Japanese Writing Practice: Let’s Work on Hiragana (Part 1)

By Donnie | Articles

I’ve done several articles about the Japanese writing system and the characters it consists of, so, I want to show you exactly how to write each of the 46 hiragana and 46 katakana. I may have to break this into several videos to make things easier to remember. This may sound kind of stupid, but the best way to learn how to write in Japanese is by writing. It seems like common sense, but I know I’ve fallen victim to the “I’ve written them over and over already, so I’ll just review by reading them.” crowd. From my personal studies I have found that when I don’t write (even the kana) for a while, it is REALLY easy to get rusty, especially since this isn’t my native language. I really think reading and writing can be linked. If I can write the kana without thinking about it, I can probably read those exact same kana effortlessly. I went karaoke last night, and I realize that even though I’ve been here a while, reading even the kana at song speed is quite a challenge; I won’t even get into trying to speed read kanji yet…that’s gonna take a while.

Well, without further ado, here’s are two videos showing you how to write in hiragana:

Good luck,

Donald Ash

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  • Nice article! I went to Japan for a year as an exchange student, and although I already knew quite a bit of the spoken language before going, writing was my weak point. I practiced with the same approach you describe in this post, I even stuck post-its all around. Surrounded by the language, it didn’t take too long to get the hang of, and even keeping up at karaoke pace was possible after a while. 🙂

    Now, a few years later, I found myself with some free time and decided to create a small game to help people practice Japanese by the computer. It’s extremely simplistic, but still perhaps some might find it of use. Check it out if you’d like, at http://hiragana-learner.com.

    Best regards!

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks for posting, Fredrik. It sounds like you really got into your writing and were able to improve because of it. That’s a good story. I think when people put an honest effort into learning Japanese and couple that with completely Japanese surroundings…it can help you to make major strides in your learning. On the other hand, simply being around Japanese people doesn’t ensure that a person will pick up the writing or the language. I think a person has to do both…just like what you did with the Post-It notes, karaoke, etc.

      I checked out your link, good stuff, Fredrik. I think your game is really practical, and really effective. Thank you.

      • Thank you for the kind feedback, Donald! Yesterday I realized that I have quite some latency issues with my current hosting, which is very unfortunate. I’ll try to get it fixed as soon as possible. I hope your experience with it was not too sluggish.

        You are right indeed. Without devoting time to learning, no knowledge will be gained. Proof of this is the countless number of people who lives in countries all across the world for years on end, never picking up more than a few greeting phrases. A shame, really, as languages is such a wonderful thing.

        Keep up the great work with the blog, and thanks yet again!

  • Kayla

    I can’t seem to watch the last two videos. Is there some other place I can go to watch them. It says they are set on private, so I’m not really sure.

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