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Learn A Language Through Stories
How To Write In Japanese – A Beginner’s Guide
Do you want to learn how to write in Japanese , but feel confused or intimidated by the script?
This post will break it all down for you, in a step-by-step guide to reading and writing skills this beautiful language.
I remember when I first started learning Japanese and how daunting the writing system seemed. I even wondered whether I could get away without learning the script altogether and just sticking with romaji (writing Japanese with the roman letters).
I’m glad I didn’t.
If you’re serious about learning Japanese, you have to get to grips with the script sooner or later. If you don’t, you won’t be able to read or write anything useful, and that’s no way to learn a language.
The good news is that it isn’t as hard as you think. And I’ve teamed up with my friend Luca Toma (who’s also a Japanese coach ) to bring you this comprehensive guide to reading and writing Japanese.
By the way, if you want to learn Japanese fast and have fun while doing it, my top recommendation is Japanese Uncovered which teaches you through StoryLearning®.
With Japanese Uncovered you’ll use my unique StoryLearning® method to learn Japanese naturally through story… not rules. It’s as fun as it is effective.
If you’re ready to get started, click here for a 7-day FREE trial.
If you have a friend who’s learning Japanese, you might like to share it with them. Now, let’s get stuck in…
One Language, Two Systems, Three Scripts
If you are a complete beginner, Japanese writing may appear just like Chinese.
But if you look at it more carefully you'll notice that it doesn’t just contain complex Chinese characters… there are lots of simpler ones too.
Take a look.
それでも、 日本人 の 食生活 も 急速 に 変化 してきています 。 ハンバーグ や カレーライス は 子供に人気 がありますし 、都会 では 、 イタリア 料理、東南 アジア 料理、多国籍料理 などを 出 す エスニック 料理店 がどんどん 増 えています 。
Nevertheless, the eating habits of Japanese people are also rapid ly chang ing . Hamburgers and curry rice are popular with children . In cities , ethnic restaurants serv ing Italian cuisine , Southeast Asian cuisine and multi-national cuisine keep increas ing more and more .
(Source: “Japan: Then and Now”, 2001, p. 62-63)
As you can see from this sample, within one Japanese text there are actually three different scripts intertwined. We’ve colour coded them to help you tell them apart.
(What’s really interesting is the different types of words – parts of speech – represented by each colour – it tells you a lot about what you use each of the three scripts for.)
Can you see the contrast between complex characters (orange) and simpler ones (blue and green)?
The complex characters are called kanji (漢字 lit. Chinese characters) and were borrowed from Chinese. They are what’s called a ‘logographic system' in which each symbol corresponds to a block of meaning (食 ‘to eat', 南 ‘south', 国 ‘country').
Each kanji also has its own pronunciation, which has to be learnt – you can’t “read” an unknown kanji like you could an unknown word in English.
Luckily, the other two sets of characters are simpler!
Those in blue above are called hiragana and those in green are called katakana . Katakana and hiragana are both examples of ‘syllabic systems', and unlike the kanji , each character corresponds to single sound. For example, そ= so, れ= re; イ= i, タ = ta.
Hiragana and katakana are a godsend for Japanese learners because the pronunciation isn’t a problem. If you see it, you can say it!
So, at this point, you’re probably wondering:
“What’s the point of using three different types of script? How could that have come about?”
In fact, all these scripts have a very specific role to play in a piece of Japanese writing, and you’ll find that they all work together in harmony in representing the Japanese language in a written form.
So let’s check them out in more detail.
First up, the two syllabic systems: hiragana and katakana (known collectively as kana ).
The ‘Kana' – One Symbol, One Sound
Both hiragana and katakana have a fixed number of symbols: 46 characters in each, to be precise.
Each of these corresponds to a combination of the 5 Japanese vowels (a, i, u, e o) and the 9 consonants (k, s, t, n, h, m, y, r, w).
(Source: Wikipedia Commons )
Hiragana (the blue characters in our sample text) are recognizable for their roundish shape and you’ll find them being used for three functions in Japanese writing:
1. Particles (used to indicate the grammatical function of a word)
は wa topic marker
が ga subject marker
を wo direct object marker
2. To change the meaning of verbs, adverbs or adjectives, which generally have a root written in kanji. (“Inflectional endings”)
急速 に kyuusoku ni rapid ly
増 えています fu ete imasu are increas ing
3. Native Japanese words not covered by the other two scripts
それでも soredemo nevertheless
どんどん dondon more and more
Katakana (the green characters in our sample text) are recognisable for their straight lines and sharp corners. They are generally reserved for:
1. Loanwords from other languages. See what you can spot!
ハンバーグ hanbaagu hamburger
カレーライス karee raisu curry rice
エスニック esunikku ethnic
2. Transcribing foreign names
イタリア itaria Italy
アジア ajia Asia
They are also used for emphasis (the equivalent of italics or underlining in English), and for scientific terms (plants, animals, minerals, etc.).
So where did hiragana and katakana come from?
In fact, they were both derived from kanji which had a particular pronunciation; Hiragana took from the Chinese cursive script (安 an →あ a), whereas katakana developed from single components of the regular Chinese script (阿 a →ア a ).
So that covers the origins the two kana scripts in Japanese, and how we use them.
Now let’s get on to the fun stuff… kanji !
The Kanji – One Symbol, One Meaning
Kanji – the most formidable hurdle for learners of Japanese!
We said earlier that kanji is a logographic system, in which each symbol corresponds to a “block of meaning”.
生 life, birth
活 vivid, lively
“Block of meaning” is the best phrase, because one kanji is not necessarily a “word” on its own.
You might have to combine one kanji with another in order to make an actual word, and also to express more complex concepts:
生 + 活 = 生活 lifestyle
食 + 生活 = 食生活 eating habits
If that sounds complicated, remember that you see the same principle in other languages.
Think about the word ‘telephone' in English – you can break it down into two main components derived from Greek:
‘tele' (far) + ‘phone' (sound) = telephone
Neither of them are words in their own right.
So there are lots and lots of kanji , but in order to make more sense of them we can start by categorising them.
There are several categories of kanji , starting with the ‘pictographs' (象形文字 sh ōkei moji), which look like the objects they represent:
(Source: Wikipedia Commons )
In fact, there aren’t too many of these pictographs.
Around 90% of the kanji in fact come from six other categories, in which several basic elements (called ‘radicals') are combined to form new concepts.
人 (‘man' as a radical) + 木 (‘tree') = 休 (‘to rest')
These are known as 形声文字 keisei moji or ‘radical-phonetic compounds'.
You can think of these characters as being made up of two parts:
- A radical that tells you what category of word it is: animals, plants, metals, etc.)
- A second component that completes the character and give it its pronunciation (a sort of Japanese approximation from Chinese).
So that’s the story behind the kanji , but what are they used for in Japanese writing?
Typically, they are used to represent concrete concepts.
When you look at a piece of Japanese writing, you’ll see kanji being used for nouns, and in the stem of verbs, adjectives and adverbs.
Here are some of them from our sample text at the start of the article:
日本人 Japanese people 多国籍料理 multinational cuisine 東南 Southeast
Now, here’s the big question!
Once you’ve learnt to read or write a kanji , how do you pronounce it?
If you took the character from the original Chinese, it would usually only have one pronunciation.
However, by the time these characters leave China and reach Japan, they usually have two or sometimes even more pronunciations.
How or why does this happen?
Let's look at an example.
To say ‘mountain', the Chinese use the pictograph 山 which depicts a mountain with three peaks. The pronunciation of this character in Chinese is sh ā n (in the first tone).
Now, in Japanese the word for ‘mountain' is ‘yama'.
So in this case, the Japanese decided to borrow the character山from Chinese, but to pronounce it differently: yama .
However, this isn’t the end of the story!
The Japanese did decide to borrow the pronunciation from the original Chinese, but only to use it when that character is used in compound words.
So, in this case, when the character 山 is part of a compound word, it is pronounced as san/zan – clearly an approximation to the original Chinese pronunciation.
Here’s the kanji on its own:
山は… Yama wa… The mountain….
And here’s the kanji when it appears in compound words:
火山は… Ka zan wa The volcano…
富士山は… Fuji san wa… Mount Fuji….
To recap, every kanji has at least two pronunciations.
The first one (the so-called訓読み kun'yomi or ‘meaning reading') has an original Japanese pronunciation, and is used with one kanji on it’s own.
The second one (called音読み on'yomi or ‘sound-based reading') is used in compound words, and comes from the original Chinese.
Makes sense, right? 😉
In Japan, there’s an official number of kanji that are classified for “daily use” (常用漢字 joy ō kanji ) by the Japanese Ministry of Education – currently 2,136.
(Although remember that the number of actual words that you can form using these characters is much higher.)
So now… if you wanted to actually learn all these kanji , how should you go about it?
To answer this question, Luca’s going to give us an insight into how he did it.
How I Learnt Kanji
I started to learn kanji more than 10 years ago at a time when you couldn't find all the great resources that are available nowadays. I only had paper kanji dictionary and simple lists from my textbook.
What I did have, however, was the memory of a fantastic teacher.
I studied Chinese for two years in college, and this teacher taught us characters in two helpful ways:
- He would analyse them in terms of their radicals and other components
- He kept us motivated and interested in the process by using fascinating stories based on etymology (the origin of the characters)
Once I’d learnt to recognise the 214 radicals which make up all characters – the building blocks of Chinese characters – it was then much easier to go on and learn the characters and the words themselves.
It’s back to the earlier analogy of dividing the word ‘telephone' into tele and phone .
But here’s the thing – knowing the characters alone isn’t enough. There are too many, and they’re all very similar to one another.
If you want to get really good at the language, and really know how to read and how to write in Japanese, you need a higher-order strategy.
The number one strategy that I used to reach a near-native ability in reading and writing in Japanese was to learn the kanji within the context of dialogues or other texts .
I never studied them as individual characters or words.
Now, I could give you a few dozen ninja tricks for how to learn Japanese kanji. B ut the one secret that blows everything else out of the water and guarantees real success in the long-term, is extensive reading and massive exposure.
This is the foundation of the StoryLearning® method , where you immerse yourself in language through story.
In the meantime, there are a lot of resources both online and offline to learn kanji , each of which is based on a particular method or approach (from flashcards to mnemonic and so on).
The decision of which approach to use can be made easier by understanding the way you learn best.
Do you have a photographic memory or prefer working with images? Do you prefer to listen to audio? Or perhaps you prefer to write things by hands?
You can and should try more than one method, in order to figure out which works best for you.
( Note : You should get a copy of this excellent guide by John Fotheringham, which has all the resources you’ll ever need to learn kanji )
Summary Of How To Write In Japanese
So you’ve made it to the end!
See – I told you it wasn’t that bad! Let’s recap what we’ve covered.
Ordinary written Japanese employs a mixture of three scripts:
- Kanji, or Chinese characters, of which there are officially 2,136 in daily use (more in practice)
- 2 syllabic alphabets called hiragana and katakana, containing 42 symbols each
In special cases, such as children’s books or simplified materials for language learners, you might find everything written using only hiragana or katakana .
But apart from those materials, everything in Japanese is written by employing the three scripts together. And it’s the kanji which represent the cultural and linguistic challenge in the Japanese language.
If you want to become proficient in Japanese you have to learn all three!
Although it seems like a daunting task, remember that there are many people before you who have found themselves right at the beginning of their journey in learning Japanese.
And every journey begins with a single step.
So what are you waiting for?
The best place to start is to enrol in Japanese Uncovered . The course includes a series of lessons that teach you hiragana, katakana and kanji. It also includes an exciting Japanese story which comes in different formats (romaji, hiragana, kana and kanji) so you can practice reading Japanese, no matter what level you're at right now.
– – –
It’s been a pleasure for me to work on this article with Luca Toma, and I’ve learnt a lot in the process.
Now he didn’t ask me to write this, but if you’re serious about learning Japanese, you should consider hiring Luca as a coach. The reasons are many, and you can find out more on his website: JapaneseCoaching.it
Do you know anyone learning Japanese? Why not send them this article, or click here to send a tweet .
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The 5 Biggest Genkouyoushi Mistakes You can Easily Avoid
Have you ever tried to write japanese on genkouyoushi.
Genkouyoushi げんこうようし is Japanese squared writing paper . Japanese kids use it in school for composition.
Some Japanese exams provide Genkouyoushi for writing tests. It raises interest among Japanese learners in Genkouyoushi.
But unfortunately, not many people know how to use Genkouyoushi, this Japanese-style squared paper, properly.
It is because most Japanese textbooks are written horizontally, and they don’t show you how to write on Genkouyoushi. You don’t have many opportunities to see examples of Genkuyoushi writing.
As a Japanese teacher, I found several common mistakes people made. Once you read this article, you can easily avoid them!
Mistake 1 Starting Point
Start writing from the top left, not the top right.
The Japanese language has two versions of writings, horizontal and vertical, which not many languages have.
Many people know that, if you write horizontally, you write from left to right. If you write vertically, you write from top to bottom.
But some people don’t know when you write vertically, you start from the right top corner and write to the bottom. When you write the following line, it should be on the left of the previous line.
It looks like this.
Mistake 2 Paragraph
Miss one blank line to start a new paragraph.
This is also a common mistake.
When you start a new paragraph, the top cell of a new like should be blank. Your writing starts with a second cell.
Mistake 3 Comma and Period (Full-stop)
Write a comma or a period in the same cell as a letter.
This is a tricky part. In most cases, you need to give one cell to write a comma, called 読点（とうてん）or a period, called 句点（くてん）.
However, you cannot put a comma or a period into a top cell of a new line; you need to put it into the last cell of a previous line.
See the example below.
Mistake 4 Small letters
Write a small letter, such as ぎゅ, in one cell.
Small letters, such as ゃ、ゅ、ょ、っ should be in one cell.
Look at the example.
If these letters come to a top cell, it’s OK. But if you’d like, you can place them in the last cell in a previous line.
Mistake 5 Quotation mark
Write a quotation mark and a letter in the same cell
Please give one cell for each quotation mark.
A period and a quotation mark are in the same cell at the end of a quote.
If it’s happened in the last cell, please write a letter, a period and a quotation mark in the same cell. Quite crowded!
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Now you know how to avoid these sinful mistakes and write Japanese on Genkouyoushi better than before.
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This notebook series is NOT just another genkouyoushi notebook.
It includes useful information such as the rules of vertical writing (did you know the difference between horizontal writings and vertical writings?), the Genkouyoushi exercises to write accurately, the checklists to revise your composition, and more!
Choose your favorite cover, and click the button to order on Amazon.
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Have you ever tried written Japanese on Genkouyoushi? What is your biggest problem?
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This Post Has 5 Comments
こんにちは Great question! We don’t use any “gap” between words in Japanese writing. We just cut a word or a phrase if there isn’t enough space to finish it and continue it in the following line. We don’t use a hyphen.
For example, if I want to write a sentence,
田中さんは朝六時に起きました。(Ms. Tanaka wakes up at 6:00 in the morning.)
If I write this sentence at the end of a line, it may look like this.
—————(previous sentences)———————田中さんは朝六 時に起きました。
I hope it helps!
こんにちは！I am an English speaker learning Japanese. I would like to know more about words in げんこうようし、or原稿用紙 in Kanji. Hm, but I’m not sure if that was very clear ^^” so I’ll elaborate. For example, do you cut off words when writing in this, or do you start them in a new line if there aren’t enough spaces to finish the word? I have run into this situation, and I am not sure what to do – – -” Other than this one question, I found this incredibly helpful as someone who has never written in 原稿用紙 before, (so I was not sure about punctuation or small letters, though I did know about how it is read/written from top to bottom, right to left). I had looked through the 漫画, (まんが) that I owned, but it was hard for me to tell, and this made it a lot clearer, so ありがとうございます！！！
Hi, Asuka san, I’m very well thank you and I hope you are too. If the majority of your audience is from the US, I will swallow hard and deep and learn to read American ?. Take care, Charles
Hi, Charles san, Glad to hear from you! How are you?
About Spelling, it’s tricky isn’t it?
I use American spellings as currently, more than two-thirds of my audience is from the US, and also, British people and those who from other countries get used to reading American spellings. I added the British spellings in the brackets. Hope it helps! Asuka
Hi Asuka sensei, Might I make a suggestion, please? If you have a mainly UK audience in these emails, (and only you know that), you may wish to consider using the expression ‘full stop’ instead of ‘period’ when describing the character delineating the end of a sentence. I was joking with your husband about your American English education in Japan when I met him a couple of years ago and we were laughing about it. Either way, it’s really great to hear from you again ?.
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- Draw it in the drawing area
- Type the name in the text area
- Look for it in the list
- Notice that 漢 is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫
- Draw any of these components (one at a time) in the drawing area, and select it when you see it
- Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
- If you know the meanings of the components, type any of them in the text area: water (氵), grass (艹), mouth (口) or husband (夫)
- Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.
- Draw a component in the center of the area, as large as you can
- Try to draw the component as it appears in the kanji you're looking up
- Don't worry about stroke order or number of strokes
- Don't draw more than one component at a time
The Kanshudo complete guide to writing Japanese
Kanshudo's guide to writing Japanese
- First let's see what components 鬱 contains. It is pretty complicated! It has several: 缶, 林 (or 木 on either side), 冖, a complex piece 鬯 which in itself could be made up of other elements, and finally 彡.
- So, let's start with rule 5 to help us figure out the order of components to draw: symmetry first (缶), then the 木 on either side, then another symmetrical component 冖, then the left side 鬯 and 彡. None of these are 'containing' components, so we can just draw each one by one. This is already looking more straightforward!
- Let's take 缶. This is mostly straightforward: we start with rule 2 which shows us we start at the top left with our little diagonal stroke. Rule 1 then tells us to do the two horizontals, followed by the vertical. Now things get tricky: in fact the bottom of this component is only two strokes, a 'shelf' and another vertical.
- Next we draw our two trees. Rule 1 tells that we do our horizontal first, followed by the vertical. Rule two tells us to do the left diagonal followed by the right diagonal.
- Next we have 冖: there are actually two challenges here - we draw the left side vertical first, and then the horizontal and the right vertical as a combined element.
- Next we go to 鬯. This is actually a radical (standard component) in Chinese, which uses a longer radical list than Japanese. However, in Japanese it is extremely uncommon. Stroke order is fairly standard, though, if you remember to apply rule 3 several times, as that shows you how to decide what orde to do the strokes in the brush.
- And 彡 is a nice easy one to finish: rule 1 tells us we draw our strokes top to bottom, and each stroke starts at the top.
- There are many analyses of Chinese character strokes. One sensible reference point is the Unicode specification, which defines a 'block' of characters representing strokes. Currently 36 strokes are included, but if you examine the list you will see several which are extremely similar - for example, Unicode defines a separate character for a short diagonal stroke depending on whether it goes from left to right or right to left. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroke_(CJKV_character) .
- For more on Japanese calligraphy, start with Wikipedia's article on the different scripts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursive_script_(East_Asia) .
- See here for an example of fonts that produce cursive Japanese.
- One great tool is Mojizo , a system for recognizing cursive kanji from images. Kanshudo's own component builder ( how to guide ) is a way to find kanji quickly based on any components you recognize, and it includes our own AI tool for recognizing hand-drawn components.
Formatting Japanese Writing
Formatting Japanese writing correctly is quite different to formatting English when hand writing. While modern Japanese is usually written from right to left as in English, it can also be written as in the traditional way which is right to left and top to bottom.
Formatting Japanese in such a way is quite formal and is used for written work such as homework, essays or letters to others.
As all Japanese characters fit perfectly inside a square, it helps formatting Japanese work like this using what’s called a Genko Yoshi which is a type of Japanese paper used for writing. It is printed with squares, typically 200 or 400 per sheet, with each square designed to accommodate a single Japanese character or punctuation mark.
Formatting Japanese using a Genko Yoshi
Below is a diagram outlining some of the different rules of formatting Japanese using a Genko Yoshi borrowed from this site.
1 . Title on the 1st line, first character in the 4th square.
2 . Author’s name on the 2nd line, with 1 square between the family name and the given name, and 1 empty square below.
3 . First sentence of the essay begins on the 3rd line, in the 2nd square. Each new paragraph begins on the 2nd square.
4 . Subheadings have 1 empty line before and after, and begin on the 3rd square of a new line.
5 . Punctuation marks normally occupy their own square, except when they will occur at the top of a line, in which case they share a square with the last character of the previous line.
Category: Resources • Writing
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Article by: Duncan Sensei
Should Japanese Writing Be Horizontal or Vertical?
Traditions vary but it can be written both ways.
- Essential Japanese Vocabulary
- History & Culture
- Japanese Grammar
- B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University
Unlike languages that use Arabic characters in their alphabets, such as English, French, and German, many Asian languages can be written both horizontally and vertically. Japanese is no exception, but the rules and traditions mean there is not a lot of consistency in which direction the written word appears.
There are three Japanese scripts:
Japanese is commonly written with a combination of all three.
Kanji are what are known as ideographic symbols, and hiragana and katakana are phonetic alphabets which make up the syllables of Japanese words. Kanji has several thousand characters, but hiragana and katakana only have 46 characters each. The rules on when to use which alphabet varies greatly and kanji words usually have more than one pronunciation , to add to the confusion.
Traditionally, Japanese was only written vertically. Most historical documents are written in this style. However, with the introduction of western materials, the alphabet, Arabic numbers, and mathematical formulas, it became less convenient to write things vertically. Science-related texts, which include many foreign words, gradually had to be changed to horizontal text.
Today most school textbooks, except those about Japanese or classical literature, are written horizontally. Most often it's the young people who write this way. Though, some older people still prefer to write vertically citing that it looks more formal. Most general books are set in vertical text since most Japanese readers can comprehend the written language either way. But horizontal written Japanese is the more common style in the modern era.
Common Horizontal Japanese Writing Uses
In some circumstances, it makes more sense to write Japanese characters horizontally. Particularly, that's the case when there are terms and phrases taken from foreign languages which can't be written vertically. For instance, most scientific and mathematical writing is done horizontally in Japan.
It makes sense if you think about it; you can't change the ordering of an equation or a math problem from horizontal to vertical and have it retain the same meaning or interpretation.
Likewise, computer languages, especially those that originated in English, retain their horizontal alignment in Japanese texts.
Uses for Vertical Japanese Writing
Vertical writing is still frequently used in Japanese, especially in popular culture printing like newspapers and novels. In some Japanese newspapers, such as the Asahi Shimbun, both vertical and horizontal text is used, with horizontal lettering more frequently used in the body copy of articles and vertical used in headlines.
For the most part musical notation in Japan is written horizontally, in keeping with the Western style. But for music played on traditional Japanese instruments such as the shakuhachi ( bamboo flute) or the kugo (harp), the musical notation is usually written vertically.
Addresses on mailing envelopes and business cards are usually written vertically (although some business cards may have a horizontal English translation
The general rule of thumb is the more traditional and formal the writing, the more likely it will appear vertically in Japanese.
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Japanese Writing Paper: FREE Printable Blank Japanese Writing Sheets
Whether you are brand new to Japanese or approaching fluency, writing can be one of the most challenging aspects of the language. And the only way to improve your Japanese writing is to write, write, write!
Of course, you can practise your Japanese writing on any old scrap of paper you can get your hands on – but it’s much easier if you have some proper Japanese grid paper to help space out your characters correctly.
I’ve created some simple free Japanese writing practice sheets as pdfs that you can download and print out as many times as you want. This is just simple blank Japanese graph paper with boxes to help you practise your characters and improve your Japanese handwriting.
Printable Japanese graph paper (kanji practice sheets)
These blank Japanese writing paper templates are perfect for practising your hiragana, katakana and kanji. They’re just blank grids, so you can copy whatever characters you’re working on from your textbook or course, and write them out as many times as you need.
I’ve made versions with and without an inner grid. Those with the grid are great for learning to space out your characters. The larger (15mm) size is great for beginners. It’s the size elementary school children would use in Japan. The smaller (10mm) size is great for intermediate and advanced learners.
The 10mm with 5mm inner grid is a common notebook paper in Japan and it makes ideal kanji writing practice sheets. I got through so many notebooks with this grid pattern when I lived in Japan, but of course it’s hard to find the proper notebooks outside of Japan, which is why I made these free printable versions for you!
Just click on the links to download:
- 15mm boxes with grid
- 15mm boxes without grid
- 10mm boxes with grid
- 10mm boxes without grid
Kana practice sheets
If you are still learning hiragana and katakana and you are looking for Japanese writing practice sheets with the kana already printed on for you to copy, I recomme nd this free workbook from JapanesePod101. It also comes with free printable kana charts and flashcards.
Printable genkouyoushi templates
Genkouyoushi (原稿用紙) is a common type of Japanese writing paper. It consists of squares arranged in columns, with a small gap between each column. It it usually translated as Japanese manuscript paper. You might also call it sakubun paper. Sakubun (作文) means composition, and it’s a common practice for Japanese students to write essays, stories and other compositions on genkouyoushi paper.
In Japan, students use genkouyoushi for handwritten school assignments and tests. I recommend you use these printable genkouyoushi sheets if you want to practise your Japanese composition writing, perhaps by keeping a daily journal or similar.
Again, there are two sizes: the larger is good for beginners and the smaller for intermediate/advanced.
Click on the format you need to download the pdf:
- 15mm genkouyoushi (grid, portrait)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (no grid, portrait)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (grid, landscape)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (no grid, landscape)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (grid, portrait)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (no grid, portrait)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (grid, landscape)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (no grid, landscape)
How to use genkouyoushi
If you’re unfamiliar with genkouyoushi , here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Traditionally Japanese is written in vertical columns from top to bottom, right to left. So the typical way to use genkouyoushi is to start in the top right box and write one character per box from top to bottom down the page. When you reach the bottom of a column, move to the top of the next column to the left.
- You can turn the page sideways to write horizontally if you wish, just keep in mind that the most common (and traditional) way is to write in columns.
- When you start a new paragraph, leave a blank square at the top of the column, in the same way that we leave a small indentation when handwriting in English.
- The blank space between columns may be used to write furigana (pronunciation characters). These are written to the right of the relevant kanji.
- Punctuation marks get their own square. They are written in the top right corner of their square. The exception is that punctuation marks shouldn’t be used at the top of a new column, so instead of this, it would share a square with the previous character at the bottom of the column.
Notes on the image:
- Write the title of your composition in the first column, leaving 2 or 3 blank squares.
- Write your name in the second column, leaving an empty square at the bottom.
- Begin your first sentence in the next column, leaving an empty square at the top (and for each subsequent new paragraph).
- If you use subheadings, leave an empty column before and after, and leave 2 blank squares at the top.
- Punctuation marks have their own square, except if they would appear at the top of a new column, in which case put them together with the last character of the previous column.
Free Japanese writing paper and kanji practice paper
I hope you find these free Japanese writing sheets useful. Please do share with your friends and classmates! Let me know if you would find other sizes/formats helpful and I will try to create those for you too.
Note: all these Japanese writing sheets are designed for A4 paper, so check the formatting and paper size on your print settings if necessary.
Check these other resources to improve your Japanese reading and writing:
- How to Read Japanese
- The Best Way to Learn Kanji
- Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List Of Resources For Every Level
- FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)
Rebecca is the founder of Team Japanese. She spent two years teaching English in Ehime, Japan. Now back in the UK, she spends her time blogging, self-studying Japanese and wrangling a very genki toddler.
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Japanese Grammar Rules For Every Beginner
Nouns and Pronouns
In Japanese, the system of nouns can also function as adverbs and adjectives leading to errors when trying to determine which part of speech it is, especially when you are translating directly into English. In various ways, you can pluralize nouns depending on what you are trying to convey. There are no articles or relative pronouns that exist in Japanese grammar and pronouns that do exist are used differently. When it comes to Japanese Grammar, one of the first lessons would be to know how nouns and pronouns are used. Here is a list of Japanese pronouns:
- I/Me: Watashi
- We/Us: Watashitachi
- You: Anatatachi
- He/Him: Kare
- Them/They: Kanojotachi
- That person: Ano hito
- Those persons: Ano hitotachi
When it comes to the word ‘you’ or ‘anata’ in Japanese, using this is to be avoided when possible. Instead, use the name of the person along with ‘san.’ In the same way, use the name of the person when making a referral to a 3 rd party.
Many nouns in the Japanese language do not chance forms the way they do in English. For instance, there is no plural form for most nouns except those that refer to people. This is why the word ‘cats’ and ‘cat’ are the same word, ‘neko.’ If necessary, there are methods of showing that there is one or more than one of something. There are word ‘counters’ such as:
- Various: Samazama
- Many: Takusan
In Japanese grammar, pronouns don’t change in form the way they do in English. For instance, hers, her and she all indicate one person. In the grammar of Japan, however, the word ‘hers, her and she’ are l indicated by the ‘kanojo’ term. A particle is utilized for determining which of its English equivalent is used.
There are no indefinite or definite articles that modify nouns due to the fact that Japanese grammar does not use gender. Plus, plural and singular forms are frequently the same. For example the words: book, the books, the book, a book or books are indicated by just the word ‘book’ or ‘hon.
For nouns that refer to people the ‘tachi’ suffix can be used for indicating plural
- Mr. Akiro and his family: Akiro san tachi
- Child: Kodomo
- Children: Kodomotachi
Here is a list of indefinite pronouns:
- Nothing: Nannimo
- Not much: Ikuramo
- Nowhere: Dokomo
- No one: Daremo
- Anything: Nandemo
- A little/Some: Ikuraka
- Something: Nanika
- Somewhere: Dokaka
- Something/Someone: Doreka
Generally, there are many name suffixes added to the ends of Japanese names. Usually, the suffix placed after names is ‘san.’ This term is respectful and is somewhat like the way we use Mr or Ms in English. The difference is that it makes no reference to marital status and is gender neutral. One thing to remember though is that ‘san’ should not be used after your own name.
A diminutive form of ‘san’ is ‘chan. This term is placed usually after close friends’ given name or the names of family members that are younger. It is also used after pet names.
A more honorific form of ‘san’ is ‘sama.’ This is heard most often in the ‘okyaku-sama’ word, which means ‘honored customer or guest.’
One casual name suffix is ‘kun.’ This is used after peers’ names in situations that are more casual. This suffix is usually used to address boys in schools. In a situation of work, such as in an office, this suffix is usually used by higher ups to address subordinates.
Either sex can use all of the suffixes. Often, ‘sama’ and ‘san’ are used after titles aside from the names, such as in the case of ‘okyaku sama’ mentioned earlier.
When it comes to Japanese names, the family name comes before the given name so a person named Akiro Hiromo would be ‘Hiromo Akiro.”
Japanese Word Order
Generally, in the English language, sentences are made up of words that are put in the subject, verb and object or SVO formation. For example in this sentence:
The boy ate the pear.
The subject is the boy, the verb is ‘ate’ and the object is the pear. In sentences that are Japanese, however, words are arranged generally in the order of subject, object, verb or SOV. For instance in the sentence: This is a pencil, in Japanese, you would write:
Kore wa pencil desu.
Kore (this) wa pencil (a pencil) desu (is), where ‘Kore’ is the subject, desu is the verb and the object is the pencil. Many folks often make the error of translating too literally. For instance, people will read, “It is a pencil” when they see the word “Pencil desu” but may be translated literally as, Pencil it is” since they forget about changing word orders between the two styles. The sooner you realize that verbs always end Japanese sentences, the easier it will be for you to learn to read this language. Here is an article about Japanese sentence structure that gives you great information on word order.
In Japanese grammar, sentences are made into questions by placing the ‘ka’ particle at the end:
- Did Akira see a mouse? Akira ga nezumi o mimashita ka.
Being a language that uses Subject-Object-Verb rather than the Subject-Verb-Object word order of the English language, sentences would then be translated literally this way:
- Akira saw a mouse: Akira ga nezumi o mimashita(literally translated: Akira mouse saw)
- Akira is a cat: Akira wa neko desu (literally translated: Akira a cat is)
If you are interested in mastering Japanese conversation , here is a course called “Speak Japanese Fluently” that shows you how to do just that.
When studying Japanese grammar, one of the first things that could throw you off is a particle. This is something that Japanese grammar has, but which English grammar does not have. A particle helps you tell which word in a sentence belongs to which part. A particle always follows the clause or word modified. On their own, these really have no meaning, but exist to modify the sections of sentences. Many people learning Japanese language for the first time make a mistake and begin to ‘translate’ each particle. The thing is, there really is no equivalent in the English language. One example is the ‘spoken’ question mark of the Japanese language. Many English speakers that are used to every word having a meaning may not be used to the ‘unspoken’ particle words in the beginning, but once you start realizing that particles are words that are less ‘meaningful’ and more ‘functional,’ this makes it easier to understand. If you want to speed up your Japanese conversation skills, here is a course that will help you do just that.
Here is a list of particles:
Ka: Question Mark
- Are you a student? Gakusei desu ka.
- You’re a student, are you not? Gakusei desu ne.
- So you’re a student! Gakusei desu yo
Simultaneous action: Nagara
- I thought about the problem while walking: Mondai ni tsuite kangaemashita, aruki nagara
- How about coffee or tea? Kohi ka Ocha ikaga desu ka
- I often have lunch with my friends: Watashi wa yoku tomomdachi to hirugohan o tabemasu
- The student has a pencil and a pen: Sono gakusei enpitsu to pen o motte imasu
- I drink both coffee and tea: Kohii mo ocha mo nomimasu
- I drink neither coffee nor tea: Kohii mo ocha mo nomimasen
- I like coffee, I also like tea: Watashi wa kohii ga suki desu. Ocha mo suki desu
Words that are demonstrative, whether they are adverbs, adjectives or pronouns may be divided into 4 groups according to their prefixes:
- Question: Do
- Something far away from both the listener and the speaker: A
- Something near to the listener but far from the speaker: So
- Something near the speaker: Ko
- Which way: Dochira
- That way: Achira/Sochira
- This Way: Kochira
- Where: Doko
- Over There: Asoko
- There: Soko
- What kind of: Do
- In that manner: a/so
- In this manner: Ko
- What kind of: Donna
- That kind of: Anna
- That kind of: Sonna
- This kind of: Konna
- Which: Dono
- That: Ano/Sono
- Which One: Dore
- That One: Sore
- This One: Kore
- Here is a list of interrogative pronouns:
- Why: Doshite
- How Many: Ikutsu
- How Much: Ikura
- How Many People: Nannin
- What: Nani, Nan
Grammar for Gift Giving
In Japan, gifts are a big thing and part of their culture. Knowing the right grammar when receiving or giving gifts is appropriate. There are verbs to express either receiving or giving and this depends on the relative status on both the one who gives and the one who gets the gift.
- Receive from superiors: Itadaku
- Receive: Morau
- A superior giving to speakers: Kudasaru
- Giving to a speaker: Kureru
- Giving informally: Yaru
- Giving to a superior: Sashiageru
- Give: Ageru
Now that you have the basics of Japanese grammar, here is a course you might like that takes you one step further and shows you how to write Japanese characters which you can check out right now.
Japanese onomatopoeia: giseigo, giongo, and gitaigo.
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Loose Leaf Practice Grids
Click the PDF icon to download.
The best way to perfect your Japanese handwriting is by filling out practice grids! The four sizes I have created are meant to grow with you as you learn to write.
The largest grid is for those who are just learning to write kana or for practicing new kanji. The middle two sizes allow for more characters for page and train you to write at a smaller, more natural size.
The smallest size trains you to write beautifully in Japanese notebooks without having to loose the dotted lines (the "training wheels" of writing as I like to call them)!
Genkouyoushi (manuscript paper).
In Japan, assignments that are meant to be handwritten by students are almost always required to be completed on this paper. Entrance exams are also done on this paper.
This resource is perfect for Japanese language teachers. It is also great to practice on if you intend to study in Japan.
The 240字 size is great for beginner and lower intermediate level students while 400字 size is great for upper intermediate to advanced level students.
Loose Leaf Notepaper
I've done my best to recreate two popular styles in which notebooks are printed in Japan.
The first is made with "guide dots" that allow you to visuallize a box to write in. The second reminds me of spread sheet paper (if you even know what that is). The guides on this paper allow you to make notes in three font sizes.
These papers are great if you want to make notes in Japanese!
Japanizing Your Computer Formatted papers for learning Japanese and "How to" directions 原稿用紙 (げんこうようし：Sakubun formatted paper) 400 (20X20) PDF format (better copy) and JPG format (click and drag to your desktop) 200 (20X10 1/2 page) PDF format and JPG format "How to" directions How to use 原稿用紙 (げんこうようし) ワープロフォーマット (よこがき: horizontal) ワープロフォーマット（たてがき: vertical) かな、漢字練習用紙 (かな、かんじれんしゅうようし：Kana and Kanji practice formatted paper) Kanji, reading, and meaning practice Kanji and reading practice (small) Kanji and reading practice (large) Kana and Kanji practice sheet (the page without spaces for furigana) Language Links Culture Links Radio/News Links Travel Links Fun Fun Fun Links For Teachers Links Miscellaneous Links (scholarships, internships, jobs, etc) JOSHU Utilities
- , June 17, 2022
The Japanese Writing: #1 Basic Introduction
Are you thinking about learning Japanese ? You’ve come to the right place. First things first, you have to get familiar with the Japanese writing system since the Japanese alphabet is pretty different from the Latin alphabet.
If you’ve researched the Japanese writing system before, then you might have come across different types of Japanese writing. If you’re confused, don’t worry! We’re here to introduce you to the Japanese writing system in a more detailed and concise way!
The Basics Of The Japanese Writing System
Today, the modern Japanese writing system consists of two elements: kanji and kana. Kanji basically refers to the Chinese characters that were adapted into Japanese, while kana is divided into hiragana and katakana.
Japanese is applicable to both vertical writing (縦書き – tategaki) and horizontal writing (横書き – yokogaki). However, keep in mind that vertical writing is mostly used in traditional Japanese writing while horizontal writing is used in modern Japanese writing.
History Of The Japanese Writing System In A Nutshell
Until kanji was introduced in the 5th century by the Chinese, Japan didn’t have a writing system. But, once the Japanese took the kanji characters from the Chinese language, they were able to match them to the same word in Japanese.
After the adaptation of Chinese characters, kanji started to be used everywhere to write Japanese. In 650 CE a new writing system known as 万葉仮名 (manyō gana) was invented that used Chinese characters for their sounds to represent Japanese meanings. Interestingly, Kana was mostly used by women who were not allowed to get higher education during those times.
There is another type of kanji known as national characters (国字 – kokuji) . These kanji characters are used to indicate native Japanese words, so they are not known to Chinese speakers.
Japanese consists of two alphabets known as hiragana and katakana, but they are actually just two different versions of the same sound. This is because the Japanese alphabet consists of kana syllabaries and every syllable you see has a different phonetic value.
It is very easy to distinguish hiragana, katakana, and kanji from each other. Hiragana has a curvy script, katakana has a jagged script, and kanji is the one that looks the most complicated since they are actually Chinese characters.
あ-A か-Ka さ-Sa た-Ta な-Na は-Ha ま-Ma や-Ya ら-Ra わ-Wa
い-I き-Ki し-Shi ち-Chi に-Ni ひ-Hi み-Mi り-Ri
う-U く-Ku す-Su つ-Tsu ぬ-Nu ふ-Fu む-Mu ゆ-Yu る-Ru
え-E け-Ke せ-Se て-Te ね-Ne へ-He め-Me れ-Re
お-O こ-Ko そ-So と-To の-No ほ-Ho も-Mo よ-Yo ろ-Ro を-Wo
ア-A カ-Ka サ-Sa タ-Ta ナ-Na ハ-Ha マ-Ma ヤ-Ya ラ-Ra ワ-Wa
イ-I キ-Ki シ-Shi チ-Chi ニ-Ni ヒ-Hi ミ-Mi リ-Ri
ウ-U ク-Ku ス-Su ツ-Tsu ヌ-Nu フ-Fu ム-Mu ユ-Yu ル-Ru
エ-E ケ-Ke セ-Se テ-Te ネ-Ne ヘ-He メ-Me レ-Re
オ-O コ-Ko ソ-So ト-To ノ-No ホ-Ho モ-Mo ヨ-Yo ロ-Ro
Where To Use Kanji, Hiragana, And Katakana?
Hiragana is mostly used for grammatical elements, such as verb endings and particles. You can also switch to hiragana if you don’t know how to write the word in kanji. In Japan, children’s books are usually written in hiragana since they don’t know how to read and write kanji yet.
Katakana is used for foreign words that are loaned from other languages. For example, you can see that katakana is commonly used in manga to indicate that the character is not Japanese and, therefore, has an accent.
Although there are plenty of words that can be written in just Hiragana, Kanji is used for general words. For instance, verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.
The Japanese period (.) and comma (,) are used for the same purposes as in the English language.
The question mark (?) is not used in traditional and formal texts, but it can be used in informal and casual texts. It is also used in transcriptions of dialogues because, otherwise, it might not be clear whether a statement is a question or not.
The exclamation mark (!) is only used in casual and informal texts.
Quotation marks in Japanese are different than what we’re used to. They are symbolized as 「 … 」, or 『 … 』.
Where To Begin Writing In Japanese?
Writing Japanese is not easy, but practice makes perfect!
As a beginner, make sure to learn hiragana and katakana. After you’re comfortable with those, you can start studying kanji. In order to learn the stroke order of any kanji, you can get help from various Japanese learning apps , and don’t forget to practice with an actual pencil and paper. When learning characters, muscle memory is very important.
Another tip when learning kanji is to study kanji characters with context.
If you’re a beginner learning Japanese, understand that the alphabet, pronunciation, and grammar rules can be overwhelming, but never give up!
If you want to know even more ways to learn Japanese , there are plenty of online resources out there!
Learn Japanese With The Ling App!
If you are interested in learning Japanese or any of the other 60+ foreign languages offered in the app, then you will absolutely love Ling !
In short, the Ling App is a language learning app designed to help all learners as they venture out on their language learning journeys.
From mini-games to comprehensive lessons to quick quizzes, you can find everything you need in the app to master all 4 language skills. Even better, you can try the app out for free today by downloading it from the App Store or Play Store .
Don’t wait any longer, be sure to download the Ling App now to start learning languages in a more effective and fun way!
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How to write sakubun.
Sakubun – writing (a paragraph, an essay, etc.), is an important part of teaching and learning Japanese. So Sakubun is considered a skill that is not easy to acquire for Japanese learners. In this post, Learn Japanese Daily will introduce to you the lesson: How to write Sakubun. Let’s start!
Table of Contents
How to write Sakubun in Japanese
What is sakubun.
Sakubun (作文) is writing a paragraph, an essay, etc. in Japanese. When writing Sakubun, Japanese people will use a special type of paper called 原稿用紙 (Genkou youshi). This type of paper is divided into small squares for the sake of writing Sakubun easily. Genkou youshi is usually sold at 100 yen stores or at stationery stores in the schools.
How to use Genkou youshi (Japanese writing paper)
The most common 原稿用紙 (Genkou youshi) is the paper consisting of 20 lines on one side of that paper, and each line has 20 squares. So the total number of squares is 400.
There are rules when using Genkou youshi that writers need to know. The most basic way to use is to rotate the paper horizontally and write vertically from right to left. However, there are some Japanese language schools that allow students to to rotate the paper vertically and write horizontally from left to right. This post will guide you the first way (rotating the paper horizontally and writing vertically from right to left).
How to write the title of Sakubun, your full name, school and class
Before writing the content of Sakubun, you need to write your full name, your class and the title of Sakubun first.
Title: Write in the first line. Leave the first two or three squares blank (from top to bottom).
Full name: Write in the last squares in the second line, but you must leave the last square blank. There is one square between first name and last name.
School and class: It may or may not be written depending on the requirement. If you have to write, write in the second line (above the full name and there is one square between school – class and full name).
The content of Sakubun
– Leave the first square blank and start writing from the second square. When moving to the next paragraph, you also need to leave the first square blank and start writing from the second square.
– Commas, dots, question marks, exclamation points, and quotation marks are like a letter, so each of them is written in a single square. However, when these marks may appear at the beginning of a new line, you need to write them in the same square with the letter immediately preceding them in the old line (or write them in the margin at the bottom of the old line), in order to avoid these marks start a new line.
– For conversation sentences, dots and quotation marks are written in the same square. If the sentence is needed to be written in 2 or more lines, leave the first square blank and then write from the second square.
– Small letters such as っ、ゃ、ゅ、ょ are also written in a single square.
– The digits must be written in Kanji: 一, 二, 三, 万 v…v….
– If you need to write the numbers (0,1,2, etc.), write two numbers horizontally in the same square.
– With Alphabet letters, two lowercase letters can be written horizontally in the same square, and each capital letter can be written vertically in a single square.
The structure of Sakubun
You can write Sakubun according to the 4-part structure 起承転結, including: 起 – introduction, 承 – development, 転 – turn, 結 – conclusion.
Or you can write Sakubun according to the 3-part structure – 三段構成 (Sandan kousei), including: 序 – opening, 破 – body, 急 – conclusion.
To understand more about the way of writing as well as the structure of Sakubun, you can refer to some samples of Sakubun on different topics at category : Japanese essay.
Above is: How to write Sakubun. Hope this post can help you improve your writing skills. Wish you all good study!
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Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese
Category: The Writing System
Chapter overview, the scripts.
Japanese consists of two scripts (referred to as kana ) called Hiragana and Katakana , which are two versions of the same set of sounds in the language. Hiragana and Katakana consist of a little less than 50 “letters”, which are actually simplified Chinese characters adopted to form a phonetic script.
Chinese characters, called Kanji in Japanese, are also heavily used in the Japanese writing. Most of the words in the Japanese written language are written in Kanji (nouns, verbs, adjectives). There exists over 40,000 Kanji where about 2,000 represent over 95% of characters actually used in written text. There are no spaces in Japanese so Kanji is necessary in distinguishing between separate words within a sentence. Kanji is also useful for discriminating between homophones, which occurs quite often given the limited number of distinct sounds in Japanese.
Hiragana is used mainly for grammatical purposes. We will see this as we learn about particles. Words with extremely difficult or rare Kanji, colloquial expressions, and onomatopoeias are also written in Hiragana. It’s also often used for beginning Japanese students and children in place of Kanji they don’t know.
While Katakana represents the same sounds as Hiragana, it is mainly used to represent newer words imported from western countries (since there are no Kanji associated with words based on the roman alphabet). The next three sections will cover Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.
As you will find out in the next section, every character in Hiragana (and the Katakana equivalent) corresponds to a [vowel] or [consonant + vowel] syllable sound with the single exception of the 「ん」 and 「ン」 characters (more on this later). This system of letter for each syllable sound makes pronunciation absolutely clear with no ambiguities. However, the simplicity of this system does not mean that pronunciation in Japanese is simple. In fact, the rigid structure of the fixed syllable sound in Japanese creates the challenge of learning proper intonation.
Intonation of high and low pitches is a crucial aspect of the spoken language. For example, homophones can have different pitches of low and high tones resulting in a slightly different sound despite sharing the same pronunciation. The biggest obstacle for obtaining proper and natural sounding speech is incorrect intonation. Many students often speak without paying attention to the correct enunciation of pitches making speech sound unnatural (the classic foreigner’s accent). It is not practical to memorize or attempt to logically create rules for pitches, especially since it can change depending on the context or the dialect. The only practical approach is to get the general sense of pitches by mimicking native Japanese speakers with careful listening and practice.
Hiragana is the basic Japanese phonetic script. It represents every sound in the Japanese language. Therefore, you can theoretically write everything in Hiragana. However, because Japanese is written with no spaces, this will create nearly indecipherable text.
Here is a table of Hiragana and similar-sounding English consonant-vowel pronunciations. It is read up to down and right to left, which is how most Japanese books are written. In Japanese, writing the strokes in the correct order and direction is important, especially for Kanji. Because handwritten letters look slightly different from typed letters (just like how ‘a’ looks totally different when typed), you will want to use a resource that uses handwritten style fonts to show you how to write the characters (see below for links). I must also stress the importance of correctly learning how to pronounce each sound. Since every word in Japanese is composed of these sounds, learning an incorrect pronunciation for a letter can severely damage the very foundation on which your pronunciation lies.
* = no longer used
You can listen to the pronunciation for each character by clicking on it in chart. If your browser doesn’t support audio, you can also download them at http://www.guidetojapanese.org/audio/basic_sounds.zip . There are also other free resources with audio samples.
Hiragana is not too tough to master or teach and as a result, there are a variety of web sites and free programs that are already available on the web. I also suggest recording yourself and comparing the sounds to make sure you’re getting it right.
When practicing writing Hiragana by hand, the important thing to remember is that the stroke order and direction of the strokes matter . There, I underlined, italicized, bolded, and highlighted it to boot. Trust me, you’ll eventually find out why when you read other people’s hasty notes that are nothing more than chicken scrawls. The only thing that will help you is that everybody writes in the same order and so the “flow” of the characters is fairly consistent. I strongly recommend that you pay close attention to stroke order from the beginning starting with Hiragana to avoid falling into bad habits. While there are many tools online that aim to help you learn Hiragana, the best way to learn how to write it is the old fashioned way: a piece of paper and pen/pencil. Below are handy PDFs for Hiragana writing practice.
- Hiragana trace sheets
※ As an aside, an old Japanese poem called 「いろは」 was often used as the base for ordering of Hiragana until recent times. The poem contains every single Hiragana character except for 「ん」 which probably did not exist at the time it was written. You can check out this poem for yourself in this wikipedia article . As the article mentions, this order is still sometimes used in ordering lists so you may want to spend some time checking it out.
- Except for 「し」、「ち」、「つ」、and 「ん」、you can get a sense of how each letter is pronounced by matching the consonant on the top row to the vowel. For example, 「き」 would become / ki / and 「ゆ」 would become / yu / and so on.
- As you can see, not all sounds match the way our consonant system works. As written in the table, 「ち」 is pronounced “chi” and 「つ」 is pronounced “tsu”.
- The / r / or / l / sound in Japanese is quite different from any sound in English. It involves more of a roll and a clip by hitting the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Pay careful attention to that whole column.
- Pay careful attention to the difference between / tsu / and / su /.
- The 「ん」 character is a special character because it is rarely used by itself and does not have a vowel sound. It is attached to another character to add a / n / sound. For example, 「かん」 becomes ‘kan’ instead of ‘ka’, 「まん」 becomes ‘man’ instead of ‘ma’, and so on and so forth.
The Muddied Sounds
Once you memorize all the characters in Hiragana, there are still some additional sounds left to be learned. There are five more consonant sounds that are written by either affixing two tiny lines similar to a double quotation mark called dakuten （濁点） or a tiny circle called handakuten （半濁点）. This essentially creates a “muddy” or less clipped version of the consonant (technically called a voiced consonant or 「濁り」, which literally means to become muddy).
All the voiced consonant sounds are shown in the table below.
- Notice that 「ぢ」 sounds essentially identical to 「じ」 and both are pronounced as / ji /, while 「づ」 is pronounced like / dzu /.
The Small 「や」、「ゆ」、and 「よ」
You can also combine a consonant with a / ya / yu / yo / sound by attaching a small 「や」、「ゆ」、or 「よ」 to the / i / vowel character of each consonant.
- The above table is the same as before. Match the top consonants to the vowel sound on the right. Ex: きゃ = kya.
- Also note that since 「じ」 is pronounced / ji /, all the small 「や」、「ゆ」、「よ」 sounds are also based off of that, namely: / jya / jyu / jyo /.
- The same thing also applies to 「ち」 which becomes / cha / chu / cho / and 「し」 which becomes / sha / shu / sho /. (Though arguably, you can still think of it as / sya / syu / syo /.)
The Small 「つ」
A small 「つ」 is inserted between two characters to carry the consonant sound of the second character to the end of the first. For example, if you inserted a small 「つ」 between 「び」 and 「く」 to make 「びっく」, the / k / consonant sound is carried back to the end of the first character to produce “bikku”. Similarly, 「はっぱ」 becomes “happa”, 「ろっく」 becomes “rokku” and so on and so forth.
- A small 「つ」 is used to carry the consonant sound of the second character to the end of the first. Ex: 「がっき」 = “ga k ki”.
- The addition of another consonant almost always creates the characteristic clipping sound. But make sure you’re clipping with the right consonant (the consonant of the second character).
The Long Vowel Sound
Whew! You’re almost done. In this last portion, we will go over the long vowel sound which is simply extending the duration of a vowel sound. You can extend the vowel sound of a character by adding either 「あ」、「い」、or 「う」 depending on the vowel in accordance to the following chart.
For example, if you wanted to create an extended vowel sound from 「か」, you would add 「あ」 to create 「かあ」. Other examples would include: 「き → きい」, 「く → くう」, 「け → けい」, 「こ → こう」, 「さ → さあ」 and so on. The reasoning for this is quite simple. Try saying 「か」 and 「あ」 separately. Then say them in succession as fast as you can. You’ll notice that soon enough, it sounds like you’re dragging out the / ka / for a longer duration than just saying / ka / by itself. When pronouncing long vowel sounds, try to remember that they are really two sounds merged together.
It’s important to make sure you hold the vowel sound long enough because you can be saying things like “here” （ここ） instead of “high school” （こうこう） or “middle-aged lady” （おばさん） instead of “grandmother” （おばあさん） if you don’t stretch it out correctly!
There are rare exceptions where an / e / vowel sound is extended by adding 「え」 or an / o / vowel sound is extended by 「お」. Some examples of this include 「おねえさん」、「おおい」、and 「おおきい」. Pay careful attention to these exceptions but don’t worry, there aren’t too many of them.
Hiragana Practice Exercises
Fill in the hiragana chart.
Though I already mentioned that there are many sites and helper programs for learning Hiragana, I figured I should put in some exercises of my own in the interest of completeness. I’ve removed the obsolete characters since you won’t need to know them. I suggest playing around with this chart and a scrap piece of paper to test your knowledge of Hiragana.
Click on the flip link to show or hide each character.
Hiragana Writing Practice
In this section, we will practice writing some words in Hiragana. This is the only part of this guide where we will be using the English alphabet to represent Japanese sounds. I’ve added bars between each letter to prevent the ambiguities that is caused by romaji such as “un | yo” vs “u | nyo”. Don’t get too caught up in the romaji spellings. Remember, the whole point is to test your aural memory with Hiragana. I hope to replace this with sound in the future to remove the use of romaji altogether.
Hiragana Writing Exercise 1
Sample: ta | be | mo | no ＝ たべもの
More Hiragana Writing Practice
Now we’re going to move on to practice writing Hiragana with the small 「や」、「ゆ」、「よ」 、and the long vowel sound. For the purpose of this exercise, I will denote the long vowel sound as “－” and leave you to figure out which Hiragana to use based on the letter preceding it.
Hiragana Writing Exercise 2
Sample: jyu | gyo－ ＝ じゅぎょう
Hiragana Reading Practice
Now let’s practice reading some Hiragana. I want to particularly focus on correctly reading the small 「つ」. Remember to not get too caught up in the unavoidable inconsistencies of romaji. The point is to check whether you can figure out how it’s supposed to sound in your mind.
Hiragana Reading Exercise
Sample: とった ＝ totta
As mentioned before, Katakana is mainly used for words imported from foreign languages. It can also be used to emphasize certain words similar to the function of italics . For a more complete list of usages, refer to the Wikipedia entry on katakana .
Katakana represents the same set of phonetic sounds as Hiragana except all the characters are different. Since foreign words must fit into this limited set of [consonants+vowel] sounds, they undergo many radical changes resulting in instances where English speakers can’t understand words that are supposed to be derived from English! As a result, the use of Katakana is extremely difficult for English speakers because they expect English words to sound like… well… English. Instead, it is better to completely forget the original English word, and treat the word as an entirely separate Japanese word, otherwise you can run into the habit of saying English words with English pronunciations (whereupon a Japanese person may or may not understand what you are saying).
* = obsolete or rarely used
Katakana is significantly tougher to master compared to Hiragana because it is only used for certain words and you don’t get nearly as much practice as you do with Hiragana. To learn the proper stroke order (and yes, you need to), here is a link to practice sheets for Katakana.
- Katakana trace sheets
Also, since Japanese doesn’t have any spaces, sometimes the symbol 「・」 is used to show the spaces like 「ロック・アンド・ロール」 for “rock and roll”. Using the symbol is completely optional so sometimes nothing will be used at all.
- All the sounds are identical to what they were for Hiragana.
- As we will learn later, 「を」 is only ever used as a particle and all particles are in Hiragana. Therefore, you will almost never need to use 「ヲ」 and it can be safely ignored. (Unless you are reading very old telegrams or something.)
- The four characters 「シ」、「ン」、「ツ」、and 「ソ」 are fiendishly similar to each other. Basically, the difference is that the first two are more “horizontal” than the second two. The little lines are slanted more horizontally and the long line is drawn in a curve from bottom to top. The second two have almost vertical little lines and the long line doesn’t curve as much as it is drawn from top to bottom. It is almost like a slash while the former is more like an arc. These characters are hard to sort out and require some patience and practice.
- The characters 「ノ」、「メ」、and 「ヌ」 are also something to pay careful attention to, as well as, 「フ」、「ワ」、 and 「ウ」. Yes, they all look very similar. No, I can’t do anything about it.
- Sometimes 「・」 is used to denote what would be spaces in English.
Long vowels have been radically simplified in Katakana. Instead of having to muck around thinking about vowel sounds, all long vowel sounds are denoted by a simple dash like so: ー.
- All long vowel sounds in Katakana are denoted by a dash. For example, “cute” would be written in Katakana like so: 「キュート」.
The Small 「ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ」
Due to the limitations of the sound set in Hiragana, some new combinations have been devised over the years to account for sounds that were not originally in Japanese. Most notable is the lack of the / ti / di / and / tu / du / sounds (because of the / chi / tsu / sounds), and the lack of the / f / consonant sound except for 「ふ」. The / sh / j / ch / consonants are also missing for the / e / vowel sound. The decision to resolve these deficiencies was to add small versions of the five vowel sounds. This has also been done for the / w / consonant sound to replace the obsolete characters. In addition, the convention of using the little double slashes on the 「ウ」 vowel （ヴ） with the small 「ア、イ、エ、オ」 to designate the / v / consonant has also been established but it’s not often used probably due to the fact that Japanese people still have difficulty pronouncing / v /. For instance, while you may guess that “volume” would be pronounced with a / v / sound, the Japanese have opted for the easier to pronounce “bolume” （ボリューム）. In the same way, vodka is written as “wokka” （ウォッカ） and not 「ヴォッカ」. You can write “violin” as either 「バイオリン」 or 「ヴァイオリン」. It really doesn’t matter however because almost all Japanese people will pronounce it with a / b / sound anyway. The following table shows the added sounds that were lacking with a highlight. Other sounds that already existed are reused as appropriate.
- Notice that there is no / wu / sound. For example, the Katakana for “woman” is written as “u-man” （ウーマン）.
- While the / tu / sound (as in “too”) can technically be produced given the rules as 「トゥ」, foreign words that have become popular before these sounds were available simply used / tsu / to make do. For instance, “tool” is still 「ツール」 and “tour” is similarly still 「ツアー」.
- Back in the old days, without these new sounds, there was no choice but to just take characters off the regular table without regard for actual pronunciation. On old buildings, you may still see 「ビル ヂ ング」 instead of the modern spelling 「ビル ディ ング」.
Some examples of words in Katakana
Translating English words into Japanese is a knack that requires quite a bit of practice and luck. To give you a sense of how English words become “Japanified”, here are a few examples of words in Katakana. Sometimes the words in Katakana may not even be correct English or have a different meaning from the English word it’s supposed to represent. Of course, not all Katakana words are derived from English.
Katakana Practice Exercises
Fill in the katakana chart.
Here is the katakana chart you can use to help test your memory. 「ヲ」 has been removed since you’ll probably never need it.
Katakana Writing Practice
Here, we will practice writing some words in Katakana. Plus, you’ll get a little taste of what foreign words sound like in Japanese.
Katakana Writing Exercise 1
Sample: ta | be | mo | no ＝ タベモノ
More Katakana Writing Practice
This Katakana writing exercise includes all the irregular sounds that don’t exist in Hiragana.
Katakana Writing Exercise 2
Sample: bi－ | chi ＝ ビーチ
Changing English words to katakana
Just for fun, let’s try figuring out the katakana for some English words. I’ve listed some common patterns below but they are only guidelines and may not apply for some words.
As you know, since Japanese sounds almost always consist of consonant-vowel pairs, any English words that deviate from this pattern will cause problems. Here are some trends you may have noticed.
If you’ve seen the move “Lost in Translation”, you know that / l / and / r / are indistinguishable.
（１） Ready -> レ ディ （２） Lady -> レ ディ
If you have more than one vowel in a row or a vowel sound that ends in / r /, it usually becomes a long vowel sound.
（１） Tar get -> ター ゲット （２） Shoo t -> シュー ト
Abrupt cut-off sounds usually denoted by a / t / or / c / employ the small 「ッ」.
（１） Ca t ch -> キャ ッ チ （２） Ca c he -> キャ ッ シュ
Any word that ends in a consonant sound requires another vowel to complete the consonant-vowel pattern. (Except for “n” and “m” for which we have 「ン」) For “t” and “d”, it’s usually “o”. For everything else, it’s usually “u”.
（１） Goo d -> グッ ド （２） To p -> トッ プ （３） Jac k -> ジャッ ク
English to Katakana Exercise
Sample: Europe ＝ ヨーロッパ
What is Kanji?
In Japanese, nouns and stems of adjectives and verbs are almost all written in Chinese characters called Kanji . Adverbs are also fairly frequently written in Kanji as well. This means that you will need to learn Chinese characters to be able to read most of the words in the language. (Children’s books or any other material where the audience is not expected to know a lot of Kanji is an exception to this.) Not all words are always written in Kanji however. For example, while the verb “to do” technically has a Kanji associated with it, it is always written in Hiragana.
This guide begins using Kanji from the beginning to help you read “real” Japanese as quickly as possible. Therefore, we will go over some properties of Kanji and discuss some strategies of learning it quickly and efficiently. Mastering Kanji is not easy but it is by no means impossible. The biggest part of the battle is mastering the skills of learning Kanji and time . In short, memorizing Kanji past short-term memory must be done with a great deal of study and, most importantly, for a long time. And by this, I don’t mean studying five hours a day but rather reviewing how to write a Kanji once every several months until you are sure you have it down for good. This is another reason why this guide starts using Kanji right away. There is no reason to dump the huge job of learning Kanji at the advanced level. By studying Kanji along with new vocabulary from the beginning, the immense job of learning Kanji is divided into small manageable chunks and the extra time helps settle learned Kanji into permanent memory. In addition, this will help you learn new vocabulary, which will often have combinations of Kanji you already know. If you start learning Kanji later, this benefit will be wasted or reduced.
All the resources you need to begin learning Kanji are on the web for free. You can use dictionaries online such as Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC or jisho.org . They both have great Kanji dictionaries and stroke order diagrams for most Kanji. Especially for those who are just starting to learn, you will want to repeatedly write out each Kanji to memorize the stroke order. Another important skill is learning how to balance the character so that certain parts are not too big or small. So make sure to copy the characters as close to the original as possible. Eventually, you will naturally develop a sense of the stroke order for certain types of characters allowing you to bypass the drilling stage. All the Kanji used in this guide can be easily looked up by copying and pasting to an online dictionary.
Almost every character has two different readings called 音読み （おんよみ） and 訓読み（くんよみ）. 音読み is the original Chinese reading while 訓読み is the Japanese reading. Kanji that appear in a compound or 熟語 is usually read with 音読み while one Kanji by itself is usually read with 訓読み. For example, 「力」（ちから） is read with the 訓読み while the same character in a compound word such as 「能力」 is read with the 音読み （which is 「りょく」 in this case）.
Certain characters (especially the most common ones) can have more than one 音読み or 訓読み. For example, in the word 「怪力」, 「力」 is read here as 「りき」 and not 「りょく」. Certain compound words also have special readings that have nothing to do with the readings of the individual characters. These readings must be individually memorized. Thankfully, these readings are few and far in between.
訓読み is also used in adjectives and verbs in addition to the stand-alone characters. These words often have a string of kana (called okurigana) that come attached to the word. This is so that the reading of the Chinese character stays the same even when the word is conjugated to different forms. For example, the past form of the verb 「食べる」 is 「食べた」. Even though the verb has changed, the reading for 「食」 remain untouched. (Imagine how difficult things could get if readings for Kanji changed with conjugation or even worse, if the Kanji itself changed.) Okurigana also serves to distinguish between intransitive and transitive verbs (more on this later).
Another concept that is difficult to grasp at first is that the actual readings of Kanji can change slightly in a compound word to make the word easier to say. The more common transformations include the / h / sounds changing to either / b / or / p / sounds or 「つ」 becoming 「っ」. Examples include: 「一本」、「徹底」、and 「格好」.
Yet another fun aspect of Kanji you’ll run into are words that practically mean the same thing and use the same reading but have different Kanji to make just a slight difference in meaning. For example 「聞く」（きく） means to listen and so does 「聴く」（きく）. The only difference is that 「聴く」 means to pay more attention to what you’re listening to. For example, listening to music almost always prefers 「聴く」 over 「聞く」. 「聞く」 can also mean ‘to ask’, as well as, “to hear” but 「訊く」（きく） can only mean “to ask”. Yet another example is the common practice of writing 「見る」 as 「観る」 when it applies to watching a show such as a movie. Yet another interesting example is 「書く」（かく） which means “to write” while 描く （かく） means “to draw”. However, when you’re depicting an abstract image such as a scene in a book, the reading of the same word 「描く」 becomes 「えがく」. There’s also the case where the meaning and Kanji stays the same but can have multiple readings such as 「今日」 which can be either 「きょう」、「こんじつ」, or 「こんにち」. In this case, it doesn’t really matter which reading you choose except that some are preferred over others in certain situations.
Finally, there is one special character 々 that is really not a character. It simply indicates that the previous character is repeated. For example, 「時時」、「様様」、「色色」、「一一」 can and usually are written as 「時々」、「様々」、「色々」、「一々」.
In addition to these “features” of Kanji, you will see a whole slew of delightful perks and surprises Kanji has for you as you advance in Japanese. You can decide for yourself if that statement is sarcasm or not. However, don’t be scared into thinking that Japanese is incredibly hard. Most of the words in the language usually only have one Kanji associated with it and a majority of Kanji do not have more than two types of readings.
Some people may think that the system of using separate, discrete symbols instead of a sensible alphabet is overly complicated. In fact, it might not have been a good idea to adopt Chinese into Japanese since both languages are fundamentally different in many ways. But the purpose of this guide is not to debate how the language should work but to explain why you must learn Kanji in order to learn Japanese. And by this, I mean more than just saying, “That’s how it’s done so get over it!”.
You may wonder why Japanese didn’t switch from Chinese to romaji to do away with having to memorize so many characters. In fact, Korea adopted their own alphabet for Korean to greatly simplify their written language with great success. So why shouldn’t it work for Japanese? I think anyone who has learned Japanese for a while can easily see why it won’t work. At any one time, when you convert typed Hiragana into Kanji, you are presented with almost always at least two choices (two homophones) and sometimes even up to ten. (Try typing “kikan”). The limited number of set sounds in Japanese makes it hard to avoid homophones. Compare this to the Korean alphabet which has 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Any of the consonants can be matched to any of the vowels giving 140 sounds. In addition, a third and sometimes even fourth consonant can be attached to create a single letter. This gives over 1960 sounds that can be created theoretically. (The number of sounds that are actually used is actually much less but it’s still much larger than Japanese.)
Since you want to read at a much faster rate than you talk, you need some visual cues to instantly tell you what each word is. You can use the shape of words in English to blaze through text because most words have different shapes. Try this little exercise: Hi, enve thgouh all teh wrods aer seplled icorrenctly, can you sltil udsternand me?” Korean does this too because it has enough characters to make words with distinct and different shapes. However, because the visual cues are not distinct as Kanji, spaces needed to be added to remove ambiguities. (This presents another problem of when and where to set spaces.)
With Kanji, we don’t have to worry about spaces and much of the problem of homophones is mostly resolved. Without Kanji, even if spaces were to be added, the ambiguities and lack of visual cues would make Japanese text much more difficult to read.
How do I use the Japanese writing paper? (Genkouyoushi)
Hello, I am finishing high school very soon in Ireland and I am doing Japanese for my finals (Leaving Cert) but I realised that I never used Genkouyoushi. So this might be the time to learn how to do so.
The paper is present vertically. So do I write on it from the vertical position (Vertically from top to bottom and from left to right) or do move the page to the horizonal position? (Horizontally from right to left and top to bottom? Or are both methods fine. I am worried I will lose a lot of marks if I write it the incorrect way.
The genkouyoushi rules I will learn myself just wondering how to position it.
Thank You :)
That’s great that your school is offering Japanese classes. There are two different types of genkoyoshi which are typically used, one for writing vertically 縦書き (it has a dividing section in the middle) and one for writing horizontally 横書き (no section in the middle. Example images of them can both be seen here https://bizroute.net/wpaper.html (if you scroll down, the first two images are the vertical style with the divide in the middle, the second two are of the horizontal style). Since you’re outside of Japan and if your teacher has not explained how to use the genkoyoshi beforehand, I would guess that they will not be strict when marking the paper, but if possible you should probably ask them to confirm. Usually the vertical style is used for writing essay style while horizontal is used for answering short questions. It seems like you might have the vertical type so I would recommend writing it vertically, starting from the top right hand side of the page (the opposite from writing in English). For some more tips on how to write vertically you can check this link out here, even if the text is a bit hard to go through the pictures are very self explanatory https://service.zkai.co.jp/el/course/sakubun_club/sakubun-kakikata/genkouyoushi.html I’ll summarise here:
Leave two or three squares blank before writing the title / Leave one or two squares blank under writing your name, with one space between your forename and surname [note here that the title starts from the top vertically, but your name should take a new line and should end near the bottom of the page]
For the start of each new paragraph, leave a single square empty.
Punctuation marks such as 、。should take up a single square, and be placed in the top right part of that square. However, they should not start a new line; instead they should be written under the last character of the line.
Small characters such as っゃゅょ should be written to the right of the square (not the middle)
For speech, instead of quotation marks (“”) brackets should be used (「」) and they should be shifted by 90°. / The full stop 。for ending speech should be written in the same square as the closing bracket 」/ If quoted speech takes up more than one line, you can either leave one square open at the start of the new line (as shown in their example) or not / A new line should be taken when a new line of speech begins / If the line following speech is not a new paragraph, an initial square doesn’t need to be left open.
「」(brackets) and 『』(double brackets) are to use used for different situations: Brackets are used for quoting words or conversation, or for giving emphasis to a word. Double brackets are used when already within brackets 「」and wanting to use brackets for the above reasons, or for mentioning the title of a book etc.
For writing in horizontal style the rules are pretty much the same, expect that you start from the top left and write horizontally from top to bottom. Hope this helps & good luck!
Thank you very much for the answer :)
You’ve left it a bit late?! The exam is on the 28th.
Leaving Cert, that brings back memories. Japanese wasn’t an option in my day.
Have you been looking at past marking schemes by any chance? “Good use of genkouyoushi”
It looks like you write in the exam booklet and it has horizontal style (similar to English) genkouyoushi. I wouldn’t rotate the exam booklet to write the essay style answers. I think the important points would be 1 box per character, the character nicely and neatly in the box. Punctuation and small kana in bottom left of their own box. Consistent size of characters. 7paulmca7 has been very comprehensive in his answer.
Are you allowed use pencil? I can’t see anything on the booklet either way. But shudder at the thought of white-out tape and biro. I’m guessing you can also use scrap paper, and presumably this also has to be submitted. If I thought I had sufficient time I would write it roughly first then carefully transcribe it to the booklet. But that takes time you might not have. I’m guessing if you run out of space in the booklet you are using too many characters and your answer is too long. Would they give extra paper?
Check with your teacher if you have one. They should have the best info
Good luck. がんばれ〜 go n-éirí leat!
Hope you do well and get a place on whatever you want to do next.
for anyone curious about this exam you can access past papers and marking schemes here:
My grammar, vocab and kanji is pretty good as I studied the language for about 3 years now (self-study) but i never actually used the Japanese writing paper so I was just wondering how they want me to use the genkouyoushi. Anyways thank you for the help :)
Top to bottom. Right to left. But check the internet for guides. Because there’s other rules like 。goes in the top right corner of the square (from memory could be wrong). There’s a bunch of little interesting rules like that I think.
Edit:corrected, I really don’t understand your explanation of direction.
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Japanese Writing Practice Sheet: Syllabary Hiragana Katakana Practice Worksheet, Graph Paper, Blank Book Handwriting Practice Sheet, Language Learing ,Study and Writing Paperback – March 10, 2018
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Native Japanese words not covered by the other two scripts それでも soredemo nevertheless どんどん dondon more and more Katakana (the green characters in our sample text) are recognisable for their straight lines and sharp corners. They are generally reserved for: 1. Loanwords from other languages. See what you can spot!
The modern Japanese writing system uses a combination of logographic kanji, which are adopted Chinese characters, and syllabic kana.Kana itself consists of a pair of syllabaries: hiragana, used primarily for native or naturalised Japanese words and grammatical elements; and katakana, used primarily for foreign words and names, loanwords, onomatopoeia, scientific names, and sometimes for emphasis.
We don't use any "gap" between words in Japanese writing. We just cut a word or a phrase if there isn't enough space to finish it and continue it in the following line. We don't use a hyphen. For example, if I want to write a sentence, 田中さんは朝六時に起きました。 (Ms. Tanaka wakes up at 6:00 in the morning.)
1. Why learn to write Japanese? 2. The standard strokes used to draw kanji 3. Determining kanji strokes and stroke order 4. Hiragana and katakana 5. Handwritten vs printed Japanese 6. Kanshudo's kanji drawing practice system 7. Kanji Draw - the game 8. Further reading 1. Why learn to write Japanese?
10 Steps to Write in Japanese with Perfect Stroke Order 1. Go top to bottom 2. Go left to right 3. Horizontal lines first 4. Very long lines second 5. Minor dashes, dots and other trimmings are added last 6. Symmetrical characters that sit on the outside come after the line which divides them 7. Boxes only have three lines 8.
1. Title on the 1st line, first character in the 4th square. 2. Author's name on the 2nd line, with 1 square between the family name and the given name, and 1 empty square below. 3. First sentence of the essay begins on the 3rd line, in the 2nd square. Each new paragraph begins on the 2nd square. 4.
There are three Japanese scripts: Kanji Hiragana Katakana Japanese is commonly written with a combination of all three. Kanji are what are known as ideographic symbols, and hiragana and katakana are phonetic alphabets which make up the syllables of Japanese words.
These blank Japanese writing paper templates are perfect for practising your hiragana, katakana and kanji. They're just blank grids, so you can copy whatever characters you're working on from your textbook or course, and write them out as many times as you need. I've made versions with and without an inner grid.
When it comes to the word 'you' or 'anata' in Japanese, using this is to be avoided when possible. Instead, use the name of the person along with 'san.'. In the same way, use the name of the person when making a referral to a 3 rd party. Many nouns in the Japanese language do not chance forms the way they do in English.
Entrance exams are also done on this paper. This resource is perfect for Japanese language teachers. It is also great to practice on if you intend to study in Japan. The 240字 size is great for beginner and lower intermediate level students while 400字 size is great for upper intermediate to advanced level students.
How to write Japanese composition on a manuscript paper for vertical writing. Yumi Zushi 463 subscribers Subscribe 770 Share 21K views 2 years ago Japanese Writing (English) There is the...
Japanizing Your Computer. Formatted papers for learning Japanese and "How to" directions. 原稿用紙 (げんこうようし：Sakubun formatted paper) 400 (20X20) PDF format (better copy) and JPG format (click and drag to your desktop) 200 (20X10 1/2 page) PDF format and JPG format.
Japanese is applicable to both vertical writing (縦書き - tategaki) and horizontal writing (横書き - yokogaki). However, keep in mind that vertical writing is mostly used in traditional Japanese writing while horizontal writing is used in modern Japanese writing. History Of The Japanese Writing System In A Nutshell
Rules for use [ edit] While genkō yōshi can be used for horizontal writing, it is most commonly used for vertical writing, which is read from right to left. The first page is therefore the right hand side of the sheet. The title is placed on the first column, usually leaving two or three leading blank spaces.
One side of the paper will have a hole in the middle of it. The other side will not. Ss open the folded paper and draw an object underneath where the hole is. Then fold the paper up again and write four sentences around the hole. The Ss exchange their papers.
Leave the first two or three squares blank (from top to bottom). Full name: Write in the last squares in the second line, but you must leave the last square blank. There is one square between first name and last name. School and class: It may or may not be written depending on the requirement.
(essay paper) Traditionally, Japanese is written from top to bottom and right to left. Start the composition on the Title: 1. Title is on the first line 2. Indent three boxes Name: 1. Family name first 2. Separate the family name and first name by inserting ・(a dot) in the middle of the box 3. Leave one box on the bottom third line.
Most of the words in the Japanese written language are written in Kanji (nouns, verbs, adjectives). There exists over 40,000 Kanji where about 2,000 represent over 95% of characters actually used in written text. There are no spaces in Japanese so Kanji is necessary in distinguishing between separate words within a sentence.
Answer (1 of 2): The word for paper in Japanese is 紙 kami. The famous Japanese paper is called 和紙 washi in contrast with the Western paper, 洋紙 youshi. The difference being the materials used to create it and the resistance/durability of both paper. Japanese has precise words to designate differ...
The written test tests your knowledge of the basic safe driving and Japanese rules. It is available in English, as well as several other languages (varies by license center). The test consists of ten, True-False questions. You will have 10 minutes to complete it and seven correct answers are needed to pass. The method of testing differs by ...
Leave two or three squares blank before writing the title / Leave one or two squares blank under writing your name, with one space between your forename and surname [note here that the title starts from the top vertically, but your name should take a new line and should end near the bottom of the page] For the start of each new paragraph, leave ...
This Japanese Writing Practice Book Syllabary Hiragana Katakana Practice Worksheet, Graph Paper, Blank Book Handwriting Practice Sheet, Language Learing ,Study and Writing. It is an excellent tool for anyone to learn cursive writing, to improve their handwriting or practice calligraphy using the lines to help get a consistent size. ...
Japanese Writing Practice Paper for practicing Kana and new kanji.The handwriting paper is ideal for students learning Japanese and need to practice the written language.These papers are ready to print.*Lined Paper Template : ︎ ︎ ︎ Numbered Spelling Test Paper with Name - 120x5 Writing Paper ︎ ︎ ︎150 Primary Writing Paper with Picture BoxHappy …