Japanese Hiragana Alphabet


Japanese has three writing systems. It's Kanji, which contains adapted Chinese characters, and two Japanese alphabets – syllabic hiragana and  Katakana 30F3–30AA .

Initially, the writing came to the Japanese from China. There is no evidence to whether they wrote anything before the appearance of hieroglyphs (kanji).

The first Japanese writing system was called manyegana, which appeared in the V century. It used Chinese characters for the semantic meanings. The phonetic alphabets — hiragana and katakana — originated from manyegana.

Each hiragana character displays one mora (short syllable). It can be used to write vowel sounds, syllabic combinations and one consonant (N or h ). Together with hieroglyphs, it serves to denote various prefixes and suffixes. Speaking of informal communication, when the writer (or reader/receiver) doesn't know the necessary hieroglyph, this sign can be applied for verbs and adjectives.

Japanese fiction and newspapers contain text that goes from top to bottom and from right to left — the traditional way of writing. However, computers and scientific articles mainly follow the European style.