What Is Katakana In Japaneses Writing

The katakana (片仮名, katakana) is one of syllabaries used in Japanese writing along with hiragana . Its invention is attributed to the monk Kukai Kobo Daishi . Katakana can also be used to refer to any hiragana character. When referring to the set of syllabaries hiragana and katakana it is referred to as kana . Of the Japanese alphabets, this is the oldest and was developed to simplify the kanji of Chinese origin that arrived before the beginning of Japanese cultural isolation, which remained unyielding until the end of the Edo Era .

These characters, unlike kanji, have no conceptual value, but only phonetic used to represent onomatopoeia, scientific names of plants, animals and minerals, words and foreign names, in addition to emphasizing certain expressions in texts [ 1 ] . Graphically they have an angular and geometric shape.


  • 1Katakana Table
  • 2Uses of Katakana
  • 3Spelling
    • 1Common Names Transcribed
  • 4See also
  • 5References
  • 6External links

Katakana table [ edit | edit source code ]

This is a katakana table in conjunction with the Romanization of the Hepburn System . Katakana with dakuten or handakuten follow gojūon kana without them. The characters in red are obsolete, and the characters in green are modern additions, used mainly to represent sounds from other languages. Learning to read katakana is often complicated by the similarities between different characters. For example, shi シ and tsu ツ, as well as so ソ and ン, look very similar written except for the inclination and shape. (These differences in pitch and shape are more prominent when written with a brush.)

vowels yōon sokuon
 a  i  u  e  o ya yu yo (The) (i) (u) (and) (The)
カ ka キ ki ク ku ケ ke コ ko キ ャkya キ ュkyu キ ョkyo ッ カkka ッ キkki ッ クkku ッ ケkke ッ コkko
サ sa シ shi ス su セ if ソ so シ ャsha シ ュshu シ ョsho ッ サssa ッ シsshi ッ スssu ッ セsse ッ ソsso
タ ok チ chi ツ tsu テ you ト to チ ャcha ュ ュchu チ ョcho ッ タtta ッ チtchi (cchi) ッ ツttsu ッ テtte ッ トtto
ナ na ニ ni ヌ naked ネ ne ノ no ニ ャnya ニ ュnyu ニ ョnyo
ハ ha ヒ hi フ fu ヘ he ホ ho ヒ ャhya ヒ ュhyu ヒ ョhyo
マ ma ミ mi ム mu メ me モ mo ミ ャmya ミ ュmyu ミ ョmyo
ヤ ya  yi ¹ ユ yu  ye ¹ ヨ yo
ラ ra リ laughs ル ru レ re ロ ro リ ャrya リ ュryu リ ョryo
ワ wa ヰ wi  wu ¹ ヱ we ヲ wo ² ヰ ャ wya ヰ ュ wyu ヰ ョ wyo
ン n
ga gi gu ge go ギ ャgya ギ ュgyu ギ ョgyo
za ji zu ze zo ャ ャja ジ ュju ジ ョjo
da di dzu of do ャ ャja ヂ ュju ヂ ョjo
ba bi bu be bo ビ ャbya ビ ュbyu ビ ョbyo
pa pi pu pe po ピ ャpya ピ ュpyu ピ ョpyo ッ パppa ッ ピppi ッ プppu ッ ぺppe ッ ポppo
(ユ ィ) イ ィyi (ユ ェ) イ ェye
(ヷ) ヴ ァva (ヸ) ヴ ィvi vu (ヹ) ヴ ェve (ヺ) ヴ ォvo ヴ ャvya ヴ ュvyu ヴ ョvyo
シ ェshe
ェ ェje
チ ェche
(ス ヮ) ス ァswa ス ィsi ス ゥswu ス ェswe ス ォswo ス ャsya ス ュsyu ス ョsyo
(ズ ヮ) ズ ァzwa ズ ィzi ズ ゥzwu ズ ェzwe ズ ォzwo ズ ャzya ズ ュzyu ズ ョzyo
ツ ァtsa ツ ィtsi ツ ェtse ツ ォtso
テ ァtha テ ィti テ ゥthu テ ェtye テ ォtho テ ャtya テ ュtyu テ ョtyo
デ ァdha デ ィdi デ ゥdhu デ ェdye デ ォdho デ ャdya デ ュdyu デ ョdyo
(ト ヮ) ト ァtwa ト ィtwi ト ゥyou ト ェtwe ト ォtwo
(ド ヮ) ド ァdwa ド ィdwi ド ゥdu ド ェdwe ド ォdwo
フ ァfa フ ィfi ホ ゥhu フ ェfe フ ォfo フ ャfya フ ュfyu フ ョfyo
リ ィryi リ ェrye
ウ ァwa ウ ィwi ウ ゥwu ウ ェwe ウ ォwo ウ ャwya ウ ュwyu ウ ョwyo
(ク ヮ) ク ァkwa ク ィkwi ク ゥkwu ク ェkwe ク ォkwo
(グ ヮ) グ ァgwa グ ィgwi グ ゥgwu グ ェgwe グ ォgwo
(ム ヮ) ム ァmwa ム ィmwi ム ゥmwu ム ェmwe ム ォmwo
ヵ little ka ヶ small ke 3

1 : These kanas were introduced into the educational system in the middle of the Meiji Era , but are almost never used, they are called obsolete kanas. [1] [link inactive] [2]

2 : ヲ (“wo”) sounds the same as オ (“o”), but is rarely used, except when the hiragana correspondent has to be represented throughout the katakana environment. The katakana version of kana wo, ヲ, it is primarily used, though rarely, to represent the を particle in katakana. The particle is commonly pronounced as the same “o” kana.

3 : This character is actually a simplification of kanji 箇 , not a katakana.

Uses of Katakana [ edit | edit source code ]

Katakana is used to write common and proper names of foreign origin, mainly western, onomatopoeia, technical words, slang and scientific names of plants and animals. Onomatopoeia written in katakana is very present in the Japanese language – in comics ( manga ), they are often used to represent the sound of rain, clapping, punching. [ 2 ]

  • Write words from other languages , known in Japan as gairaigo(外来 語), initially from Portuguese and Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries and, starting with the Meiji Restoration , mostly in English . For example, “television” is read terebi , from English television (テ レ ビ, terebi); [ 3 ]
  • Onomatopoeia, for example pinpon(ピ ン ポ ン, pinpon), the “ding-dong”, the sound of a bell;
  • Used for scientific terms like names of animals, plants, minerals, among others;
  • Emphasize words. For example, it is common to see コ コ koko (here), ゴ ミ gomi (trash) or メ ガ ネ megane (glasses).

Spelling [ edit | edit source code ]

Vowel extension mark

In katakana an extensive vowel is represented from a broad line called chōon (ー in horizontal writing, | in vertical writing).

If the word is Japanese, extensions can also be formed in a manner similar to how it is done in hiragana:


  • ミ ス タ ー (misutaa, mister)
  • ス ー パ ー マ ー ケ ッ ト (suupaamaaketto, from English supermarket, supermarket)
  • シ ョ ー イ チ (Shōichi, although it would normally be written in kanji or hiragana).


A small tsu ッ called sokuon indicates a twin consonant, which is represented in rōmaji by doubling the next consonant. For example, bed is written in katakana with a twin consonant, ベ ッ ド (beddo), which originates from the English bed . Pronunciation is done by creating a pause between the kanas involved in consonant duplication.

Common Names Transcribed [ edit | edit source code ]

Some examples of transcribing proper names for katakana:

Original name Katakana Rōmaji
Cassia カ シ ア Kassia
Edward エ ド ゥ ア ル ド Eduārudo
Gustavo グ ス タ ー ボ / グ ス タ ー ヴ ォ Gusutabo
Kesia ケ ー ジ ア Kēzia
Tiago チ ア ー ゴ Chiago
Carlos カ ル ロ ス Karurosu
Wesley ウ ェ ズ レ イ Wezurei
Igor イ ゴ ー ル / イ ゴ ー Igōru


Leave a Comment