Welcome to part two of our three-part, learn hiragana, article series.
Didn’t get a chance to read Part One? Click Here!
In our previous article we took a look the pronunciation of the 46 hiragana characters. If you haven’t read part one of this series (especially for any beginning Japanese students) please click here to read it now. For those who have read it, I have a surprise for you, a 15-question pop quiz! Mwuhahahaha…ahem:
How do you pronounce the following, characters? No cheating! The answers are at the very bottom of the post
How did you do? I hope you got them all right, but if not, no worries. Go back and review Learn Hiragana One: Pronunciation, Practice the ones you missed and keep at it until you get really good at them.
Today we move on to another important element in learning hiragana, stroke order. What is stroke order? If I had to put it in my own words, I would say stroke order is the direction and order in which you draw the lines of a hiragana character.
I know many of you may be wondering “Why does the order of these freakin’ characters matter?” Well, you’ll need this later. With hiragana, the characters are quite simple (many having just two or three strokes) and you could potentially follow your own method and sketch out the same character rather easily. However, I honestly don’t recommend it. Though you may not realize it when you’re just starting out, if you’re looking to build upon your Japanese writing skills, stroke order will play a HUGE role in being able to write kanji. With single characters having 18 (like the character yobi, which means weekday) it’s good to have a general idea of the way things are written.
In the same fashion as our previous article, we will break the characters down into eight groups of five and two groups of three. The pictures you are seeing come directly from the Learn Hiragana 101 course.
SET ONE: A, I, U, E, O (あ,い,う,え,お)
SET TWO: KA, KI, KU, KE, KO (か,き,く,け,こ)
SET THREE: SA, SHI, SU, SE, SO (さしすせそ)
SET FOUR: TA, CHI, TSU, TE, TO (た,ち,つ,て,と)
SET FIVE: NA, NI, NU, NE, NO (な,に,ぬ,ね,の)
Okay, we’re halfway there. How are you holding up? Okay? Good! Now let’s look at the stroke order for hiragana sets six through ten.
SET SIX: HA, HI, FU, HE, HO (は,ひ,ふ,へ,ほ)
SET SEVEN: MA, MI, MU, ME, MO (ま,み,む,め,も)
SET EIGHT: YA, YU, YO (や,ゆ,よ)
SET NINE: RA, RI, RU, RE, RO (らりるれろ)
WA, WO, N (わ,を,ん)
YIPPEE! You made it! That’s the stroke order for all 46 characters. CONGRATULATIONS!
As with anything from sports to music to, yes, Japanese, repetition (even a little bit each day) is key to locking these hiragana characters in your brain.
For those who are interested in learning your hiragana in more detail, please check out the Learn Hiragana 101 Course in the newly renovated, Japan Guy Store .