Kana Page

Resource for students: Learn Hiragana and Katakana before attending.

One of the first challenges you’ll face in learning the Japanese language is mastering its writing system. Japanese uses three scripts: HiraganaKatakana, and Kanji. Romaji (the Roman form of the syllables) are rarely used by the Japanese, but we’ll be using them to help you learn the scripts. We strongly recommend that future KCP students who have had no previous knowledge of Japanese memorize the hiragana and katakana before attending.

Hiragana

Hiragana is the first script that Japanese children learn in school, so you will do well to start with hiragana. Remember that stroke order is important in writing Japanese so that you get the right shape. The best way to learn hiragana is to practice writing them with pen and paper–download the PDF hiragana worksheets as a guide:

Katakana

Katakana are used for words derived from foreign languages. If you’re not Japanese, katakana is the script that you use to write your name, so learning katakana is important. Just like hiragana, katakana is divided into basic katakana and modified katakana. Katakana are used for onomatopoeic words and technical or scientific terms. They are also used for emphasis. Try writing katakana on our PDF katakana worksheets:

Kanji

Kanji are similar to Chinese characters. They are ideographs that are used for nouns and verb stems. Since there are no spaces in Japanese writing, Kanji assists in distinguishing words in a sentence. You will be introduced to kanji and learn approximately 150–200 kanji each term at KCP.

 

Learn through Apps

Make use of the many paid and free apps to learn the hiragana and katakana for both your iOS or Android devices.

For example, Hiragana Memory Hint and Katakana Memory Hint,  free apps by The Japan Foundation, offer mnemonic pictures, quizzes, pronunciation tables and more to help you better remember and understand the characters.

Hiragana Memory Hint

– for iOS
– for Android

Katakana Memory Hint

– for iOS
– for Android

Learn Japanese Online with KCP!

KCP has partnered with Japan Fuji Online to offer online courses! Learn more about our exciting new offering. Classes begin this Fall!

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Student Life

Past and present students share their thoughts and experiences on studying in Japan.

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Testimonials

KCP is a really great program and I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about studying Japanese in Tokyo. Although intense the sense of achievement by the end of just two and a half months is huge.

—Yuna Murayama