A Guide To Learning Hiragana And Katakana
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  • A Guide To Learning Hiragana And Katakana
  • Kenneth G. Henshall, Tetsuo Takagaki
  • Published by: Charles E. Tuttle Company
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 1990

This course book gives students a detailed introduction to the Japanese writing system. Each chapter provides students with pronunciation guides, notes on stroke order, writing activities, and plenty of cultural notes as well. A Guide To Learning Hiragana And Katakana makes a great complementary book to any Japanese course.

REVIEW BY Chris Saldana Book EXPERT
Review posted: 20/01/2014
Have you used this book?

Understanding a foreign script, especially an Asian language, can be difficult. As one could assume, the differences between our alphabet and those found in Asia can be vast and confusing. Thankfully, books like A Guide To Learning Hiragana and Katakana exist to help us understand these differences and learn the language in an easier way.


A Guide to Learning Hiragana and Katakana is a simple book and a handy tool if you plan to learn Japanese. Japanese as you may know uses its own special writing system, which is complex at first but afterwards, becomes easily understandable. The book opens up with an explanation between the Hiragana and Katakana characters along with some history about the language. The book then provides practice activities for each character (over 100 in total); the activities show the character, origin/history, stroke order, some small squares to practice writing each character and a brief guide to help you pronounce each one correctly.

There are just three units in the book but they are each quite long. The first unit covers all the Hiragana characters, including writing practice for each character, mini reviews and a general review. The second unit does just the same for the Katakana characters and the third unit is a final review that covers both scripts with games, copying practice, quizzes and charts to write in. The flow is simple all throughout the book of learning a handful of characters, then practicing writing them and then a review.

This same structure and rhythm is applied throughout the entire book for all the Hiragana and Katakana characters. This allows the student to learn and memorize each character in a practical way. There are also plenty of review exercises to help practice writing some important words/names. At the end of the book there are some useful review activities, quizzes and even word search games.


• More than enough writing practice, which is good since this is the main purpose of this book.

• Activities at the end the end of the book are challenging, but engaging.

• A good mix of examples and practice.


• No pictures or illustrations to add some flair.

Recommended For

• People who have absolutely no knowledge of the Japanese writing system.

• Students who want to master their current knowledge of Hiragana and Katakana.

Overall, this is a great book to gain a better understanding and master the Hiragana and Katakana characters. The book explains how to write them and offers plenty of practice and review to help students absorb this information. A Guide to Learning Hiragana and Katakana is an excellent book to get started on learning these two important Japanese writing systems. I would highly recommend this book to both teachers and students.



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