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The term may refer to a number of
syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
used to write Japanese phonological units,
morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology that describes syllable weight, which in some languages determines stress (linguistics), stress or timing (linguistics), timing. A mora is a sound which comes after ...
. Such syllabaries include: (1) the original kana, or , which were
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
(
kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

kanji
) used phonetically to transcribe
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
; the most prominent magana system being ; the two descendants of man'yōgana, (2) cursive , and (3) angular . There are also , which are historical variants of the now standard hiragana. In current usage, 'kana' can simply mean ''hiragana'' and ''katakana''. Katakana, with a few additions, are also used to write
Ainu Ainu or Aynu may refer to: *Ainu people, an East Asian ethnic group of Japan and Russian Far East *Ainu languages, a family of languages **Ainu language of Hokkaido **Kuril Ainu language, extinct language of the Kuril Islands **Sakhalin Ainu languag ...
. A number of systems exist to write the
Ryūkyūan languages The , also Lewchewan languages, are the indigenous languages of the Ryukyu Islands The , also known as the or the , are a chain of Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered dee ...
, in particular
Okinawan Okinawan may refer to: * Something of or relating to: ** Okinawa Island ** Okinawa Islands ** Okinawa Prefecture * Okinawan language, an endangered language spoken by the people of Okinawa Island * Okinawan people, a subgroup of the Ryukyuan people ...
, in hiragana.
Taiwanese kana Taiwanese kana () is a katakana is a Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg ...

Taiwanese kana
were used in
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
as
glosses A gloss is a brief notation, especially a marginalia, marginal one or an interlinear gloss, interlinear one, of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text or in the reader's language if that is different. A ...
(
ruby text Ruby characters or rubi characters () are small, annotative glosses that are usually placed above or to the right of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a ...
or ''
furigana is a Japanese language, Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana or syllabic characters, printed next to kanji (Ideogram, ideographic characters) or other characters to indicate their pronunciation. It is one type of ruby character, ruby ...
'') for Chinese characters in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
when it was under Japanese rule. Each kana character (
syllabogramSyllabograms are sign A sign is an object, quality, event, or entity whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else. A natural sign bears a causal relation to its object—for instance, thunder i ...
) corresponds to one sound in the Japanese language, unlike kanji
regular script Regular script (; Hepburn: ''kaisho''), also called (), (''zhēnshū''), (''kǎitǐ'') and (''zhèngshū''), is the newest of the Chinese script styles In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major st ...
corresponding to meaning (
logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lang ...
). That is why the character system is named kana, literally "false name". Apart from the five vowels, this is always CV (consonant
onsetOnset may refer to: * Onset (audio), the beginning of a musical note or sound * Onset, Massachusetts, village in the United States **Onset Island (Massachusetts), a small island located at the western end of the Cape Cod Canal *Interonset interval, ...
with vowel
nucleus ''Nucleus'' (plural nuclei) is a Latin word for the seed inside a fruit. It most often refers to: *Atomic nucleus, the very dense central region of an atom *Cell nucleus, a central organelle of a eukaryotic cell, containing most of the cell's DNA ...
), such as ''ka'', ''ki'', etc., or V (vowel), such as ''a'', ''i'', etc., with the sole exception of the C grapheme for nasal
coda Coda or CODA may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Coda'' (1987 film), an Australian horror film about a serial killer, made for television * ''Coda'' (2019 film), a Canadian drama film starring Patrick Stewart, Katie Holmes, a ...
s usually romanised as ''n''. This structure has led some scholars to label the system '' moraic'' instead of ''syllabic'', because it requires the combination of two syllabograms to represent a CVC syllable with coda (i.e. CV''n'', CV''m'', CV''ng''), a CVV syllable with complex nucleus (i.e. multiple or expressively long vowels), or a CCV syllable with complex onset (i.e. including a
glide Glide may refer to: * Gliding flight, to fly without thrust Computing *Glide API, a 3D graphics interface *Glide OS, a web desktop *Glide (software), an instant video messenger *Glide, a molecular docking software by Schrödinger (company), Schrö ...
, C''y''V, C''w''V). Due to the limited number of
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s in Japanese, as well as the relatively rigid syllable structure, the kana system is a very accurate representation of spoken Japanese.


Etymology

'Kana' is a compound of and , which eventually collapsed into ''kanna'' and ultimately 'kana'. As the name suggests, 'kana' were "false" kanji due to their purely phonetic nature, as opposed to which were "true" kanji used for their meanings. In current usage, however, since such "false" kanji have long been obsolete, and phonetic kanji are now only restricted to what is known specifically as ''
ateji In modern Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
'', the term 'kana' simply refers to hiragana and katakana, and it contrasts with ''kanji'' altogether.


Terms

Although the term 'kana' is now commonly understood as hiragana and katakana, it actually has broader application as listed below: * or : a
syllabary In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
. ** or : phonetic
kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

kanji
used as syllabary characters, historically used by men (who were more educated). ***: the most prominent system of magana. ****: cursive man'yōgana. *****, , , or : a syllabary derived from simplified sōgana, historically used by women (who were less educated), historically sorted in ''
Iroha The is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
'' order. ****** or : obsolete variants of hiragana. **** or : a syllabary derived by using bits of characters in man'yōgana, historically sorted in ''
gojūon In the Japanese language, the is a traditional system ordering kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
'' order. ****: hiragana and katakana, as opposed to kanji. ***: magana for transcribing Japanese words, using, strict or loose, Chinese-derived readings (''
on'yomi are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...
''). For example, would be spelt as , with two magana with on'yomi for ''ya'' and ''ma''; likewise, spelt as 比登 for ''hi'' and ''to''. ***: magana for transcribing Japanese words, using native words ascribed to kanji (native "readings" or ''
kun'yomi are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...
''). For example, would be spelt as , with three magana with kun'yomi for ''ya'', ''ma'' and ''to''; likewise, spelt as 夏樫 for ''natsu'' and ''kashi''. * , , or : kanji used for meanings, historically used by men (who were more educated). * : mixed script including only kanji and katakana.


Hiragana and katakana

The following table reads, in
gojūon In the Japanese language, the is a traditional system ordering kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
order, as ''a'', ''i'', ''u'', ''e'', ''o'' (down first column), then ''ka'', ''ki'', ''ku'', ''ke'', ''ko'' (down second column), and so on. ''n'' appears on its own at the end. Asterisks mark unused combinations. *There are presently no kana for ''ye'', ''yi'' or ''wu'', as corresponding syllables do not occur natively in modern Japanese. **The (''ye'') sound is believed to have existed in pre-Classical Japanese, mostly before the advent of kana, and can be represented by the
man'yōgana is an ancient writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful ...
kanji 江. There was an archaic Hiragana () derived from the
man'yōgana is an ancient writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful ...
''ye'' kanji 江, which is encoded into Unicode at code point U+1B001 (𛀁), but it is not widely supported. It is believed that ''e'' and ''ye'' first merged to ''ye'' before shifting back to ''e'' during the
Edo period The or is the period between 1603 and 1867 in the history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a c ...
. As demonstrated by 17th century-era European sources, the syllable ''we'' (ゑ・ヱ ) also came to be pronounced as (''ye''). If necessary, the modern orthography allows (''ye'') to be written as いぇ (イェ), but this usage is limited and nonstandard. **The modern Katakana ''e'', エ, derives from the man'yōgana 江, originally pronounced ''ye''; a "Katakana letter Archaic E" () derived from the man'yōgana 衣 (''e'') is encoded into Unicode at code point U+1B000 (𛀀), due to being used for that purpose in scholarly works on classical Japanese. **Some
gojūon In the Japanese language, the is a traditional system ordering kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
tables published during the 19th century list additional Katakana in the ''ye'' (), ''wu'' () and ''yi'' () positions. These are not presently used, and the latter two sounds never existed in Japanese. They were added to Unicode in version 14.0 in 2021. These sources also list (Unicode U+1B006, 𛀆) in the Hiragana ''yi'' position, and in the ''ye'' position. *Although removed from the standard orthography with the ''gendai kanazukai'' reforms, ''wi'' and ''we'' still see stylistic use, as in ウヰスキー for ''whisky'' and ヱビス or ゑびす for Japanese kami
EbisuEbisu, also transliterated Yebisu, may refer to: * Ebisu (mythology), a god of Japanese mythology * Ebisu, Shibuya, a neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan * Ebisu Station (Tokyo), a train station located in Tokyo's Shibuya ward, Japan * Ebisu Station (Hyogo ...
, and
Yebisu is a Japanese brewery, beer brewing company founded in 1876. Sapporo is the oldest brand of beer in Japan. It was first brewed in Sapporo, Japan, in 1876 by brewer Seibei Nakagawa. The world headquarters of Sapporo Breweries is in Ebisu, Tokyo, E ...
, a brand of beer named after Ebisu. Hiragana ''wi'' and ''we'' are preserved in certain
Okinawan scripts Okinawan, spoken in Okinawa Island is the largest of the Okinawa Islands and the Ryukyu (''Nansei'') Islands of Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a whi ...
, while katakana ''wi'' and ''we'' are preserved in the
Ainu language Ainu ( ''Ainu-itak'') or more precisely Hokkaido Ainu, is a language spoken by a few elderly members of the Ainu people The Ainu or the Aynu ( ain, アィヌ, , ; ja, アイヌ, ; russian: Áйны, ), also known as the in historical Japan ...
. *''wo'' is preserved only as the
accusative The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase ...
particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical property, chemical p ...
, normally occurring only in hiragana. *''si'', ''ti'', ''tu'', ''hu'', ''wi'', ''we'' and ''wo'' are often romanized respectively as ''shi'', ''chi'', ''tsu'', ''fu'', ''i'', ''e'' and ''o'' instead, according to contemporary pronunciation.


Diacritics

Syllables beginning with the voiced consonants and are spelled with kana from the corresponding unvoiced columns (''k'', ''s'', ''t'' and ''h'') and the voicing mark, ''
dakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) ...
''. Syllables beginning with are spelled with kana from the ''h'' column and the half-voicing mark, ''
handakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese language, Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced Voice (phonetics), voiced, for instance, on sounds that have undergon ...
''. * Note that the か゚, カ゚ and remaining entries in the rightmost column, though they exist, are not used in standard Japanese orthography. *''zi'', ''di'', and ''du'' are often transcribed into English as ''ji'', ''ji'', and ''zu'' instead, respectively, according to contemporary pronunciation. * Usually, are represented respectively by バ and ボ for example, in loanwords such as バイオリン (''baiorin'' "violin"), but (less usually) the distinction can be preserved by using -with voicing marks or by using and a vowel kana, as in ヴァ(ヷ), ヴィ(ヸ), ヴ, ヴェ(ヹ), and ヴォ(ヺ). Note that ヴ did not have a JIS-encoded Hiragana form (ゔ) until
JIS X 0213 JIS X 0213 is a Japanese Industrial Standard defining coded character sets for encoding the characters used in Japan. This standard extends JIS X 0208. The first version was published in 2000 and revised in 2004 (JIS2004) and 2012. As well as add ...
, meaning that many
Shift JIS Shift JIS (Shift Japanese Industrial Standards, also SJIS, MIME name Shift_JIS, known as PCK in Oracle Solaris, Solaris contexts) is a character encoding for the Japanese language, originally developed by a Japanese company called ASCII Corporatio ...
flavours (including the Windows and HTML5 version) can only represent it as a katakana, although
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
supports both.


Digraphs

Syllables beginning with palatalized consonants are spelled with one of the seven
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
al kana from the ''i'' row followed by small ''ya'', ''yu'' or ''yo''. These
digraphs Digraph may refer to: * Digraph (orthography) A digraph or digram (from the el, δίς ', "double" and ', "to write") is a pair of characters used in the orthography An orthography is a set of conventions for writing Writing is a m ...
are called
yōon The , also written as ''yōon'', is a feature of the Japanese language in which a mora is formed with an added sound, i.e., palatalized. ''Yōon'' are represented in hiragana using a kana ending in ''i'', such as き (''ki''), plus a smaller v ...
. * There are no digraphs for the
semivowel In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of ever ...
''y'' and ''w'' columns. * The digraphs are usually transcribed with three letters, leaving out the ''i'': C''y''V. For example, きゃ is transcribed as ''kya''. * ''si''+''y''* and ''ti''+''y''* are often transcribed ''sh*'' and ''ch*'' instead of ''sy*'' and ''ty*''. For example, しゃ is transcribed as ''sha''. * In earlier Japanese, digraphs could also be formed with ''w''-kana. Although obsolete in modern Japanese, the digraphs くゎ (/kʷa/) and くゐ/くうぃ(/kʷi/), are preserved in certain Okinawan orthographies. In addition, the kana え can be used in Okinawan to form the digraph くぇ, which represents the /kʷe/ sound. * Note that the き゚ゃ, き゚ゅ and remaining entries in the rightmost column, though they exist, are not used in standard Japanese orthography. *''jya'', ''jyu'', and ''jyo'' are often transcribed into English as ''ja'', ''ju'', and ''jo'' instead, respectively, according to contemporary pronunciation.


Modern usage

The difference in usage between hiragana and katakana is stylistic. Usually, hiragana is the default syllabary, and katakana is used in certain special cases. Hiragana is used to write native Japanese words with no
kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

kanji
representation (or whose kanji is thought obscure or difficult), as well as grammatical elements such as
particles In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical , chemical properties ...
and inflections (
okurigana are kana The are syllabaries used to write Japanese phonological units, morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or diale ...

okurigana
). Today katakana is most commonly used to write words of foreign origin that do not have kanji representations, as well as foreign personal and place names. Katakana is also used to represent
onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia (also onomatopeia in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cu ...

onomatopoeia
and interjections, emphasis, technical and scientific terms, transcriptions of the Sino-Japanese readings of kanji, and some corporate branding. Kana can be written in small form above or next to lesser-known kanji in order to show pronunciation; this is called
furigana is a Japanese language, Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana or syllabic characters, printed next to kanji (Ideogram, ideographic characters) or other characters to indicate their pronunciation. It is one type of ruby character, ruby ...
. Furigana is used most widely in children's or learners' books. Literature for young children who do not yet know kanji may dispense with it altogether and instead use hiragana combined with spaces.


History

The first kana was a system called ''
man'yōgana is an ancient writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful ...
,'' a set of kanji used solely for their phonetic values, much as Chinese uses characters for their phonetic values in foreign loanwords (especially proper nouns) today. ''
Man'yōshū Image:Manyousyu NukataOhkimi.jpg, 80px, alt=Two vertical lines of Japanese text written in calligraphy, read right to left. The first character has smaller, simpler red characters written around it., A replica of a poem  8, by Princess Nukata ...
'', a poetry anthology assembled in 759, is written in this early script.
Hiragana is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...

Hiragana
developed as a distinct script from cursive ''man'yōgana'', whereas
katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''katakana'' means "fragmentary kana", as the katakana characters are derived fro ...
developed from abbreviated parts of
regular script Regular script (; Hepburn: ''kaisho''), also called (), (''zhēnshū''), (''kǎitǐ'') and (''zhèngshū''), is the newest of the Chinese script styles In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major st ...
''man'yōgana'' as a glossing system to add readings or explanations to Buddhist
sutra Sutra ( sa, सूत्र, translit=sūtra, translit-std=IAST, translation=string, threadMonier Williams, ''Sanskrit English Dictionary'', Oxford University Press, Entry fo''sutra'' page 1241) in Indian literature, Indian literary traditions r ...
s. Kana is traditionally said to have been invented by the
Buddhist priest Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, ...
Kūkai Kūkai (; 27 July 774 – 22 April 835Kūkai was born in 774, the 5th year of the Hōki era; his exact date of birth was designated as the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the Japanese calendar, Japanese lunar calendar, some 400 years later, b ...
in the ninth century. Kūkai certainly brought the
Siddhaṃ script (also '), also known in its later evolved form as Siddhamātṛkā, is a medieval Brahmic abugida, derived from the Gupta script and ancestral to the Nāgarī script, Nāgarī, Assamese alphabet, Assamese, Bengali alphabet, Bengali, Tirhuta scr ...
of India home on his return from
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
in 806; his interest in the sacred aspects of
speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''c ...

speech
and
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

writing
led him to the conclusion that Japanese would be better represented by a phonetic alphabet than by the kanji which had been used up to that point. The modern arrangement of kana reflects that of Siddhaṃ, but the traditional ''
iroha The is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
'' arrangement follows a poem which uses each kana once. The present set of kana was codified in 1900, and rules for their usage as per the '' gendai kanazukai'' spelling reforms of 1946.


Collation

Kana are the basis for
collation Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. Many systems of collation are based on numerical order or alphabetical order, or extensions and combinations thereof. Collation is a fundamental element of most office fili ...
in Japanese. They are taken in the order given by the ''
gojūon In the Japanese language, the is a traditional system ordering kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
'' (あ い う え お ... わ を ん), though
iroha The is a Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
(い ろ は に ほ へ と ... せ す (ん)) ordering is used for enumeration in some circumstances. Dictionaries differ in the sequence order for long/short vowel distinction, small ''tsu'' and diacritics. As Japanese does not use word spaces (except as a tool for children), there can be no word-by-word collation; all collation is kana-by-kana.


In Unicode

The hiragana range in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
is U+3040 ... U+309F, and the katakana range is U+30A0 ... U+30FF. The obsolete and rare characters (''wi'' and ''we'') also have their proper code points. Characters U+3095 and U+3096 are hiragana , respectively. U+30F5 and U+30F6 are their katakana equivalents. Characters U+3099 and U+309A are combining
dakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) ...
and
handakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese language, Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced Voice (phonetics), voiced, for instance, on sounds that have undergon ...
, which correspond to the spacing characters U+309B and U+309C. U+309D is the hiragana
iteration mark Iteration marks are characters or punctuation marks that represent a duplicated character or word. Chinese In Chinese language, Chinese, (usually appearing as ) or is used in casual writing to represent a doubled character. However, it is not us ...
, used to repeat a previous hiragana. U+309E is the voiced hiragana iteration mark, which stands in for the previous hiragana but with the consonant voiced (''k'' becomes ''g'', ''h'' becomes ''b'', etc.). U+30FD and U+30FE are the katakana iteration marks. U+309F is a ligature of ''yori'' ( より) sometimes used in vertical writing. U+30FF is a ligature of ''koto'' ( コト), also found in vertical writing. Additionally, there are halfwidth equivalents to the standard fullwidth katakana. These are encoded within the Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms block (U+FF00–U+FFEF), starting at U+FF65 and ending at U+FF9F (characters U+FF61–U+FF64 are halfwidth punctuation marks): There is also a small "Katakana Phonetic Extensions" range (U+31F0 ... U+31FF), which includes some additional small kana characters for writing the
Ainu language Ainu ( ''Ainu-itak'') or more precisely Hokkaido Ainu, is a language spoken by a few elderly members of the Ainu people The Ainu or the Aynu ( ain, アィヌ, , ; ja, アイヌ, ; russian: Áйны, ), also known as the in historical Japan ...
. Further small kana characters are present in the "Small Kana Extension" block. Unicode also includes "Katakana letter archaic E" (U+1B000), as well as 255 , in the Kana Supplement block. It also includes a further 31 archaic Hiragana in the Kana Extended-A block.https://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U1B100.pdf The Kana Extended-B block was added in September, 2021 with the release of version 14.0:


See also

*
Furigana is a Japanese language, Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana or syllabic characters, printed next to kanji (Ideogram, ideographic characters) or other characters to indicate their pronunciation. It is one type of ruby character, ruby ...
*
Okurigana are kana The are syllabaries used to write Japanese phonological units, morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or diale ...

Okurigana
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Yotsugana are a set of four specific kana The are syllabaries used to write Japanese phonological units, morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that stu ...

Yotsugana
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Gojūon In the Japanese language, the is a traditional system ordering kana The term may refer to a number of syllabaries In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
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Hentaigana In the system, are variant forms of . History Today, with few exceptions, there is only one hiragana for each of the forty-five that are written without diacritics or digraphs. However, traditionally there were generally several more- ...

Hentaigana
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Historical kana orthography The , or , refers to the in general use until orthographic reforms after World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved Wo ...
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Man'yōgana is an ancient writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful ...
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Romanization of Japanese The romanization of Japanese is the use of Latin script to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is sometimes referred to in Japanese as . There are several different romanization systems. The three main ones are Hepburn romanizati ...
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Transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, based on a repertoire of specific elements or symbols, or that repertoire * Script (styles of h ...

Transliteration
and
Transcription (linguistics) Transcription in the linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and wr ...


References


External links


Hiragana & katakana chart and writing practice sheet





Kana web translator
- Transliterate Kana to Rōmaji
Kana Copybook (PDF)
{{Authority control Heian period Japanese writing system Japanese writing system terms Nara period