Kana characters

Japanese kanji writing is complemented by kana characters. They have no meaning in themselves, but stand for sounds. Every syllable has a corresponding hiragana character, e.g. "か" (ka), and a katakana character, e.g. "カ" (ka).

Hiragana are used to write word conjugations, whereas katakana are used for loanwords such as "コーヒー" (koohii, coffee).

WordDive kana course

Complete Kana

Basic Hiragana

  • Learn to read the 46 basic hiragana
  • Good starting point for learning Japanese characters

Start by learning the hiragana characters, which are much more common than katakana characters.

Kana reading practice

In reading practice, you will learn the kana characters as well as useful Japanese words. For example, below is the character す (su) as a part of the word すし (sushi, Japanese rice dish).

kana read

As your skills progress, you can move on to answering with full words and hiragana characters at your own pace. Above, all of the following answers are correct: su, sushi, す and すし.

With WordDive, you will learn to read kana characters fluently with the aid of an example text and a pronunciation model. Watch the video and see how it is done.

Kana writing practice

In writing practice, you will write kana characters yourself by adding the missing character to the words. Below you would add the character す (su) to the word すし (sushi).

kana write

Kana character input is done by typing the desired syllable in Latin alphabet. It will then change into a kana character automatically.

With WordDive, you will progress naturally from reading characters to writing them. Watch the video and see how it is done.

The video also includes examples for writing the whole word instead of one syllable and answering with a kanji character. With WordDive, you can move all the way to writing whole words in kanji at your own pace, one character at a time.

Get started with kana characters by installing Japanese support.

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