Minna-san Konnichiwa! (みなさんこんにちは)

Thanks for stumbling onto our page! We dedicate this blog to Japan and all the great stuff that comes out of it.

This blog is here for those interested in seeing what the ACMT Japanese Club has been up to and what we're learning step-by-step. It's a self-study club to enrich our lives and give us better opportunities for our future.

If you decide to follow this blog and learn alongside us, don't hesitate to send us questions. We may only officially have members who are a part of ACMT Zagreb, but unofficially the amount, who want to be a part of this, is limitless.

Thanks for your time and effort.


Japanese Club


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Japanese Hiragana (ひらがな)

Hiragana is one of three character sets used in the Japanese language.

Each Hiragana letter represents particular syllable. Letter itself has no meaning.

Hiragana is used widely to form a sentence.

TIP: Did you know that in Japanese, when it comes to sounds, it is always consonant-vowel.  The only time when there is a consonant without a vowel, is the (n) kana and it always goes at the end of a word when it does show up.  You'll probably see this fact again.
Example: (ho-n) (trans. = book)

Number of Letters

In modern Japanese, there are 46 basic Hiragana letters.

In addition to these 46 basic letters called gojūon, there are modified forms to describe more sounds - 20 dakuon, 5 handakuon, 36 yōon, 1 sokuon and 6 additional letters.


Gojūon-zu (五十音図)

In Japanese, syllables are organized in the form of a table (5 x 10). This table is called gojūon-zu (literally means table of 50 sounds).

To describe these sounds, Hiragana and Katakana alphabets are used.

Another syllable is included. It doesn't belong to any row or column.  It is the only character that doesn't have a vowel sound right after.  It is also the only consonant that stands alone.  It is never at the beginning of a word, only at the end.

In total, 46 letters (45+1) are counted as gojūon (50 sounds).


1st row of each main row shows the typed hiragana, the 2nd one below it shows the hiragana as if it were handwritten and the 3rd row shows how the hiragana sounds in latin characters.

Structure of the Table

The first row - (a), (i), (u), (e) and (o) are five vowels of the Japanese language.

Letters in the same column contain the same vowel.

Letters in the same row are considered to contain the same consonant.

Letters and represent the same sound (o),  is used only as the particle in a sentence (more on particles later).
In the picture below you can see a more in-depth description of the table above:

Example of the meaning of the columns and rows of the kana chart.


Dakuon literally means turbid or murky sound. It is the voiced sound of (ka), (sa), (ta) and (ha)-row syllables.

Dakuon is indicated with two small dashes.

Pronunciation of and , and are the same, but one version is used more than others.  More on that later.


Handakuon literally means half-turbid or half-murky sound.

Handakuon is indicated with a small circle.


Yōon is a combination of the consonant of i-column syllables and ya, yu or yo. For example, k + ya = kya.

Yōon is described by i-column letters plus small , or . For example, + = きゃ [kya].

Pronunciation of じゃ, じゅ, じょ and ぢゃ, ぢゅ, ぢょ are the same.


Sokuon is a pause (no sound) between two syllables.

Sokuon is described by small .  The difference can be seen here between the regular 'tsu' and the sokuon:
regular --> つ | っ <--sokuon

When written in rōmaji, the sokuon is the same letter as the one that follows. 

さっき (sakki)      ひっし (hisshi)       いった (itta)       やっぱり (yappari)

 Pronunciation of yappari would be:   ya (pause) pari


Additional Letters (rarely used, but useful to know!)

ぁ       ぃ       ぅ       ぇ      ぉ       う゛

These additional letters are invented in modern era to describe the sounds of foreign language.

Note: Foreign words are usually written in Katakana. These additional Hiragana letters are rarely used.

ふぁ (fa)       てぃ (ti)      どぅ (du)      うぇ (we)     ふぉ (fo)

Small (a),    (i),    (u),    (e)    and (o)   are attached after particular letters.

う゛ぁ (va)      う゛ぃ (vi)      う゛ (vu)      う゛ぇ (ve)      う゛ぉ (vo)

う゛ is used for [v] sound.