Learn Katakana – カタカナ

Katakana – カタカナ

As mentioned in Lesson 1, Katakana (as seen in the chart below) is mainly used for foreign words such as foreign names and words that have been borrowed from other languages such as コンピューター (kompyu-ta- = computer). Katakana is the least frequently used of the three character sets in Japanese. The Japanese language does not have as many sounds as the English language so, when creating a name in Katakana, for instance, the name must be sound out to the closest Japanese equivalent. Katakana, Hiragana, and Furigana (when Hiragana is written small next to a Kanji character to show how that character is read) are collectively known as Kana. Don’t worry too much about Katakana (beyond maybe learning your name) for now.

There are some special Katakana characters that exist only for foreign names (such as シェ (she) or ティ (ti)). These special characters are not in the chart below (which contains only the standard set of Katakana characters) but can be seen in our Names in Japanese lesson. There are also the characters ヰ (wi) and ヱ (we) which were deemed obsolete in 1946.

ア 
a
イ 
i
ウ 
u
エ 
e
オ 
o
カ 
ka
キ 
ki
ク 
ku
ケ 
ke
コ 
ko
ガ 
ga
ギ 
gi
グ 
gu
ゲ 
ge
ゴ 
go
サ 
sa
シ 
shi
ス 
su
セ 
se
ソ 
so
ザ 
za
ジ 
ji
ズ 
zu
ゼ 
ze
ゾ 
zo
タ 
ta
チ 
chi
ツ 
tsu
テ 
te
ト 
to
ダ 
da
ヂ 
ji
ヅ 
zu
デ 
de
ド 
do
ナ 
na
ニ 
ni
ヌ 
nu
ネ 
ne
ノ 
no
ハ 
ha
ヒ 
hi
フ 
fu
ヘ 
he
ホ 
ho
バ 
ba
ビ 
bi
ブ 
bu
ベ 
be
ボ 
bo
パ 
pa
ピ 
pi
プ 
pu
ペ 
pe
ポ 
po
マ 
ma
ミ 
mi
ム 
mu
メ 
me
モ 
mo
ヤ 
ya
ユ 
yu
ヨ 
yo
ラ 
ra
リ 
ri
ル 
ru
レ 
re
ロ 
ro
ワ 
wa
ヲ 
wo
ン 
n/m

Combinations

キャ 
kya
キュ 
kyu
キョ 
kyo
ギャ 
gya
ギュ 
gyu
ギョ 
gyo
シャ 
sha
シュ 
shu
ショ 
sho
ジャ 
ja
ジュ 
ju
ジョ 
jo
チャ 
cha
チュ 
chu
チョ 
cho
ニャ 
nya
ニュ 
nyu
ニョ 
nyo
ヒャ 
hya
ヒュ 
hyu
ヒョ 
hyo
ビャ 
bya
ビュ 
byu
ビョ 
byo
ピャ 
pya
ピュ 
pyu
ピョ 
pyo
ミャ 
mya
ミュ 
myu
ミョ 
myo
リャ 
rya
リュ 
ryu
リョ 
ryo

Here is a Printable Katakana Chart (PDF – get Adobe Acrobat Reader).