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  5. Hey can someone please explai…


Hey can someone please explain to me when to use katakana or kanji in Japanese?

I am currently learning the Japanese course and i'm very confused with when to use katakana or kanji. i'm also confused with the placing of the words. any help would be great!

January 19, 2018



Katakana is for loanwords, some otomotopia and some names, while only some Kanji are used regularly (there’s a specific legal list of common just over 1,200 Kanji in Japan, and all Kanji not on the list need a Hiragana reading alongside it. Technically there are as many Kanji as there are Chinese characters but many of them are never used). Hiragana is for everything else and you can technically make the whole sentence using only Hiragana, it’s just harder without Kanji to “separate” sounds and give clearer meaning.


Hiragana are the basic sounds. They are used by children when learning to read and write and to fill in gaps between kanji. Katakana are the same basic sounds, used to write foreign words. Kanji are the symbols and you'll learn more of these as you develop a larger vocabulary and then use fewer hiragana. There are also furigana, little versions of the basic sounds written above the kanji to help you when you are learning.

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