Japanese Language



Japanese is composed of 3 kinds of characters; "Hiragana (ひらがな)"[50 characters], "Katakana (カタカナ)"[50 characters], and "Kanji (Chinese characters、漢字)" [more than 50,000 characthers]. Hiragana and Katakana is base of Japanese, and all Kanji can replace to Hiragana and Katakana. The difference between Hiragana and Katakana is the shape of characters, and Katakana is only used for expressing the words that are from overseas. (e.g. "English" = "イングリッシュ" "いんぐりっしゅ" is an unnatural expression because the word of "English" is from overseas.)

Hiragana (ひらがな)

Table of Hiragana

According to the Hepburn system (rōma-ji, ローマ字), one Hiragana can be expressed by two English characters. For example, "か" is "ka". "k" is a consonant, and "a" is a vowel. (Japanese has 5 vowel; "a", "i", "u", and "e".) The name of places, people, and things appeared in Japan can be expressed in English characters by the Hepburn system. However, the pronunciation of English is not same to that of the Hepburn system. For example, "さ" is "sa" in the Hepburn system, but English speakers cannot understand the pronunciation of "sa" is same to "SAnd" or "SAme". The under table is the pronunciation table for the Hepburn system. The pronunciation of underlined part of English words is samte to that of upperf Hiragana.

Pronunciation Table

Katakana (カタカナ)

Table of Katakana

The pronunciation of Katakana is same to that of Hiragana.