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Japanese Script

Explanation of Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji

David Chapman

on 13 February 2018

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Transcript of Japanese Script

3 scripts
The Japanese written language consists of 3 scripts: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Japanese Script 日本語
Kanji (漢字)
Kanji is a complex logographic script adopted originally from Chinese.
Hiragana (ひらがな)
Hiragana is a simple, curvy script.
Katakana (カタカナ)
Katakana is a more sharp and angled script.
Hiragana has 48 basic phonetic sounds and can be used to write anything in Japanese. It is the script that children first learn in Japan.
Katakana is used to write foreign words that have been introduced into the Japanese language. It is also used for emphasising Japanese words. Emphasising or stressing particular words or expressions through katakana is common in manga.
Like hiragana, Katakana has 48 basic phonetic sounds as well - they are the same as hiragana.
Japanese sentence
The sentence below is a typical Japanese sentence with hiragana, katakana and kanji.


The script can also be written in a Romanised form:
Watashi wa o-sutoraria de nihongo o benkyou shimasu.
It means:
I will study Japanese in Australia.
You will study the 3 writing systems in Japanese 1A. This will enable you to read and comprehend Japanese. However, writing will not be introduced until Japanese 1B.
This provides a brief explanation of the Japanese script.
There is also a Romanised form of Japanese called Romaji. For example the sentence below is a Romanised Japanese sentence:

Watashi wa nihonjin desu.

The Japanese script form is:


Romaji is created for non-Japanese language speakers and for learning Japanese before the scripts are introduced. We will use this form in the early stages of this semester but then we will use only script after wards. Your tutor will explain this script to you in class.
Kanji is also an art form. The script can be rendered in a beautiful form for aesthetic pleasure. A skilful script writer is also considered an artist whose skills are respected and sought after.
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