What Is Katakana?

Katakana is one of four writing systems used in Japanese (the others being hiragana, kanji, and rōmaji).  Katakana is used primarily to represent foreign names and loan words that have been incorporated into the language.

Katakana consists of 71 single and 36 double characters.  Each of these 107 katakana has an identically-pronounced hiragana equivalent.

In addition, there are (roughly) 30 extended katakana that represent sounds that don’t exist in native Japanese words, such as ティ in パーティー (the ‘ty’ sound in ‘party’).  As such, they have no hiragana equivalent.

How is katakana used?

Real Kana