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How did you memorize Hiragana?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby MuzikalNotes » Mon 07.14.2008 8:35 pm

Besides the obvious but very good method of repetition and memorization, I also use this flash to help: http://www.dragonmedia.us/programs/kana.swf.
It's very similar to flashcards, except these are all randomized, so cheating is going to be very hard to do (and who's going to cheat on this, anyways?). It also keeps track of how many kana you got or wrong, and how much time you have been doing it. It even allows you to time you, which I love for speed drills. There's instructions on how to use it on the flash; just find the Instructions button on the right. The Tips and Pronounciation Notes under it also help. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Kumani » Thu 07.17.2008 12:06 pm

I just look at them, repeat it in my head over an over what they mean, and then write them out as a final result. :D
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby sushi4ever » Sat 07.19.2008 12:29 pm

i downloaded the hiragana and katakana worksheets at mlcjapanese (they're for free), printed them out and had my way with them throughout one weekend.

here are the links for your convenience:



and then i just reviewed them from time to time, writing them from memory, reading something and using kanaflash (to be found here)

repetition is the key.
my japanese learning blog: http://pimpmysushi.livejournal.com
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby rico_Ben3 » Wed 07.23.2008 3:19 am

I got a program that made me translate from hiragana to romaji... it became easy after the 2nd day of using it.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Devros_ » Wed 07.23.2008 3:58 pm

I learned kanas by writing them on a sheet of paper at least once a day for weeks. I practice my reading with anything I saw randomly on products instructions, signs on japanese shops or restaurants, on the Internet... I also played final fantasy 6 jap for hours reading katakana and hiragana. Afterward I took a course in japanese so I re-learned hiragana and katana and now I can recognize any kana almost automatically when I see it.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Dustin » Wed 07.23.2008 5:09 pm

Ugh, I feel sorry for anyone that has spent a considerable amount of time on Hiragana and Katakana.
Like I said in a previous post, I had them down in a matter of hours, doing some light review for a week or so and that was about it, once in a while going back to the less used Katakana after that, but weeks to get the Hiragana down, that makes my brain hurt.
Hopefully more people will find the easier ways of doing this, otherwise when they hit Kanji, oh my, it will be a VERY long haul, long enough for me as it is....

So nothing against anyone that did take longer to learn it at all, I am just saying, there are easier ways and I hope more people will take advantage of them.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Devros_ » Thu 07.24.2008 8:58 am

Yeah well I took me a lot of time to learn it back then because I didn't have a good study technique. When I took my japanese course, most students easily learned hiragana and katakana in a weekend. I felt kinda ashamed when I realized it took me much more time.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Daiga » Fri 08.08.2008 10:27 pm

I used Slime Forest which is a gaming system that is partially free (When I first found it it was completely free) and I memorized it by practicing on that. It's done by LRNJ if you put it into google, and if you use the demo section on it, it really helps, but then again, only if you are good at learning through sometimes annoying repetition, which is what I am good at, if not, ^.^ I'm wasting your time.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Miaow » Mon 08.11.2008 8:56 pm

I learned Hiragana first then moved on to Katakana. I found Hiragana quicker to remember. Flashcards helped - At first, I made my own, but I got frustrated with these (the index cards I used were thin) so I bought the White Rabbit Press cards. I REALLY liked these a lot because in addition to the kana and a picture mnemonic, each card has a few words that contain the featured kana. You can find these flashcards here: http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/catalog/index.html

There's also a really useful kana Java applet (flash card program) here: http://www.chipchat.com/NihonGo/.

Like others have said, definitely write each kana several times, for a few days.

I found that once I learned all of the kana via flash cards and paper-and-pen, a good refresher was manga - I got a kick out of sitting down and flipping to a page in a manga (Sailor Moon at the time) and seeing how many words and phrases I could understand with my kana knowledge and very basic grammar from the first few chapters of "Japanese for Busy People".

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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Ikendo » Wed 08.13.2008 4:13 pm

I used Japanese for young people kana workbook. I remembered all the kana when I was through it. I thought it was a really good book back then, but now I've realized it would've been better with just some flashcards. Would've saved me some money :P
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Havnes » Fri 08.15.2008 12:14 pm

I used the program Power Japanese. It's repititious, drills you often, and forces you to keep your knowledge of the language. It also has a bunch of neat little trivia. However, it's grammar lessons were less than helpful, so I avoided them.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Majik4ever » Fri 08.15.2008 1:55 pm

Through Clay's Hiragana lessons, of couse!
It took me a little less than a week to learn all the Hiragana. (I only took that long just to make sure I had them down :mrgreen: ).

I recommend: a) Use Clay's hiragana lessons. b) Write the characters(3-10 a day) with the word(s) shown. c) Repeat until finished.
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby dragon89 » Mon 09.15.2008 10:21 pm

I learned hiragana first in high school and we used some mneumonics (things to remember them by) like thinking of ぬ as a bowl of noodles. Otherwise it's just repetition. I wrote them out over and over and over... well you get the idea. Instead of doodling on your notes for other classes try drawing hiragana. Another thing, try getting used to recognizing them and then move to writing them. That helps me with kanji. :)
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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Jagadis » Thu 10.09.2008 9:05 pm

The White Rabbit kana flash cards are excellent.

There is now another cool option. If you have either an iPhone or an iPod Touch, you can purchase the new portable version of iKana via the iTunes App Store. It is very cool. You can take it anywhere with you and you use the touch screen to practice writing the different characters. It costs all of $7.99

Here is the link if you want to see what it looks like:


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Re: How did you memorize Hiragana?

Postby Ben Nielson » Sun 11.02.2008 3:01 am

A little bit of an old topic, I suppose... but as I just recently found this site, I'll pitch something in...

Get a huge block of romaji text. Then, transliterate it (is that the right word?). That is to say, change it from romaji to hiragana.

I used a grammar book I had that was all in romaji - I went through it and changed it all into hiragana or katakana - whichever I was practicing at the time. You can probably just find something on the internet - or just grab a bunch of Japanese and chuck it into a Japanese -> Romaji converter. It doesn't matter at all what you're using, really, as long as it's a lot of romaji.s.

Now, get a chart with all of the hiragana/katakana. Set down and start writing them. Your brain is going to start getting tired of constantly looking at that chart, so it'll begin storing the characters in your head.

Learned to read and write Hiragana and Katakana in a weekend doing this. I'll echo what a poster above said - if this is taking you longer than a week or two, your study method isn't working and you should be trying something different.

Also, ANYTHING you write in Japanese, write it in kana. It doesn't matter if it takes you a lot longer to write it - but write it in kana. This will continue to help you practice it.

Then, ditch anything that has romaji in it. It's basically just robbing you of more hiragana/katakana reading practice. The sooner you take away the romaji crutch, the better off you'll be.

I think the most important think is that once you learn them, you actually continue to use your knowledge - I think the people having problems are learning it, then forgetting it, then having to relearn it. If you're constantly tested on the knowledge through reading practice, it will stick. Of course, you're going to hit some you won't know or will have forgotten.

This all said, I still have to stop and think when I want to write マ and ム. Not sure why, but those two are going to plague me forever. :)
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