Hiragana

The basic hiragana character set in handwritten form is shown below. Click on the image to enlarge.

Click to enlarge

The full hiragana character set including combined forms, with pronunciation and keyboard entry guide, is shown below. Click on the image to open a pdf version.

Click to open pdf version

 

Katakana

Words of foreign origin are usually written using katakana. The full katakana character set including extra combined forms for non-Japanese sounds, with pronunciation and keyboard entry guide, is shown below. Click on the image to open a pdf version.

Click to open pdf version

 

Writing Practice

You can practice writing hiragana and katakana using these kana practice sheets. Click on an image below to open a pdf:

Click to open pdf Click to open pdf

 

Japanese Writing Paper

Use your printer to make some Japanese writing paper. This is a squared writing paper used for writing Japanese vertically.

 

DIY Flashcards

One of the major challenges of the Japanese language is its writing system. The combination of hiragana, katakana and kanji provide a very steep learning curve for the Japanese language student. One popular method of memorising all the new characters is through the use of flashcards. You can easily make your own flashcards using the pdf files listed below. There are currently four different sets of flashcards available:

Hiragana

Katakana

Kanji Verbs

Kanji Adjectives

Open the desired pdf file (Adobe Acrobat Reader required), and print your own flashcards using standard A4 business card sheets (54 mm x 85 mm, 10 per sheet, double-sided). Feed the sheets into your printer one page at a time, to allow two sided printing. The page order of the flashcard documents is: sheet 1 front, sheet 1 back, sheet 2 front, sheet 2 back, sheet 3 front, sheet 3 back, etc.

Use the flashcards to test yourself. Identify the cards one at a time, sorting them into two piles: "correct" and "incorrect". When you've gone through the entire deck, start again on the "incorrect" pile. Continue to retest until you manage to identify all the cards correctly. Repeat this testing daily until you can go through the entire deck without any errors.