You have now started your journey in learning the wonderful language of Japanese! There are many reasons why you might want to learn Japanese and we're excited to join you! With Nihongo Master, you will learn how to speak, hear, write and read Japanese. In this lesson, you'll see the different writing systems of Japanese. You will even learn the first few characters and even some new words!
Use the speaker button to listen to some Japanese. If you have a microphone, you can use the microphone button to record your own voice. Then use the middle play button to play back your voice. Practice listening to your own Japanese to improve your pronunciation!
In the Japanese language, there are three different writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. They serve different purposes and they look different from each other. Once you begin learning them, you'll recognize them quickly. Don't get overwhelmed!
When we introduce new characters and words, you will notice a pencil tool. When you use it, we will show you how to write the character shown. It's important to practice writing to help you memorize new characters. At the end of the lesson, you can print a custom writing sheet that includes the new characters you have learned.
Try it now and learn to write your first Kanji, 日, which means Sun.
Hiragana is the first writing system you will learn. Children in Japan learn how to write Hiragana first and it's a lot of fun! There are 46 different characters that you will learn over time. In this lesson, we will learn the vowels.
This is the Japanese word sugoi which you might hear a Japanese person say when something is terrific or fantastic. Notice that Hiragana characters have a lot of curves to them.
Katakana characters are used when writing words borrowed from other languages. It can also be used for writing sounds like a person laughing or a baby crying. We learn Katakana characters after learning Hiragana.
This is the Japanese word hoteru which means "hotel". Katakana words sounds a lot like the word it is borrowed from. Notice that the characters have more sharp angles to them than Hiragana
Kanji is characters adapted from the Chinese language. There are thousands of Kanji characters in the Japanese language. You don't need to learn all of them. There are about two thousand common Kanji that are used in today's Japanese text. You will slowly be introduced to these characters in future lessons.
This kanji represents the meanings of "word", "speech" or "language". Kanji are usually combined with Hiragana to create full words. For example, 語る means "to talk".
In this lesson, we will learn the vowels in Hiragana. Unlike English, these vowels have just one pronunciation. In English, the vowel, A, can sound like apple or airplane. Two very different sounds. In Japanese, the vowels have only one sound and that makes it very easy!
This is the vowel, 'A'. It sounds like the A in father.
This is the vowel, 'I'. It sounds like the the 'ee' in bee or see.
This is the vowel, 'U'. It sounds like the 'oo' in food.
This is the vowel, 'E'. It sounds like the 'E' in egg.
This is the vowel, 'O'. It sounds like the 'O' in over.
It's important to practice your writing daily. When you write, your brain remembers what you've learned faster. When we introduce new characters, we provide writing sheets to help you practice.
Download Your First Practice Writing Sheet
You are on your way to learning the rest of the Hiragana characters! So far, you've learned five characters but that's already enough to learn some words. Below is a small list of words that use the characters you've learned.
Verb: To meet, to join, to fit together
Verb: To say
Noun: Above, Up, Over
You did it! It's important to practice your memorization of what you learned. Our drills help you remember quickly. Let's practice our drills now!
To record your voice, choose your microphone below.