Writing Japanese What Is Kanji Hiragana And Katakana

The Japanese language is​ so fascinating. the​ tonal qualities of​ the​ language is​ quite unique and the​ inherent politeness of​ the​ Japanese people is​ translated well into its language which is​ in​ turns elegant and stylish and drips with respect.

Japanese writing is​ also a​ very elegant script and it​ has evolved from its original Chinese script beginnings to​ become something that is​ intrinsically Japanese. There are actually different types or​ ways of​ writing Japanese characters and it​ has been a​ source of​ confusion for people who are not familiar with Japanese culture or​ for students of​ Japanese culture who have not yet fully researched the​ intricacies of​ the​ Japanese written language.

The three ways of​ writing Japanese characters are Kanji,​ Hiragana,​ and Katakana,​ with another version called Romaji being used for special purposed.


The word kanji is​ a​ Japanese derivative of​ the​ Chinese word hanzi,​ which translates to​ “Han characters”. the​ word Han pertains to​ the​ Han Dynasty and is​ also the​ name that the​ Chinese use to​ refer to​ themselves.

Using Kanji would mean employing between 5000 to​ 10000 Chinese characters. This meant that writing in​ this form was very difficult. in​ 1981,​ the​ Japanese government,​ as​ a​ measure to​ simplify how Japanese is​ written and read,​ intrduced the​ j?y? kanji hy? or​ List of​ Chinese Characters for General Use. the​ list includes 1945 regular characters and 166 special characters that has a​ use only for writing people’s names. All official documents,​ as​ well as​ newspapers,​ textbooks as​ well as​ other publications only use this form.


Chinese characters are considered as​ the​ source for Hiragana syllables. Hiragana – which means “ordinary syllabic script” -- was referred to​ originally as​ onnade or​ “women’s hand” because women used this form the​ most. Men are known to​ write in​ Kanji and Katakana. But usage of​ Hiragana evolved through the​ centuries,​ and by the​ 10th century,​ it​ was being used by both men and women.

The earliest versions of​ hiragana had diverse characters that represent the​ same syllable. the​ whole system was simplified however in​ order to​ make it​ easier to​ use by establishing a​ one to​ one correspondence between the​ written and spoken syllables.


The Katakana “alphabets” have a​ very storied history. it​ was taken from abbreviated Chinese characters that were used by Buddhist monks. They used Katakana in​ order to​ illustrate the​ correct pronunciations of​ Chinese text back in​ the​ 9th century. Initially,​ there were so many different symbols used just to​ represent one syllable that it​ became quite confusing. But through time,​ it​ became more streamlined. Katakana was initially thought of​ as​ “men’s writing” but over the​ centuries it​ has been used to​ write onomatopoeic words,​ foreign names,​ telegrams,​ and non-Chinese loan words. Katakana contains about 48 syllables.

There is​ also another script used in​ the​ Japanese language called Romaji. it​ is​ basically used to​ write the​ Latin alphabet into Japanese characters,​ especially for English or​ Latin alphabet-spelled words that do not have a​ direct Japanese translation.

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