Introduction to Japanese







What the hell does that say? I’ll tell you. This is an experiment.  I am trying to get into relearning Japanese. I thought I’d do this by starting a tutorial on some simple Japanese. This way I can teach a little as well as pull back information long since locked off into the recesses of my mind.

Japanese isn’t that hard to learn. It’s easier than German. Many people probably see the way the language if written and step back. How in the hell can I read that? Once you get the basic sounds of the language down and then learn basic hirigana and katakana, you can read read some of the Japanese texts out there. However, for those just learning, I’d stick to manga geared towards a younger audience. More about that in a bit.

There are five basic sounds in Japanse. Words are all based on these five sounds. There are a few exceptions. Here are the five basic vowels:

a  (short A sound in English)

i   (long E sound in English)

u  (sounds like the o’s in moon)

e  (like the E in wet)

o  (sounds like O in fort)

They’re pronounced in a short, clipped tone. Again there are exceptions. There are a few long vowel sounds as well.

a   (long A in English)

u   (like a long U in English)

o   (like the long O in English)


Ao  (ah O)  (blue)

Ie   (Long E eh) (house)

Ue  (<m>oo<n>  EH)  (top)

Aoi  (Ah short O long E)  (is blue)


These sounds are presented in hirogana below. There will be more about hitigana & katanana & kanji later.

a     あ

i      い

u     う

e     え

o     お

The symbols above are hirigana and they’re pretty much what taught first.

If this has been helpful in anyway, let me know. The next lession will cover more pronounciations of the basic sounds in combinations. I will also get into what hirigana, katakana, and kanji are. Then I will start with the “a” row of the hirigana table.


There are two words that are pronounced incorrectly in English

manga  is not prnounced (MAY n gah)  based on what I said today, the word is pronounced MAH n gah)

anime  is not pronounced (ANN knee may)  it is pronounced (AH knee meh)

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