Japanese Writing News

Japanese Writing is a anime/manga concept
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This is from Magi Wikiawritten by Manikworld and Tvb10data. I was going to post this in the Magi anime discussion thread that has the wiki project, but I felt posting in a separate blog was more better.

I post this because the Magi anime series has names originated from Arabic, so translations from English and Japanese are rough. Spellings are going to vary. For example, in Japanese, the letter "L" becomes the letter "R" since there is no "L" in the language. Judal will be called Judar because it's a reference to the tale, Judar and His Brethren from One Thousand and One Nights.

Right now, I will change every name according to Magi Wikia.

Magi Translation

List of all vocabulary translations of different languages.

JapaneseEnglishHongKong TVHongKong ComicTaiwan Comic
アラジンAladdin阿拉丁阿拉丁阿拉丁
アリババ・サルージャAlibaba Saluja阿里巴巴・沙璐查阿里爸爸・沙魯扎阿里巴巴・沙爾賈
怪傑アリババWonder Man Alibaba怪盜阿里巴巴怪傑阿里爸爸怪傑阿里巴巴
モルジアナMorgiana莫路珍娜莫路珍娜摩兒迦娜
ウーゴUgo烏哥烏哥烏戈
アモンAmon阿蒙阿蒙亞蒙
ジャミルJamil扎米爾扎米爾賈米爾
ゴルタスGoltas哥達斯哥魯達斯---
ブーデルBudel寶度普迪魯---
ミーナMina美娜------
エリザベスElizabeth伊莉莎伯伊莉莎伯伊莉莎白
チャガン・シャマンChagan Shaman成加・沙曼成加・沙曼查干・夏曼
ババBaba婆婆婆婆嬤嬤
トーヤToya圖雅托娃托雅
ドルジDorji多爾智多魯吉多爾極
バートルBator霸圖------
ボヤンBoyan博彥------
チャガン・ハーンChagan Khan成加・汗成加・汗---
練白瑛Hakuei Ren練白瑛練白瑛練白瑛
パイモンPaimon派蒙拜蒙派蒙
李青舜Seisyun Ri李青舜李青舜李青舜
呂斎Ryosai呂齋呂齋呂齋
練白龍Hakuryuu Ren練白龍練白龍練白龍
ジュダルJudar誅鐸祖達魯裘達爾
サアサSahsa莎紗莎艾莎薩阿挲
ライラLeila麗娜萊拉萊拉
ファティマーFatima法添馬法丁馬法緹瑪
ナージャNadja妮嘉妮嘉娜迦
S・ナンドS NandoS・南度S・納度S南德
L・ナンドL NandoL・南度L・納度/艾魯納度L南德
M・ナンドM NandoM・南度M・納度M南德
シンドバッドSinbad仙巴仙巴辛巴達
ジャーファルJafar昃琺積法魯賈法爾
マスルールMasrur默司護馬斯魯路馬斯魯爾
アブマド・サルージャAhbmad Saluja涵密・沙璐查阿布馬多・沙魯扎阿布瑪德・沙爾賈
サブマド・サルージャSahbmad Saluja沁密・沙璐查沙布馬多・沙魯扎沙布瑪德・沙爾賈
ラシッド・サルージャRashid Saluja立世德・沙璐查------
アニス・サルージャAnise Saluja雅妮絲・沙璐查阿尼絲---
カシムKassim卡禪卡西姆卡希姆
マリアムMariam瑪琳瑪莉阿姆---
ザイナブZaynab珍楠塞娜普翟娜布
ハッサンHassan赫辰柏桑哈珊
アルジャリス---艾札里斯------
ハルドゥーブ---哈杜寶------
銀行屋Banker銀行家銀行屋---
マルッキオMarkkio馬奇傲馬爾奇奧---
練紅玉Kougyoku Ren練紅玉練紅玉練紅玉
夏黄文Koubun Ka夏黃文夏黃文夏黃文
バルカークBarkak巴革巴魯卡克---
JapaneseEnglishHongKong TVHongKong ComicTaiwan Comic
チーシャンQishan支鄉支鄉七湘
ウータン---烏丹烏丹烏丹
暗黒大陸Dark Continent暗黑大陸暗黑大陸暗黑大陸
カタルゴCatharge迦太閣卡特魯哥---
ファナリスFanalis樊力仕法那利斯---
レーム帝国Reim Empire灆帝國雷姆帝國---
パルテビアPartevia Empire珀提比亞帕提比亞---
バルバッドBalbadd巴爾弼巴魯巴特巴爾巴德
黄牙一族Kouga Clan黃牙族黃牙族黃牙一族
大黄牙帝国Kouga Empire大黃牙帝國大黃牙帝國大黃牙帝國
煌帝国Kou Empire煌帝國/大煌朝煌帝國煌帝國
シンドリアSindria仙治亞仙杜尼亞辛德利亞
JapaneseEnglishHongKong TVHongKong ComicTaiwan Comic
マギMagi魔奇魔奇魔奇
ジンDjinn神魔神魔魔人
魔法使Magician魔法使魔法師---
ネクロポリスnecropolis大墓地大墓地---
ルフRukh留風魯芙鵬鳥
ルフの子Rukh Boy留風之子魯芙的孩子---
金属器Metal Vessel金屬器金屬器金具
眷属器Household Vessel眷屬器眷屬器眷具
魔法道具Magic tool魔法道具魔法道具---
魔力(マゴイ)Magoi魔力魔力---
魔法のターバンMagic Turban魔法頭巾魔毯---
開けゴマOpen Sesame芝麻開門芝麻開門芝麻開門
双月剣Sougetsuken (Double Moon Swords)雙月劍雙月劍雙月劍
マグルアルハザードMagul Alhazard奪命龍捲風------
ハルハール・インフイガールHalharl Infigar灼熱雙掌灼熱的雙掌---
王の器King Candidate王之大器王之大器---
黒縛霧刀Sword of the Black Binding Fog黑縛霧刀黑縛霧刀黑縛霧刀
赤幻霧刀Sword of the Scarlet Delusional Fog赤幻霧刀赤幻霧刀赤幻霧刀
黄侵霧刀Sword of the Yellow Corrosive Fog黃侵霧刀黃侵霧刀黃侵霧刀
ダンジョン怪物軍団---迷宮怪物軍團迷宮怪物軍團---
魔導士Sorcerer魔導士魔導士魔導士
堕転---墮轉墮轉墮轉
世界に異変---世界異變世界異變世界異變
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Welcome to - Lesson 2 Japanese Writing: Japanese & Foreign Names

It's been a while since I was able to get to these lessons. So, I thought I would get this one out there a day earlier than usual. I was taking a break one week as I was marathoning Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and updating the Anime Vice wiki on the series. I think I was cursed last week. I was writing this all up and ready to start attaching the images and upload when I noticed that nothing was working. That threw off my schedule and I was never able to get back to the lesson. With this new week starting. I figure now is a good time to get back to the Anime Vice Japanese Lessons.

This week I'm going to be teaching you a pretty simple lesson. I've already taught you the basics in reading and writing Japanese in Hiragana and Katakana. If you are just joining us in these lessons. Look to the bottom of this posting and see the Lesson Guide. This week's lesson is all about learning the patterns of reading and writing a Japanese and foreign names in Japanese. This is not about learning to read or write the Kanji. Learning Kanji will be much later.

I can't read your minds to know these lessons are helping anyone. A lot of people seems really into these lessons when I announced I was starting them, but have gotten very few comments.

Japanese Names

Since this is a lesson in Japanese, we should start with Japanese names. Japanese names are always written in a simple patter. What we know in English as the Last Name is more referred to in Japan as the Family Name. In Japan, you always write the family name first then your Given Name (First Name). This is a concept that nearly anyone remotely familiar with anime/manga knows. What you may not know is that the Japanese form of writing called Romaji(a practice of changing Japanese kana into the Latin alphabet.) doesn't recognize capital letters. If you have ever seen Romaji capitalized. That is normally targeted toward an English audience.

I will be placing the Hiragana over each of the proper Kanji so you will know which is which.

I am linking you to the Hiragana Chart here for your benefit if you have forgotten any of these or need a refresher.

Hiragana Chart: HERE

Firstly, let's start you off with a Character that many of you may already know.

Ichigo Kurosaki
Ichigo Kurosaki

This is the main protagonist of BLEACH, Ichigo Kurosaki. Names written in full Kanji for both the family and given names may have a space put between them, but this may not always be the case. The Romaji form of his name would be "kurosaki ichigo".

In case your interested, this is the break down of the meaning of Ichigo's name.

黒 kuro (black/dark)

崎 saki (small peninsula)

一 ichi (one)

護 go (protect/defend)

Ichigo can also mean strawberries, but that is written with this kanji 苺 (which also contains the kanji for mother in it) or written in Hiragana as いちご (ichigo).

Missing O & Silent U-

Next we are going to bring up an issue that is more a practice in English when writing Japanese names. It's one where names written in English will drop the う (u) from a name, and the お (o) characters.

Ryoko Okami
Ryoko Okami

This is the Japanese name of the Okami-san lead character named Ryoko Okami. Now, if you have studied or you check the Hiragna reference chart above you will see that the Romaji form of Ryoko's name is actually "ookami ryouko". Has you may notice that when her name has been written in English it is missing that extra O and U you can see in the picture.

I'm not particularly sure why they remove the U when in English, but it will happen a lot. Sometimes you will see the U character. It will depend on the person translating. When writing in English the う (u) is either treated as if it was never there. Other times a mark is place above the letter that came before it. It's known as a Macron. You have probably seen this before when studying other languages. With a macron the "ryouko" name would appear like this in English - "Ryōko"

If you see a Macron in a Japanese names. It could mean a few things. It's either that there is either a う(u) following that letter or the vowel is repeating.

Here are some examples:

ā = aa

ē = ee

ī = ii

ō = oo

ū = uu

This is something you will see more often in writing Katakana, since the dash character asks you to extent the vowel sound.

Added H

Another way of handling the extra お(o) and う(u) specifically can be to place an "h" in the name when writting the name in English. You might of seen a Japanese name that had a random "h" in it after an "o". Sometimes the extra お(o) is written with with a macron or nothing. Other times an "h" is placed in the name. An example would be with the character Kaname Ohgi (おうぎ かなめ). When you look at his family name written in Hiragana. You see the う(u) written after the お(o). When the name was officially translated into English, the "h" was added in place of the う(u).

This can also happen if their is a double おお(oo). The second お(o) would be written with an "h". So, if you ever seen an "h" in a name such as Ohgi or Tohdoh. After that お(o) is either a う(u) or another お(o). This is just something to keep in mind when reading Japanese names or words written in English.

Names with Hiragana and Katakana

There are name cases in manga/anime series where a character's Japanese name will not be written in a Kanji. It would be written in either Hiragana or Katakana. You will see this often in series that are targeting a younger audience that have yet to learn all the Kanji. This also helps when a character's given name is a proper word. Most of the characters in the Naruto series have their given names written in Katakana.

Sakura Haruno
Sakura Haruno

Good examples of this can be seen in the Naruto series. As my example, I'm using Sakura Haruno name. You will notice that her family name is written in kanji. Her given name is in Katakana. This can be for two reason. One, it's because they want a younger audience to see サクラ(sakura) and know someone is saying her name. As I said before, Kanji doesn't have the benefits of capital letters to distinguish between words and names.

An example would be with a girl who's name was "Spring". If the S wasn't capitalized, you wouldn't know that was a name while reading. You might think it meant the season.

Another reason her name could be written in Katakana is because sakura has another meaning in Japanese. Sakura is another name for Cherry Blossoms. If her name use the sakura kanji=桜 or the hiragana=さくら. The reader might not know they are saying her name and not "cherry blossom".

Some children may even start out writing their names in Hiragana before they learn the Kanji for their given name. An adult may use Hiragana or Katakana to write their given anme because they want their name to stand out more, or because they name a common name. I've seen that more with women's names.

Foreign Names

Names written outside of Japan are almost always written in Katakana. Even when a person is from another Asian nation, such as China. This is because both Japan and China share Kanji, but they don't have the same meaning in Japan as they do in China. Also, there are sounds in the Chinese language not found in Japan. Look at the name of Bruce Lee (or Rock Lee if you prefer). There is no "L" sound in Japanese. So, there names are written as Lee(リー, rii). That's about as far as I will touch on Chinese names.

When learning to write an English (or any other language) name into Japanese. It can be tricky. That's because you want to avoid trying to be literal. You want to go by phonetics (how the name sounds) and match it up the best way you can with the proper Katakana.

A popular misconception in the U.S. is that all names spoken in Japenese are said with the Family name first then Given name. The is completely false. Foreign names outside of Asia are written in our standard Given and Family name format. My name wouldn't be written or pronounced as Remmell Kristoffer. It would just be said as Kristoffer Remmell.

The only time in a Japanese series have I seen European style names spoken with family name first is One Piece. In that series, everyone's name is written and spoken with family name then given. It's just the style of world Eiichro Oda created.

When foreign names are written in Japanese a dot is placed in between the words to let the reader know when one name ends and the next begins. This dot is called an Interpenct. It's only ever really used for names or proper titles, such as movies, albums, or books. An example would be the sound track for Summer Wars. In Japanese it's written as 「サマーウォーズ」 オリジナル・サウンドトラック (samaa woozu orijinaru saundotorakku). The interpenct was in between "Original" and "Soundtrack"

Katakana Chart: HERE

Let's use some anime examples to help you out with writing names.

Edward Elric
Edward Elric

This is the lead character from Fullmetal Alchemist. His name is Edward Elric. In romaji, his name would look closer to this "edowaado erurikku". What you may notice is that in Edward's given name that there is no R base characters. Instead there is a "dash" mark. As covered in the last Katakana Lesson. This dash means you extend the vowel sound that comes before it.

This is my given name in Japanese = Kristoffer (クリストファー, kurisutofaa). You might think the name should end with a R-Base character, but that would be wrong. Rs after a vowel sound As are more often just written by extending that A sound in place of the R. Look at Edward's family name of Elric. There is a ル(ru) to represent the L sound in his name, and following it is a リ(ri).

An example would be with Arthur the cat from Code Geass. You would be mistaken if you thought the name written in Katakana would be ア(a)タ(ta)ラ(ra). If you pronounced it all together, it wouldn't sound right. Even if the Romaji together look close. The correct way to spell Arthur in Japanese is アーサー(aasaa). When you say it out loud, it sounds like Arthur.

Another example of a common mistake would be with the name Gina. You wouldn't use ギナ(gina). It name look right in Romaji, but the pronunciation of the ギ(gi) is wrong. The correct way to write Gina in Japanese would be either ジナ(jina) or ジーナ(jiina). That would sound correct when pronounce in Japanese.

Let's try another character.

Erica Hartmann
Erica Hartmann

This is Erica Hartmann from Strike Witches. Her name in Japanese is エーリカ・ハルトマン "eerika harutoman". This is sort of an exception to the R after A rule. This is more of a style choice. Her name could also be written as ハートマン(haatoman), but what is used also works. This is probably to help the reader know her name is Hartmann and not Hatmann.

In fact, if you want to learn how to spell certain European style names in Japanese. Just go through the list of characters for the series Fullmetal Alchemist and Strike Witches. I've gone through all the character profiles and made sure their Japanese names sections are filled out. (It's interesting that throughout Fullmetal Alchemist, there were not characters that had a name written in Kanji or Hiragana. All names were either European or Chinese in origin.)

Middle Initials

The Middle Initial is a funny thing when written in Japanese. They don't really have them, but when writing them for a person, it's actually written as the Latin letter.

Monkey D. Luffy
Monkey D. Luffy

I'll use two examples for this. First I will use a famous one of Monkey D. Luffy. In Japanese his name is written as モンキー・D・ルフィ "monkii dii rufi". Another example would be Solf J. Kimblee ゾルフ・J・キンブリー "zorufu jee kinburii". This is only done if the name is written using the initial. If you were to write the First, Middle, and Last Name. It would all be in Katakana. An example would be Olivier Milla Armstrong オリヴィエ・ミラ・アームストロング "orivie mira aamusutorongu".

Foreign Names with Macron

Above I discussed how the macron mark(dash mark above the vowel) is used in Japanese names written in romaji. This can also be used heavily when writing foreign names in romaji, because so often you are being asked to extend vowel sounds. In this portion of the lesson I've been using strict Romaji, but both are perfectly acceptable. Below is a chart using the examples of the foreign names I have shown you so far with and without the macron.

EnglishJapaneseRomajiRomaji w/Macron
Edward Elricエドワード・エルリックEdowaado ErurikkuEdowādo Erurikku
Kristoffer Remmellクリストファー・レメルKurisutofaa RemeruKurisutofā Remeru
ArthurアーサーAasaaĀsā
Erica Hartmannエーリカ・ハルトマンEerika HarutomanĒrika Harutoman
Monkey D. Luffyモンキー・D・ルフィMonkii D. RufiMonkī D. Rufi
Solf J. Kimbleeゾルフ・J・キンブリーZorufu J. KinburiiZorufu J Kinburī
Olivier Milla Armstrongオリヴィエ・ミラ・アームストロングOrivie Mira AamustoronguOrivie Mira Āmusutorongu

This was a pretty detailed and involved lesson. I hope I was able to cover everything to help you out. I probably should of split it up into two sections. Remember if you have any questions, post in the comments. Also, post in the comments if you liked this and it helped you.

TIP: Writing Your Name in Japanese

If you are still unsure how you write your name in Japanese. You can try Google Translate. Just set it for English to Japanese. If your name it's too obscure, it can be good for the answer. It didn't want to recognize my full name "Kristoffer", but it would recognize the "Kristoff " part. When I wrote in the more common "Christopher". It knew that name in Japanese. Truth be told, the true way to pronounce my name is actually a "Kristoff" with an "er" at the end.

Next Lesson: Names - Honorifics

Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt

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Welcome to - Lesson Three Japanese Writing

ganbatte!!
ganbatte!!

This is the third in the Japanese Language Lessons you can only find here on Anime Vice. It's the week of Christmas here in the U.S., but that's not stopping me from keeping the classes going. Today is a big day, because we are going to completely finish up the Hiragana portion of the Lessons and we are going to talk about certain kinds of modifier kana that you can add to alter the sounds of certain kana. Once this is completed, I plan to move on to Katakana.

When we finish Katakana. I will then be teaching you how to translate your own name into Japanese. We are getting closer and closer to learning deeper into the Japanese Language. I know this is a bit tedious, but understanding these will make everything so much easier later on. It was around this tiem in my lessons that I started to understand what I was always seeing. In my head I could now look at Japanese and know what the character was. Before, it just used to be a scribble. I'm sure you are going to get that same feeling soon, and it's pretty exciting.

I hope you enjoy!

Seems as if I added a lot looking at this list, but it's mostly the modifiers and we will be covering those in a bit. Once you understand the modifiers it all makes sense. First;y, let's finish up the writing Hiragana lessons with the R-Base characters.

Base R

As you can see, the Ru and Ro are pretty similar in appearance. The best was I can help you to remember the difference. Just remember that the Ro is not the one with the circle at the end.

That's it, you have now completed the Hiragana class. There are 46 base kana in hiragana, but that is hardly enough to make up a whole language and sounds. Next we are going to cover some certain modifiers.

Dakuten & Handakuten

Dakuten

Dakuten Example
Dakuten Example

There are times when in Japanese the same character appears but will have a different sounds. The first example is called a Dakuten (sometimes referred to as a "ten ten"). They are easy to spot since they look like little quotation marks next to the hiragana. Adding this to the Ka character would now make it pronounced as Ga. These changes follow a specific pattern.

With Dakuten Added:

  • The K Base will all be G Base
  • The S Base will be Z Base (with the exception of Shi will be Ji)
  • The T Base will all be D Base
  • The H Base will all be B Base

Handakuten

Handakuten Example
Handakuten Example

Another modifying mark that is similar to the Dakuten is call the Handakuten (sometimes referred to as a "maru" or "circle"). Unlike the Dakuten where the sound in the syllable can vary. This mark will always mean the character starts with a P sound.

The Handakuten isn't as widely used as the Dakuten. It is only used with the H Base kana to make them P Base, as seen in the image example below.

With Handakuten Added:

  • Ha becomes Pa
  • Hi becomes Pi
  • Fu becomes Pu
  • He becomes Pe
  • Ho becomes Po

Small Kana Modifiers

There are times when Kana are added to words in order to alter the way a word is pronounced. There are seen as small Hiragana written directly after a regular sized one. You can see an example of one in the chibi drawing at the top of the lessons where I wrote "がんばって" (ganbatte). The phrase means "Keep it up!". You may notice that the T is written as repeating. There is a reason for that, and we are going to cover that next.

Small Tsu Modifier

The small つ (tsu) kana is a popular one you are going to be seeing quite a bit of in Japanese writing. When writing this, it means that you are to extend the consonant of whatever character comes after it. In the case of "がんばって" (ganbatte), the て (te) comes directly after the small つ (tsu).

Another example would be to look to the Japanese word for "school".

In the word "gakkou", you ca see that the small つ (tsu) is followed by the こ (ko) kana. That tells you the extend the K sound. See, this one is easy enough.

Examples:

EnglishRomajiKana
Keep it upganbatteがんばって
schoolgakkouがっこう
husbandottoおっと
one minuteippunいっぷん

Just don't be fooled to think that every time you see a consonant repeated when reading the romaji of Japanese that there is a small つ (tsu) involved. The word for woman in Japanese is おんな (onna). This is just made up of a o-n-na hiragana. You are only going to have to be aware of this when you see the N consonant repeat. That's because of the that rouge ん (n) hiragana.

The Kuja Amazons want to see Luffy's Kintama.
The Kuja Amazons want to see Luffy's Kintama.

To fill out in on something funny. You might have heard of the series Gintama. It's written ぎんたま(gintama). If you were to remove the dakuten from the ぎ(gi). The word would now be きんたま (kintama). Now, while literally that now means "golden ball". Kintama is also the word for "testicles". lol When Luffy was trapped in the jail of Amazon Lily, many had never seen a man before. He was standing before them naked, and they asked him what was in the sack between his legs. With confidence, Luffy announced that's his "family jewels" (kintama), but they thought he meant "golden balls". That's why Margaret was after Luffy's kintama, and why he was so passionate to keep them right where they were.

Ya, Yu, & Yo Modifiers

These modifiers are not seen as often as the small つ (tsu), but they will appear. They are just more complicated, but written basically the same way. They are smaller versions that are written after a regular kana.

Ya/Yu/Yo Modifiers
Ya/Yu/Yo Modifiers

You will notice that all these modifiers really do are replace the regular vowel base added to the pronunciation with it's self. How き (ki) added with a small や (ya) afterit becomes a きゃ (kya). This is one example. You can see all the variants in the use of these modifiers in the chart above.

The exception being with the し (shi) and ち (chi). In this case, the only thing you will replace is the vowel at the end. You will see something similar with the じ (ji), but it's basically the same thing as the shi with a dakuten,

Examples:

EnglishRomajiKana
hospitalitykyakuzukiきゃくずき
luxuryshashiしゃし
bathingnyuuyokuにゅうよく
youthjakunenじゃくねん

This was a pretty complicated lesson, but once we get all these writing lessons out the of the way. We can start handling deeper lessons.

Complete Hiragana Chart

If you would like to have a print out of all these Hiragana. Go HERE to download the full sized version to print out.

Next Lesson: Katakana - Characters Vowels & Base K / S / T

Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt

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Welcome to - Lesson 2 Japanese Writing: Honorifics

It's time for another lesson in Anime Vice Japanese Lessons. Last time we covered how names are written in Japanese. This time we are going to cover Japanese Honorifics. It's something you will hear quite often when watching Japanese dub work of animes, and most fan sub groups keep them in the mangas. Most publishers cut them out. Some are pretty basic and easy to learn. Some are more obscure. In this lesson I'm going to teach you some of the kinds you are most likely to see in anime/manga, and how they should be used.

The concept of Japanese Honorifics is one of the strongest in the Japanese language and culture that is based upon politeness that has existed since the Feudal Era (1185-1603). The use of honorifics makes clear a person's relationship or status in either the their friends, coworkers, or general society. They are a sign of the level of respect you have for a person. Honorifics in the Japanese language are attached to the name as a suffix.
 
A common misunderstanding of honorifics from most outside of the culture is that honorifics are used when a person is speaking of them self. Using an honorific when addressing yourself is seen as a sign of arrogance. It's the equivalent of talking about yourself in the third person. It's why I always find it funny when people have an honorific in their online handles.

Used in manga and anime, the Japanese honorifics gives the reader an insight to the relationship standing characters have with one another. These often have such subtle nuances that they are not easily translated into other languages. This being the cause while most publishers remove them. This can at times distort a story from it's Japanese origins.

General Honorific

These are examples and descriptions of many of the most common and uncommon Japanese honorifics you can find in Japan. Though most honorifics are written in the hiragana form of Japanese writing. Occasionally, they're written in kanji.

-san

The honorific "-san" (さん) is one of the most common and well known honorific in Japan. It is the basic equivalent of Mr. Miss, Ms, & Mrs. It covers all of these. Use of "-san" is directed toward a person you know generally or have just met.  If you are unsure of which honorific to ever use. This is the safest choice. 
 

-han

The honorific "-han" (はん) is a variant of "-san" used in the Kansai dialect.
 

-sama

The honorific "-sama" (様 / さま) is best described as one level higher than -san. More often used toward those you hold in high regard. It's a sign of respect. It's also used in the service industry quite widely. When addressing a customer an worker would refer to the person as "-sama".
 
This honorific can also be found at the end of certain statements that express gratitude for a person's efforts or hard work. 
 
Example:

English - " I appreciate your effort. "
Japanese - " ご苦労様 (go-kurō sama) "


-dono

The honorific -dono (殿 / どの) originally comes from the word "tono" (殿 / との) that means "lord". It would be similar to addressing someone as "milord". The use of which is a higher level than "-sama". Use of "dono" is for those in which you have a very high level of respect for. This is not regularly used in modern Japanese conversation.
 
In manga/anime, a character from a samurai upbringing will often refer to others with "-dono". The character Shinobu from Nagasarete Airantou refers to everyone outside her family as "-dono".

-kun

The honorific "-kun" (君 / くん) is a very common suffix added to the end of boy's names, and sometimes used for men. Normally with people who have known each other since the past. It is a sign of closeness and endearment toward that male. The use of "-kun" can also be used for men who are of a junior status. It can also be used by a girl for a man she is emotionally attached to or very close with.
 
The use of "-kun" on males is not an absolute rule. It can be used in a business setting by men addressing younger female employees. The use for women can also be used when speaking to a girl you have known since infancy. In the series Detective Conan, the police chief Juzo Megure always addressed Ran Mouri as "Ran-kun". He has known her since she was born.
 

-chan

 Though Shinichi is a boy, his mother still uses the honorific "chan".
 Though Shinichi is a boy, his mother still uses the honorific "chan".
The honorific "-chan" (ちゃん) is a common suffix added to the end of a girl's name, and sometimes used for women. Normally with people who have know each other since the past. It's a sign of closeness and endearment toward that female. The use of "-chan" can also be used for women who are of a junior status.
 
The use of "-chan" on females is not an absolute rule. It gives a sense of child-like cuteness. A mother will often use "-chan" for her own son his whole life. It can also be used for the names of pets and lovers. In the series Detective Conan, Shinichi Kudo's mother Yukiko Kudo always addresses her son as "Shin-chan". 

-ojōsama

the honorific "-ojōsama" (お嬢様 おじょうさま) is a title that is often given to the daughter or sister of a family from high social or political status. As with "-senpai" and "-sensei", it can be used in place of the person's name.  
 

-bōzu

The honorific "-bōzu" (坊主 / ぼうず) is a way of addressing boys in an informal manner. The use of which could be endearing or disparagingly.
 
In the manga/anime series Negima!, many of the students of Negi Springfield still refer to him as "-bōzu", despite the fact he's their teacher.

-anisan

The honorifics "anisan" (兄さん / にいさん) is a generic term used for any boy, but more commonly one who is older. It's often shortened to "nisan".
 

-anesan

The honorific "-anesan" (姉さん / あねさん) is a generic term used for any girl, but more commonly one who is older. It's often shortened to "nesan".
 

-ojisan

The honorific "-ojisan" (叔父さん / おじさん) is a generic term that roughly means a "old man" and is used as a family title for an uncle, but when used to address someone it would be the equivalent to "mister". You more often hear it when someone younger is talking to someone older.
 
-osan
The "-ojisan" is commonly abbreviated as "-osan" when addressing someone older. An age range of 30-40s.
 
Luffy in One Piece will often make up names for some of the people he meets and add "-osan" as their honorific.
 Luffy calls Iceburg as "Ice-osan"
 Luffy calls Iceburg as "Ice-osan"

 

-ojiisan

The honorific "ojii-san" (お祖父さん / おじいさん) is a generic term that means a "male senior-citizen" and is also used as a family title for a grandfather. An age range of 50+
Kanji variants: 御爺さん / お爺さん御祖父さん
  

-obasan

The honorific "-oba-san" (伯母さん / おばさん) is a generic term that means a "middle-aged lady" and is also used as a family title for an  aunt. An age range of 30-40s. It would be very similar to calling a woman "Ma'am", something I wouldn suggest you use lightly. Best to stick with "-san".
Kanji variants: 小母さん / 叔母さん

-obaasan

The honorific "-obaa-san" (お祖母さん / おばあさん) is a generic term that means a "female senior-citizen" and is also used as a family title for a grandmother. An age range of 50+. This is a polite honorific to use for an elderly lady. Using just the honorific alone would be similar to calling someone "granny".
Kanji variants: 御祖母さん/御婆さん/お婆さん

-ue

The honorific -ue (上 / うえ) is used when a person has an enormous level of respect for a person, but is no longer used in regular conversation in this modern era. It is more often regulated for family members from high social classes or people who were taught to speak formally. A literal English interpretation could be see as " honored mother/father". It is not necessarily isolated to talking about your own family member, but other people's family, as well.
 
An example in manga/anime could be seen in series such as Soul Eater and Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. The character Death the Kid addressed his father Shinigami-sama as "chichi-ue". Lelouch Lamperouge not only speaks of his own mother as "haha-ue", but even used that title for Kallen Kozuki 's mother when he first saw her. He also uses "-ue" when talking about the elder members of his family.

Example: 
JapaneseRomajiEnglish
 父上 / ちちうえ
chichi-ue  
Father
母上 /  ははうえ haha-ue Mother
兄上/ あにうえ ani-ue Older Brother
姉上 / あねうえ ane-ue Older Sister

-(blank)/ no honorific

It's an interesting fact, but the lack of using a honorific can be very telling in a number of ways. This is not something you want to do if you have just met someone. You pretty well always want to use a honorific when talking to someone. It's something you actually need someone's permission to do. It's exclusive to family, very-close friends, or your spouse. Not even necessarily your boy/girlfriend or lover. When speaking in Japanese and not using an honorific without permission. That is being extremely rude.

School Setting

-senpai/-sempai

The honorific "-senpai" (先輩 / せんぱい) is a way of addressing any upperclassmen as a nod to those who came before you. It's standard use is in the school setting. The use of which could even be in place of the upper-classmate's name and address them simply as "senpai".
Frequently, the "-senpai" honorific is spelled as "sempai". That is because it's the way the word is pronounce.
 
This honorific has one of the wider uses in manga/anmie. The use of which isn't isolated to the academic levels. It is also used in a business setting by newer employees those who hold seniority over them. 

-kohai

The honorific "-kohai" (後輩 / こうはい) is a way of addressing any underclassmen and the opposite of "-sempai". Also as with "-senpai" The difference is that the use of this term is hardly ever used as an honorific. More often the "-kun/-chan" honorifics are used.
 

-sensei

The honorific "-sensei" (先生 / せんせい) is a suffix of added to the names of those who are teachers or a master at a craft. It's one of the most well known honorific next to "-san". Contrary to common belief, it is not exclusive for just teachers. It could be used as a title for doctors, writers, and even artists, anyone who is a master of a craft.
 
Similar to "-senpai", the "-sensei" honorific can be used as a stand alone title for addressing a person.
 

-senshu

The honorific "-senshu" (選手 / せんしゅ) is a suffix added to the names of those who are athletes, no matter the sport. It can apply to boxers, soccer player, and those who enter martial arts tournaments.

Royalty Honorifics

Similar to many other honorifics, These can all be used alone and not attached to a name when speaking to someone. They don't necessarily need to be attached to a person's name.

-heika

The honorific -heika (陛下) is used for sovereign royalty, similar to "Majesty"
 
Example:
JapaneseRomajiEnglish
天皇陛下
Tennō Heika
His Majesty the Emperor
皇后陛下
Kōgō Heika
Her Majesty the Empress

国王陛下
Kokuō Heika
His Majesty the King

女王陛下 Joō Heika
Her Majesty the Queen

 

-denka

The honorific -denka (殿下) is used for non-sovereign royalty, similar to "Royal Highness"
 

-hidenka

The honorific -hidenka (妃殿下) is for addressing the consort of the prince, and is used the same way as the other royal titles.

-kakka

The honorific -kakka (閣下) means "Your Excellency" and is used for heads of state ministers including the Prime Minister of Japan, ambassadors and other high-rank officials such as the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 

Military Honorifics

 The military ranks in Japanese are handled as honorific suffixes to a soldier's name. A good anime series to watch to get a handle on military honorifics would be Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Next Lesson: Names - Family Names

Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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Welcome to - Lesson Japanese Writing Katakana Part 3

We have come to lesson six in the Anime Vice Japanese Lessons and it's also the finale to the Japanese lessons in writing. After this, we can finally start to cover whole words then on to sentences. For all the comments the first lesson got. The following haven't been commented on much at all. Just so you know, If you are interested in these lessons. The only way I know that is if you post a comment. If users aren't interested and enjoying these. I don't see why I should keep these going if no one is reading.
 
 
Seems as if I added a lot looking at this list, but it's mostly the modifiers and we will be covering those in a bit. Once you understand the modifiers it all makes sense. Firstly, let's finish up the writing Katakana lessons with the R-Base characters.

R Base

(In the graphs. You will see how to write each of the characters. The red dot marks where you are to begin your strokes.)
 
The R bases of Katakana are often used to replace L sounds in other languages. Here you might notice that the リ(Ri) in Katakana is identical to the り (Ri) for Hiragana.

Rare W Base

These two are extremely rare Katakana characters that you are not going to see much. Many Japanese characters. My Nintendo DS game of My Japanese Coach didn't even have these in the lessons for writing. The only time I've seen the ヱ (We) character was in the Japanese writing for the Evangelion Rebuilds.

That's it, you have now completed the Katakana class. There are 46 base kana in hiragana, but that is hardly enough to make up a whole language and sounds. Next we are going to cover some certain modifiers.
 

Dakuten & Handakuten


 Dakuten Example
 Dakuten Example

Dakuten

There are times when in Japanese the same character appears but will have a different sounds. The first example is called a Dakuten (sometimes referred to as a "ten ten"). They are easy to spot since they look like little quotation marks next to the hiragana. Adding this to the Ka character would now make it pronounced as Ga. These changes follow a specific pattern.

 With Dakuten Added:
  • The K Base will all be G Base
  • The S Base will be Z Base (with the exception of Shi will be Ji)
  • The T Base will all be D Base
  • The H Base will all be B Base
 
The B base versions are will often be used in replacing the V sounds when trying to translate foreign languages. We see it in the name of Princess Vivi. Her name is spelled as ビビ (bibi).

 Handakuten Example
 Handakuten Example

Handakuten

Another modifying mark that is similar to the Dakuten is call the Handakuten (sometimes referred to as a "maru" or "circle"). Unlike the Dakuten where the sound in the syllable can vary. This mark will always mean the character starts with a P sound.
  
The Handakuten isn't as widely used as the Dakuten. It is only used with the H Base kana to make them P Base, as seen in the image example below.

 With Handakuten Added:
  • Ha becomes Pa
  • Hi becomes Pi
  • Fu becomes Pu
  • He becomes Pe
  • Ho becomes Po


Small Kana Modifiers

There are times when Kana are added to words in order to alter the way a word is pronounced. Similar to how it was done in Hiragana, these are seen as small Katakana written directly after a regular sized one.

Small Tsu Modifier

The small ツ (tsu) kana is a popular one you are going to be seeing quite a bit of in Japanese writing. When writing this, it means that you are to extend the consonant of whatever character comes after it. In the case of writing the word for big would be ビッグ (biggu), the ビ (bi) comes directly after the small ツ (tsu).
Another example would be to look to the Japanese word for "school". 

Examples:
EnglishRomajiKana
bigbiggu
ビッグ
redreddo
レッド
bed
beddo
ベッド

Dash Modifier

The Dash modifier is one that is unique to the Katakana. It basically just looks like a vertical line that follows a kana. It means that you are to extend the vowel sound that the dash follows. An example would be in the Japanese spelling for the word Game. It would be spelled as such, ゲーム.  Notice that just before the dash is a  ゲ (ge). When in Romaji is would look like geemu. Pronounce it out as it would sound like you are saying "game".
 
Often times when the dash is seen at the end of a word. It can replaces for when a word ens in a R. You see this in the Japanese spelling of the One Piece character Chopper (チョッパー, choppaa), and you would see it in the Japanese spelling of my own name Kristoffer (クリストファー, kurisutofaa).

Examples:
EnglishRomajiKana
game
geemu
ゲーム
card
kaado
カード
donor
donaa
ドナー
start
sutaato
スタート
key
kii
キー

Vowel Base Modifiers

Here are a list of more modifiers you are likely to see. These are similar to the small tsu modifier since they are smaller version of another kana that are places after a larger kana. These are used to alter the way the character is pronounced when trying to spell out foreign words. Some are going to be more rare than others. You might of seen these before in anime characters names such as Luffy (ルフィ, rufi). One of the more peculiar cases in the is for the characters of the V sounds in the second row. That is actually the Katakana for ウ (U) with a Dakuten. Add a Dakuten to the ウ (U) and you get ヴ (Vu)
  
Many of these I believe are more helpful for Japanese when translating Chinese characters.

aiueo
ウァ
wa
ウィ
wi
(ウゥ)
wu
ウェ
we
ウォ
wo
(ヷ) ヴァ
va
(ヸ) ヴィ
vi

vu
(ヹ) ヴェ
ve
(ヺ) ヴォ
vo
(クヮ) クァ
kwa
クィ
kwi
クゥ
kwu
クェ
kwe
クォ
kwo
(グヮ) グァ
gwa
グィ
gwi
グゥ
gwu
グェ
gwe
グォ
gwo



シェ
she




ジェ
je




チェ
che

ツァ
tsa
ツィ
tsi

ツェ
tse
ツォ
tso

ティ
ti
トゥ
tu



ディ
di
ドゥ
du


ファ
fa
フィ
fi

フェ
fe
フォ
fo
(スヮ) スァ
swa
スィ
si
スゥ
swu
スェ
swe
スォ
swo
(ズヮ) ズァ
zwa
ズィ
zi
ズゥ
zwu
ズェ
zwe
ズォ
zwo
テァ
tha

テゥ
thu
テェ
tye
テォ
tho
デァ
dha

デゥ
dhu
デェ
dye
デォ
dho
(トヮ) トァ
twa
トィ
twi

トェ
twe
トォ
two
(ドヮ) ドァ
dwa
ドィ
dwi

ドェ
dwe
ドォ
dwo

ヒィ
hyi

ヒェ
hye


ビィ
byi

ビェ
bye


ピィ
pyi

ピェ
pye

(ホヮ) ホァ
hwa
ホィ
hwi
ホゥ
hu
ホェ
hwe
ホォ
hwo
(ムヮ) ムァ
mwa
ムィ
mwi
ムゥ
mwu
ムェ
mwe
ムォ
mwo
(ヌヮ) ヌァ
nwa
ヌィ
mwi
ヌゥ
nwu
ヌェ
nwe
ヌォ
nwo

リィ
ryi

リェ
rye


Ya, Yu, & Yo Modifiers

These modifiers are not seen as often as the small ツ (tsu) and the rare vowel modifiers, but they will appear far more often. They are just more complicated, but written basically the same way. They are smaller versions that are written after a regular kana. 


Examples:
EnglishRomajiKana
candlekyandoru
キャンドル
shy
shai
シャイ
gamble
gyanburu
ギャンブル

Other Ya, Yu, & Yo Base Modifiers

As before, here is a list of modifiers using the small kana of Ya Yu and Yo. Not see often at all, but still helpful to know.

yayuyo
ウャ
wya
ウュ
wyu
ウョ
wyo
ヴャ
vya
ヴュ
vyu
ヴョ
vyo
テャ
tya
テュ
tyu
テョ
tyo
デャ
dya
デュ
dyu
デョ
dyo
フャ
fya
フュ
fyu
フョ
fyo
スャ
sya
スュ
syu
スョ
syo
ズャ
zya
ズュ
zyu
ズョ
zyo

This was a pretty complicated lesson, but once we get all these writing lessons out the of the way. We can start handling deeper lessons.

Complete Katakana Chart

If you would like to have a print out of all these Katakana. Go HERE to download the full sized version to print out.
 

Test Sheets

To help you learn the characters and test your own knowledge. I created images for you to print out and test yourself on knowing or remembering the These Japanese characters. In the selections below you can download the full sized versions and print them out. They are the kana charts for both Hiragana and Katakana. Only one section is missing for you to fill in the blank. I made one sheet that had no characters on it so you could practice writing any of the types of characters you wished. Testing yourself really does help one remember these.

Full Size Hiragana Test Sheet: HERE
 
Full Size Katakana Test Sheet: HERE
 
Blank Test Sheet: HERE


Next Lesson: Names - Japanese & Foreign Names
 
Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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Welcome to - Lesson Japanese Writing Katakana Part 2


Okay, I know I'm a tad late on this week's Japanese lesson. Cut me some slack. It's only been a day and he holidays are only just ending. Last week we started the Katakana lessons. It's through these characters that the Japanese either explain foreign words or even sound effects. I'm pretty sure if you have seen core Japanese manga you have seen キャ(kya) quite a few times. That's the sound used for a scream. Though, normally only shown for girls.
 

We handled most of the hardest Katakana task week. Since that characters for Shi and Tsu are just so similar in appearance, but differ in how they are written.
 

N Base

(In the graphs. You will see how to write each of the characters. The red dot marks where you are to begin your strokes.)   
 
Nothing out of the ordinary here and these are quite easy to remember. In fact, the Katakana for ニ (Ni) is exactly the same for the Kanji 二 (ni), that means the number two.
 

H Base

These H Base characters are easy enough. Though, you may notice that the ヘ (He) in Katakana is identical to the へ (He) in Hiragana.
 

M Base

In this set you may notice the モ (Mo) Katakana is almost as identical to the も (Mo) Hiragana. The only thing it lacks is the little swipe up at the end.
 

Base Y / W / n

As with before, pay particular attention to the Ya, Yu, and Yo Katakana. These are going to play a big role later on. I've seen different guides that show variations of writing the Ya Katakana, but it's not imperative which way you use. I'm showing you the way I was first learning.
 
 Evangelion: You Can (Not) Advance title written in Japanese
 Evangelion: You Can (Not) Advance title written in Japanese
I do need to mention that there are actually two more W Base Katakana. I'm saving those for next lessons. This is because I have almost never seen them in actual use. The only time I have seen the Katakana for We (ヱ) even used was in the Japanese spelling of Evangelion (ヱヴァンゲリヲン, wevangerowon) and it's not always spelling in this manner, either. On my Nintendo DS of My Japanese Coach, these two Katakana aren't even mentioned.

The ン (N) character is a complete stand alone in the chart. The same as it was in Hiragana. The only problem here is that it's nearly identical to the Katakana for ソ (So). The only real difference is seen in how they are written. The only real way to tell them apart while reading is that the dash on the ン (N) lays more flat than the ソ (So). These two characters have always been my biggest challenge in reading Katakana.
 
Next lesson we are going to be finishing up Katakana, and it's modifiers. I will tell you this that Katakana has a lot of modifiers, but they are simple to understand once you learn the very basics. We are one simple step closer to covering whole words and sentences. If you have any further questions feel free to comment before, and I will try to answer any questions you may have.
 
Next Lesson: Katakana - Character Base R / Dakuten & Handakuten / Modifiers
 
Back to Lesson Guide: HERE
 
-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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Welcome to - Lesson Two Japanese Writing

 
First off, I would really like to thank everyone who joined on for the first lesson I started last week and left comments. I thought it would be nice to get maybe five comments, but you all overwhelmed me by just how excited everyone in the Whiskey Media community showed they are for joining in. These lessons even got showcased on the front page of Anime Vice.

Today we are covering four more groups from the Japanese A-I-U-E-O Chart. In Lesson One we covered the base Vowels and their pronunciations. Once you learn that, the rest of these falls into place as far as speaking goes. You are probably going to start noticing some similarities between some characters to others. Just trust me that once you practice them. They are going to get easier t separate and write.

If you are having trouble. Just check the bottom of this post to go back to the Lesson Guide and review what was covered last week.

Base N

(In the graphs. You will see how to write each of the characters. The red dot marks where you are to begin your strokes.)

Base H

You aren't seeing things. That third hiragana is pronounced as "Fu", phonetically "Foo". Only very rarely have I ever seen this same Hiragana used for pronouncing "Hu". It's similar to last lesson where we covered the T Base and there was a Chi.

Base M

This wasn't incredibly clear in my graph. Notice the loop in the Mu hiragana? In the second stroke that is all one motion. Just imagine going down to loop around a tree before continuing the rest of the path. You perform the same action in the Mi and writing Su (す) from the first lessons.

Base Y / W / n

I know this segment seems a bit random. Since they are a bit rogue on the chart that I would put themtogether here so we can work through this kana writing classes faster.
Pay particular attention to the Ya, Yu, and Yo hiragana. These are going to play a big role later on. I've seen different guides that show variations of writing the Ya hiragana, but it's not imperative which way you use. I'm showing you the way I was first learning.
The ん character is a complete stand alone in the chart, but you will see it quite often, but it's going to be one of the easiest to learn since it looks like a fancy lower case "h". 

In the next lesson, we are going to finish up the base chart of Hiragana and talk about modifiers such as the Dankuten, Handakuten, and others. Once that is out of the way, we can move on to Katakana.
 
I hope you enjoy, and please share the word on these lessons so we can get more people involved.

Next Lesson: Hiragana - Character Base R / Dakuten & Handakuten 

Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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Welcome to - Lesson Japanese Writing Katakana Part 1


In the previous lesson, we covered and finished the Hiragana for of Japanese writing system known as Kana.  Now, we are moving onto the system known as Katakana. How Hiragana is used for writing Japanese words. Katakana is used for any foreign or 'borrowed' words. Basically, most words from a foreign language would be written in this form. Think of it as a way that a reader would know the difference between a foreign word or a Japanese word that is spelled or sounds similar.
  
You would think that since this segment can deal with English words written in Japanese would make it easy. You would actually be kind of wrong. That's because these words are not written as you think they would look. It's how they sound. This is all about phonetics, how the words sound. I could best describe it as one of those games where you say a collection of words that when said fast enough together sounds as if you are saying something completely different.
 
Katakana can at times be more difficult to read and remember how the write. That's because many are written nearly the same way, but the stroke word varies slightly. You will see these in the characters for So & N, and Shi & Tsu. There are also a lot of modifiers, but we will get to those later.

Base Vowels

We covered the Base Vowels in the Hiragana lessons already, and the very same rules apply here. We are just now learning how the are written in Katakana.

(In the graphs. You will see how to write each of the characters. The red dot marks where you are to begin your strokes.)  

Base K


The K Base are easy enough to remember. The カ (Ka) and キ (Ki) are pretty similar to the originals. The only problem that may come in that there is a Kanji that is written just like this カ (Ka) Katakana, but the context is never the same. It just may confuse you the first few times you see it. Also, sometimes Katakana and Hiragana are written slightly smaller than full sized Kanji. Don't worry about it too much. Kanji will be much later.
 
Ka:
Hiragana - か
Katakana - カ
 
Ki:
Hiragana -  き
Katakana - キ


Base S


Here where you might notice something odd. The Katakana for サ(Sa) is almost a mirror image for the Hiragana せ (Se).

Writing and reading the シ (Shi) Katakana can be kind of tricky and annoying, but I think I will have a tip to help you remember. Notice the dash marks that start the Shi? They look similar to the Dakuten. The way they are written are almost horizontal. They are sometimes written as flat in some forms in Japanese went stylized in logos. Think of the two dashes as people laying down in bed, then they stand UP to get out of bed. The same way the final stroke starts at the bottom and moves upward.
 
A trick to remember the ソ (So) Katakana. Think of So as in South and it travels from north to south, From top and to down. The single dash in ソ (So) also leans more virticle.

Base T

 
The T Base are easy enough to read and remember with the exception of the ツ (Tsu). You will notices that is looks uncannily similar to シ (Shi). This can be maddening when trying to read, but I had a helpful tip on remember how to write this one.
 
Remember how ツ (Tsu) is the start of a Tsunami or a giant wave? You will notice that the dashes in this one are more vertical standing. The last stroke starts at the top and moves down. Think of the dashes as two people standing on surfboards and they surf DOWN the tsunami.
 
Next Lesson: Katakana - Characters Base N / H / M / Y
 
Back to Lesson Guide: HERE
 
-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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