The Japanese writing system consists of kana and kanji. The kana consist of characters that represent sounds. There are two kana, namely hiragana and katakana.
Japanese uses morae instead of syllables as the basis of its sound system. Each character in hiragana and katakana represents one mora, and each mora lasts for approximately the same amount of time.
Hiragana is used to represent the mora of originally Japanese and naturalized Japanese words. Katakana is used to represent the mora of foreign words and names, loanwords, onomatopoeia, scientific names, and to provide emphasis. For both kana you will need to learn 46 characters in order to be able to write all syllables.
In this first lesson, you will learn to recognize some hiragana characters. In the second lesson, you will learn to recognize some kanji, which are Chinese characters that represent entire words or word parts. And then, in the third lesson, you will learn how to make your first sentences in Japanese.
In the table below you can see the hiragana characters that you will learn in this lesson. You don't need to memorize them by looking at the table. To learn them just click the big button below.