Today's lesson is about the characters.

Reference from the Agency for Cultural Affairs

- English subtitles -

Japanese characters

We will study three things here

  1. Character type
  2. Number of characters
  3. How to write letters

First is the type of character

There are 3 letters in Japanese, Hiragana, katakana and kanji.

Let’s write Japan in hiragana and katakana kanji.

First is hiragana

Next is katakana

And kanji

Hiragana and katakana represent sounds.

Each character has no meaning.

Katakana is mainly used for words from foreign countries such as coffee and personal computers.

Kanji has a meaning.

Take a look at this kanji, for example. “木”

This is read as “ki”

And it has the meaning of “tree”.

This kanji is read as “Tsuki”

The meaning is “Moon”

In other words, you can guess the meaning of the word by looking at the kanji.

Hiragana and Katakana have only one sound.

However, there are more than one way to read Kanji.

For example, “木(ki)” can be read as “moku” or “me”.

“月(Moon)” is also read as “gatsu” or “getsu”.

And in Japanese, when writing sentences, we use hiragana, katakana and kanji together.

Let’s see this sentence for example.

“Mr. Yamada bought a personal computer last week.”

There are hiragana, katakana and kanji.

- Japanese subtitles -



  1. 文字の種類
  2. 文字の数
  3. 文字の書き方












例えばこの漢字を見てください。 「木」














It may be a little difficult for beginners. The downloadable English subtitles correspond to the Japanese subtitles in the video.  You can use the English subtitles if you need help understanding the contents of the video.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs assists programs that offer Japanese language education to foreign residents through the Japanese Language Learning Project for “Foreign Nationals as Residents” in Areas with Limited Access to Language Classes. This video was developed and launched by them in June 2020 to enable remote learning of Japanese that is rooted in real-life situations. It is for free and encourages learners to view them. It’s very concise and easy to understand. For those who haven’t seen it yet, I’d like to continue to introduce it.

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