Japanese hiragana

Here are some mnemonics to help with learning Japanese hiragana – which is a good place (just before katakana) to start learning written Japanese (Check out this hiragana chart, and this one, too!):

  • あ – a: Looks like a man with a snake wrapped around him screaming “AAAA!”
  • い – i: Looks like a pair of legs, perhaps kicking something that goes “IIII!”
  • う – u: Looks like a child pointing out a toy he wants to his mother and going “UUUU!”
  • え – e: Looks like a woman putting her hand up and walking away from a man she’s not interested in and going “Eh…”
  • お – o: Looks like a man rowing a boat with his “O”ar.
  • か – ka: Looks like a man doing a backflip! It’s amazing that he “K”an do that!
  • き – ki: Looks like a skeleton “KI”y!
  • く – ku: Looks like a bird’s beak that is “KU-KU”ing!
  • け – ke: Looks like one person carrying something, and another person asking to help. Alternatively, looks like a “KE”g.
  • こ – ko: Looks like a “KO”iled spring.
  • さ – sa: Looks like a guy with a big, “SA”gging belly!
  • し – shi: “SHI” has long hair!
  • す – su: A woman with a baby coming “SU”n!
  • せ – se: Two people sitting and watching the sun”SE”t.
  • そ – so: There’s a Z on top of a C saying “SO sorry!”
  • た – ta: Add a few lines and it looks like “ta” in the Latin alphabet.
  • ち – chi: Looks like a tai “CHI” pose!
  • つ – tsu: Looks like a crescent moon. (Fitting since “TSUki” means moon!)
  • て – te: Looks like a broken “TE”nnis racket!
  • と – to: Looks like a “TO”e with a splinter in it!
  • な – na: Looks like a bike “NA”bber with the owner chasing after him!
  • に – ni: Looks like a “NI”dle and thread.
  • ぬ – nu: Picking up your “NU”dles and an egg with chopsticks! (The egg/loop part is important.)
  • ね – ne: A tree with a “NE”st with an egg inside of it! (The egg/loop part is important.)
  • の – no: A “NO”-entry sign.
  • は – ha: Looks like a comedian with a microphone making the audience go “HA!”
  • ひ – hi: Looks like someone smiling at a good joke: “HEE-HEE!”
  • ふ – fu: Looks like a guy flailing his arms and “FU”ling around.
  • へ – he: Looks like a “HE”ystack.
  • ほ – ho: Looks like a “HO”ckey player with his “HO”ckey stick.
  • ま – ma: Looks like a “MA”n with quadruple arms. What evil “MA”gic is this? Alternatively, it’s your “MA”, who has grown two more arms!
  • み – mi: Look at “MI”, I’m 21! (Looks like the number 21.)
  • む – mu: Looks like a cow with a cowbell and a tail going “MU!”
  • め – me: My bowl of noodles with chopsticks has no egg in it! “ME”h!
  • も – mo: A fishing hook with two worms on it! Must be going for a “MO”nster fish!
  • や – ya: Looks like someone shouting “YA!” as they punch through a board.
  • ゆ – yu: A “YU”nique-looking fish swimming through the water.
  • よ – yo: Looks like a person presenting something saying “This is YOurs!”
  • ら – ra: Looks like the Egyptian god “RA” on a “RA”king chair.
  • り – ri: Looks like an ear missing an ear”RI”ng!
  • る – ru: Looks like a “RU”ined number 3!
  • れ – re: The nest is w”RE”cked! The egg fell out!
  • ろ – ro: “RO”, “RO”, “RO” your boat…3 “RO”s, and it looks like a 3!
  • わ – wa: Looks like a person getting slammed by a boulder going “WAA!”
  • を – wo: “WO”! Almost fell into the puddle!
  • ん – n: Looks like the lowercase “n” in English!

I also recommend learning from this Japanese deck on Memrise.

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