For Kanji characters refers to the Chinese characters.

    

EN JP EN JP EN JP EN JP
 
ye イェ va (ヷ) va ヴァ she シェ
wi ウィ vi (ヸ) vi ヴィ je ジェ
we ウェ vu ve ヴェ che チェ
wo ウォ ve (ヹ) vo ヴォ
vo (ヺ) vya ヴャ
ti ティ tsa ツァ fa ファ
tu トゥ tsi ツィ fi フィ
tyu テュ tse ツェ fe フェ
di ディ tso ツォ fo フォ
du ドゥ fyu フュ
dyu デュ

I hope the content of this page was useful to you, and that you learned some Japanese alphabet, including the Kana, Hiragana, and Katakana, consonants and vowels. Try to memorize them to be able to use them in your daily conversation. If you feel comfortable with the Japanese characters then you might want to check our Japanese Keyboard page, which contains the characters you saw in the tables above and might help you in your learning process. Also visit Learn Japanese to learn more.