Writing System Katakana

Beware this guide is work in progress!
  • Katakana – Syllabic Japanese script
    カタカナ (“Katakana” written in Katakana), meaning “fragmentary kana”.

Taking on the other Writing System Katakana

Now you’ve hopefully began to grasp Hiragana. The good news is that Katakana is mostly only different graphically. As you’ve learned from the Writing Systems chapter, Katakana is used for foreign words and the Kana shape is rougher. What you used to learn can also be applied to Hiragana as well. What learning method suited you best would be wise to use again for the next Japanese script.

Katakana Chart

Picture of table of Katakana Chart with Stroke order
Katakana chart made originally by Karine WIDMER. escale-japon.com.

Full size image

Functional Marks and Diacritics

These are explained more thoroughly in the previous chapter. Please refer to that page if you need a reminder of their functions.

little tsu, odoriji, dakuten, handakuten

Sokuon/Small tsu: ッ
Iteration mark (odoriji): ヽ
Dakuten (same as Hiragana): ゙
Handakuten same as Hiragana): ゚

What is new here from the Hiragana set is the appearence of っ that looks like ッ in Katakana. They both serve the same purpose.

Example with the little tsu (ッ) in Katakana

プ mappu (map)
ク rokku (rock)

Dakuten (゛) and Handakuten (゜)

They work exactly as they did for Hiragana. As you can see below. By adding these diacritics the sound of the Kana changes as seen below.

カ ka ->  ガ ga
キ ki ->  ギ gi
ク ku -> グ gu

ヒ hi -> ピ pi
フ fu -> プ pu
ヘ he -> ペ pe
…and so forth

Below is a small chart showing the additional characters that can be created using these diacritics.

Chart of Katakana's character that are dakuten and handakuten

How to study the Writing System Katakana

Since we now have understood that both Hiragana and Katakana share the same amount of characters and pronunciation, but has different appearance and usage, the study possibilities are the same. We have here on japanesegoi a quiz ready for your practicing that you can do as many times as you wish until you perfect it! Let us list some study resources.

Practical Study Methods