Learn Japanese using JLPT syllabus

Home | Kanji | Japanese words | Japanese writing system: Hiragana and Katakana


Hiragana and Katakana are the basic writing system for writing Japanese language.

Katakana is a Japanese syllabary primarily used for writing foreign words, names, loan words (called as Gairaigo in Japanese) and sometimes for emphasis.

You must memorize them including their pronounciation - this is very important. Note that, the pronounciation is similar to Hiragana so you just have to remember the writing style here.

Download POSTERS of Katakana Chart - In high resolution JPG and PDF formats.
Stick them on your desk or door or walls and check them out every now and then.

This is the Basic Katakana chart. Check out Advanced Katakana chart.

Katakana Chart

Note: he「へ」, be 「べ」 and pe「ぺ」 are similar in Hiragana and Katakana

Note: shi「シ」 and tsu「ツ」 may look similar for beginners. Check again and remember the directions of the stroke.

Note: so「ソ」 and n「ン」 may look similar for beginners. Check again and remember the directions of the stroke.

This ordering of Kana is called Gojuon ordering.
Basically the original grid was 5 x 10 = 50 and hence the name Goju.
Btw Goju means 50, which is formed by Go x Jyu.
Go means 5 and Jyu means 10.

"On" in GojuON means "Sound".

Hence Gojuon means "50 Sounds".

Writing "Katakana" in Katakana:
Ka Ta Ka Na = カ タ カ ナ
Put together it is カタカナ in Katakana script
in Kanji, it is written as 片仮名

Click the below thumbnail to Download Katakana Chart - Posters in High resolution JPG and A3 size PDF available



These posters are available in JPG and PDF format.

The letters are ordered from left to right as that is how modern Japanese text and reading materials are written. Traditionally the chart will have letters ordered from top to bottom and right to left. So in case if you come across a chart like this top to bottom or right to left, do not get surprised.

As you can note again, remember to split up Japanese words to understand the formation and meaning. For example: by understanding the above you know jyu stands for 10. Let us say, you have learned NI is for Two. Now you can make 20 by combining Ni + Jyu = NiJyu.

NOTE: We are currently upgrading our site to incorporate mobile friendly interface and many more features. Hence some of the links are disabled for a few days.


Contact us: hello@hokuseijapan.com