Difference Between Hiragana and Katakana

Main Difference – Hiragana vs. Katakana

The Japanese writing system uses several characters. They are kanji, romaji, and kana. Kana are simple symbols that represent sounds, and there are two types of kana: Hiragana and Katakana. The main difference between Hiragana and Katakana can be described as the shape of the characters and their use. Hiragana characters, which are written in a curving, flowing style, are used to write native words while Katakana characters, which are more angular in shape, are used to write words with foreign origins. We will look at the difference between Hiragana and Katakana further, by analyzing these two syllabaries separately.

What is Hiragana

Hiragana is a Japanese syllabary and is a basic component of the Japanese writing system. It can be introduced as the basic Japanese phonetic script as it represents every sound in the Japanese script. All sounds in the Japanese language can be written in this script. There are 46 basic modern Hiragana characters in the Japanese language. It has 5 singular vowels, 45 consonant–vowel unions, and 1 singular consonant. The characters are written in a smoother script, full of loops and curves. 

Hiragana can be used alongside with kanji to write native Japanese words. It can be used to write grammatical forms such as particles and adjective endings, words for which there are no kanji. Hiragana characters can also be used if the writer does not the kanji form of a word or if the kanji usage is too formal. However, keep in mind that Hiragana can only be used for native Japanese words including words of Chinese origins. Hiragana can also be used to indicate the pronunciation of the kanji characters. Given below is a table of basic Hiragana characters.Main Difference - Hiragana vs Katakana

What is Katakana

Katakana is a kana system which is used to words that are imported from foreign languages. Katakana also represents the phonetic sounds of the language, but the characters are different. Katakana characters are written in a more angular shape; this writing is rigid with sharp turns and is known as the more masculine of Japanese writing systems. The Japanese language consists of 48 characters of Katakana: 5 nucleus vowels, 42 core or body syllabograms and 1 coda consonant.

Words adapted from other languages (except Chinese) are written in Katakana. Its usage is quite similar to italics in English; Katakana is used to transcribe foreign language words into Japanese and to write  loan words. It is also used to indicate emphasis and to represent onomatopoeia. Technical and scientific terms, names of plants, animals, minerals, and companies are also written in Katakana.Difference Between Hiragana and Katakana

Difference Between Hiragana and Katakana


Hiragana is used to write native Japanese words.

Katakana is used to write words that are imported from foreign languages.

Number of Characters

Hiragana has 46 basic characters.

Katakana has 48 basic characters.

Shape of the Characters

Hiragana characters are written in a smoother script, full of curves and loops.

Katakana characters are written in a more angular shape.

Difficulty level

Hiragana is easier to learn.

Katakana is more difficult to learn compared to Hiragana.Main Difference - Hiragana vs Katakana

Image Courtesy:

“Table hiragana” by User:Pmx – Based upon Image: .jpg  via  

“Table katakana” by User:Pmx – Based upon Image: Table katakana.jpg. via

About the Author: admin

Related pages

cilia and flagellumeveryone everybody grammarfive differences between mitosis and meiosisgerman shepherd belgianinterpol acronymequity vs equalitywhat is the difference between geography and topographyhow to tell between polar and nonpolarmt tonneexclamation mark examplesexamples monocot plantsfunction of hilumacne vs pimpledifference between a seminar and a workshopshark vs dolphin who winsmadame french meaningexamples of structuralism and functionalism in psychologywhat are normative economicsangiosperm life cycle diagramzener diode symbolrecombination crossing overthai basil vs regular basilelectromagnetic radiation and sound waves travel at the same speedamorphous and crystalline polymersdifference between siberian husky and alaskan malamutejarrah honeydistinguish between porosity and permeabilitymania or hypomaniauses of cyclohexanedefinition for acquaintanceexamples of synesthesiasatire and sarcasmdefinition of concrete noundifference between xylem and phloemthe difference between deer and reindeerdefinition third person omniscientpluripotent vs multipotentdifference between essential and nonessential fatty acidslarceny definition vs theftvegetative reproduction in bacteriadifference between cell cycle and mitosiswhat is difference between wifi and wimaxdifference in meiosis and mitosisdifferences between monocot and dicot seedsthe least count of a vernier caliper iscolorimeter vs spectrophotometertwo differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cellshomopolymers and copolymersconsonance figure of speechis molasses the same as blackstrap molassespsychotic vs neurotictypes of consonants soundsdolphins and sharks factswhat is a microfilamentopposite of static charactercaribou vs moosewhat is thrombosis and haemostasissn1 and sn2 mechanismsdifference between free and attached ribosomesthe difference between hurricanes and typhoonsdifference between saturated and unsaturated fatty aciddifference between renewable and nonrenewable sources of energysn1 vs sn2 chartdifference between groundnut and peanutlip smoochingdefine depersonalizationdifference between pitbull and bulldogdifference between bacilli and coccidifference between chives and green onionsadverb types and examplescyclone vs tornado definitionadverb of reason definitionde jure factoethics morals differenceformalin chemical structure