Japanese letters and characters

This time is not an introduction of tourist spot, but an introduction of Japanese culture.
I will introduce Japanese letters and characters.
In Japan, four kinds of letters and characters are used: kanji(Chinese character), hiragana letters, katakana letters, latin letters.
Let's see the signboard of the shop located in the Higashimuki shopping Mall.

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

Signboards written with only kanji

These are signboards written with only kanji.

Signboards written with only Hiragana

Signboards written with only Hiragana

Signboards written with only Hiragana

These are signboards written with only Hiragana.

Signboards written with only katakana

Signboards written with only katakana

These are signboards written with only katakana.

Signboards written with only Latin letters

Signboards written with only Latin letters

These are signboards written with only Latin letters.
It is not just a signboard that we use various kinds of letters and characters.
When writing sentences, we use a mixture of many kinds of letters and characters.
However, the use frequency of Latin letters is usually quite small compared to other characters.
So, why do we use this kind of letters and characters like this?
At first, there was no letter and no character in Japan.
And, Chinese characters(kanji) are transmitted from China, and began to be used about 1600 years ago.
Because Japanese and Chinese are different languages, we have used kanji by various ingenuity.
Still it was sometimes difficult to accurately represent Japanese with only kanji.
Hiragana and katakana were born about 1,200 years ago in order to solve it.
These were made based on Kanji.
How are these different from kanji?
The big difference is that kanji are ideographic characters, but hiragana and katakana are phonograms as well as latin letters.
In addition, Latin characters are more often used as symbols than words to express.
I will explain each letter and character on another occasion.


(December 19, 2017)

Prev
Next