Hiragana (ひらがな) is one of three writing systems (including Katakana and Kanji) used for the Japanese Language. It forms the fundamental core of sounds and writing used in Japanese. As a learner of the language, this is one of the first things you need to memorise in terms of Japanese characters.
The word ‘Hiragana’ simply means basic or ordinary, referring to the regular or ordinary characters used in the Japanese writing system. Each character represents either a vowel or consonant and vowel combination, representative of one of the key sounds or combinations in the Japanese language.
As a beginner of the language, you should get used to all the characters, especially in terms of writing, as you will be using this to type most words at first. As you develop your language skills and recognition of the Kanji (Chinese) Characters, you will use them less frequently. Now, you will see that they are important as particles, help with some grammatical structures and word tenses, but more on that later. We have created a chart of Hiragana Characters below, which we hope will help you in your studies. Good luck with memorising!
To support your studies, you can also download a free PDF copy of our FAQ Japan – Hiragana Guide.