How Is Hiragana Used?

Here are some examples of how hiragana is used in Japanese writing.

  • Any writing targeting young children (storybooks, educational material, safety signage, etc.).e.g.  わたしはたなかです(‘I am Tanaka.’)
  • Verb endings, particles, and other grammar-related uses.e.g. 日本語勉強している(‘I am studying Japanese.’)
  • Hundreds of words for which there is no kanji, or where the kanji version of the word is rarely used.e.g.  ここ (‘here’), はい (‘yes’), きれい (‘pretty’)
  • Furigana, the tiny hiragana characters that appear alongside kanji to aid in their reading.
  • Design-related:  hiragana can be used in place of katakana and kanji for aesthetic purposes in signage, advertising, etc.
  • Some given names are written in hiragana.e.g.  あかね (‘Akane’, a girl’s name)
Real Kana