Learning Japanese is quite challenging, but Duolingo is here to help! After learning Hiragana, you’ll learn Katakana, the second set of Japanese writing system. Katakana is mainly used for transcription of foreign language words into Japanese.

Katakana click to enlarge

This chart starts from upper right hand side corner, and goes down from top to bottom.

Here’s the katakana list with stroke order. This chart doesn’t have romaji for those who know the katakana already and need to learn how to write them. click to enlarge


Here’re the first five letters and pronounce as short vowel sounds.

- Vowels
Hiragana あ  い  う  え  お
Katakana ア  イ  ウ  エ  オ
Romaji a  i  u  e  o
Pronunciation /a/ /i/ /u/ /e/ /o/


Hiragana and katakana have the exact same pronunciations.

- Learning Katakana - consonants
Hiragana あ  か  さ  た  な  は
Katakana ア  カ  サ  タ  ナ ハ
Romaji a  ka sa ta na ha
Hiragana ま  や  ら  わ  を ん
Katakana マ  ヤ  ラ  ワ  ヲ ン
Romaji ma  ya ra wa wo n

Please review.
Extended hiragana list
・Here’s tinycards for Writing Japanese—Katakana

Do you know any katakana words in Japanese? Please share with us in comments.

September 22, 2017


Can katakana be added to the Japanese course? It would be really helpful because katakana is very prevalent when visiting Japan (e.g. on menus).

I agree, having Katanaka, or even Kanji since that is related to Japanese... I'm not entirely sure about Romaji, but that should still work

Japanese is unreadable without the Katakana, because it is used for foreign words to help the Japanese say them correctly and such words are all over the place, therefore Katakana being deeply mixed with the Hiragana, so are there any plans to add it to the course? To be honest, without both the Hiragana and Katakana you should have just stuck to the Romaji, learning only half of it isn't of any use.

Maybe you've already found out about this by now, but the lessons from Intro and onward gradually have Katakana in them.

That reassures me. Thanks for commenting (even if it wasn't for me).

These supplementary discussions are helpful, especially because the web version of Japanese isn't yet available and the app presents but does not discuss the writing systems or review points of grammar.

Tinycards link is added for your practice!

Plz add katakana to duolingo like hiragana

Which lessons teach the katakana? I wish there were lessons similar to the hiragana. I picked those up reasonably quick with how those were taught.

Which is used more: Hiragana, Katanka, Romaji, or Kanji? And is it necessary to know all four?

I think only Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji are necessary to know, because they are the composition of Japanese writing system.
Romaji is a thing that Japanese use to communicate with foreigner, it's useful to use romaji when you first learn Japanese and haven't been familiar with Kana.

They are all both equally important because missing one means missing one of the structure of the language and would make a sentence incomplete.

but if you really want to compare, I would rate it like this: Hiragana > Katakana > Kanji

Kanji is in lowest because you can spell Kanji with Hiragana and speaking Kanji will be using Hiragana pronunciations instead of the Kanji's original Chinese pronunciation, but not knowing how to read Kanji or read it can be a problem.

Hiragana and Katakana just includes tons of simple and common words and not knowing them is just problematic.

While they're all used in conjunction, I'm pretty sure Kanji is the most commonly encountered in writing. However, it's important to know all three (Romaji isn't used as much) to understand the language.

katakana is used mostly. Knowing Hirigana, and Katakana are most important. Learn the others for extra understanding.

If you want to use the Japanese languege decently you should learn Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Don't learn Romaji! It's a waste of time. However you should most definitely learn the other 3 if you plan on going anywhere that you will be speaking Japanese

Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji are the ones you need to learn, but Romaji is useful for typing in English keyboards, so Romaji won't be completely necessary except for learning pronunciations at the start.

[deactivated user]

    Hiragana is the "default" alphabet. Katakana is used for foreign words, Kanji is essentially the same as the Chinese alphabet, except the characters are pronounced differently. A Kanji character represents a word or concept. And Romaji is just Japanese words written with the English alphabet. Hiragana and Katakana are essential if you want to learn Japanese, and Kanji is also something you should learn, because they are also commonly used. Don't even bother with Romaji because you'll end up pronouncing Japanese characters the English way.


    yoroshiku ongaishimasu, エリアスです

    Hi everyone

    How long does it take to fully able to read the Hiragana and Katakana?

    Which is better, to just go ahead with Duolingo courses even though i haven't fully memorized Hiragana or fully learn Hiragana before i continuing the course?

    If you don't learn Hiragana, you will have a harder time with Katakana, not to mention Kanji. If you don't learn Hiragana properly you won't know the basic words, and you get way past behind. If you don't learn Hiragana properly you MAY learn how to say the words associated with them, but in no way can you really learn them. Hiragana is not that hard though, you can learn it properly in 1-2 weeks. Check the Hiragana section of the Discussion, there is -I think- Tofugu's guide which associates pictures with the Hiragana, and with a few days of practise you can master it and all the words.

    Thanks for the response, i think you're right. been doing nothing but learning Hiragana in Duo for this almost two week. Those similar symbols with completely different pronounciations.... grrh....

    I’m probably gonna make a quizlet on katakana because it doesn’t seem Duolingo gives a crap. So msg me if you want the quizlet. (It’s probably already made so can just search it)

    Is it bad I learned Katakana before Hiragana? (I blame Pixiv and Fire Emblem Cipher XD)

    interesting approach, but first you must crawl, then walk and finally you can run

    oh ghosh so many style

    One thing at a time. Hiragana first. Katakana look different but they're the same sounds as hiragana. Once you know hiragana, it will help you understand kanji later!

    I know! They just have different glyphs (except for "he" and its variants).

    Does anyone have easier way to remember this :(

    Associate pictures with each one

    Mnemonics charts help a lot


    So close! わ --> は


    The particle は is used here even though it pronounced as wa sound. Need to remember this only when you are writing. ;D

    google translate changed it to this: 私の趣味はゴルフです。 is that correct also?

    Yeah it is, that uses Kanji or multiple hiragana sounds rolled into one symbol

    Why does Japanese have like four styles of language?

    Japanese has four alphabets. The alphabets are Hiragana and Katakana. There is also Romaji, which is romanized Japanese, but that's hardly ever used. There's also Kanji, which is derived from Chinese characters, and there's a bunch, but while you need to know at least 5,000 Hanzi, you only need to know half that amount of Kanji. It sounds difficult, but you'll get used to it, and after you conquer the writing system, Japanese won't be as hard. If you're having trouble, I recommend Tanoshii Japanese and JapanesePod101.

    HelpfulDuo has some discussions teaching the Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Check them out if you need help.

    I hope this helps you out!

    Im Loving the way Duolingo approaches language learn! Also reading the loom of language and Michel Thomas is EXCELLENT! To aid in your Japanese learning!

    Does Duolingo also teach Kanji after it teaches both Hiragana and Katakana?

    Can I remove hiragana from the course because I want to just learn kata for now

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