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Let’s make some words using hiragana!

Just memorizing hiragana can be difficult, so let’s try to make some words using hiragana.
Learning words with some examples will help you remember better.

Hiragana EN click to enlarge

There are some really short Japanese words. One of the vowels, e is え (painting or picture). Keep in mind that nouns that are singular or plural might not always expressed in Japanese words. き could be one tree or many trees depending on the context.

Romaji Hiragana Meaning
k + i = ki tree
t + e = te hand
m + e = me eye

Let’s move on to words with two characters. The following words have Japanese pitch accent on the second hiragana. It means in the word うえ, you would say “u” with low pitch accent (L) and “e” with high pitch accent (H).

Romaji Hiragana Meaning
u + e = ue up
shi + ta = shita down
hi + to = hito person
tsu + ki = tsuki moon
ya + ma = yama mountain
ka + wa = kawa river
i + su = isu chair
ka + o = kao face
ku + chi = kuchi mouth
mi + mi = mimi ear
a + shi = ashi feet
a + me = ame candy

The following words have Japanese pitch accent on the first hiragana. For the example, in the word えき, you would say “e” with high pitch accent (H) and “ki” with low pitch accent (L).

Romaji Hiragana Meaning
ko + e = koe voice
e + ki = eki station
i + ma = ima now
na + ka =naka inside
so + to = soto outside
a + sa = asa morning
yo + ru = yoru night
ne + ko = neko cat
ku + mo = kumo cloud
a + me = ame め⁺⁺ rain
ka + sa = kasa umbrella
chi + zu = chizu map

& ⁺⁺ Those two words mean something totally different depending on the accent. .

【Challenge Question】
What are the hiragana for these kanji? Please answer only 1 question per user so that many of you can participate.
下 人 今 月 山 耳 足 手 中 外 目 上 口 木 川 雨 

・Post finder: Language guides to help with learning Japanese

If you have any questions or useful info for other users, please leave your comments.

October 4, 2017



雨 = あめ = ame = rain

I like this one because it looks like a window and it's raining outside.


Yes, it comes from the image of rain, but without a window:) Check this website: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E9%9B%A8


今 = いま ima now (is how i remember it)


Thanks a lot HelpfulDuo! I really like this duolingo japanese course. I started as an absolut beginner and I finished the tree today.

川 = かわ = kawa = river


I just learned the two kane in the last 2 weeks... now kanji and grammar ;)


Good job!! Now the hardest part... Although the first 100-200 kanji will also go pretty smoothly...


Is 中 なか ( naka)?


I have also met it as  中 =ちゅう (chu). I believe it means middle or something close to that. I think it was put in the course to show us the 中国=ちゅうごく= China (middle country).


Both are right. Chuu (チュウ) is the Onyomi reading, while Naka (なか) is one of the Kunyomi readings. It also means inside, center, and mean. (and of course middle as you said!)


人 is じん (jin)

Thanks again HelpfulDuo!


耳 = みみ = mimi

ありがとぅございました HelpfulDuo This is very helpful, I would like to mention I think the wrong part of ame is bolded for candy though, shouldn't the me part be highlighted?

I enjoy getting to see some of the pitch accents for these words though, it is not something I often am able to find online.


Thank you for the report. Ame (candy) is fixed!


足 = あし = foot By the way, when will the course be coming out?


木 = き = tree . The kanji appears like a tree


нэг хоёр гурван дөрвөн дөрвөн зургаан долоон найман есөн арван là Mông cổ


Also looks like 'Big' in chinese


Hanzi and Kanji are very similar.


外 = そと = soto = outside

Is this correct?


今 = いま = ima


Moshimoshi- Hello. This is very helpful. Going to tell all my Japanese leaning friends. Bai - Bye


山 = やま? mountain


Fun fact, "Kumo" : 「雲」means "cloud" in Japanese only when written in the appropriate Kanji... However, in Katakana (or Hiragana rarely), it can mean "spider"!!! Since you can't figure out Kanji when speaking (lol), it can lead to problems. xD

Imagine that your friend asks about the things that you like and you reply with...

「KUMO! KUMO が大好きです。彼らはとても愛らしでかわいいです。私はいつもそれらの上に乗りたいました!」

"KUMO! KUMO ga daisuki desu. Karera wa totemo airashi de kawaii desu. Watashi wa itsumo sorera no ue ni noritai mashita!"

Your friend slooooly moves away...

So remember to make the context clear, especially when you start the conversation about clouds (unless you are talking to someone who loves bugs/insects/nopes.) xD


Hi, I am wanting to start Japanese but not sure about remembering the characters. Does anyone have a different approach because its not working for me, seems difficult. I would like to start with simple, greetings, basic, Help


Hello, I have been studying Japanese on Duolingo and using other sites for about a year now (not fluent yet though) and I would recommend you starting with the both Japanese Alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana(it’ll make pronunciation and learning much easier). I have used Japanese pod 101 and it makes it such a fun and fast learning experience. Japanese pod 101 YouTube channel has a lot of beginners content and I honestly find their way of teaching to be very fun and simple. I highly recommend you to use flash cards or you can make your own digital set in the app quizlet. Hope this helps!



Hiragana and Katakana Japanese pod 101 lesson video


Thank you for your response, I dont feel Japanese is for me to start learning it merely for the fact that I like Japanese men.


Hello, I have a really simple system so that you can easily learn the characters!


Can you please provide me with your e-mail address to send you tips?


The hiragana for these kanji are: 下:した、か 人:ひと、じん 今:いま 月:がつ、つき 山:やま、さん 耳:みみ 足:あし 手:て 中:ちゅう、なか 外:がい、そと 目:め 上:じょう、うえ 口:くち、こう 木:き、もく 川:かわ 雨:あめ


Is there an online source that has the list of words that change meaning depending on the accented syllable? Are these the only words that change meaning, or are there tons more?


ima (H-L) =now, ima (L-H) =living room

sake (H-L) =salmon, sake (no accent) =drinking sake

nihon (H-L) =two stick of, nihon (L-H-L) =Japan

hashi (H-L) =chopsticks, hashi (L-H) =bridge, hashi (no accent) =edge

kaki (H-L) =oyster, kaki (L-H) =fence, kaki (no accent) =persimmon

If you start looking at the dialects, there're many more I'm sure. Haven't found good online sources yet. Anyone? Any suggestions?


Thanks. All of this is very interesting. I'm learning Japanese from duolingo and memrise, with no prior knowledge and I had no clue about this. I've never seen anyone mention it. Years ago when I was trying to decide whether to study Chinese or Japanese first, usually the discussion was about politeness levels or about all the tons of measure words. But I've never seen this mentioned.

I had not planned to learn Japanese any time soon, but got hooked in after trying this course. It helps that I have some knowledge of Chinese. Not keen on learning new readings for characters or learning more measure words, but so far it hasn't been too bad.


ki is き everywhere I've seen it so far, but in your photo with all the letters the bottom part of ki is separated, why? Is that a font choice or did ki change over time?


Difference between Handwriting and Typing. They are both correct.


Yes, when handwriting, the bottom part of 'ki' is separated.


when will the course come out?? I've been waiting for so long!!!


The course is out, haven't you noticed people with the Japanese flag on their comments? If you have a phone, download the app and start it. We aren't sure when staff will write the code for doing the exercises teaching the characters on the web.


Does the pitch accent exist in the audio of the Japanese course?


I believe that the answer is yes, but maybe there are some errors because this is still in beta.


Thanks for your guides! Just one remark: あめ meaning depends on the context (or Kanji) not on the accent.


For Tokyo standard, accent is clearly define rain and candy if you hear the words. Once they are written it's obvious with Kanji. Kansai accent is a different story.


Great list, I only wish it was longer.
Learning simple 1, 2 or even 3 symbol words can really help beginners like me both learn the symbols and start building a Japanese vocabulary.


I am VERY new to Japanese, and that stuff and I'm a bit confused, is there "the" "is" "they" "where" "when" etc, those words, do they exist in the Japanese language? Because I can't find anything in hiragana, :P but my sentences I make aren't making sense without those words, so hehe, I'm trying :)


How do you say up in Japanese? I thought it was appu?


HelpfulDuo can i ask how do you put japanese letters together to make a word. Its hard to see it in my perspective, can you help me w/ it.


山=やま This is very cool and useful! Thank you!


I know all though...


下 = below, down = した


I need these in a downloadable graph.

[deactivated user]

    人 = ひと = hito

    I think?


    down, person, now, moon, ear, feet, hand, inside, outside, eye, up, mouth, tree, river and rain???

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