When you take Japanese classes, one of the exciting and intimidating steps is learning Japanese alphabets. Unlike other languages that mostly use Latin, Japanese owns its different writing systems. Besides having unsimilar alphabets, the Japanese also have three writing systems, namely kanji, hiragana, and katakana. To keep up with your Japanese reading and writing skills, we have some useful tips for you.

Learn to Read Hiragana

In Japanese classes, Hiragana is the first thing to learn before Katakana or Kanji. For beginners, learning to write and read Hiragana is the best start to create a good foundation. Before you get excited about writing Hiragana characters, it is better to know how to read it first. When you learn Hiragana, you are in the middle of learning the basics of Japanese pronunciation.

The first useful method is using image-based mnemonics to memorize characters. The second tip is not rushing yourself to learn to write Hiragana because you might be typing it a lot rather than writing it. The third, which is very important, is definitely to keep practicing. The more strain and effort you put into it, the faster you’ll master Hiragana.

What’s Next? Kanji

Once you’re confident enough with your Hiragana, you surely ask what is next to learn? Well, it is better to start with Kanji right away. You don’t need to wait until you’re at a high level of Japanese to start learning Kanji. When you are good at Kanji, your Japanese reading, grammar, speaking, and listening will improve rapidly.

Kanji has more than 8,000 characters but it doesn’t mean you have to memorize it all. While we recommend not to hurry yourself to write Hiragana, we suggest you start writing Kanji. It is the best way to memorize their characters since Kanji is written in a specific order called stroke order. Writing in the right stroke order is important. Your Kanji will be hard to read if you start in the wrong place.

Learn Katakana in Hours or Days

Once you’ve completed your Hiragana and Kanji, learning Katakana will look very simple. Katakana is mostly used to transcribe non-Japanese words or words that come from other languages. A huge number of words written in Katakana come from English. Katakana is also used for animal names, foods, scientific words, and various stylistic purposes.

Therefore, this is a big advantage for English speakers. Once you have a good basic understanding of Hiragana and Kanji, learning Katakana is a matter of days or even hours. The first thing to do is practicing to write out Katakana characters until you get used to it. Katakana characters are a simple version of Kanji symbols.

We hope you’ll find the above tips useful for your Japanese classes. Note that constant practice and learning will make your Japanese skill get better and better. Spare at least an hour or two a day to practice Nihongo.