Japanese katakana

Here are some mnemonics to help with learning Japanese katakana – which is the second best place (after hiragana) to start learning written Japanese (Check out this katakana chart, this one, and this one, too!):

  • ア – a: Looks like an “A”xe. (pronounced “ah”)
  • イ – i: Looks like a lowercase “I” with a long dot. (pronounced “ee”)
  • ウ – u: Looks like the hiragana “U”!
  • エ – e: Looks like an “E”levator!
  • オ – o: Looks like a man tripping – “O” no!
  • カ – ka: Looks like the hiragana “KA”!
  • キ – ki: Looks like the top of the hiragana skeleton “KI”y!
  • ク – ku: Looks like the side of a “KU”p! (pronounced “koo”)
  • ケ – ke: Looks like a lopsided letter “KE”! (pronounced “keh”)
  • コ – ko: Has two “KO”rners!
  • サ – sa: Dancing the “SA”mba/”SA”lsa!
  • シ – shi: “SHI” always smiles at me.
  • ス – su: “SU”pport!
  • セ – se: “SE”pukku (Japanese honorable suicide).
  • ソ – so: シ “SHI” ソ “SO” fine.
  • タ – ta: A fluffy fox “TA”il! (pronounced “tah”)
  • チ – chi: Tai “CHI”!
  • ツ – tsu: Sounds like a sigh since “shi” didn’t smile.
  • テ – te: A “TE”ble with a dish/cup of tea on it.
  • ト – to: An Asian weapon, the “TO”nfa!
  • ナ – na: Looks like a cross: “NA”, incorrect!
  • ニ – ni: Same as the kanji for two!
  • ヌ – nu: The “NU” way to write a 7.
  • ネ – ne: Happy businessman in a “NE”cktie!
  • ノ – no: “NO” stroke.
  • ハ – ha: A “HA”t volcano!
  • ヒ – hi: The “HI”l of a sock. (pronounced “hee”)
  • フ – fu: A “FU”merang! 😛
  • ヘ – he: Same as hiragana “HE”.
  • ホ – ho: A “HO”ly, shining cross.
  • マ – ma: Looks like a “MA”ko shark’s snout. (pronounced “mah”)
  • ミ – mi: Do re “MI”, 1 2 3!
  • ム – mu: Building “MU”scle! (pronounced “moo”)
  • メ – me: A “ME”dieval sword!
  • モ – mo: Looks like the hiragana “MO”!
  • ヤ – ya: A “YA”k! (pronounced “yah”)
  • ユ – yu: “YU” are number one! Alternatively, a “u” on its side.
  • ヨ – yo: “YO”! Fist bump!
  • ラ – ra: Looks like the Egyptian god “RA” bowing to the sun!
  • リ – ri: Looks like the hiragana “RI”! Also like a flowing “RI”ver. (pronounced “ree”)
  • ル – ru: A tree “RU”t! (pronounced “roo”)
  • レ – re: An arrow showing which way “RE”in falls.
  • ロ – ro: “RO” shows that squares don’t “RO”ll.
  • ワ – wa: A “WA”ter “WA”ve. (pronounced “wah”)
  • ヲ – wo: “WO”! The “w” is flipped on its side!
  • ン – n: “Shi” only has one eye! “N”ice eyepatch!

I also recommend learning from this Japanese deck on Memrise.

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