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The Greatest Hiragana & Katakana Studying Assets


Hiragana and katakana are actually the ABCs of Japanese. They’re probably the most primary kinds of Japanese characters and important components of the Japanese language. Studying these two kinds of characters is commonly the very first step to studying Japanese, too.

With the ability to learn hiragana and katakana is wonderful as a result of it is such an instantly sensible ability. You see them in all places in Japan. The surroundings of Japan, and even your neighborhood Asian grocery retailer might begin to look totally different as soon as you realize hiragana and katakana.

Fortunately, they’re pretty straightforward to grasp, too. No, you do not want a photographic reminiscence or superpower to memorize all of them. All you want is the correct technique and instruments to check successfully and effectively.

There are 46 hiragana characters for hiragana and katakana respectively. Memorizing 92 characters with unfamiliar shapes may sound intimidating now, however belief me. Folks have realized them in a pair weeks, a couple of days, or perhaps a few hours with these efficient strategies.

If you wish to examine hiragana and katakana pretty shortly, and always remember them, you have come to the correct place. I will speak about how you are able to do it, and introduce among the finest kana studying assets you should use for a profitable kana studying expertise.

How To Study Hiragana & Katakana

First, let me undergo the three key factors for profitable kana studying.

1. Use reminiscence hints aka “mnemonics”

Reminiscence hints, aka mnemonics, are truthfully the sport changer in remembering international characters like hiragana, katakana, and even kanji. Utilizing mnemonics, you possibly can simply affiliate the form of kana with the studying.
Curious how mnemonics really work? Here is an instance to recollect hiragana “ki” (き). This one is fairly easy. Simply consider a key! 🔑

illustration of a mnemonic for the hiragana き using a key

Remembering a bunch of unfamiliar shapes immediately sounds doable, proper? Mnemonics make issues straightforward to recollect, recall, and never overlook. It truly is a robust instrument for kana studying.

2. Prioritize “studying” over “writing”

Concentrate on studying first. Not writing. I do know, it isn’t the normal manner kids study their characters. However, studying to learn is extra essential as the commonest type of “writing” these days is typing. (In case you can learn kana, you possibly can kind them.)

With the ability to handwrite hiragana from reminiscence is a good ability to have too, nevertheless it takes much more time to grasp and has fewer real-life advantages. I like to recommend you reserve it for later. Handwriting or tracing over the characters along with your fingers could be a good way to spend time observing the shapes carefully, however at all times have in mind the “studying” precedence relatively than with the ability to handwrite out of your reminiscence. At the very least, for now.

3. Observe recalling

When you turn out to be conversant in the kana, follow studying repeatedly. Make certain to evaluate gadgets you have realized and stick with it. And if you evaluate, focus in your recall. The extra effort you set into recalling one thing, the stronger reminiscence your mind will find yourself constructing.

The Greatest Assets for Studying Hiragana/Katakana

So now that we have talked in regards to the three key factors for profitable kana studying, it’s possible you’ll be pondering, “What instruments can I take advantage of to study hiragana and katakana?”

I obtained you — I put collectively a listing of among the finest kana studying assets. They, in fact, have small variations, however all of them function mnemonics and studying follow, that are the important thing factors for profitable kana studying.

Useful resource Format Execs & Cons
Tofugu’s Study Hiragana/Katakana Books PDF books 👍 Free!
👍 High quality mnemonics
👍 Bonus handwriting workouts that can assist you affiliate the form with the studying
👍 Different Tofugu kana studying assets can be found
👎 No audio (although the online web page variations do have audio)
HIRAGANA/KATAKANA Reminiscence Trace iOS/Android Apps 👍 Free!
👎 Solely provides a number of alternative quizzes
👎 Glitchy — some options (like audio play) might not work
Study Languages with Dr. Moku iOS/Android Apps 👍 Animated mnemonic illustrations and audio studying aloud mnemonics
👎 In-app buy is required for the total protection of kana
Hiragana/Katakana in 1 Hour – The way to Write and Learn Japanese YouTube Video Classes 👍 Free!
👎 Being a video lesson, it is onerous to navigate and reference a particular kana

Now, let’s take a better have a look at every useful resource.

Tofugu’s Study Hiragana/Katakana Books

image of some pages from tofugu's learn hiragana and katakana books

Earlier than something, let me speak about Tofugu’s personal merchandise — our Study Hiragana/Katakana E book collection. It is a shameless plug as I’m very happy with all of the learners who efficiently realized kana with our books and proved them to be efficient. They’re additionally accessible free of charge, so nothing to lose for those who give them a attempt.

Tofugu’s Study Hiragana/Katakana E book collection consists of two PDF workbooks, so you possibly can print or use them in your machine offline. The workbooks cowl every part you might want to learn about hiragana and katakana. You may learn to pronounce, and learn how to keep in mind every character with mnemonics and writing follow sheets. There are additionally studying follow workouts that can assist you evaluate what you have simply realized by filling in romaji. The quiz makes use of precise phrases created from the characters you have realized, making a rewarding second that hopefully makes you go “Woah, I can learn Japanese phrases!” and motivates you to maintain going.

Greater than something, the final word focus of our content material is the standard of mnemonics. We have been updating and bettering our mnemonics ever since we first printed them, and that is what makes our kana content material particular. For instance, to clarify the pronunciation of every kana, we use an English phrase that makes use of the identical or very related sound in order that you realize precisely learn how to pronounce it. And, when doable, we use the English key phrase for mnemonics too. For instance, the hiragana い sounds similar to “e” as in “eel.” And that can assist you affiliate the sound and the form of the characters, we use the identical key phrase “eel,” and say い appears to be like like two eels hanging out. One other frequent mnemonic for い is that it appears to be like just like the quantity eleven as in 11 (which, it completely does!) however we select “eels” for the extra correct pronunciation. We consider that studying kana can be about studying the sounds of the Japanese language and the fundamentals of Japanese pronunciation, so we hope these key phrases show you how to keep in mind the right pronunciation.

We additionally maintain our mnemonic artwork easy in a manner that makes it straightforward to see the unique form of the character. Not many mnemonics on the market have this high quality, and it is generally onerous to acknowledge the unique form within the mnemonic artwork.

If you’re searching for a one-stop resolution for kana studying, you will not be disenchanted with Tofugu’s Study Hiragana/Katakana Books.

Format PDF Workbooks
Execs
  • Free!
  • A lot of the mnemonics use English key phrases which are near the Japanese sound of the character
  • Mnemonic artwork would not intrude with the unique form of the character
  • Comes with writing sheets that can assist you affiliate the form with the studying
  • Extra kana studying instruments accessible to combine and match at Tofugu
Cons
Product Hyperlink

For individuals who need to have the ability to take heed to the pronunciation of every kana

we have now internet web page variations too — Study Hiragana: The Final Information and Study Katakana: The Final Information. Whereas these do not include writing sheets, you possibly can play the audio, which is at all times a bonus.

So there you might have it. We even have extra kana studying instruments in numerous codecs and for various functions, so take a look at the checklist under to search out one thing that fits your desire and desires. You’ll be able to combine and match too — they’re all free!

  • Internet Pages
    They arrive with audio so you possibly can hear how every character is pronounced.
  • YouTube Video Classes
  • Mnemonic Charts
    A fast reference chart of our mnemonics.
  • Quiz/Evaluation

HIRAGANA/KATAKANA Reminiscence Trace

hiraganakatakana memory hint

HIRAGANA Reminiscence Trace and KATAKANA Reminiscence Trace are cellular apps that can assist you study kana with reminiscence hints (aka mnemonics). Developed by The Japan Basis Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai, each apps can be found free of charge.
The apps are divided into two components: Reminiscence Hints and Quiz.

The reminiscence hints are general useful and intuitive, they usually all include cute illustrations. If something, the distinctive artwork type makes it a bit onerous to acknowledge the unique characters within the illustration. Lots of the illustrations type of modify the shapes to make sense of the visible mnemonics (or at the very least, many look loads totally different from generic font textual content). So for those who ever use these apps, maintain that in thoughts, and ensure to match the illustration to what the character really appears to be like like. There are a pair choices within the app that show you how to with this; one to see the mnemonic illustration and the unique facet by facet, and one other to play an animation of the illustration step by step fading out and the unique character showing after that.

In case you go to the Quiz display screen, there are 4 kinds of quizzes you possibly can choose from. Along with the everyday follow of selecting the corresponding romaji studying for every kana, the choices embrace Hear & Select, the place you hear a sound and select a corresponding kana out of three selections, and Comparable Hiragana / Comparable Katakana, the place you see a sound written in romaji and select a corresponding character out of two or three kana choices that look alike, corresponding to あ, め, and ぬ.

One other good factor in regards to the quiz function is that you could slim down the characters you wish to follow by choosing a bunch(s) of kana. Every group incorporates two kana rows of eight to 10 characters. Not many individuals cram all of the kana in a single sitting, so it is good to have the ability to choose and follow the kana you simply grew to become conversant in, earlier than transferring ahead to check extra.

Nonetheless, it is price noting these quizzes are all in multiple-choice format. In comparison with typing or writing, it is a much less strict technique of testing your data, or working towards your recall. However for those who favor easing into kana with a extra relaxed method, this could possibly be a superb choice. No matter your reply being appropriate or not, you may be proven the mnemonic illustration of the reply proper after you reply every query. It is a good gesture for individuals who had a tough time recalling a lot of the characters, however this feels redundant if you attempt to get via the session as shortly as doable or if you’re already assured and need not see them. Quiz periods are timed to inspire folks to undergo shortly, so being proven the mnemonic picture can really feel extraneous.

Total, regardless of minor particulars that you could be want to change, HIRAGANA/KATAKANA Reminiscence Trace is a reputable choice to study kana with the assistance of mnemonics. And it is free!

As a facet be aware… As of reviewing the apps (February, 2023), the audio was sadly not working in any respect on my iPhone 13 mini. Audio play buttons to test the pronunciation of every character would not work, and the Hear & Select quiz would not play the audio both.

Study Languages with Dr. Moku (Hiragana & Katakana)

learn languages with dr moku

Study Languages with Dr. Moku is a cellular app that makes use of the facility of mnemonics to assist visible learners examine the characters of international languages, together with Japanese — hiragana, katakana, and even primary kanji.
Of their hiragana and katakana programs, you may be introduced with mnemonic illustrations and a brief phrase or two that can assist you affiliate the form of the character with the way it’s pronounced.

Upon tapping the mnemonic picture, it performs an animated model of the visible mnemonic (You may hear Dr. Moku studying the mnemonic aloud for you!), then an animation displaying how the character is written following its stroke order. Many mnemonics are intelligent, however simply remember that there are some popular culture references used within the mnemonics, corresponding to Mr. T or Ed Sheeran, which might not be relatable to everybody.

Following mnemonics is an audio play button to listen to the pronunciation together with some helpful details about every character — learn how to pronounce it or the place you may see the character. It additionally exhibits a couple of phrases the place the character is used.

After studying a set of characters, you may be prompted with quizzes to evaluate what you have simply realized. It provides numerous codecs of quizzes, corresponding to typing in romaji, and choosing a personality equivalent to the sound you hear. It quizzes you with not solely single characters but additionally generally phrases which are made out of a number of characters.

The app general has a fantastic design and high quality illustrations and animations, however it’s important to pay for what you get — it isn’t free to study all of the kana. You should use it free of charge to check eleven hiragana and eight katakana, however after that, you may must make a one-time in-app buy to improve to the total kana protection. Every kana bundle prices $5.99, however there is a Japanese Bundle bundle for $7.99, which incorporates each kana in addition to primary kanji and a phrase guide.

The improve additionally unlocks some bonus options, together with a follow instrument the place you are able to do further quizzes, however this follow function will not actually be helpful till you are already conversant in the entire set of 46 primary kana plus variation characters. You’ll be able to select what number of questions you wish to undergo in a session, nevertheless it would not contemplate what kana you have already realized on the app, nor does it let you choose kana you are already conversant in and wish to quiz.

Format Cell Apps (iOS/Android)
Execs
  • Mnemonics and quizzes in a single app
  • Seamless app expertise to study and evaluate kana
  • Visually interesting with high quality illustrations and animations
Cons
  • Not free to study all kana, so just about, you are anticipated to pay
  • Quiz outcomes do not inform you what particular character you had a tough time with
  • The paid “Observe” function will not contemplate what kana it’s possible you’ll already know
Product Hyperlink Dr. Moku

Study ALL Hiragana/Katakana in 1 Hour – The way to Write and Learn Japanese (JapanesePod101.com)

Study ALL Hiragana/Katakana in 1 Hour is a collection of two video classes accessible free of charge on YouTube. Every video is an hour lengthy, specializing in both an entire set of hiragana or katakana.
The video offers an outline of hiragana and katakana utilizing graphics and charts, then goes via every character that can assist you keep in mind learn how to write and skim them. Every character is launched with the stroke order of the character, and what the character appears to be like like in numerous sorts of fonts. Additionally they present an illustration mnemonic for every character to make it straightforward to recollect. You may additionally hear a short clarification of the place you may see the character in Japanese grammar. Once they introduce a brand new kana that has the same form to the one you have already realized, they take the time to match and clarify the variations.

As soon as every column (a set of three to 5 characters) is launched, they do a fast quiz to evaluate, displaying you the characters you have simply realized whereas supplying you with a second to recall how they’re pronounced. Some quizzes use precise phrases the place the character seems.

The host of the video classes, Risa, is a local speaker of Japanese, so that you get to listen to her genuine pronunciation of every character. Nonetheless, have in mind there’s generally a niche between the precise Japanese sound and the English key phrases they use of their mnemonics. For instance, they encourage you to consider the form of an apple to recollect a hiragana あ (a). Nonetheless, あ is nearer to the sound of “ah” (ɑ), not “apple” (æ). This may occasionally journey you up, so attempt specializing in how the host reads the character, relatively than the mnemonic key phrases for correct pronunciation.

They do cowl all of the kana in an easy-to-understand manner utilizing illustrations and animations. Nonetheless, an hour lengthy video lesson is loads to pack in. In case you’re considering utilizing this video lesson collection for studying kana, do not drive your self to undergo it multi function sitting.

The collection is created by JapanesePod101.com, who’re recognized for providing an enormous quantity of Japanese studying content material. Nonetheless, on the similar time, their content material group tends to be troublesome to navigate. For instance, these YouTube movies haven’t got timestamps, so it’s possible you’ll discover it onerous to maintain coming again to the place you left off.

In case you favor a set of bite-size classes, you possibly can take a look at the 10-Day Hiragana Problem and 10-Day Katakna Problem playlists. Every of the 2 movies from the Study ALL Hiragana/Katakana in 1 Hour collection are divided into ten components with movies simply a number of minutes lengthy. The draw back of this 10-Day Problem collection although is that it consists of extra commercials for JapanesePod101.com merchandise.

Format Cell Apps (iOS/Android)
Execs
  • High quality movies
  • A brief clarification about the place you may see the kana in Japanese grammar
  • An intensive, but easy-to-understand overview of kana
  • Tricks to inform similar-looking kana aside
  • Free!
Cons
  • English key phrases for mnemonics usually not matching the precise kana studying
  • The dearth of timestamp makes it onerous to navigate and reference a particular kana
  • It won’t be straightforward for everybody to take a seat via your complete video, as instructed by the title
Product Hyperlink

For Additional Quiz Observe and Evaluations

The assets that I’ve talked about up to now are all one-stop options that show you how to keep in mind kana with mnemonics and evaluate and follow via quizzes. As I’ve talked about, kana is in all places. When you begin finding out different points of the Japanese language, you may see them consistently. So in a manner, you may be naturally reinforcing your kana data transferring ahead. That mentioned, you may wish to first follow loads and be sure to solidify your kana data.

You may get some follow in with the assets above, however I additionally needed to introduce you to some different instruments particularly designed to quiz your kana data for further follow. One standout function is that they allow you to really kind in romaji for the kana readings as a substitute of simply providing you a number of alternative solutions. This implies they’re a greater evaluation of your true kana data, and may help you establish what kana you is perhaps struggling to recollect.

Tofugu’s Study Kana Quiz

a screenshot from tofugu's learn kana quiz

That is one other shameless plug (okay okay, I promise this would be the final).

Tofugu’s Study Kana Quiz is an internet app initially designed to be a quiz instrument that can assist you solidify the kana data from our kana merchandise, such because the workbooks and internet pages I launched earlier. Nonetheless, it will be a fantastic companion for actually any sort of kana-learning useful resource as what it does is permit you to follow no matter kana you need, as many instances as you need. It additionally lets you establish the characters you continue to have a tough time with.

The best way it really works is straightforward. On the principle web page, you get to decide on the kana you wish to follow by column (a set of three to 5 characters). You’ll be able to test all hiragana or all katakana with a single button too, for those who’re already conversant in all of the kana listed.

In the course of the quiz, you may be prompted with a set of the chosen hiragana characters and requested to kind within the readings for every one. You’ll be able to select to skip gadgets so it can save you those you might have a tough time recalling and circle again on these later. We consider the act of recalling is essential, so not like every other quiz instruments, we really will not inform you the right reply even if you get issues fallacious. (We deliberately make it onerous to cheat, and it is all for you!) Nonetheless, you possibly can attempt answering the identical merchandise till you kind in the correct reply so you possibly can check your recall time and again.

Then, if you end a session, the outcomes present you what number of failed makes an attempt you had with the characters you could not reply accurately on the first go. This can show you how to establish what kana characters are usually not nonetheless sticking in your reminiscence so you are able to do one thing about them — revisiting the mnemonics, inventing new mnemonics, or tracing the characters — no matter you gotta do to lastly keep in mind them!

Format Internet App
Execs
  • You’ll be able to choose what kana columns you wish to follow
  • Does not present the right reply
  • Outcomes present the variety of failed makes an attempt for every character
Cons
Product Hyperlink Tofugu’s Study Kana Quiz

Actual Kana

real kana
Format Cell Apps (iOS/Android)
Execs
  • Numerous font choices
  • The power to pick out what kana you wish to follow by column
  • Observe choices that use kana-only vocabulary from all JLPT ranges
  • “Velocity mode” enables you to undergo quizzes shortly
Cons
  • The iOS design is so easy and minimal that it may confuse some customers
Product Hyperlink Actual Kana

So that is it! Hope you discovered one thing that you just wish to give a attempt on this article. Once more, with the ability to learn kana is an enormous first step, and it isn’t as onerous as you assume. I hope the strategies and assets that I talked about gives you a fantastic head begin in your Japanese studying journey! Glad Kana Studying!

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