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Mastering the Phrase: How to Say Homework in Japanese

Are you looking to expand your Japanese language skills? Learning how to express academic tasks like “homework” in Japanese is a great place to start. In this section, we will guide you through the different ways to say “homework” in Japanese, providing you with the necessary tools to communicate more effectively in the language.

Although it may seem simple, expressing “homework” in Japanese is not as straightforward as you may think. Japanese has multiple words and expressions for this concept, depending on the context and level of formality. But fear not! By the end of this article, you will know how to say “homework” in Japanese like a pro.

So, are you ready to learn the Japanese word for homework and other relevant phrases? Let’s get started!

How to Say Homework in Japanese

When it comes to expressing the concept of homework in Japanese, there are various phrases and expressions you can use. Here are some common ways to say “homework” in Japanese:

Note that the word “宿題” (shukudai) is the most commonly used term for “homework” in Japanese. However, the other phrases can also be used depending on the context and level of formality.

How to Say Homework in Japanese in Different Contexts

Depending on the situation, the appropriate Japanese phrase for “homework” may vary. Here are some examples:

  • If you want to ask your teacher about the homework: 「今日の宿題は何ですか?」(Kyou no shukudai wa nan desu ka?) which means “What is today’s homework?”
  • If you want to tell a friend that you have homework to do: 「宿題があるんだよ」(Shukudai ga aru n da yo) which means “I have homework to do.”
  • If you want to express that the homework is difficult: 「宿題が難しいです」(Shukudai ga muzukashii desu) which means “The homework is difficult.”

By using these phrases in the appropriate context, you can effectively communicate about homework in Japanese.

Japanese Vocabulary for Homework

As mentioned earlier, the Japanese language has multiple words and expressions for “homework”, depending on the context and level of formality. Here are some of the most commonly used vocabulary words and phrases related to homework in Japanese:

It’s important to note that the pronunciation of each word and phrase can vary depending on the speaker’s region and dialect, so it’s best to listen to native speakers for proper pronunciation.

Homework Phrase in Japanese

The most commonly used phrase for “homework” in Japanese is “shukudai” (宿題), which is also the most casual and familiar. For a more formal or academic context, “kadai” (課題) can be used instead.

In addition to these phrases, Japanese educators may use the term “jishu gakushu” (自主学習) when referring to self-study or homework outside of class. Students may also use the phrases “yoshu” (予習) for preparing for a lesson and “fukushu” (復習) for reviewing material covered in class or for exams.

By familiarizing yourself with these vocabulary words and phrases, you can accurately express and discuss homework in Japanese conversations.

Ways to Express Homework in Japanese

Japanese has multiple words and expressions for “homework” depending on the context and level of formality. Here are some common ways to express homework in Japanese :

In addition to the words listed above, there are also many expressions commonly used to talk about homework in Japanese. Here are some examples:

  • しゅくだいのりょうがおおい
  • The amount of homework is large
  • まいばんしゅくだいをする
  • To do homework every night
  • しゅくだいをほうちする
  • To leave homework undone

By learning these variations for expressing homework in Japanese, you can showcase your language prowess and effectively communicate about academic tasks in various contexts.

Pronunciation and Usage Tips

Now that you know how to say homework in Japanese and have familiarized yourself with the related vocabulary and expressions, it’s important to understand how to pronounce these phrases correctly.

The Japanese word for homework is しゅくだい (shukudai). To pronounce it correctly, begin with the “shu” sound, which is similar to the English “shoe” sound, but with a slightly shorter duration. Next, move on to the “ku” sound, which is similar to the English “koo” sound. Finally, say “dai” with a long “i” sound, similar to the English word “die.”

Another word commonly used for homework in Japanese is 宿題 (shukudai). To pronounce this word, start with “shu” as before, then say “ku” and “dai” as you did previously. The final syllable “kai” is pronounced with a long “i” sound as in the English word “high.”

It’s important to note that Japanese has different levels of politeness and formality, and the appropriate word choice and expressions will depend on the context and situation. For example, if you want to ask a friend if they have any homework, you might use the phrase “shukudai aru?” which means “Do you have homework?” In a more formal setting, you may use “shukudai ga arimasu ka?” which has the same meaning, but with a higher level of politeness.

By paying attention to pronunciation and using the appropriate level of formality, you can effectively communicate about homework in Japanese. Keep practicing and soon you’ll be a master of the phrase!

Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, learning the various ways to express “homework” in Japanese is an essential part of mastering the language. The Japanese language has multiple words for homework, and it’s important to understand the context and level of formality when choosing which phrase to use.

By familiarizing yourself with the specific vocabulary and expressions related to homework in Japanese, you can effectively communicate about academic tasks in various contexts. Additionally, understanding the correct pronunciation of these phrases will enhance your language skills and improve your overall communication in Japanese.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into the different ways to say “homework” in Japanese and has helped you improve your language proficiency. Remember to practice and use these phrases in your Japanese conversations to further enhance your skills!

Q: How do you say “homework” in Japanese?

A: The word for “homework” in Japanese is “宿題” (しゅくだい, shukudai).

Q: Are there any other ways to express “homework” in Japanese?

A: Yes, besides “宿題” (しゅくだい, shukudai), you can also use the phrases “宿題をする” (しゅくだいをする, shukudai o suru) which means “to do homework,” or “宿題を出す” (しゅくだいをだす, shukudai o dasu) which means “to assign homework.”

Q: How do you pronounce “宿題”?

A: “宿題” (しゅくだい, shukudai) is pronounced as “shoo-koo-die” in English.

Q: Can you provide an example sentence using the word “宿題”?

A: Sure! An example sentence could be “毎晩、宿題をします” (まいばん、しゅくだいをします, Maiban, shukudai o shimasu) which means “I do homework every night.”

Q: Are there any other words or phrases related to homework in Japanese?

A: Yes, some related words and phrases include “テストの勉強” (てすとのべんきょう, tesuto no benkyou) for “studying for a test” and “レポートを書く” (れぽーとをかく, repooto o kaku) for “writing a report.”

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How to Say Homework in Japanese: A Comprehensive Guide

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Welcome to our guide on how to say “homework” in Japanese! Whether you are a student looking to communicate with Japanese classmates or simply interested in expanding your vocabulary, this article will provide you with formal and informal ways to express this concept. We will also explore regional variations, share useful tips, and provide plenty of examples to help you grasp the nuances of this term. Let’s dive in!

Informal Ways to Say Homework

In everyday casual conversations, the Japanese language offers a few expressions for referring to homework. These include:

  • Kudamono : This informal term is derived from “くだもの,” which means “fruit” in Japanese. While it literally translates to “fruit,” it is used colloquially by some younger individuals to refer to homework.
  • Benkyou no shuu : “勉強の週,” or “study week” in English, is another common informal phrase to describe homework. It implies a period of time dedicated to studying and completing assignments.

Example sentences:

“明日の授業のために、くだものが山ほどあります。” (For tomorrow’s class, I have a mountain of homework.) “この週末は、勉強の週を過ごそうと思います。” (I am planning to spend this weekend doing my homework.)

Formal Ways to Say Homework

If you are in a more formal setting, it is important to use suitable language. Below are some formal ways to express the idea of homework:

  • Shukudai : This is the most commonly used term for homework in Japanese. It is a straightforward and neutral word that can be used in any context.
  • Gakushu Shukudai : By adding the word “gakushu” before “shukudai,” you emphasize that it is a learning-related assignment.
  • Kadai : “課題” is an alternative word for homework that is often used in academic settings. It signifies assignments or tasks given by teachers for students to complete outside of class.
“毎晩、しゅくだいをするのは大変ですが、頑張ります。” (Doing homework every night is tough, but I will do my best.) “学習しゅくだいを提出するのを忘れないようにしましょう。” (Let’s make sure not to forget to submit our learning assignments.) “今夜の宿題は数学のレポートを書くことです。” (Tonight’s homework is to write a math report.)

Regional Variations

While the terms mentioned above are universally understood throughout Japan, there may be regional variations in pronunciation or colloquialism. However, such variations are minimal when it comes to the word “homework.” Thus, it is not necessary to focus on regional differences for this specific term.

Tips for Expressing Homework

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when discussing homework in Japanese:

  • When in doubt, using the term “shukudai” is always a safe option. It is widely recognized and understood across all settings.
  • If you feel more comfortable with an informal group, you can opt for “kudamono” or “benkyou no shuu.”
  • Remember to adjust your language based on the formality of the situation. Using formal language in academic and professional environments shows respect and politeness.
  • Practice using different words for homework to diversify your vocabulary and become more fluent in Japanese.

By following these tips, you will be able to navigate various situations confidently and effectively convey the concept of homework in Japanese.

Congratulations! You now have a comprehensive understanding of how to say “homework” in Japanese. From informal expressions like “kudamono” and “benkyou no shuu” to formal terms like “shukudai” and “kadai,” you can choose the most appropriate word based on the context and level of formality. Remember to adapt your language to the situation and always aim for clear and polite communication. With practice, you will continue to enhance your Japanese language skills. Ganbatte kudasai (Good luck)!

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Written by Isabelle Georgia

Konnichiwa! I'm Isabelle, a linguistics enthusiast with a crazy love for Japanese language. Besides my obsession with understanding the formal and informal nuances of the language, I'm also passionate about bird watching and star-studying - Galaxy, in Japanese, is 'ginga'. And yes, I'm a 'nekojin' - a cat person. Come join me, we'll learn how to talk about everything from saying "Aha" to discussing apocalypse - all in Japanese! Oops, almost forgot, Brazilian cake flour or 'burajiru keeki komugiko', beets or 'biitsu', they also make my world go 'mawaru'. Ja mata!

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How to Say Hello from America in Japanese

homework japanese hiragana

Guide: How to Say Store in Farsi

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Learn Japanese

Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese

Hiragana Practice Exercises

Fill in the hiragana chart.

Though I already mentioned that there are many sites and helper programs for learning Hiragana, I figured I should put in some exercises of my own in the interest of completeness. I’ve removed the obsolete characters since you won’t need to know them. I suggest playing around with this chart and a scrap piece of paper to test your knowledge of Hiragana.

Click on the flip link to show or hide each character.

Hiragana Writing Practice

In this section, we will practice writing some words in Hiragana. This is the only part of this guide where we will be using the English alphabet to represent Japanese sounds. I’ve added bars between each letter to prevent the ambiguities that is caused by romaji such as “un | yo” vs “u | nyo”. Don’t get too caught up in the romaji spellings. Remember, the whole point is to test your aural memory with Hiragana. I hope to replace this with sound in the future to remove the use of romaji altogether.

Hiragana Writing Exercise 1

Sample: ta | be | mo | no = たべもの

More Hiragana Writing Practice

Now we’re going to move on to practice writing Hiragana with the small 「や」、「ゆ」、「よ」 、and the long vowel sound. For the purpose of this exercise, I will denote the long vowel sound as “-” and leave you to figure out which Hiragana to use based on the letter preceding it.

Hiragana Writing Exercise 2

Sample: jyu | gyo- = じゅぎょう

Hiragana Reading Practice

Now let’s practice reading some Hiragana. I want to particularly focus on correctly reading the small 「つ」. Remember to not get too caught up in the unavoidable inconsistencies of romaji. The point is to check whether you can figure out how it’s supposed to sound in your mind.

Hiragana Reading Exercise

Sample: とった = totta

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Learn Hiragana: The Ultimate Guide Memorize hiragana in hours or days, not weeks or months.

June 30, 2014 • words written by Koichi • Art by Aya Francisco

To learn hiragana is to create a foundation for the rest of your Japanese. By learning hiragana, you will learn the basics of Japanese pronunciation. It will also open doors in terms of the Japanese resources you can use. There are no (good) Japanese textbooks or learning resources that don't require you to know hiragana. In essence, it's the first step to learn Japanese.

Many classes and individuals spend months learning hiragana. This is too long. You should be able to learn everything in a couple days. A week, tops. Some people have reported back that they could read all the hiragana after a few hours, using this method. How long it takes depends on you, but if you follow the steps laid out below, you'll come out the other side with the ability to read hiragana.

To make this possible, you will employ a few important methods.

Mnemonics: Due to hiragana's relative simplicity (at least compared to kanji), image-based mnemonics are a perfect method for memorization. Each hiragana character has a memorable illustration that goes along with it. For a long time I believed that mnemonics were a waste of time. If this is you, I recommend you give it a serious try. It's amazing what you are able to memorize when using a mnemonic method.

No Writing: "WHAT? NO WRITING!?" you scream. I know what you're thinking. But, think about it for a moment. When's the last time you actually wrote something by hand? Probably the last time you had to sign your name on a receipt at a restaurant. The need to write by hand is going down. Most of your written communication comes in the form of typing. Learning to read can be done very quickly and is very useful. Learning to write doubles or triples how long it takes to learn hiragana, with very little real-life benefit. It will be important to learn eventually, but for now you have more important fish to fry.

Exercises: After studying each column of hiragana, there are exercises for you to go through to review what you've just learned. They also happen to be very well thought out, too. If you do them, and you don't cheat (yourself), you will learn hiragana. In these exercises, you should do your best to force yourself recall items, even when you don't think you can come up with the answer. The more effort and strain you put into recalling something, the stronger of a memory your brain will end up building (as long as you actually recall it, that is).

For the most part, if you follow along and do everything that this hiragana guide says, you will learn the hiragana. It will be difficult not to.

Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Book

Learn Hiragana Book by Tofugu

Before getting to it, I wanted to let you know that we also have Learn Hiragana Book — a PDF version of this Learn Hiragana content you can print or use on your tablet.

Although I would still focus on "being able to read hiragana" first, moving your hands to handwrite as well as to trace over the characters will help you associate the shape with the sound.

If hands-on practice sounds like your kind of studying method (or if you simply prefer going analogue), check out the book. It comes with extra practice on handwriting.

Tofugu's Hiragana Charts

As the first step, download this hiragana chart . It shows all the hiragana (including "variation" hiragana) you will be learning on this page. If you have a printer, print it out. If not, you can follow along digitally too.

Optionally, download the hiragana "mnemonic" chart . It's a handy chart that shows basic hiragana along their mnemonic images, which we'll be using on this page to help you remember the hiragana. Temporarily or not, it'll make a good replacement for the "Live, Laugh, Love" poster on your bathroom wall.

Hiragana Pronunciation

Next, learn how to pronounce the hiragana. Since hiragana pronunciation is such a listening and speaking thing, we made a video to cover this topic. Follow along.

When you can pronounce the five "vowel sounds" of hiragana, move on to the next section, where you'll learn to read them.

あ ( A ) い ( I ) う ( U ) え ( E ) お ( O )

This is the first (and most important!) column in hiragana. It sets the pronunciation of every other column coming after it, because every other column is basically just the a-i-u-e-o column with consonants attached to them. The same basic sound repeats over and over and over, with a consonant plus these five vowel sounds, so make sure you have the right pronunciation for these five right from the start.

Shall we? No, that's okay, after you.

あ hiragana mnemonic

あ is pronounced like " ah !" like when you come to a realization. It also sounds like the a in "c a r."

To remember this kana, find the capital A inside of it. This "A" will tell you that this kana is also "a" aka あ. There is another similar kana, お, but that one doesn't have an "A" in it, which is how you can differentiate them.

い hiragana mnemonic

い is pronounced like the ee in " ee l."

To remember this kana, just think of a couple of <u>ee</u>ls hanging out. They're upright because they're trying to mimic the letter "i" which also stands upright and also happens to be the way you spell out this character in romaji 1 .

う hiragana mnemonic

う is pronounced like the oo in " oo h… ahhh!" when you're watching fireworks. In other words, it sounds like u in " U NO," the card game, or the number one in Spanish.

To remember this kana, notice the U shape right in it! It's sideways but it's there, telling you what this kana is. Be careful, there's another similar hiragana, つ, but that one isn't wearing a hat like U (you) are. Ooh, ahh, what a nifty hat!

え hiragana mnemonic

え is pronounced like the e in " e gg."

To remember this kana, think of it like an <u>e</u>xotic bird. The feathery thing on its head gives it away that it's exotic and not normal. It also lays <u>e</u>xotic <u>e</u>ggs , because it's an exotic bird, after all.

お hiragana mnemonic

お is pronounced like you're saying " oh ." It also sounds like the o in " o rigami."

Can you see the letter o in here, two times? This one looks similar to あ, except for its one key difference: there are two letter "o" symbols visible in there. Make sure you use this to differentiate this kana (お) and that similar kana (あ). This is one area of hiragana where a lot of people trip up, but by using this mnemonic you will be able to figure them out every time.

あいうえお Tasks

Now that you've put these kana into your brain (at least somewhat shakily) it's time to pull them out. Recall is the foundation of memory, and you're going to start doing just that. For each "tasks" section make sure you follow along perfectly. Skipping these steps may cause you to fail later on in the future. Having a strong base to build off of is important with each section.

  • Head over to Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz . Select only the あ/a box under the "Main Kana" list, then hit "Start Quiz!" and keep practicing until you can get them all right.
  • Print out, copy, or download this worksheet . You'll need to go through it, filling in the boxes with the romaji for the kana. Try your best not to cheat – even if you spend a while trying to remember a kana it will be beneficial to your memory (as long as you're able to recall it on your own). Looking up the answer doesn't help your memory at all, but struggle (with accomplishment) tells your brain that this is a thing worth remembering. Try using the mnemonics when you need to recall something you can't figure out right away. This should be fairly easy with only five kana (and maybe a little boring too), but when you're done move on to the next five hiragana.

か ( KA ) き ( KI ) く ( KU ) け ( KE ) こ ( KO )

The next set of hiragana is from the "k-column." This is just the K sound plus the vowel sounds you learned above, making it ka-ki-ku-ke-ko. There are no weird exceptions in this column either, so enjoy it while you can.

か hiragana Mnemonic

か is just the K sound plus あ, making a ka sound. It's pronounced like ka in " ka rma."

See how this kana looks like a mosquito ? What a convenient coincidence. Mosquitos happen to be called か (<u>ka</u>) in Japanese. You also say " <u>cu</u>t it out, darn mosquito!" when they try to suck your blood, so that should be easy to remember.

き hiragana mnemonic

き is just the K sound plus い, making a ki sound.

In fact, it sounds just like the word " key " which is the mnemonic we end up using.

To remember this, notice how much it resembles a <u>key</u> .

Note: In some fonts, the bottom part is detached from the main part. For example: <span class="ki-and-sa">き</span> . The pronunciation is still "ki" though!

く hiragana mnemonic

く is just the K sound plus う, making a ku sound. It's pronounced "coo," like both syllables of the word " cu ckoo" (or just the first syllable, depending on your variety of English).

To remember this, think of this kana being the mouth of a <u>coo</u>-coo / <u>cu</u>ckoo bird popping out saying "ku ku, ku ku!"

け hiragana mnemonic

け is just the K sound plus え, making a ke sound. It's pronounced like ke in " ke lp."

See how this kana resembles some wiggly <u>ke</u>lp ?

こ hiragana mnemonic

こ is just the K sound plus お, making a ko sound. It's pronounced like co in " co habitating." In British English, it is more like co in " co in."

こ is a couple of <u>co</u>-habitation worms. They're so happy together, co-habitating the same area! Alternatively, you could imagine a couple of short <u>co</u>rds laying on the ground next to each other.

かきくけこ Tasks

More tasks! This time we'll include the あいうえお column along with this "K-column" you just learned.

  • Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , select the あ/a and か/ka boxes, and quiz yourself on those cards. How quickly can you identify and answer these ten hiragana characters? When you've completed this task at least five times, move on to the next step.
  • Print out, copy, or download this worksheet . Complete it by filling in the blanks with the romaji for each of the kana. This time it will be both of the columns that you've learned (so far) so it should be a little more interesting (and half familiar).

Once again, when you get stuck just think back to the mnemonic before you cheat. When you're done you can move on to the next group.

さ ( SA ) し ( SHI ) す ( SU ) せ ( SE ) そ ( SO )

Now that you have the "K-column" under your belt it's time for the "S-column." There is one weird exception in this column, and that's for "si" aka "shi." It's pronounced just like the word "she" in English, and doesn't quite follow the pattern you've seen up until now. You'll want to use "sa- shi -su-se-so" for this column.

さ hiragana mnemonic

さ is just the S sound plus あ, making a sa sound. It's pronounced like sa in " sa lsa."

Notice how this kana looks like two hands stirring a bowl of <u>sa</u>lsa . This salsa is so chunky and thick, you need two hands just to stir it!

Note: Like き, the bottom part of さ is detached from the main part in some fonts. For example: <span class="ki-and-sa">さ</span> .

し hiragana mnemonic

し is just the SH sound plus い, making a shi sound. It's pronounced like shee in " shee p."

Take note that this is the first "exception" kana where it doesn't follow the patterns that show up everywhere else. Instead of being "si" it's "shi" (though you will see it written both ways when dealing with romaji. One more reason why you ought to just learn hiragana already).

This kana looks like a giant shepherd's crook used to herd <u>shee</u>p . Baaaa… get in that corral, sheep!

す hiragana mnemonic

す is just the S sound plus う, making a su sound. It's pronounced like the word " sue ," or su in " su it."

See the <u>s</u>wing doing a loop-dee-loop throwing that poor kid off of it? Imagine him screaming "I'M GONNA SUE SOMEBODY FOR THIIIIIiiiissss" as he flies off into the distance.

せ hiragana mnemonic

せ is just the S sound plus え, making a se sound. It's pronounced like se in " se ll."

This kana looks like a mouth with a big vampire fang in it. Someone's trying to <u>se</u>ll you a <u>se</u>t of vampire teeth because they are just so <u>se</u>xy ! Oh Dracula, always trying to make a quick buck.

そ hiragana mnemonic

そ is just the S sound plus お, making a so sound. It's pronounced like so in " so da." In British English, it's more like so in " so ng."

See how this kana looks like a mouth slurping <u>so</u>da ?

さしすせそ Exercises

Now that we've done three sets of five, it's time for exercises! As usual, these exercises will help you to practice kana you've previously learned plus the ones you just learned.

  • Back to Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz . Select the あ, か, and さ boxes and quiz them. Do this five times. Once you've done this, move on.
  • Using this worksheet , print out, copy, or download it and fill out the boxes with the correct romaji. If you can't remember something try to think back to the mnemonic first before cheating.

When you're able to do these two tasks move on to the next five kana.

P.S. Have you noticed how in the worksheets you're being asked to wait 5 minutes then 10 minutes? Waiting is actually an important part of building memory. By waiting and then recalling something as it's fading away, you're telling your mind that it shouldn't forget that item. But, if you keep bringing it up over and over again in a short period of time your brain will just keep it in its short term memory, meaning you probably won't remember it later. Don't skip the waiting periods! In fact, if you think you can wait longer without forgetting much that's even better!

た ( TA ) ち ( CHI ) つ ( TSU ) て ( TE ) と ( TO )

Time for the fourth column, the "T-column." Now you have a lot to remember! Hopefully mnemonics and the reasons for using them are starting to make sense now. If not, that should happen soon.

Like the さ column, you'll find an exception in the た column. In fact, you'll find two exceptions, them being ち (chi) and つ (tsu). So, for this column we'll have "ta, chi , tsu , te, to."

た hiragana mnemonic

た is just the T sound plus あ, making a ta sound. It's pronounced like ta in " ta co."

Use your imagination and see this kana as a fork, <u>ta</u>co , and lime garnish for your taco. Wait… you're eating a taco with a fork? That's a bit weird, but you do you, pal.

ち hiragana mnemonic

ち is just the CH sound plus い, making a chi sound. It's pronounced like chee in " chee se."

This is the second "exception" hiragana. Instead of a "ti" sound, it's a "chi" sound. Try not to forget this.

You know when someone tells you to say " <u>chee</u>se " when taking a picture of you? This kana looks like that forced smile you have to make every time you're in a group photo.

つ hiragana mnemonic

つ is just the TS sound plus う, making a tsu sound. It's pronounced like tsu in " tsu nami."

This is another "exception" hiragana. Instead of saying "tu" you say "tsu."

Look at the swoosh of this hiragana. Doesn't it look like a big wave, or <u>tsu</u>nami ?

て hiragana mnemonic

て is just the T sound plus え, making a te sound. It's pronounced like te in " te lescope."

Can you see a good ol' <u>te</u>lescope ? It's a hand-held one! In Japanese, "hand" is て (<u>te</u>) . That should help you remember that this kana looks like an old-school hand(te)-held telescope.

と hiragana mnemonic

と is just the T sound plus お, making a to sound. It's pronounced like to in " to e." In British English, it sounds like "to" in " to p."

This kana looks just like someone's <u>to</u>e with a little nail or splinter in it. Imagine how much this would hurt if it was your toe!

たちつてと Exercises

Now that we have a few kana under our belt we'll be adding a third resource to our arsenal. Still, we'll start with something familiar. Just follow along.

  • With Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , quiz yourself on the four columns that you know (あ, か, さ, た). When you've done it five times, move on to the next step.
  • Copy, download, or print out this worksheet . Fill in all the blanks with romaji. Pay special attention to "exception" kana, like し, ち, and つ and write them out the way I showed you above to make sure that you know the proper reading. Not all romaji-styles will write these kana like this (you'll see "si, ti, and tu" too), but for now write "shi, chi, and tsu" just for the sake of associating the correct pronunciation with each of these particular kana.

When you've completed everything and feel like you can recall all 20 of these kana, move on to the next section. Now it's time to try ten at a time. You're getting better at this, after all!

な ( NA ) に ( NI ) ぬ ( NU ) ね ( NE ) の ( NO )

This is your first "more than five things to learn" group. In fact, it's a whole ten things! But you'll be just fine. You're getting better at learning the hiragana with all this practice. Too bad there's not 150 hiragana for you to practice on.

な hiragana mnemonic

な is just the N sound plus あ, making a na sound. It's pronounced like na in " na chos."

The <u>nu</u>n is praying in front of the cross asking for <u>na</u>chos , because she's craving a delicious snack. The cross up in the air should be the main giveaway that this is な.

に hiragana mnemonic

に is just the N sound plus い, making a ni sound. It's pronounced like nee in " nee dle."

Do you see the <u>nee</u>dle pulling the thread?

ぬ hiragana mnemonic

ぬ is just the N sound plus う, making a nu sound. It's pronounced like noo in " noo dle."

This kana looks like some <u>noo</u>dles . There are several other kana that are similar to this one (れ, め, ね, わ), but you know this one is noodles because there are no sharp angles in it. It's 100% smooth and bendable, like noodles! It even has an extra loop at the bottom, because it is a noodle.

ね hiragana mnemonic

ね is just the N sound plus え, making a ne sound. It's pronounced like ne in " Ne lly."

This is <u>Ne</u>lly the cat. There are other kana very similar to this one (ぬ, れ, め, わ), but you know this is different. Why? Because it has a loop at the end for the tail, and it's not super bendable like ぬ (noodles) is — see those sharp corners on the left?

To top things off, Nelly is a <u>ne</u>cromancer . Why? I have no idea, you'll have to ask her. It must have something to do with the undead cat army she's creating.

Also, if you know the word <u>ne</u>ko (Japanese for "cat"), you can use that too. This is a ねこ.

の hiragana mnemonic

の is just the N sound plus お, making a no sound. It's pronounced like no in " no se" or " no ri."

See the big pig <u>no</u>se there? You can also think of this as a " <u>No</u> Smoking " sign (the ones with the cigarette and the big red circle and slash through it). Pick the one that sticks with you the best.

は ( HA ) ひ ( HI ) ふ ( HU/FU ) へ ( HE ) ほ ( HO )

Now let's look at the next five in this set. If you're feeling really shaky you can jump over to Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz to practice, but you don't have to (yet)!

は hiragana mnemonic

は is just the H sound plus あ, making a ha sound. It's pronounced like ha in " ha ha" (like laughing!).

This kana looks like an uppercase letter H plus a lowercase letter a .

What does that spell? " <u>Ha</u> !"

Why are you laughing? Stop that. Make sure you can see the H + a in the kana.

ひ hiragana mnemonic

ひ is just the H sound plus い, making a hi sound. It's like the English pronoun " he ." In other words, it sounds like he in " he at."

<u>He</u> has a big nose. See that big nose? Now say it out loud. " <u>He</u> has a big nose."

ふ hiragana mnemonic

ふ is halfway between the F and H sounds, plus う, making a fu / hu sound. It's pronounced like a softly blown-out version of foo in " foo l," or sometimes hoo in " hoo p."

Someone is over there dancing like a <u>foo</u>l . What's that around their neck? …Oh, that's a <u>hu</u>la <u>hoo</u>p ! That's why they're twisting their body so hard.

へ hiragana mnemonic

へ is just the H sound plus え, making a he sound. It's pronounced like he in " he lp," or " He lens.

Do you know the famous mountain Mt. Saint <u>He</u>lens ? This kana isn't totally flat like Helens is, but it's pretty squat looking. That's why this one is Helens.

ほ hiragana mnemonic

ほ is just the H sound plus お, making a ho sound. It's pronounced like ho in " ho e" or " ho ho ho!" In British English, it sounds more like ho in " ho t."

The line on the left is a chimney. The right side is a mutated Santa Claus. He has four arms, a snake tail, and no head. Out of his neck he's uttering " <u>ho</u> ho ho… ho ho ho… "

Hopefully he doesn't come down your chimney.

なにぬねのはひふへほ Exercises

Time to practice ten at a time! It's a lot, but you're getting better at learning these things, right?

  • Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , quiz yourself on the hiragana from the あ, か, さ, た, な, and は columns. When you've completed this five times, move on to the next task.
  • Copy, print out, or download this worksheet and fill in all the boxes. As always, use the mnemonics and try not to cheat. If this is starting to feel easy, try to time yourself to see how long it takes to complete each section and try to beat yourself each time.

When you are done with these exercises it's time to move on to the next set of hiragana.

ま ( MA ) み ( MI ) む ( MU ) め ( ME ) も ( MO )

Not quite ten in this set (before the exercises), but close enough. Let's start with the "M-column."

ま hiragana mnemonic

ま is just the M sound plus あ, making a ma sound. It's pronounced like the English word " ma " (meaning "mother"). In other words, it sounds like ma in " ma rk."

Removing your head? Doubling your hands and arms? What sort of evil <u>ma</u>gic is this? What makes it weirder is that your <u>ma</u>ma is the one doing this magic. Imagine your <u>ma</u> looking like this. Aghh!

み hiragana mnemonic

み is just the M sound plus い, making a mi sound. It's pronounced like the English word " me ." In other words, it sounds like mee in " mee t."

Looks like lucky number 21. Who just hit the blackjack? <u>Me</u> ! Who just turned 21 as well? <u>Me</u> !!

む hiragana mnemonic

む is just the M sound plus う, making a mu sound. It's pronounced like what cows say in English: " moo ." In other words, it sounds like moo in " moo d."

" <u>Moo</u>oooo ", says the cow. " <u>MOO</u>OOOOO ."

め hiragana mnemonic

め is just the M sound plus え, making a me sound. It's pronounced like me in " me ss.

Look at that beautiful eye! It's so beautiful because of the <u>ma</u>keup on it. Gotta look pretty in the eyes, or else your ensemble will just be " <u>me</u>h ."

If you also happen to know the word for "eye" in Japanese, that will help too. The word for "eye" in Japanese is just め (<u>me</u>) .

も hiragana mnemonic

も is just the M sound plus お, making a mo sound. It's pronounced like mo in " mo re."

You want to catch <u>mo</u>re so you add <u>mo</u>re worms to your hook.

や ( YA ) ゆ ( YU ) よ ( YO )

This column is a little strange. There are only three items in here, and "ye" and "yi" are seemingly missing. Actually, they used to exist but now they don't (instead people use い or え, because it sounds pretty similar). Because of that, you only have to learn three kana for this section!

や hiragana mnemonic

や is just the Y sound plus あ, making a ya sound. It's pronounced like ya in " ya cht." In British English, it sounds more like ya in " ya k."

See how this kana looks like a <u>ya</u>cht with an anchor going down? It's even got a little flag on the rear… how cute.

Alternatively, you can
 think of や as the face
 of a <u>ya</u>k too.

ゆ hiragana mnemonic

ゆ is just the Y sound plus う, making a yu sound. It's pronounced like the English word " you ."

This kana is a very <u>u</u>nique looking fish! It looks like a big eyeball swimming in the water. What's it looking at? <u>You</u> , you big goofball! Isn't it weird how fish always look like they're staring at you?

よ hiragana mnemonic

よ is just the Y sound plus お, making a yo sound. It's pronounced like yo in " yo -yo." In British English, it's more like yo in " yo nder."

<u>Yo</u> , this kana looks like the letters Y & O ! And look, you can even play <u>yo</u>-yo with it. Look at it slide down and back up again… it's mesmerizing, yo.

まみむめもやゆよ Exercises

Time to practice these eight hiragana (and the previous ones as well). Once again, go through the steps to make sure you know everything well!

  • Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , quiz yourself on the あ, か, さ, た, な, は, ま, and や columns. Once you've done this three times, move on to step two.
  • Using this worksheet , copy, print out, or download it and write in all the boxes.

When you're all done, it's time to tackle the last "main hiragana" section. You're almost there! Not so hard, right?

ら ( RA ) り ( RI ) る ( RU ) れ ( RE ) ろ ( RO )

Welcome to the last main set! It's only eight characters just like the last set, so hopefully it's not too bad. It does include the infamous ra-ri-ru-re-ro column though, which does tend to give some people trouble pronunciation-wise. Please be sure to check out our " how to pronounce the Japanese R " article for more information on this.

ら hiragana mnemonic

ら is just the R / L sound plus あ, making a ra / la sound. It's pronounced like a combination of " rah rah" (like cheering) and " la la la" (like singing!). To type or write it in romaji, use "r" and write "ra." The same goes for the rest of the R column. Use "r" when writing in romaji!

ら looks like a <u>ra</u>bbit that's standing and facing left. Look at its big droopy ears. So cute!

り hiragana mnemonic

り is just the R /L sound plus い, making a ri / li sound. It's pronounced like a combination of ree in " ree d" and lee in " lee k."

The <u>ree</u>ds are swaying in the wind.

This kana can also be written without the connection in the middle, too, which makes it more reedlike in that case (I wanted to present the more difficult of the two versions here, though).

る hiragana mnemonic

る is just the R / L sound plus う, making a ru / lu sound. It's pronounced like a combination of ru in " ru le" or " rou te" and loo in " loo p."

The is like ろ (you'll learn it in a second) except it has a loop at the end. る is a crazier <u>rou</u>te . There is a <u>loo</u>p at the end. Are there no rules on this road?

れ hiragana mnemonic

れ is just the R /L sound plus え, making a re / le sound. It's pronounced like a combination of re in " re tch" and le in " le d."

This looks like a guy kneeling on the ground, <u>re</u>tching up his dinner.

This kana is similar to め, わ, ぬ, and ね. What makes this one different is the curve at the back. You can identify this as the guy's knees bending, which makes it clear that he's keeled over retching his guts out.

ろ hiragana mnemonic

ろ is just the R / L sound plus お, making a ro / lo sound. It's pronounced like a combination of ro in " ro ad" and lo in " lo ad." In British English, it's more like ro in " ro t" or lo in " lo ng."

This is the counterpart to る, except this one doesn't have a loop at the end. So this kana is just a plain old <u>ro</u>ad .

わ ( WA ) を ( WO ) ん ( N )

And finally, the last group. This is a weird one. It includes わ (which is quite normal), を (which is pronounced just like お, but is primarily used as a particle), and ん (which is the only consonant-only character in all the kanaa). Let's go through them one by one.

わ hiragana mnemonic

わ is just the W sound plus あ, making a wa sound. It's pronounced like wa in " wa sabi."

This kana looks like a <u>wa</u>sp flying straight up.

It looks similar to れ, ぬ, ね, and め. And it looks especially similar to ね. You know ね is Nelly the cat because of the curl of the tail on the end. So you can imagine the cat chasing this wasp, which is why it's flying straight up to get away. Its butt is also a straight, sharp line. This is its stinger!

を hiragana mnemonic

を is pronounced like o in " o rigami" — just like the vowel お. It used to be pronounced like "wo," but now it sounds exactly like お. Why two kana for the o sound, you wonder? Unlike お, を is primarily used as a grammar element called a " particle ." It marks the object of a sentence.

In romaji, both "o" or "wo" are used for を. To type it, write "wo."

" <u>Who</u>a! " yells the guy with no chin. Someone threw a boomerang into his mouth! That's pretty " <u>who</u>a "-worthy, I think.

ん hiragana mnemonic

ん is just the N sound, that's it. It's the only kana that consists of a single consonant. It's pronounced like the ending n sound in "pen."

In romaji, write "n." To type it, you sometimes have to type "nn." Type double "n"s, especially before vowels and y, so that it won't turn into another kana that starts with n.

This kana looks just like the lowercase n in English. They happen to be the same sounds, as well. How convenient! nnnんんん.

らりるれろわをん Exercises

This is the last of the main hiragana. The exercises will now cover quite a bit (you know quite a bit!), so make sure you understand and know everything before moving on.

  • Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , quiz yourself on all of the main hiragana. Try to do it as quickly as you can.
  • Using this worksheet , fill in all the blanks. You know the drill!

That will finish out all the main hiragana. From here on out it's just combinations of kana or variations on kana you already know, which makes things both easier and harder. Let's start with the "variation hiragana," also known as…

Dakuten & Han-Dakuten

Dakuten is a symbol that looks like this → ゛. Looks like a double quotation mark, right?

This dakuten symbol marks hiragana from certain consonant columns and changes their pronunciation. It turns the consonant into a "voiced" or "vibrating" sound, which just means your vocal cords vibrate when the sound is made. Let's take a closer look at each so that you know what I mean by that!

が ( GA ) ざ ( ZA ) だ ( DA ) ば ( BA ) ぱ ( PA )

Luckily for you, there are only five rows of dakuten kana to learn, and all you have to learn is what the sound changes to (since you know the kana already). Let's go over each of those dakuten transformations.

Every kana in the か column can have dakuten. When this happens, the K sound becomes a G sound.

Because you know the か column already, all you really need to remember is that K → G. Think of it this way:

The <u>ca</u>r (か) runs into the <u>gua</u>rd (が) rail.

When something from the さ column gets dakuten, it changes to a Z sound, with the exception of し (which is already an exception, so this makes sense!). Although じ sounds more like "JI" than "ZI," keep in mind both spellings work when you type. The same goes for other combination hiragana that use じ — You can either use J or Z for typing characters like じゅ, for example.

All you have to remember is that S → Z, except in the case of し, which goes to じ. Exceptions will breed exceptions, so make sure you keep this in mind. To remember the S → Z part, though, consider the following mnemonic:

My <u>sa</u>w (さ) just <u>za</u>pped (ざ) me when I tried to use it. (imagine yourself trying to use a saw/さ and getting zapped/ざ).

Do you remember what the K-column converts to? Do you remember what the S-column converts to? What is the exception in the S-column? When you're able to answer all that, move on to the next dakuten set.

The T-column kana change to D sounds, except for the exceptions (which are ち and づ). Remember: Exception breeds exception!

Note: If you're typing, write "di."

Note: If you're typing, write "du."

Take a look at ぢ and づ again. Although they used to be pronounced differently (more like "dzi" and "dzu"), nowadays, ぢ and づ are pronounced exactly like じ and ず. However, in written form, they're still used for sounds that originated from ち and つ. So bear in mind that if you want to type ぢ and づ, you'll need to type "di" and "du" — not "zi" and "zu."

To remember that the た column changes to become the だ column, think of it this way:

Changing these kana to the dakuten versions is a bit like magic… "<u>TADA</u>!" (た & だ)

Do you remember what the K-column changes to? Do you remember what the S-column changes to? What about the T-column? Do you remember the three exceptions we've run into so far? If you can answer all of those questions it's time to move on to the last dakuten set, which is really two sets in one.

The H-column is a bit strange. It has two different kinds of symbols that can be applied to it. One is the regular dakuten — that "quotes" symbol you've seen so far. The other is called han-dakuten, a little circle like this → ゜. This han-dakuten makes phonetically voiceless sounds: unlike voiced sounds (dakuten sounds), your vocal cords don't vibrate when you make them. Han-dakuten only applies to H sounds and turn them into P sounds so it should be easy to remember, though.

は → ば (ba), ぱ (pa)

ひ → び (bi), ぴ (pi)

ふ → ぶ (bu), ぷ (pu)

へ → べ (be), ぺ (pe)

ほ →  ぼ (bo), ぽ (po)

You have to remember that the H-column goes to both a B and a P sound. What a pain. Think of it this way:

You're saying " <u>ha</u>haha (は) " at the <u>ba</u>r (ば) , because you've been drinking too much.

You say " <u>ha</u>haha (は) " so much at the bar that somebody <u>pu</u>nches (ぱ) you.

Imagine through that story with you being the one saying "hahaha" (i.e. you're laughing) a couple of times, trying to get the details as vivid as possible (especially the details that have to do with laughing, the bar, and getting punched).

To help you a little more, you can remember that the P-column is the one that uses the little circle. Why? Because that little circle is like a little fist that's about to punch you.

Before moving on, try to recall the mnemonics we used for the following (and remember what each converts to):

か → さ → た → は → は →

When you're able to do and recall everything, it's time to practice and see how good you really are!

Dakuten Practice

This practice will mainly focus on dakuten but also include all the kana you've learned up until this point.

  • Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz , select only the dakuten hiragana and drill those for 5-10 minutes until you feel somewhat comfortable.
  • Now, add in all the other kana, mixed in with the dakuten kana.
  • Using this worksheet , fill in all the blanks.

When you're all done with that you should know all the kana fairly well, some better than others. I imagine there will be a few nagging "difficult" kana for you (it will depend on each individual which kana these are), but over time as you use hiragana and read more everything will get easier and easier. The whole point of this guide is to help you to get you reading, making it so you can use various other resources to continue your Japanese study.

Combination Hiragana

There's only one more section to complete. You're not really learning much that's new here, but you are going to learn how to combine different types of kana together to make some new sounds. Mainly, we're going to focus on what small ゃ, ゅ, and ょ can do to kana from the い row (that includes き, し, じ, に, etc). In other words, what we are combining are these two elements:

Kana from the い (I) row. This also means kana that end with an I-sound when written in romaji, which are: き (k i ) - し (sh i ) - ち (ch i ) - に (n i ) - ひ (h i ) - み (m i ) - り (r i ) - ぎ (g i ) - じ (j i ) - ぢ (j i ) - び (b i ) - ぴ (p i ) Note the vowel い itself won't apply here!

The small ゃ - ゅ - ょ The small versions of や (ya) - ゆ (yu) - よ (yo). Look closely to see how they're almost half the size of the regular kana: やゃ ゆゅ よょ

Now you know what to combine, here's how to combine them. What's important in this process is you drop the I-sound that comes from the い-row kana. For example:

き + ゃ → KIYA → KYA

じ + ょ → JIYO → JYO

See how the "i" gets dropped and it just becomes one syllable of sound? Here's a list of them all:

きゃ、きゅ、きょ → KYA, KYU, KYO

ぎゃ、ぎゅ、ぎょ → GYA, GYU, GYO

しゃ、しゅ、しょ → SHA, SHU, SHO

じゃ、じゅ、じょ → JYA, JYU, JYO (or JA, JU, JO)

ちゃ、ちゅ、ちょ → CHA, CHU, CHO

ぢゃ、ぢゅ、ぢょ → DYA, DYU, DYO (you'll never see these, pretty much ever)

にゃ、にゅ、にょ → NYA, NYU, NYO

ひゃ、ひゅ、ひょ → HYA, HYU, HYO

びゃ、びゅ、びょ → BYA, BYU, BYO

ぴゃ、ぴゅ、ぴょ → PYA, PYU, PYO

みゃ、みゅ、みょ → MYA, MYU, MYO

りゃ、りゅ、りょ → RYA, RYU, RYO

Combination Hiragana Practice

With this knowledge it's time to practice. I've made a worksheet that covers these combination kana. Go through it and fill in all the blanks.

When you're done, you should be able to read almost everything that hiragana throws at you. Everything except one little thing…

Small Tsu (っ)

The small tsu is a weird little thing but we'll make sense of it. This kana doesn't have a sound. Instead, it adds a quick little pause before a consonant sound in a word. The easiest way to think of it is to call it a "double consonant." That is because the consonant after a small っ is written twice when writing in romaji. Let's take a look at how the following hiragana converts to romaji.

したい → shitai

しったい → shit_tai

かっこ → kak_ko

いった → it_ta

See how that worked? したい is just plain "shitai" without the small っ. But when you add it in, it becomes shittai . The small っ that comes before the "ta" causes the consonant to double, making it "shit_tai." Make sure you understand how that works with kako/kakko too.

In terms of pronunciation, did you hear that small pause where the small っ exists? Let's take a look at another example:

いっしょ → ish_sho

You will hear both of the consonants as separate sounds. One that ends the first part of the word, and one that starts the second half (with the small っ) showing you where that half point is.

For a while it will probably be difficult to distinguish a small っ and a large つ, especially in handwriting. After you get more experience and read a lot more you'll be able to make this distinction quite easily.

Additional Practice

Although you could probably go out into the real world and practice hiragana on your own, I thought I'd provide for you some ways to practice your newfound skills. I wouldn't recommend doing everything here all at once but instead spread it out over the course of a couple weeks. Spacing your practice is very important if you want to get better at something more quickly. Doing all this at one time won't be all that effective. Luckily you can always start working on other parts of Japanese in the meantime while you continue to practice hiragana.

We made a couple more worksheets for you to download/copy/print out. They're a little different from before though. This time they're real sentences and we're not keeping track of what kana we're using, so it's a bit more like real life. You'll still want to put the romaji above the kana and read each kana out loud. Don't worry too much about meaning, that's not what we're learning right now and it will definitely be way above your ability level.

  • Hiragana Practice #1
  • Hiragana Practice #2

When you finish those, I bet you'll be feeling pretty special, like some kind of hiragana master. If you don't, there's always more ways to practice.

Apps & Other Programs

There are plenty of apps and resources out there to help you drill as well. Some of them you've seen already because of this guide, others you have not.

  • Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz
  • Anki (you'll need to download a hiragana deck)
  • Dr. Moku's Hiragana Mnemonics (in case our mnemonics aren't doing it for you)

I'm sure there are plenty of other resources out there as well, but this should be good enough to get you to that level where you can start using the hiragana with other resources.

"Real Life" Practice

Of course, if you'd like to practice more there are plenty of "real life" ways to practice hiragana. Just go to any Japanese website and read all the hiragana that you can find. If anything it will teach you to differentiate between kanji, katakana, and hiragana, which is a nice skill to have. Try the NHK NEWS WEB EASY , or any of these graded readers .

Moving On Practice

After learning hiragana to a moderately slow level, you don't have to keep drilling it until it's fast. In fact, you can just move on to something else. Hiragana will keep popping up just about everywhere, so by learning something new you're actually reviewing the hiragana at the same time!

Hiragana is only the start of things to come. You have so much more to do and hiragana will help you to get there. Although the answer to the question "what's next" is going to be somewhat vague / dependent on the individual, here are some suggestions to move you along your way.

I do highly recommend that you get started on kanji right away. A lot of people think they should wait until they have a higher level of Japanese but that is usually a terrible idea. Being good at kanji speeds up just about every other facet of learning the Japanese language, from grammar to reading to speaking to listening. If you're weak at kanji you'll be weaker at everything else. Many people think kanji is difficult, but we made WaniKani to show that it's not as hard as people think.

At the same time as kanji it's worth learning katakana. Katakana won't come up nearly as much especially at a really early stage of Japanese, but it's not rare enough to ignore. If you liked this guide to hiragana, check out our guide for learning katakana . It's just as stellar.

Along with kanji or after you have a foundation in kanji, it's time to learn some Japanese grammar. There are many resources to help you to do this. There are sites like Tae Kim's Guide To Japanese as well as textbooks ( we like the Genki series ). We also have a collection of our own grammar references on this Tofugu website as well.

I hope this guide helped you to learn hiragana effectively and quickly! Keep working hard and you'll continue to get better and better. With hiragana you have the tools to start your Japanese studies no matter what resource or textbook you end up choosing, so try a lot of things and see what works for you. Feel free to check out some of our reviews on Japanese resources !

P.S. We're working on adding videos to this guide, so check back occasionally if you're having trouble with pronunciation (because videos will help a lot with that!).

A system that transliterates Japanese into English letters.  ↩

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Hiragana Chart & Quiz – Japanese Resources

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Hiragana Chart

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Learn Japanese Hiragana and Katakana

In this blog, we share our own PDF learning Hiragana practice sheets and links to some popular apps for learning Japanese. Just started learning Japanese? Head to our main article about the Japanese writing system for a more comprehensive guide!

For those interested in learning the basics of Japanese – please check out our Japanese Crash Course for Beginners

Apps for Learning Hiragana

If you are just getting started with learning Hiragana, you may think that it is easier to learn with an App.

Apps are convenient and easy to take with you to practice using while you are out and about. However, we also suggest that you take some time to physically write the characters, as it will cement them in your brain.

That being said, we recommend several apps for being fun and easy to use.

Learn Hiragana & Katakana with Dr. Moku

Dr. Moku's Hiragana & Katakana Mnemonics illustration

Dr. Moku’s Hiragana & Katakana Mnemonics

Dr. Moku’s Hiragana and Katakana Mnemonics are 2 separate apps. One for Hiragana and one for Katakana. In each app, they associate all the kana with pictures, making it easy for you to remember them.

It also uses mnemonic hacks (tying each character to a visual story-based meaning) rather than just rote memorization.

Mindsnacks – Limited Free Version

Mindsnacks - Learn Japanese hiragana

Mindsnacks – Limited Free Edition

Mindsnacks has a visually appealing interface, and the limited free version allows you to practice learning Hiragana and Katakana characters.

It is the closest thing to a learning video game that we have found.

Hiragana Learning Chart – Writing Practice PDFs

If you are looking for a more analog way to practice and learn hiragana – we have included a sample of a few of the practice homework sheets from our Japanese Crash Course below:

Open the image in a new tab by clicking on it- you can print it!

How to use the homework sheets:

Use the hiragana chart here to locate the correct symbol. (Right-click to save as – or left-click to open)

Hiragana Chart Japanese Practice

Hiragana Practice Chart

Draw a line to the corresponding character and connect them.

Japanese Hiragana study - wa o n

Learning Hiragana: Online Quiz

Ready to test your knowledge of Katakana and Hiragana?  Below, we have included our online quiz, allowing you to interactively test your knowledge.

Input your answer – after the quiz, you will be given your full score.

Looking for something more advanced? Check out our JLPT Kanji Workbook PDFs !

Hiragana FAQs

Which is easier hiragana or kanji.

Hiragana is relatively easier than kanji according to many experoenced learners. Because kanji can be expressed in hiragana in Japanese language system, even Japanese natives use hiragana and slowly build up their kanji from lower school all way until high school.

Do Japanese use katakana or hiragana?

Hiragana is used more in formal setting than katakana. Of course, kanji is considered the most formal one, but they all represent unique circumstances when using the language.

Start taking Japanese lessons and master Hiragana and Katakana!

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14 Hiragana Practice Resources for Japanese Beginner Students (Plus a Hiragana Quiz)

Hiragana is essential to your Japanese education.

If you want to learn Japanese fast , committing these basic characters to memory will make your language learning journey much more efficient.

And the best way to learn hiragana characters is to practice, practice, practice!

Here are 14 splendid resources that will get you the practice you need to know your hiragana characters like the back of your 手 (て) — hand. I know they work well because I personally used all of these at some point when I was learning Japanese.

But first, take our quiz to test our your hiragana knowledge now.

Hiragana Quiz

Top resources for japanese hiragana practice, 1. hiragana quiz, 3. dr lingua “drag and drop”, 4. tanoshii japanese, 5. kuma sensei, 7. japanese-lesson.com, 8. tae kim’s guide to learning japanese.

  • 9. “Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana”

10. Kana Town

11. tofugu’s learn kana quiz, 12. real kana, 13. usagi-chan’s genki resource page, 14. gyford hiragana and katakana quiz, an introduction to japanese writing systems, why learn hiragana.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Choose the correct English syllable to match each hiragana character.

Hiragana Quiz is a simple, no-frills quiz that’s easy to use. That’s why I use it all the time.

The quiz works by showing you a character. Then, you simply type in the equivalent pronunciation in rōmaji  and click “correct me.”

The quiz features both hiragana and katakana but tracks your scores for each separately, making it easy to see how strong you are with either type of character. If you see a katakana character and do not even want to try, you can also click “next” to skip over it.

fluentu-logo

FluentU is an immersive language-learning program that lets you practice and learn Japanese hiragana by watching authentic Japanese videos.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons .

It naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You’ll learn real Japanese as it’s spoken in real life.

Just take a look at the wide variety of authentic video content available in the program. Here’s a small sample:

learn-japanese-with-short-videos

You’ll discover tons of new Japanese vocabulary through these great clips.

Don’t worry about your skill level being an issue when it comes to understanding the language. FluentU makes native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts.

learn-japanese-with-songs

Tap on any word to look it up instantly.

You’ll see definitions, in-context usage examples and helpful illustrations . Simply tap “add” to send interesting vocabulary words to your personal vocab list for later review.

learn-japanese-with-movies

FluentU even uses a learning program which adapts to your specific needs to turn every video into a language learning lesson and get you to actively practice your newly-learned language skills.

practice-japanese-with-adaptive-quizzes

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

japanese-hiragana-practice

If you prefer your hiragana practice gamified, check out this interactive site.

In this game, you drag the hiragana characters onto their equivalent rōmaji pronunciations.

As you play, a timer runs. Although this can create a fairly high-pressure situation, you can use the timer to work on faster recognition. Simply make a note of your time in the game. Then, the next time you play, aim to complete the game a little quicker.

The more you play, the faster you will get—which means your character recognition is improving!

japanese-hiragana-practice

Regardless of whether you are studying hiragana, katakana or kanji, Tanoshii Japanese has a fun game to help you practice. I use it all the time.

But let’s jump straight to the good stuff: the hiragana games.

You can choose either “multi-game” or “single-game.” “Multi-game” allows you to select multiple types of practice and progress through several games in one sitting, while “single-game” presents you with just one type of game at a time.

There are a few different styles of practice available. Your options include character recognition and matching, stroke order and English or Japanese flashcards.

If you are feeling ambitious, “multi-game” lets you select every category and play through them all.

You can also choose which lessons (from a set list) you want to practice and how long you want the game to be.

japanese-hiragana-practice

Kuma Sensei offers hiragana  flashcards and exercises. Why not give both a try for some well-rounded practice?

The flashcards display images of hiragana characters. Whenever you want to see the equivalent rōmaji, just click to flip the card.

The exercises ask you to convert hiragana into rōmaji and vice versa. This is a helpful way to practice transitioning between the two.

japanese-hiragana-practice

Technically, this website contains support materials for the Genki textbooks. However, that does not mean you cannot use it to augment your learning, too!

Genki offers a nice assortment of material to help you practice hiragana.

One option is an interactive hiragana character chart. You can click any character to access an animation of proper stroke order, an audio pronunciation and even a little movie that will make the character easier to remember.

There are also “flashcards” that act more like a quiz: Each flashcard asks you to list the rōmaji for the hiragana character you are presented with.

There is even a listening quiz to help you connect hiragana with their sounds.

Finally, a fun concentration game has you find and pair matching hiragana together.

Japanese-Lesson.com has helpful practice for something you may not have fully worked on: writing hiragana by hand , which was one of the hardest skills for me to acquire personally.

Printable practice sheets show you the stroke order.

Then, all you have to do is imitate that stroke order to form hiragana characters and repeat until it comes naturally to you.

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese offers four different practice activities to get your hiragana skills on point.

The first is an easy flip chart of rōmaji letters. Click on any pairing to see the equivalent hiragana character.

The next two exercises are writing activities in which you are asked to convert rōmaji to the corresponding hiragana.

The final activity is reading practice. You will read characters in hiragana and turn them back into rōmaji for a well-rounded learning experience.

9. “ Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana ”

Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana: Workbook and Practice Sheets

This workbook and self-study guide can be your go-to source for all your kana needs.

That’s because it provides a lot of information between its two covers: some background about the characters, learning reviews, practice activities and self-testing opportunities.

Plus, there is even some downloadable audio for the book available on the publisher’s website.

Available: Android

japanese-hiragana-practice

On-the-go hiragana practice? Yes, please!

The Kana Town app allows you to practice your hiragana anywhere.

The app offers a chart to help you study the connection between hiragana and the associated rōmaji characters. Practice activities reinforce your learning.

Feeling ambitious? The program even allows you to start learning some basic vocabulary.

Just like what it sounds like, Tofugu’s site is a well designed place to practice kana—both katakana and hiragana. I use this one all the time to boost my memory.

You can both practice and quiz yourself here, and they’ve included excellent categories, including main kana, Dakuten kana and combination kana, so you’ll have a grasp of all of these if you use the site often, which I recommend you do.

Real Kana app logo

Available: iOS

Real Kana is both a website and an app, so you can study at home and on-the-go, which is a great way to memorize all those pesky characters.

Both forms provide interactive quizzes and drills, aiding learners in recognizing and writing characters accurately. The platform offers customizable exercises, allowing users to focus on specific characters or combinations. Real Kana’s clean interface and responsive design make it accessible across devices.

It’s a free resource that serves as an excellent supplement to formal language learning, enhancing proficiency in reading and writing Japanese script.

Usagi-Chan's Genki Resource Page logo

Usagi-Chan’s Genki Resource Page is a comprehensive online hub for learners of the Japanese language using the popular Genki textbook series.

It offers a wealth of supplementary materials, including grammar explanations, vocabulary lists and interactive exercises.

The site’s user-friendly layout and clear instructions make it an invaluable companion for self-study. It also provides audio resources for pronunciation practice and cultural insights.

The Gyford Hiragana and Katakana Quiz is a fantastic online tool for mastering the fundamental Japanese scripts.

It offers interactive quizzes and exercises specifically tailored to hiragana and katakana characters. With customizable options, learners can focus on specific sets or difficulty levels. The quizzes are intuitive and user-friendly, providing instant feedback to reinforce learning.

The platform’s straightforward design makes it accessible to beginners and advanced learners alike. Gyford’s quiz is a valuable resource for honing kana proficiency, aiding in the journey towards Japanese language mastery.

If you are just starting out with your Japanese education, it is important to note that there are four main types of Japanese character: kanji, hiragana, katakana and rōmaji.

Rōmaji is simply the use of Latin script to write the Japanese language.

Kanji are characters of Chinese origin that form the central base of many words.

Katakana  is usually used to write foreign words, onomatopoeia or to emphasize something.

Hiragana  is used to modify kanji, to alter the grammar of a word or sentence, to form entire words and particles and to allow younger or less experienced Japanese speakers to read kanji.

Hiragana and katakana are both comprised of phonetic characters, which means that each character represents a sound. Together, they are called  kana.

If there are four different types of characters in Japanese, why focus on hiragana?

Well, if you are reading this, you already know how to read rōmaji. Kanji is complex, and it requires years of study to memorize the many characters needed for literacy. Katakana is not used nearly as often as it mostly represents foreign or borrowed words.

That just leaves hiragana!

Besides this simple process of elimination, there are many reasons to study hiragana.

Hiragana  appears more frequently than other types of characters. It is right up there with kanji in frequency of use.

Since hiragana can modify kanji and serve as the grammatical structure that holds a sentence together, you will see hiragana constantly.

Even  easy Japanese words and phrases  use it, so it is a good idea to learn hiragana right from the beginning.

Hiragana is   phonetic. This means you can look at the characters and know exactly how they are pronounced.

Hiragana is also a good starter for learning more Japanese characters.  Eventually, you will want to  learn hiragana and katakana  along with your kanji. But for beginning students, learning hiragana is a less daunting way to start learning Japanese characters.

It can even be used to clarify how to pronounce more complex kanji, making it a useful tool for  Japanese self study .

So go ahead and get your hiragana on. These 14 splendid sources will give you the practice you need to read and speak better, and you’ll do better on your next hiragana quiz, too.

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homework japanese hiragana

The True Japan

The Complete Guide to Learning Hiragana: Reading & Writing (With Video)

A screenshot of the Japanese hiragana character "a" with the stroke order. Next to it on the right, someone's had is seen writing it in on a piece of paper three times in blue ink.

ひらがな ( hiragana ) is the fundamental component of the Japanese writing system. カタカナ ( katakana ) and 漢字 ( kanji ) are the other two writing systems in Japanese.  If you want to learn all of the hiragana for free with step-by-step videos and descriptions, this guide is for you.

In Japan, people start learning ひらがな ( hiragana ) at a very young age, usually in preschool or early elementary. Mastering hiragana might seem overwhelming; however, this article will teach you everything you need to know about writing, pronunciation, and any valuable tips regarding hiragana .

Modern Hiragana Characters

Color-Hiragana-Chart

Modern hiragana has 46 base characters: five singular vowels, 40 consonant-vowel unions, and one singular consonant. Some of you may have seen it before, but the 46 characters are organized in a chart format, which is called  あいうえお表  ( aiueo hyō ). 

The chart has ten rows of up to five  hiragana  characters. The upcoming sections are organized according to the chart. In this guide, all  hiragana  characters will be explained. You’ll learn how to pronounce and write each correctly.

*Note: While there are many methods to memorize the hiragana characters, it’s just as easy (if not easier) to just remember the characters as you practice writing them. The characters are simple and are pretty simple to remember with a little work. If you follow this up by reviewing the characters (flashcards work great for this), you’ll remember all of the characters in no time.

Part I: How to Read and Write Hiragana: 直音 (Chokuon) – Basic Characters

These are all of the basic characters of hiragana . Be sure to practice reading and writing each character to ensure that you master all of them. We’ll be using these basic characters to create more complex hiragana later on.

If you want to use the blank hiragana practice sheets as seen in the video, you can get that here: Blank Hiragana Writing Practice Sheet

あ行 (A Gyō) – A Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: A-Row (あ行)

あ ( a ) is often the first character people learn. As with all characters, try to match of balance and stroke lengths of the examples shown in the video.

This character looks very similar to お ( o ), so pay close attention to the stroke order. It is different than writing お ( o ). Also notice that お ( o ) has a small slash on the right side while あ ( a ) does not.

Words Starting With あ (A)

• あひる ( ahiru ): Duck (animal) • あるく ( aruku ): To walk

How to Read and Write Hiragana: あ (a)

い ( i ) looks relatively similar to り ( ri ). い ( i ) has two vertical lines that are similar in length, whereas り ( ri ) has a longer line on the right side.

Words Starting With い (I)

• いす ( isu ): Chair • いか ( ika ): Squid

How to Read and Write Hiragana: い (i)

う ( u ) looks a little bit like the katakana character ラ ( ra ). Be sure to practice writing う ( u ) with a flowing curve instead of the rigid, straight lines that ラ ( ra ) has.

Words Starting With う (U)

• うめ ( ume ): Japanese plum • うに ( uni ): Sea urchin

How to Read and Write Hiragana: う (u)

Some people think that え ( e ) looks like う ( u ) character described above. Just be sure to pay attention to the second stroke and feel how the last stroke (“the tail”) flows off of your pen.

Words Starting With え (E)

• えんぴつ ( enpitsu ): Pencil • えいご ( eigo ): English

How to Read and Write Hiragana: え (e)

お ( o ) does look very similar to the first character we learned, あ ( a ). Many people get these two characters mixed up in the beginning, so be sure to follow the correct stroke order of both characters. お ( o ) has a small slash on the right side for its final stroke. This is also why you need to practice writing the characters; not only will it help you to remember the characters faster, but you’ll notice more details that you may miss if you just practice reading them.

Words Starting With お (O)

• おに ( oni ): Demon • おなか ( onaka ): Stomach

How to Read and Write Hiragana: お (o)

か行 (Ka Gyō) – Ka Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ka-Row (か行)

When you start to learn katakana , you’ll notice that the カ ( ka ) looks almost identical to this hiragana か ( ka ). The biggest difference is the third stroke in this hiragana character. However, the hiragana か is also more rounded at the upper right-hand corner. Be sure to follow the video to see exactly how it’s written.

Words Starting With か (Ka)

• かさ ( kasa ): Umbrella • からあげ ( karaage ): Deep-fried food, usually chicken

How to Read and Write Hiragana: か (ka)

This character also looks similar to its katakana equivalent (キ). So be sure to focus on how this hiragana き ( ki ) is written. The great thing about hiragana and katakana characters looking similar to each other is that it makes it easier to remember both.

However, き ( ki ) also looks similar to the hiragana さ ( sa ). Be aware that き ( ki ) has an extra horizontal line running through it.

Words Starting With き (Ki)

• きつね ( kitsune ): Fox • きけん ( kiken ): Danger

How to Read and Write Hiragana: き (ki)

This character is a breath of fresh air since it’s one of the few (if not only) characters that looks familiar. It is similar in shape to the “less than” symbol, just spread out a little wider.

Words Starting With く (Ku)

• くじら ( kujira ): Whale • くらげ ( kurage ): Jellyfish

How to Read and Write Hiragana: く(ku)

け ( ke ) is similar to the hiragana character は ( ha ). The difference is at the end of the third and last stroke. The third stroke of け ( ke ) trails off to the left side while は ( ha ) goes back and loops over itself.

Words Starting With け (Ke)

• けしごむ ( keshigomu ): Eraser • けっこん ( kekkon ): Marriage

How to Read and Write Hiragana: け (ke)

The computerized version of Japanese writing differs from how it’s written by hand. This character is a good example. The image shown to the left doesn’t have a small “hook” at the end of the first stroke. However, if you were to write こ ( ko ) by hand, you would need to put this small hook at the end in order for it to look nice.

Words Starting With こ (Ko)

• こども ( kodomo ): Child • これ ( kore ): This

How to Read and Write Hiragana: こ (ko)

さ行 (Sa Gyō) – Sa Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Sa-Row (さ行)

As mentioned above in the ka -row section, さ ( sa ) looks a little like き ( ki ). However, さ ( sa ) also looks like the hiragana character ち ( chi ), especially when it’s in computer font form. When writing it out by hand, it’s easy to see that the two characters are quite different. In addition to the third and last stroke of さ ( sa ) going in the opposite direction of ち ( chi ), it is also not touching the first two strokes.

Words Starting With さ (Sa)

• さかな ( sakana ): Fish • さしみ ( sashimi ): Raw, sliced seafood (usually fish)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: さ (sa)

し ( shi ) looks like a backwards “J” or a fishhook. It is also similar to the first stroke of the character も ( mo ), which we’ll learn a little bit later. While this character is only one stroke, it takes a bit of practice to make it look nice. As with all characters, aim to have a nice balance (of the strokes and spaces in-between and around the strokes) when writing them.

Words Starting With し (Shi)

• しまうま ( shimauma ): Zebra • しお ( shio ): Salt

How to Read and Write Hiragana: し (shi)

If you combine す ( su ) with し ( shi ) above, you’ll get the popular Japanese food すし ( sushi ). Have fun with “loop” in the second stroke. This type of loop is unique to certain characters in hiragana . It does not appear in katakana or commonly used kanji .

Words Starting With す (Su)

• すいか ( suika ): Watermelon • すず ( suzu ): Bell

How to Read and Write Hiragana: す (su)

This another character that looks similar to its katakana counterpart. The hiragana せ ( se ) has three strokes while the katakana セ ( se ) only has two. However, it can be easy to get these two characters mixed up in the beginning.

Words Starting With す (Se)

• せみ ( semi ): Cicada • せっけん ( sekken ): Soap

How to Read and Write Hiragana: せ (se)

The bottom half of そ ( so ) is slightly similar to て ( te ), but the single stroke and look of そ ( so ) is so unique that most people remember it quickly.

Words Starting With そ (So)

• そら ( sora ): Sky • それ ( sore ): That

How to Read and Write Hiragana: そ (so)

た行 (Ta Gyō) – Ta Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ta-Row (た行)

た ( ta ) and に ( ni ) look a little similar. た has an extra horizontal line on the left side (the first stroke). た ( ta ) also has four strokes while に ( ni ) has three.

Words Starting With た (Ta)

• たぬき ( tanuki ): Raccoon dog • たこ ( tako ): Octopus

How to Read and Write Hiragana: た (ta)

As previously mentioned, ち ( chi ) can be mistaken for さ ( sa ) since they look similar. It’s almost like a lower case “b” and “d” where the bottom part of the character determines which letter it is. Another thing to note is that “chi” is the Hepburn romanization style. There is another romanization style called  訓令式 ( kunrei shiki ), where ち would be written as “ ti .” Proper English translations use the Hepburn style, but be aware that there are other ways to write romaji.

Words Starting With ち (Chi)

• ちず ( chizu ): Map • ちじ ( chiji ): Governor

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ち (chi)

つ ( tsu ) looks like し ( shi ) flipped over and turned on its side. Even though they share the same shape, the difference in their position makes them easy to recognize and remember. Practice them both and you’ll see for yourself 🙂

Words Starting With つ (Tsu)

• つくえ ( tsukue ): Desk • つる ( tsuru ): Crane (bird)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: つ (tsu)

て ( te ) almost looks like curvy “T.” As you learn more Japanese, you’ll find yourself using the て ( te ) character a lot. Not only is it common in words, but there is something called the て-Form . It is a way to conjugate verbs, adjectives, and nouns to create all kind of wonderful grammatical patterns. You’ll use this character so much there’s no way you’ll forget it!

Words Starting With て (Te)

• て ( te ): Hand • てがみ ( tegami ): Letter (as in “I wrote a letter to her…”)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: て (te)

と ( to ) is also another character you’ll be using a lot in your Japanese studies. It is a useful Japanese particle that means “and” or “with.” It is also one of the easier particles in Japanese to understand and use. So practice this one because you’ll be using it often in the future!

Words Starting With と (To)

• とけい ( tokei ): Clock • とかげ ( tokage ): Lizard

How to Read and Write Hiragana: と (to)

な行 (Na Gyō) – Na Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Na-Row (な行)

な ( na ) can feel a little tricky to write at first. Put the effort into writing this character neatly and smoothly, because you’ll be using it relatively often in your Japanese studies. There are two types of adjectives in Japanese ; い-adjectives and な-adjectives. な-adjectives all end in な, so you’ll be using this character a lot when you learn about adjectives.

Words Starting With な (Na)

• なす ( nasu ): Eggplant • なぞ ( nazo ): Riddle, puzzle

How to Read and Write Hiragana: な (na)

As mentioned previously, に ( ni ) looks a little bit like た ( ta ). You just need to be aware of the first horizontal stroke in た ( ta ) (or the lack thereof in に ( ni )).

Words Starting With に (Ni)

• にわとり ( niwatori ): Chicken • にわ ( niwa ): Garden, yard

How to Read and Write Hiragana: に (ni)

ぬ ( nu ) and め ( me ) look almost the same. Many people get these characters mixed up, so be sure to learn this correctly from the beginning. The difference is that ぬ ( nu ) has a small loop at the bottom (that looks like a “2”) while め ( me ) does not.

Words Starting With ぬ (Nu)

• ぬりえ ( nurie ): Picture for coloring (like a coloring book) • ぬの ( nuno ): Cloth

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ぬ (nu)

This is another character that looks very similar to another. ね ( ne ) and れ ( re ) are very similar. Just like with ぬ ( nu ) and め ( me ), the difference is whether or not there is a small loop on its final stroke. ね ( ne ) has a small loop at the bottom (that looks like a “2”) while れ ( re ) does not.

Words Starting With ね (Ne)

• ねこ ( neko ): Cat • ねずみ ( nezumi ): Mouse, rat

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ね (ne)

の ( no ) looks like the letter “e” that has been flipped over and rotated. It is pronounced almost the same way as “no” in English. It is also another useful particle , which is used for the possessive form (my book, his computer, my company’s car, etc.)

Words Starting With の (No)

• のり ( nori ): Seaweed (for eating), glue • のみもの ( nomimono ): Drink(s), beverage

How to Read and Write Hiragana: の (no)

は行 (Ha Gyō) – Ha Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ha-Row (は行)

は ( ha ) and ほ ( ho ) look very similar. The biggest difference is that ほ ( ho ) has two horizontal lines running through the last vertical stroke on the right side. は ( ha ) only has one horizontal line going through it.

Also, は is actually pronounced “wa” when it’s used as a particle. You’ll learn more about this when you start to study basic Japanese sentences.

Words Starting With は (Ha)

• はさみ ( hasami ): Scissors • はな ( hana ): Flower(s), nose

How to Read and Write Hiragana: は (ha)

ひ ( hi ) is only one stroke, so just be sure to start from the left side ending the stroke on the right side.

Words Starting With ひ (Hi)

• ひつじ ( hitsuji ): Sheep • ひみつ ( himitsu ): Secret

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ひ (hi)

ふ ( fu ) looks a little complicated to write. It is probably the most difficult hiragana character to write, but you can still learn to write it quickly with a little practice. There are also two ways to write ふ ( fu ). Check out the video to see both ways you can write this character. Also, you would think this character would be read as “ hu ,” not “ fu .” Actually, both are correct, but as explained in the ち ( chi ) description, fu is the Hepburn romanization style and is used much more commonly in proper English translations.

Words Starting With ふ (Fu)

• ふぶき ( fubuki ): Snowstorm • ふきん ( fukin ): Dishcloth

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ふ (fu)

へ ( he ) is another single stroke character. It is pretty easy to write, but just make sure to start on the left side, stroking down towards the right.

Words Starting With へ (He)

• へび ( hebi ): Snake • へや ( heya ): Room

How to Read and Write Hiragana: へ (he)

As mentioned in the description for は ( ha ) above, ほ ( ho ) looks almost the same but has an extra horizontal line at the top. Be sure to be aware of this extra line to differentiate between は ( ha ) and ほ ( ho ).

Words Starting With ほ (Ho)

• ほたて ( hotate ): Scallop • ほほえみ ( hohoemi ): Smile

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ほ (ho)

ま行 (Ma Gyō) – Ma Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ma-Row (ま行)

ま ( ma ) looks like the right side of ほ ( ho ), but there is a very important detail you should be aware of. The vertical line going through the two horizontal lines in ま ( ma ) extends above the top horizontal line. You’ll start writing the vertical line (the third stroke) above the top horizontal line (the first stroke). However, in ほ ( ho ), the vertical line does not extend past the top horizontal stroke. For ほ ( ho ), you’ll start the vertical line (fourth stroke) at or just below (but still touching) the top horizontal stroke.

Words Starting With ま (Ma)

• まくら ( makura ): Pillow • まぐろ ( maguro ): Tuna

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ま (ma)

み ( mi ) is another character with that unique loop shape on its left side. Have fun writing this character as you go down, loop around, and finish the first stroke on the right-hand side.

Words Starting With み (Mi)

• みず ( mizu ): Water • みち ( michi ): Street, road, path

How to Read and Write Hiragana: み (mi)

む ( mu ) has a similar shape as す ( su ), except the line keeps going after the loop and extends to the right, and finishes by curving back up slightly.

Words Starting With む (Mu)

• むし ( mushi ): Insect • むすこ ( musuko ): Son

How to Read and Write Hiragana: む (mu)

As mentioned earlier, め ( me ) looks almost exactly like ぬ ( nu ). The differnce is that ぬ ( nu ) has a loop at the end while め ( me ) does not.

Words Starting With め (Me)

• め ( me ): Eye • めがね ( megane ): Eyeglasses

How to Read and Write Hiragana: め (me)

も ( mo ) is similar to し ( shi ), but has two horizontal lines cutting through its vertical stroke.

Words Starting With も (Mo)

• もり ( mori ): Forest • もも ( momo ): Peach

How to Read and Write Hiragana: も (mo)

ら行 (Ra Gyō) – Ra Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ra-Row (ら行 )

ら ( ra ) has a unique shape and sometimes people confuse it for さ ( sa ) or や (ya). It takes a little bit of getting used to, but if you practice writing all the characters (as much as you can!) and review with flashcards/notes, you’ll remember all of them in no time.

Words Starting With ら (Ra)

• らくだ ( rakuda ): Camel • らくがき ( rakugaki ): Graffiti, scribble

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ら (ra)

This hiragana り ( ri ) looks almost identical to the katakana リ ( ri ). This makes it easy to remember both, but when writing, the hiragana り ( ri ) usually has a small hook at the end of the first stroke.

Words Starting With り (Ri)

• りんご ( ringo ): Apple • りかい ( rikai ): Understanding

How to Read and Write Hiragana: り (ri)

る ( ru ) and ろ ( ro ) look very similar, so just remember that る ( ru ) has a loop at the bottom while ろ ( ro ) does not.

Words Starting With る (Ru)

• るす ( rusu ): Absence • るいじ ( ruiji ): Resemblance, similarity

How to Read and Write Hiragana: る (ru)

れ ( re ) looks like ね ( ne ). Just remember that れ ( re ) does not loop around at the end of the second stroke. These differences seem very small at first, but after a while you’ll notice them easily.

Words Starting With れ (Re)

• れきし ( rekishi ): History • れんこん ( renkon ): Lotus root

How to Read and Write Hiragana: れ (re)

As previously mentioned, ろ ( ro ) looks like る( ru ). Just remember that ろ ( ro ) does not have a loop at the end of its stroke.

Words Starting With ろ (Ro)

• ろうそく ( rōsoku ): Candle • ろんり ( ronri ): Logic

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ろ (ro)

や行 (Ya Gyō) – Ya Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Ya-Row (や行)

Traditionally, the ya -row comes before the ra -row on hiragana charts. However, there are only three characters in the ya -row, so we decided to teach it after the ra -row to make it easier to follow and hopefully easier to understand.

Words Starting With や (Ya)

• やかん ( yakan ): Kettle • やきにく ( yakiniku ): Yakiniku, Japanese grilled meat done in a Korean barbeque style

How to Read and Write Hiragana: や (ya)

ゆ ( yu ) is a fun character to write. It almost looks like a picture of a fish. You’ll also see this character if you go to an onsen ( hot spring ) in Japan. At an onsen in Japan, ゆ ( yu ) means “hot water” or “hot spring water” that you bathe in. The kanji for hot water is 湯 ( yu ), but you will often see the hiragana “ゆ” written on signs or noren (short curtains hung at the top of a door/entrance) at onsens.

Words Starting With ゆ (Yu)

• ゆき ( yuki ): Snow • ゆず ( yuzu ): Yuzu (type of citrus fruit)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ゆ (yu)

よ ( yo ) looks a little bit like ま ( ma ). However, よ ( yo ) only has one horizontal line (the first stroke) while ま ( ma ) has two. Also, if you look closely, the horizontal line in よ ( yo ) does not go through the vertical stroke. Be sure to practicing writing よ ( yo ) so that the first stroke doesn’t cut across the second, vertical stroke.

Words Starting With よ (Yo)

• よる ( yoru ): Night • よやく ( yoyak u): Appointment, reservation, advance order

How to Read and Write Hiragana: よ (yo)

わ行 (Wa Gyō) – Wa Row: Pronunciation

How to Read Hiragana: The Wa-Row (わ行)

わ ( wa ) looks similar to ね ( ne ). The difference is ね ( ne ) has a loop and わ ( wa ) doesn’t.

Words Starting With わ (Wa)

• わに ( wani ): Alligator • わくせい ( wakusei ): Planet

How to Read and Write Hiragana: わ (wa)

This is actually another character for “ o ,” but it is sometimes written as “ wo ” as shown here. Usually, we write this を as “ o ” in our other Japanese lessons , as it is more standardized for learners of Japanese. The biggest difference between を ( o ) and お ( o ), is that this を ( o ) is a particle, and is not used in any words.

Words Starting With を (Wo)

There is no Japanese word that starts with を ( o ). を is a particle and indicates what the direct object of a sentence is.

How to Read and Write Hiragana: を (wo/o)

The last character! After you complete this, you’ll have learned all of the hiragana characters! However, your work is not done yet. There’s a few more things to learn about hiragana before you have completely mastered everything.

Words Starting With ん (N)

There is no Japanese word that starts with ん ( n ). Do you know a Japanese word game called しりとり ( shiritori )? The players need to say a word that begins with the last character of the previous word that was said by the other player. If a player says a word ending in ん ( n ), they lose the game, as no Japanese word begins with that character.

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ん (n)

Congratulations!!! You’ve learned all of the basic hiragana characters. Give yourself a big pat on the back! However, there are still things you need to learn. There are a few things that you can add to some of these hiragana characters to change their pronunciation. Also, you can combine certain characters together to make a “hybrid” character!

Part II: Advanced Hiragana: Characters With Different Sounds

If you mastered all of the hiragana characters on this page, the hard work is over. Now we just need to learn a few more things to truly master all of commonly used hiragana characters in Japanese.

濁音 (Dakuon) – Hiragana with 濁点(Dakuten)

濁点 ( Dakuten ) is the two small dashes that you write on the upper right-hand side of certain characters. This mark looks similar to double quotation marks in English (“). This will change the pronunciation of the character from an unvoiced consonant, to a voiced consonant, 濁音 ( dakuon ).

Sounds confusing? Don’t worry! It’s actually really easy. You just need to remember which characters can take this mark, and the rest is really easy.

The only characters that can take the 濁点 ( dakuten ) are the か ( ka ) , さ ( sa ) , た ( ta ) , and は ( ha ) rows . Let’s see what happens when you add 濁点 ( dakuten ) to the characters in these rows.

濁音 (Dakuon): か (Ka) Row Becomes the が (Ga) Row

Any character in the か ( ka ) row that has a dakuten attached to it will go from a “k” sound to a “g” sound.

  • か ( ka ) —> が ( ga )
  • き ( ki ) —> ぎ ( gi )
  • く ( ku ) —> ぐ ( gu )
  • け ( ke ) —> げ ( ge )
  • こ ( ko ) —> ご ( go )

How to Read and Write Hiragana: が行 (Ga Gyō) - Ga Row

濁音 (Dakuon): さ (Sa) Row Becomes the ざ (Za) Row

Any character in the さ ( sa ) row that has a 濁点 ( dakuten) attached to it will go from a “s” sound to a “z” sound, EXCEPT for し ( shi ). し ( shi ) will turn into じ ( ji ).*

  • さ ( sa ) —> ざ ( za )
  • し ( shi ) —> じ ( ji )
  • す ( su ) —> ず ( zu )
  • せ ( se ) —> ぜ ( ze )
  • そ ( so ) —> ぞ ( zo )

*Note: じ ( zi ) is the  訓令式 ( kunrei shiki ) reading, which is the system ordered by the Cabinet of Japan. However, ji is the Hepburn style of romaji, which is what is used in most English translations. It is also much closer to the pronunciation of that actually Japanese. For example, the word “じかん” means “time.” It is pronounced “ ji kan.” If you were to pronounce it using the kunrei shiki romanization, it would be “ zi kan,” which would not be the correct pronunciation.

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ざ行 (Za Gyō) - Za Row

Example Words: ざ (Za) Row

  • ざ ( za ) —> ざ ぶとん ( za buton ): Floor cushion
  • じ ( ji ) —> じ かん ( ji kan ): Time
  • ず ( zu ) —> ず かん ( zu kan ): Picture book
  • ぜ ( ze ) —> ぜ んそく ( ze nsoku ): Asthma
  • ぞ ( zo ) —> ぞ う ( zō ): Elephant

濁音 (Dakuon): た (Ta) Row Becomes the だ (Da) Row

The た ( ta ) row is a little tricky. It has two exceptions, but it’s not too difficult. Characters in the た ( ta ) row that has a 濁点 ( dakuten ) attached to it will go from a “t” sound to a “d” sound, EXCEPT for ち ( chi ) and つ ( tsu ).

ち ( chi ) will turn into ぢ ( ji ). Wait a minute! We just learned that し ( shi ) also turns into じ ( ji ). Yes, both of these characters have the same romaji and same pronunciation. How can two different characters have the same reading?

The answer lies in something called 連濁 ( rendaku ) in Japanese. Basically, 連濁 ( rendaku ) is when you combine words together that result in the first consonant of the second word becoming voiced. This is the same thing we are doing here; ち ( chi ) becomes a voiced ぢ ( ji ) with the 濁点 ( dakuten ). Let’s check out an example.

Let’s look at two different words and combine them. はな ( hana ) can mean either flower or nose. For our example, it will mean “nose.” ち ( chi ) also has two meanings; it can either mean blood or ground/earth. In this example, it will mean “blood.”

If we put these words together, it will mean “nosebleed” and it should look like this: はな ち ( hanachi )…BUT

Because of the 連濁 ( rendaku ), the first constant of the second word ち ( chi – blood) will become voiced —> ぢ ( ji ). Therefore, the correct word will be “はな ぢ ( hana ji ).” Most of the time, ぢ ( ji ) is found in the middle or end of words. There are few (if any) words that start with ぢ ( ji ). It’s when the original word uses ち ( chi ) but becomes voiced when combined with other words.

The other exception is つ ( tsu ). With the 濁点 ( dakuten ), it will change to づ ( zu ). This also shares the same romaji as the character す ( su ) —> ず ( zu ). Just like with the ぢ ( ji ) character above, づ ( zu ) is most used as 連濁 ( rendaku ). In other words, づ ( zu ) is mainly used when it is combined with other words (in the middle or end of words, not at the beginning).

Let’s take a look at the whole だ ( da ) row:

  • た ( ta ) —> だ ( da )
  • ち ( chi ) —> ぢ ( ji )
  • つ ( tsu ) —> づ ( zu )
  • て ( te ) —> で ( de )
  • と ( to ) —> ど ( do )

How to Read and Write Hiragana: だ行 (Da Gyō) - Da Row

Example Words: だ (Da) Row

  • だ ( da ) —> だ いず ( da izu ): Soy beans
  • ぢ ( ji ) —> はな ぢ ( hana ji ): Nosebleed
  • づ ( zu ) —> つ づ き ( tsu zu ki ): Continuation (of something; story, work, tv show, etc.)
  • で ( de ) —> で ぐち ( de guchi ): Exit
  • ど ( do ) —> ど ろ ( do ro ): Mud

濁音 (Dakuon): は (Ha) Row Becomes the ば (Ba) Row

Any character in the は ( ha ) row that has a 濁点 ( dakuten ) attached to it will go from a “h” sound to a “b” sound.

  • は ( ha ) —> ば ( ba )
  • ひ ( hi ) —> び ( bi )
  • ふ ( fu ) —> ぶ ( bu )
  • へ ( he ) —> べ ( be )
  • ほ ( ho ) —> ぼ ( bo )

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ば行 (Ba Gyō) - Ba Row

Example Words: ば (Ba) Row

  • ば ( ba ) —> ば けつ ( ba ketsu ): Bucket
  • び ( bi ) —> び じん ( bi jin ): Beautiful woman
  • ぶ ( bu ) —> ぶ り ( bu ri ): Japanese amberjack, yellowtail
  • べ ( be ) —> べ んごし ( be ngoshi ): Lawyer
  • ぼ ( bo ) —> ぼ くし ( bo kushi ): Pastor

半濁音 (Handakuon) – Hiragana With the Consonant “P”

半濁音 ( handakuon ) only applies to the は ( ha ) row. As seen above, the 濁音 ( dakuon ) reading for the は ( ha ) row changes to a “b” sound (ば ( ba ), び ( bi ), ぶ ( bu ), べ ( be ), ぼ ( bo )).

However, the characters in the は ( ha ) row can also be changed to a 半濁音 ( han dakuon ) reading. This changes the “h” sound to a “p” sound. This is done by writing a small circle at the top right-hand corner of the character. This small is written from the bottom to the top, clockwise:

  • は ( ha ) —> ぱ ( pa )
  • ひ ( hi ) —> ぴ ( pi )
  • ふ ( fu ) —> ぷ ( pu )
  • へ ( he ) —> ぺ ( pe )
  • ほ ( ho ) —> ぽ ( po )

Be sure to notice whether it’s a small circle 半濁音 ( handakuon ) or the two slashes which will create a 濁点 ( dakuon ) at the upper right-hand corner of the character. It can be easy to mix them up, especially when it’s written in a small font size.

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ぱ行 (Pa Gyō) - Pa Row

Example Words: ぱ (Pa) Row

  • ぱ ( pa ) —> ぱ ん ( pa n ): Bread
  • ぴ ( pi ) —> ぴ ったり ( pi ttari ): Exactly, precisely
  • ぷ ( pu ) —> ぷ に ぷ に ( pu ni pu ni ): Squishy, bouncy, cuddly
  • ぺ ( pe ) —> ぺ きん ( pe kin ): Beijing
  • ぽ ( po ) —> ぽ ちゃ ( po cha ): Chubby

促音 (Sokuon) – The Small “つ (Tsu)”

The small っ ( tsu ), otherwise known as 小さいつ ( chiisai tsu ), is used to represent a doubled or “geminate” consonant, referred to as a 促音 ( sokuon ) in Japanese. It’s called the small っ ( tsu ) because it is a mini version of the hiragana つ ( tsu ) character:

  • Normal tsu : つ
  • Small tsu : っ

The small っ ( tsu ) does not have any special pronunciation on its own. Instead, it will affect the pronunciation of the character that follows it. Any character that comes after the small っ ( tsu ) will have its consonant changed into a double consonant . What does this mean? Let’s look at an example:

かこ ( kako ) in Japanese means “the past.) If we put a small っ ( tsu ) in the middle of this word, we would get かっこ ( kakko ). The character that comes after the small っ ( tsu ) (こ in this case) will change into a double consonant. This just means that:

  • No small っ ( tsu ): こ ( ko )
  • Small っ ( tsu ) in front of character: っこ ( kko )

The small っ ( tsu ) acts as a small pause when pronouncing words. かっこ ( kakko ) would almost feel as if you were saying two separate words, kak and ko . You would say “ kak ” first, followed by a short pause, then say “ ko “. Let’s look at some other examples of words with the small っ ( tsu ).

Example Words: Small っ (Tsu)

  • に っ ぽん ( ni pp on ): Japan
  • き っ て ( ki tt e ): Postage stamp
  • て っ ぱん ( te pp an ): Iron plate which is used to cook food

How to Read and Write Hiragana: The Small “つ (Tsu)

Part III: Combination Characters

This is the last part! We can combine some of the hiragana characters together to form new characters, but learning how to read them are very simple. You just need to remember which characters go together, and you’ll master this section easily…and you’ll be a hiragana professional!

拗音 (Yōon) – Combination Hiragana Characters

You can take the three characters from the や ( ya ) row; や ( ya ), ゆ ( yu ), よ ( yo ) and combine it with these characters:

  • き ( ki ) and ぎ ( gi )
  • し ( shi ) and じ ( ji )
  • ち ( chi ) and ぢ ( ji )
  • ひ ( hi ), び ( bi ), and ぴ ( pi )

How to Combine Hiragana Characters Together

Combining hiragana characters are really easy. All you need to do is take one of the ya -row characters; や ( ya ), ゆ ( yu ), よ ( yo ), and write it smaller, and put it on the lower right-hand corner of one of the characters listed above (if writing it horizontally). If you are writing hiragana in the traditional vertical way, you would first write one of the characters listed above and then put the smaller ya -row character beneath it.

To read this new combined character, you would replace the “ i ” of any character listed above with the reading of the ya -row character. Sounds confusing? Take a look at this and it should clear things right up:

  • き ( k i ) + ゃ ( ya ) = きゃ ( kya )
  • き ( k i ) + ゅ ( yu ) = きゅ ( kyu )
  • き ( k i ) + ょ ( yo ) =きょ ( kyo )
  • and so on…

However…

The readings for し ( shi ), じ ( ji ), ち ( chi ), and ぢ ( ji ) are the exceptions. Just like the characters above, you will replace the “ i ” with the reading of a ya -row character. However, you will get rid of the “y” and only use the vowel of the や ( ya ) row character ( a , u , o ).

  • し ( sh i ) + ゃ ( y a ) = しゃ ( sha )
  • し ( sh i ) + ゅ ( y u ) = しゅ ( shu )
  • し ( sh i ) + ょ ( y o ) = しょ ( sho )
  • じ ( j i ) + ゃ ( y a ) = じゃ ( ja )
  • じ ( j i ) + ゅ ( y u ) = じゅ ( ju )
  • じ ( j i ) + ょ ( y o ) = じょ ( jo )
  • ち ( ch i ) + ゃ ( y a ) = ちゃ ( cha )
  • ち ( ch i ) + ゅ ( y u ) = ちゅ ( chu )
  • ち ( ch i ) + ょ ( y o ) = ちょ ( cho )
  • ぢ ( j i ) + ゃ ( y a ) = ぢゃ ( ja )
  • ぢ ( j i ) + ゅ ( y u ) = ぢゅ ( ju )
  • ぢ ( j i )+ ょ ( y o ) = ぢょ ( jo )

Let’s take a look at each of these combination hiragana characters in more detail.

きゃ行 (Kya Gyō) – Kya Row: き (Ki) and ぎ (Gi) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: きゃ行 (Kya Row)

Remember that you can also make these combination hiragana characters with the 濁音 ( dakuon ) reading of き: ぎゃ ( gya ), ぎゅ ( gyu ), ぎょ ( gyo )

Example Words: きゃ (Kya) Row

  • きゃ く ( kya ku ): Customer
  • きゅ うり ( kyū ri ): Cucumber
  • きょ うふ ( kyō fu ): Fear
  • ぎゃ く ( gya ku ): Opposite
  • ぎゅ うにく ( gyū niku ): Beef
  • ぎょ うざ ( gyō za ): Dumpling

しゃ行 (Sha Gyō) – Sha Row: し (Shi) and じ (Ji) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: しゃ行 (Sha Row)

The 濁音 ( dakuon ) reading of し ( shi ) is じ ( ji ), and it can be combined with any character from the ya -row as well.

Example Words: しゃ (Sha) Row

  • しゃ かい ( sha kai ): Society
  • しゅ うまつ ( shū matsu ): Weekend
  • しょ うじ ( shō ji ): Paper sliding door
  • じゃ んけん ( ja nken ): Rock scissors paper game
  • じゅ ぎょう ( ju gyō ): Class
  • じょ うあい ( jō ai ): Affection

ちゃ行 (Cha Gyō) – Cha Row: ち (Chi) and ぢ (Ji) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ちゃ行 (Cha Row)

The 濁音 ( dakuon ) reading of ち ( chi ) is ぢ ( ji ), and it can be combined with any character from the ya -row as well.

Example Words: ちゃ (Cha) Row

  • ちゃ わん ( cha wan ): Rice bowl
  • ちゅ うし ( chū shi ): Cancel
  • ちょ うれい ( chō rei ): Morning assembly
  • ぢゃ ( ja ): Same as じゃ ( ja ), and is usually not used. じゃ ( ja ) is commonly used.
  • ぢゅ ( ju ): Same as じゅ ( ju ), and it usually not used. じゅ ( ju ) is commonly used.
  • ぢょ ( jo ): Same as じょ ( jo ), and it usually not used. じょ ( jo ) is commonly used.

にゃ行 (Nya Gyō) – Nya Row: に (Ni) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: にゃ行 (Nya Row)

Example Words: にゃ (Nya) Row

  • にゃ ん ( nya n ): Meow (the sound of a cat’s meow)
  • にゅ ういん ( nyū in ): Hospitalization
  • にょ う ( nyō ): Urine

ひゃ行 (Hya Gyō) – Hya Row: ひ (Hi), び (Bi), and ぴ (Pi) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: ひゃ行 (Hya Row)

You can also make these combination hiragana characters with the 濁音 ( dakuon ) reading of ひ ( hi ):

and the 半濁音 ( handakuon ) reading:

Example Words: ひゃ (Hya) Row

  • ひゃ く ( hya ku ): A hundred
  • ひゅ う ( hyū ): Sound of winds
  • ひょ うか ( hyō ka ): Evaluation
  • びゃ くだん ( bya kudan ): Indian sandalwood
  • びゅ うげん ( byū gen ): Fallacy
  • びょ ういん ( byō in ): Hospital
  • ろっ ぴゃ く ( rop pya ku ): Six hundred
  • ぴゅ う ( pyū ): Sound of something whizzing through the air
  • ぴょ ん ( pyo n ): Jumping lightly or nimbly

みゃ行 (Mya Gyō) – Mya Row: み (Mi) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: みゃ行 (Mya Row)

Example Words: みゃ (Mya) Row

  • みゃ く ( mya ku ): Pulse
  • きゃりーぱ みゅ ぱ みゅ ( Kyary Pa myu Pa myu ): Name of famous Japanese singer
  • みょ うじ ( myō ji ): Last name

りゃ行 (Rya Gyō) – Rya Row: り (Ri) + ゃ (Ya), ゅ (Yu), and ょ (Yo)

How to Read and Write Hiragana: りゃ行 (Rya Row)

Example Words: りゃ (Rya) Row

  • りゃ く ( rya ku ): Abbreviation
  • りゅ うこう ( ryū kō ): Trend
  • りょ こう ( ryo kō ): Trip

Part IV: The History of Hiragana

When you look at the history of the Japanese writing system, 漢字 ( kanji ) are known to be the first characters used. 漢字 ( kanji ) came to Japan from China more than 1,000 years ago. Japanese people back then only used 漢字 ( kanji ).

However, according to many sources, including this educational Japanese website (Japanese only), 漢字 ( kanji ) was only used by men, not women. (In today’s society, there is no such rule regarding kanji ). Therefore, women needed to come up with a different way to communicate with others, and this was when ひらがな ( hiragana ) was created.

Hiragana characters were created by mimicking and breaking down kanji characters. Since the telephone didn’t exist at the time, they used letters to exchange ideas and feelings. For women and men to understand each other, men eventually needed to learn hiragana characters. And this is how hiragana was born and passed on.

I hope you could master all of the hiragana characters with this guide! Please let us know this guide help you to learn how to read and write hiragana , or if you have any suggestions. Be sure to check out more of our Japanese lessons to learn more!

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Japanese translation of 'homework'

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  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'H'

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  • Dr. Takako Aikawa
  • Masami Ikeda-Lamm
  • Wakana Maekawa
  • Emiko Rafique

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Learning resource types, in-class activities, assignments, and quizzes.

The page numbers referenced in the table below are from the following textbooks:

[G] Banno, Eri, Yoko Ikeda, et al.  Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese. 2nd ed. Japan Times/Tsai Fong Books, 2011. ISBN: 9784789014403.

[GW] Banno, Eri, Yoko Ikeda, et al. Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese, Workbook 1 . 2nd ed. Japan Times/Tsai Fong Books, 2011. ISBN: 9784789014410.

Details of assignments and quizzes are also provided in the following table.

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May 28, 2022 By Masaki Mori Leave a Comment

Shukudai is the Japanese word for ‘homework’, explained

What does “shukudai” mean in japanese.

Native speakers use shukudai to mean ‘homework’ in Japanese. Perhaps, some Japanese learners know this word as it is sometimes used in Japanese textbooks. In this blog post, however, I will explain this word in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I will explain how to use it through example sentences. My explanations would help Japanese learners understand shukudai more clearly. Then, let’s get started!

Definition and meaning of “shukudai”

How to say “homework” in japanese, another example of “shukudai”.

Let me start with the definition and meaning of shukudai .

  • shukudai – 宿題 (しゅくだい) : a noun meaning ‘homework’ in Japanese.

Native speakers use this noun to refer to a task or tasks to do at home after school. So, the usage is very similar to that of the English noun, homework , I think.

The definition and meaning are simple and clear. To understand this noun more clearly, however, let me explain its kanji characters in detail, one by one.

Shukudai in kanji

The kanji expression of shukudai consists of the following two kanji characters:

  • 宿 : a kanji character used to refer to a place where people stay.
  • 題 : a kanji character used to mean a ‘theme’, ‘subject’, ‘question’, or ‘problem’ in Japanese.

From these two kanji characters, we can understand that shukudai literally means ‘a place where people stay and questions’ in Japanese. This literal interpretation is not completely in line with the actual meaning, but still understandable, I think. Homework is often a set of questions which people need to solve at home.

When we meet new kanji expressions, we should check their kanji characters in detail to understand their meanings clearly and deeply. In many cases, kanji characters tell us a lot about the meanings of the expressions they form. Actually, here, we could get the better understanding of shukudai through the detailed kanji check above.

So far, I’ve explained the definition and meaning of shukudai together with its kanji characters. Then, let me explain how to use it through the example sentences below.

kyou wa shukudai ga takusan aru – 今日は宿題がたくさんある (きょうはしゅくだいがたくさんある) Today, I have a lot of homework.

Below are the new words used in the example sentence.

  • kyou – 今日 (きょう) : a noun meaning ‘today’ in Japanese.
  • wa – は : a binding particle working as a case marker or topic marker. In the example, this works as a topic marker after kyou to put a focus on it.
  • ga – が : a case particle used to make the subject word or the object word in a sentence. In the example, this is used after shukudai to make the subject in the sentence.
  • takusan – たくさん : an adverb of quantity meaning ‘many’, ‘much’, or such in Japanese. In the example, this works to emphasize the amount of the homework.
  • aru – ある : a verb meaning ‘to be’, ‘to exist’, ‘to present’, or such in Japanese.

This is a typical usage of shukudai . In this example, it works as a part of the commonly-used phrase, shukudai ga aru , which literally means ‘homework exists’ in Japanese. This phrase is often translated into English as ‘to have homework’, though.

boku wa shukudai wo katazuke mashi ta – 僕は宿題を片付けました (ぼくはしゅくだいをかたづけました) I finished my homework.

  • boku – 僕 (ぼく) : a pronoun meaning ‘I’ in Japanese. This is used mainly by boys and young males.
  • wo – を : a case particle used to make the object word in a sentence. In the example, this is used after shukudai to make the object in the sentence.
  • katazuke – 片付け (かたづけ) : one conjugation of the verb, katazukeru , which means ‘to clean’, ‘to clear’, ‘to finish’, or such in Japanese. In the example, it has been conjugated for the better connection with its following word.
  • mashi – まし : one conjugation of the auxiliary verb, masu , which is used after a verb to make it polite. In the example, this is used after katazuke to make it sound polite.
  • ta – た : an auxiliary verb used after a verb, adjective, or auxiliary verb to make its past tense form. Probably, this is well known as a part of Japanese ta form. In the example, this is used at the end of the verb phrase to mean ‘to have finished’ in Japanese.

This is another example of shukudai . In this example, it works together with the case particle, wo , to become the object in the sentence. When we want to mean ‘homework’ in Japanese, anyway, this noun is always a very good option.

In this blog post, I’ve explained the definition and meaning of shukudai in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I’ve explained how to use it through the example sentences. Let me summarize them as follows.

  • shukudai – 宿題 (しゅくだい) : a noun meaning ‘homework’ in Japanese. Native speakers use this noun to refer to a task or tasks to do at home after school. So, the usage of this noun is very similar to that of the English one, homework . These two kanji characters literally mean ‘a place where people stay and questions’ in Japanese. This literal interpretation is not completely in line with the actual meaning, but still understandable, I think. Homework is often a set of questions which people need to solve at home.

Hope my explanations are understandable and helpful for Japanese learners.

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Learning Hiragana Series – Lesson 4: The T-Column

  • By Jessica Dobbs
  • July 14, 2018

homework japanese hiragana

みなさん、こんにちは! I hope you all have had a fantastic week, and have been able to practice everything up until now. This weeks’ lesson is a little late, because my birthday was on Wednesday! I had a lot going on and had a lot of fun. I’ll do a separate post to talk more about my birthday, and what my ともだち Masaru sent to me. But, for now, let’s dig into the next lesson, shall we? Today, we will be learning the T-Column of the Hiragana chart!

So, after learning the S-Column , the K-Column , and the Vowels , we will be digging into the T-Column. Let’s have some fun and study hard together! Please note, that today there will be -two- exceptions to this column. So, today we will be learning, “ta, chi, tsu, te, and to”, or 「た、ち、つ、て、と」 respectively.

homework japanese hiragana

「ち」 is the second part of the T-Column that we will learn together, and the first of the two exceptions in this column. You would think, based on the pattern of the columns before, that this would be “ti”, but it’s actually, “chi”. It sounds like the first part of the word “cheek”. To help you remember this kana, simply imagine a cheerleader doing a cheer within the kana itself.

homework japanese hiragana

「つ」 is the third part of the T-Column that we will cover today, and is also the second exception to this column. Instead of “tu”, you say “tsu”. Think of the word, “tsunami”, and you’ll be fine remembering how to pronounce this kana. And, coincidentally enough, you can picture a tsunami wave in the kana to help you remember how it looks and reads too!

homework japanese hiragana

「て」 is the fourth part of the T-Column that we will learn today, and it will also be in the same pattern as most of the kana. “Te” is how it is pronounced, like the beginning of the word “ten”. The best way to learn how to remember this kana, is to look at your right palm. You can almost see the kana there in the lines, can’t you? Also, the coolest part about this kana is that one of the Japanese words for “hand”, is pronounced “TE”!

homework japanese hiragana

「と」 is the fifth and final part of the T-Column that we will cover this week. It is pronounced like “toe”, even though it looks like “to”. The best way to visualize this kana while trying to remember it and it’s sound is to picture a thorn being stuck in your toe! Ouch!

homework japanese hiragana

Homework for days!!! Well, maybe not days, but yes, there will be homework this week as well. Trust me, it’ll all come in handy, and at least it’s easy, right?

1. First, I want you to visit this website to do some Drag n’ Drop Hiragana . Focus only on the 20 kana you know, which are now the T-Column, S-Column, K-Column kana, and the vowels. You don’t have to worry about timing yourself either, you just want to be able to find the hiragana you’ve learned, and know which of those five correspond with their correct romaji sounds. (You’ll focus on the last four rows on the right.) If you do want to time yourself before doing the second piece of homework, then aim for all fifteen hiragana within 45 seconds. I think that should be a worthwhile challenge, don’t you? 😉

2. Secondly, I want you to download this pdf worksheet (print it out too if you haven’t already), and practice writing (or typing) in the corresponding romaji for the kana shown. This time, it will be kana from all four of the columns you have learned so far, so it should be a little more difficult, and twice as much fun!

3. New Homework! That’s right, it’s time to throw you for a loop and make you do something new. I’m tricksy like the hobbits in Lord of the Rings like that. 😉 But anyhow, joking aside, for your third piece of homework, I want you to go to RealKana . What you will do is check off the first four columns (the one’s we’ve covered so far), and uncheck all of the columns in the katakana tab. (Trust me, you don’t know these yet.) Now, I want you to click on the “options” tab, and choose all of the typefaces they have available. You may be asking “why” in your mind, and so I will tell you why. Just like in English (and virtually any other language in the world), there are differences in the way that things are written out, and it’s good to be able to notice those differences, and not have them confuse you. (Think of Handwriting versus Typed out things here.) You’ll start to notice these differences with the help of RealKana . After using this resource for roughly 5-10 minutes, you can move on to the final piece of homework.

4. Your final piece of homework, is also an optional one. This piece of homework is perfect for anyone who wishes to learn how to write in Japanese while learning how to read and speak it as well. Simply download this pdf and print it out , if you haven’t already. Only practice sheet numbers one through four.

That is it for this week’s lesson. I apologize again for the delay, but I hope you find today’s lesson thrilling and useful. (Probably more useful than thrilling, but one can hope I suppose. Lol) If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below! I will answer as quickly as I am able! Until next time, which I hope to be back on Wednesday again, good luck with your studies and enjoy your weekend! I look forward to seeing you next week for the next installment of this Learning Hiragana series.

がんばって! Jessica

homework japanese hiragana

Hello, I am Jessica, and I am the creator of My Nihongo Journey. I am 31 years old, married, and love Anime, nature, hiking and so much more! Please learn Japanese with me!

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[…] are no exceptions really for these two hiragana columns. Besides, after learning all about the T-Column, the S-Column, the K-Column, and the Vowels, you should really be getting a lot better at these, […]

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How to say "I do my homework." in Japanese.

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how do you say “homework” in Japanese? See a translation

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"homework" is "syukudai".(syukudai=しゅくだい=宿題)

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homework japanese hiragana

宿題 しゅくだい shukudai

homework japanese hiragana

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Say Homework in Japanese Hiragana

    1. The Formal Way: 宿題 (しゅくだい) In formal situations, such as when talking to your teachers or superiors, the appropriate term for homework in Japanese is "宿題" (しゅくだい). This word is written using kanji characters but can also be expressed in hiragana as "しゅくだい.". The pronunciation remains the same ...

  2. Mastering the Phrase: How to Say Homework in Japanese

    The most commonly used phrase for "homework" in Japanese is "shukudai" (宿題), which is also the most casual and familiar. For a more formal or academic context, "kadai" (課題) can be used instead. In addition to these phrases, Japanese educators may use the term "jishu gakushu" (自主学習) when referring to self-study or ...

  3. Practice Hiragana & Katakana

    Practice hiragana and katakana online with Tofugu's free app. Type romaji for the kana you know. Tofugu's Learn Kana Quiz. This app is a companion to Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Guide and Learn Katakana Guide. Use it to practice hiragana and katakana. If you haven't learned kana ...

  4. How to Say Homework in Japanese: A Comprehensive Guide

    Shukudai: This is the most commonly used term for homework in Japanese. It is a straightforward and neutral word that can be used in any context. Gakushu Shukudai: By adding the word "gakushu" before "shukudai," you emphasize that it is a learning-related assignment. Kadai: "課題" is an alternative word for homework that is often ...

  5. How to say homework in Japanese

    What's the Japanese word for homework? Here's a list of translations. Japanese Translation. 宿題. Shukudai. More Japanese words for homework. 宿題 noun. Shukudai homework.

  6. Hiragana Practice Exercises

    Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese. Menu Complete Guide; Grammar Guide. Translations; Resources; Blog; Posted on 2017-10-16 2022-02-19 by Tae Kim. Hiragana Practice Exercises. Fill in the Hiragana Chart. Though I already mentioned that there are many sites and helper programs for learning Hiragana, I figured I should put in some exercises of ...

  7. Learn Hiragana: Tofugu's Ultimate Guide

    Using Tofugu's Learn Hiragana Quiz, quiz yourself on the hiragana from the あ, か, さ, た, な, and は columns. When you've completed this five times, move on to the next task. Copy, print out, or download this worksheet and fill in all the boxes. As always, use the mnemonics and try not to cheat.

  8. Hiragana Chart for Learning Hiragana

    Hiragana Learning Chart - Writing Practice PDFs. If you are looking for a more analog way to practice and learn hiragana - we have included a sample of a few of the practice homework sheets from our Japanese Crash Course below: Open the image in a new tab by clicking on it- you can print it! How to use the homework sheets:

  9. How to say "Homework" in Japanese

    This video demonstrates "How to say Homework in Japanese"Talk with a native teacher on italki: https://foreignlanguage.center/italkiLearn Japnese with Japane...

  10. HOMEWORK in Japanese

    HOMEWORK translate: 宿題, 宿題(しゅくだい). Learn more in the Cambridge English-Japanese Dictionary.

  11. Homework

    1 translation entry available: English: homework: Type: noun: Japanese: 宿題: Hiragana: しゅくだい: Pronunciation: shukudai: Example: Do my homework for me ...

  12. 14 Hiragana Practice Resources for Japanese Beginner Students ...

    Hiragana is essential to your Japanese education. If you want to learn Japanese fast, committing these basic characters to memory will make your language learning journey much more efficient.. And the best way to learn hiragana characters is to practice, practice, practice!. Here are 14 splendid resources that will get you the practice you need to know your hiragana characters like the back of ...

  13. Learn How to Read & Write Hiragana: A Complete Guide With Videos

    October 27, 2023. ひらがな ( hiragana) is the fundamental component of the Japanese writing system. カタカナ ( katakana) and 漢字 ( kanji) are the other two writing systems in Japanese. If you want to learn all of the hiragana for free with step-by-step videos and descriptions, this guide is for you. In Japan, people start learning ...

  14. Japanese translation of 'homework'

    Japanese Translation of "HOMEWORK" | The official Collins English-Japanese Dictionary online. Over 100,000 Japanese translations of English words and phrases.

  15. What is "Homework" in Japanese and how to say it?

    What is "Homework" in Japanese and how to say it? American English. homework. Japanese. しゅくだい. Learn the word in this minigame: Loading WebApp...

  16. HIRAGANA Memory Hint Worksheets

    This is a Japanese website that assesses the shape of your hiragana character. An AI will give you score out of 100 to reflect how closely you drew the character. A line thickness of at least 10px is recommended for the AI to register your input. First write any hiragana character in the box provided and press the grading button.

  17. PDF Hiragana Writing Practice Sheets

    Hiragana Writing Practice Sheet Author: japanese-lesson.com Subject: downloadable and printable writing practice sheets (PDF) with grid lines for correct, beautiful handwriting of Japanese Hiragana alphabet Keywords: hiragana; handwriting; practice; sheet; paper; pdf; grid lines; download; print Created Date: 12/22/2012 8:45:06 PM

  18. In-Class Activities, Assignments, and Quizzes

    This page provides the class schedule and summary of in-class activities for the MIT course 21G.501 Japanese I, Fall 2019 taught by Takako Aikawa, Masami Ikeka-Lamm, Wakana Maekawa, ... Hiragana Quiz 1 will be given in next session, so make sure to practice how to read and write hiragana up to "ho" by next session. ... Do homework ([GW] pp ...

  19. NihongoDera

    Add character between words: Space. Other. None. 10000 characters left. Simple kana conversion! Convert any Japanese word, phrase, sentence, or text to hiragana. Convert kanji to hiragana. Enter your text and click to change to kana.

  20. Shukudai is the Japanese word for 'homework', explained

    Below are the new words used in the example sentence. kyou - 今日 (きょう) : a noun meaning 'today' in Japanese.; wa - は : a binding particle working as a case marker or topic marker. In the example, this works as a topic marker after kyou to put a focus on it.; ga - が : a case particle used to make the subject word or the object word in a sentence.

  21. Learning Hiragana Series

    た. 「た」 is the first part of the T-Column that we will learn together. 「た」 is pronounced "tah" and is simply the combination of the "t" sound and the 「あ」 kana we learned three weeks ago. This is a relatively easy kana to remember, but to better help you, picture the letter "t" and the letter "a" being written ...

  22. How to say "I do my homework." in Japanese.

    Japanese. You do your homework. あなたは宿題をします。. あなたは宿題をします。. He does his homework. 彼は宿題をします。. We do our homework. 私たちは宿題をします。. You all do your homework.

  23. how do you say "homework" in Japanese?

    Please show me examples with ~~. Ask something else. "homework" is "syukudai".(syukudai=しゅくだい=宿題)|宿題 しゅくだい shukudai.