There are 3 characters in Japanese: Hiragana, katakana and kanji. I think most of you know that, but ‘Which should we use?’ That is the big issue for learners.
For example, ‘私の名前はターナーです。'(私＝わたし 名前＝なまえ The meaning is ’My name is Terner.’) is using all of the characters but is very natural Japanese sentence.
I want to explain it in very easy way. Let’s go!
What is hiragana?
First of all, hiragana and katakana represent what kanji can’t do, also used as phonetic guides.
And hiragana is used for Japanese words.
-うどん (Udon noodle)
-phonetic guides like
かん じ ←phonetic guide
What is katakana?
Katakana is used for writing foreign names or countries, or foreign origin words.
These are not Japanese original things, and represented in katakana.
What is kanji?
Kanji is made in ancient China, and also called ‘Chinese letter’. Kanji is Japanese base writing system. You can’t understand Japanese writing without learning kanji.
There is approximately 3,000 kanji in Japanese.
What should learners learn first?
To learn Japanese, you sould learn
To memorize them, write down on your notebook. Japanese students do so since in elementary school, and they have kanji test every morning. You can’t memorize hiragana, katakana and kanji without writing.
Tokyo orinpikku ga hajimari mashita.
‘Tokyo Olympics are opened.’To distinguish characters:
東京=noun, Japanese prefecture name ‘Tokyo’
オリンピック=noun, foreign original word ‘Olympics’
始まりました=Japanese verb ‘started, opened’
Watashi no namae wa Jesi- desu.
‘My name is Jesse.’To distinguish characters:
私=noun ‘person’ how to call myself
ジェシー=Foreign name ‘Jesse’
Watashi no sukina tabemono wa piza desu.
‘My favorite food is pizza.’To distinguish characters:
私=noun, person. how to call myself
好きな=Japanese verb ‘like’
ピザ=noun, foreign original word ‘pizza’