Hi, my name is Hide Tanaka. I’m a Japanese and I’m staying USA for a whole now. Since I came in USA, I was asked many times about Japanese language; how to write Japanese, translate Japanese into English or vice versa, how to write their name with Japanese characters and design Japanese kanji for their tattoo images etc.
So I create this site for those people who want to learn basic Japanese, for those who want to know how to write Japanese, for those who want to know how to pronounce Japanese and for those who want some Japanese words or letters (symbols) images for their website designs, tattoos or something other art works.
I’ll add Japanese words on this blog site with their meanings, some explanations, and hiragana, katakana and kanji image files for the Japanese words. And if you want to write your name in Japanese characters or want to translate some English words or short sentences into Japanese or vice versa, I’ll do free Japanese words writing, English to Japanese (or Japanese to English) translation or Japanese word image creations for you. So please use contact form and send your requests to me.
Here are 5 sample font images so when you request me for creating Japanese letter images, please select one or a few of them and send your request to me.
Japanese Language Characters
As you may already know, we use 3 types of character for writing Japanese words; hiragana, katakana and kanji.
Hiragana is the most basic character and we start learning hiragana first in elementary schools in Japan. Each character of hiragana doesn’t have any meaning and each of them has just specific one pronunciation (exceptは; mainly we pronounce as “ha” but when it is used just after subjects, we pronounce it as “wa”, andへ; mainly we pronounce this letter as “he” but sometime we have to pronounce as “e” when it is used just after objective word) as you can see on the hiragana list table. So if you are going to start learning Japanese writing, you should start first hiragana characters.
Even though the sentences which are composed using only hiragana (or katakana) letters are not preferred by ordinal Japanese people (because these sentences are sometime hard to be understood the meanings correctly), we can’t create sentences without hiragana. (This is one of main differences between Chinese and Japanese languages, Chinese sentences are only composed with kanji).
Like as hiragana, each character of katakana doesn’t have any meaning but just specific pronunciation. Here you can see hiragana and katakana list table.
Katakana is not used as often as hiragana in Japanese sentences. Usually katakana characters are used for writing the names of foreign people, foreign words and onomatopoeias. So when we (Japanese) find any Katakana word in any sentence, we can easily understand that the word is not regular Japanese word.
Unlike hiragana and katakana, each kanji character has its own specific meaning. And also it usually has a few specific pronunciations in Japanese language. For example; 水means water, and pronounce “mizu” or “sui” depending on the letters of before or after this letter. And more than 2000 kanji characters are commonly used on the daily life in Japan. Please refer the Japanese Kanji List.
And by connecting two or more kanji characters, our ancestors created common words and phrases which are popularly used in our daily life. For example, 常識 (common sense) and 太平洋 (Pacific Ocean), and these kanji words (or phrases) are much easier for recognizing, understanding and reading than the words (or phrases) which are written in hiragana or katakana for ordinal Japanese people. And without kanji, we would often misunderstand a written sentence even Japanese people. So kanji is very important in Japanese language.