Ninja Writing Skills Part 1: Hiragana
The Easiest Way To Learn Hiragana
Mastering hiragana should be the first step in your quest to learn Japanese.
Without hiragana, your progress in learning Japanese will be severely limited.
Many will avoid learning hiragana hiragana because they think it will be difficult.
But the truth is that hiragana is actually easy and quick to learn.
You can learn hiragana in a few hours. Or during a quiet weekend.
At Japanese Ammo, we are here to help you so that your task is as easy and enjoyable as possible.
What is Hiragana?
Hiragana is one of the three parts to the Japanese writing system. The other two are katakana and kanji. But don’t worry about them for now – we will get to them later.
Hiragana is a syllabary not an alphabet.
What’s the difference?
Well, an alphabet consists of letters which denote single consonants and vowels.
A syllabary consists of characters that contain the sounds of syllables.
For example, in the English alphabet we have letters like ‘a’ and ‘k’. One denotes a vowel, the other denotes a consonant.
But in hiragana we have characters like か which stands for the sound ‘ka’ and characters like こ which stands for the sound ‘ko’, and so on.
There are 46 characters in the hiragana syllabary. It is important that you know all of them and know them well. Failing to master hiragana within your first month of learning Japanese will result in you being kidnapped by the Yakuza.
Why Learn Hiragana?
Simply put: failing to learn hiragana will be a massive hindrance to your fluency levels in Japanese.
If you don’t learn hiragana, you will never be literate in Japanese.
If you don’t learn hiragana, you will cut yourself off from an entire world of Japanese.
Many textbooks and language resources will use romaji. This is a method of phonetically representing Japanese words using the Roman alphabet.
Many foreigners will try to learn Japanese using only romaji.
But, if you are trying to reach a respectable level of proficiency in Japanese, you should steer clear of using romaji.
Unless you are a complete beginner, romaji really isn’t useful at all. And even if you are a complete beginner, your time is best spent learning hiragana as soon as possible.
Don’t let your literacy be negatively affected by not learning hiragana.
Hiragana is easy and quick to learn and incredibly valuable.
Hiragana may look incredibly difficult and overwhelming if you are used to learning European languages. Many English speakers are uncomfortable stepping outside of the Roman alphabet.
But have no fear! Japan has one of the highest literacy rates in the world with 99% of the population able to read and write. So, if we can master these difficult-looking squiggles, so can you!
Learn Hiragana the Japanese Ammo Way
If you’re still nervous, rest assured that we have developed a system that will take the pain out of learning hiragana. This system does not rely on rote repetition like many other systems advocate.
Instead it injects some fun into the process, using visualisation and fun imagination techniques.
We are also going to learn hiragana in the most logical sequence possible – which is not how most courses teach it – in order to speed up our acquisition and retention of the material.
We have put together a guide that is easy to access and fun to use. You can print it out, stick it somewhere you’ll see it often, scribble all over it, and share it with your friends.
Our guide contains:
- The most logical sequence for learning hiragana
- Fun and memorable mnemonics
- Stroke orders for each character
- Basic vocabulary that puts the hiragana into action as soon as you learn it
- Audio pronunication aid
- Spaced Repetition System suggestions for revision
- Printable worksheets for practice
- Suggestions for further improving your reading and writing skills
You can use our guide to learn hiragana in just a couple of hours. You could set aside some time on a quiet weekend in order to master hiragana.
Get it done as soon as possible and have fun! Once you’ve mastered hiragana, you’ll be much closer to achieving your goal of learning Japanese.
Click to download our Anki deck of Hiragana guide with audio.
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