Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online where we have some helpful references for you! We recommend that if you haven’t already, you read our articles about Japanese ‘Alphabetical’ Order and if you have no idea what these squiggles are, How do you write in Japanese is the article for you. But, if you’ve already read our explanation on Japanese ‘Alphabetical’ Order, or you’ve just come across our gojuuon chart page, then you’re in luck! Below, we have our lovely computer assistant QUIZBO™ here with a proper look at the Japanese 五十音 , gojyuuon, chart.
五十音 , gojyuuon, literally means fifty sounds. These don’t cover every single sound in Japanese, which we’ll go over in a different lesson, but they do cover the building blocks of every basic hiragana. You’ll notice that despite being called 五十音 , gojyuuon, there are some spots missing, and a late addition. ん, n, wasn’t in the original Old Japanese language, and it’s notably the only character without a vowel sound after the consonant.
Now, as we read this, you’ll have to note that in Japanese, reading is from left to right, top to bottom. So, you start with あいうえお, then you move to the next row, かきくけこ, then the next you. You’ll be familiar with this sort of organisation if you’ve read any Japanese 漫画, manga, graphic novels or comics. This is a common format of writing for everything from books and signs to newspapers and magazines. There are many graphics and books that take on the Western style of left to right, especially with the computer age, but reading up to down and right to left is something that is good to practise.
We might go more indepth in future articles, but hopefully, this chart is helpful to you! Feel free to return often if you need to reference these, and test your hiragana skills with QUIZBO™ at Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online on ieindigoeast.com
Have an absolutely lovely day and best of wishes on your Japanese learning journey~