Category: Introduction

Introduction for learning Japanese

Japanese Lesson 6 – Japanese greetings (2)

8. Itadaki masu / Gochisoo-sama Itadaki masu. = Let’s eat. Gochisoo-sama. / Gochisoo-sama deshita. = Thank you for the delicious meal. Many Japanese people often say “itadaki masu” putting their hands together just before they start eating. And at the end of a meal, they say “Gochisoo-sama” then rise from table. In Japan, these are the common custom. “Itadaki masu” is the politeness expression of a verb “itadaku”. “Itadaku” is a humble form of “morau” meaning “receive”. Therefore, “itadaki masu” means receiving very humbly and graciously. In fact, eating is to receive the life of animals and plants in nature for maintaining our life. This phrase includes the mind of […]

Japanese Lesson 5 – Japanese greetings (1)

At the start of the learning of Japanese, it is very useful to learn the phrases of greetings used daily. These are not difficult, so let’s learn them first. 1. Hai / Iie Hai = Yes Iie = No These are the words to answer a question. Even if you don’t know them, “yes” and “no” are OK in Japan. 2. Ohayoo / Kon’nichiwa / Konbanwa Ohayoo. / Ohayoo gozaimasu. = Good morning. Kon’nichiwa. = Good afternoon. Konbanwa. = Good evening. These are the most basic daily greetings. “Ohayoo” is used in early morning and “Kon’nichiwa” is used in the daytime. The time when each person shifts from “Ohayoo” to […]

Japanese Lesson 4 – Kanji (Japansese character set 3)

Kanji is the character created in China in ancient times and was introduced to Japan in the 5th or 6th century. It is used in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. In Korea, it had been used until the middle of the 20th century but only Korean character is mainly used now. Kanji is a typical logogram in the world, and each character has any meaning and reading. In a famous old dictionary in China, over 49,000 characters are listed. Of course, it is impossible for all Kanji users to learn all characters and have an excellent command. In Japan, a Kanji set with limited characters is organized by Japanese […]

Japanese Lesson 3 – Katakana (Japansese character set 2)

Katakana In the previous page, I explained Hiragana. And Japanese has more one character set “Katakana” for each syllable I explained in the page of “Lesson 1”. Katakana was created in ancient times by taking a part of a Kanji character with similar Chinese sound were selected. Therefore, the form of character is rectilinear and angular. Katakana is a character set different from Hiragana, so you must learn this as an unique character set. Situation that Katakana is used Hiragana is the basic character set for Japanese, and Katakana is the special character set. It is mainly used for notation of foreign words. Japanese has absorbed a lot of foreign […]

Japanese Lesson 2 – Hiragana (Japansese character set 1)

As already described earlier, you need not learn the characters of Japanese eagerly. I write the explanation about the characters of Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, in that order. But please read as your new knowledge. Hiragana Each syllable I explained in the page of Lesson-1 has a unique Hiragana character. Ancient Japanese people used Kanji characters imported from China to write Japanese sentence. For each Japanese syllable, a Kanji character with similar Chinese sound were selected. Because it takes a lot of trouble to write Kanji character, the characters gradually became cursive style to speed up the writing. As the centuries roll by, the characters were simplified, then they became […]

Japanese Lesson 1 – Pronunciation of words in Japanese

Vowels and Consonants of Japanese Pronunciation of words in Japanese is not so difficult. Japanese has only 5 vowels. They are A, I, U, E and O. That is the same as Spanish. However, Japanese people don’t move their mouth so actively when they speak. In most languages, “U” is pronounced with pursed lips. But Japanese people don’t do that definitely. Japanese “U” is a little obscure vowel. Japanese has only 14 consonants. In alphabetical order, they are B, D, G, H, K, M, N, P, R, S, T, W, Y and Z. As changed consonants, the sounds of SH, CH, J, TS in English are used. Japanese doesn’t have […]

Japanese Lesson (Preface) – Let’s learn Japanese easily

Japanese is the language spoken in only Japan. Japan has a population of 127 million. Therefore the number of Japanese speakers is nearly equal to the population. There are Korea, Taiwan and China around Japan. They are geographically close to Japan, and the face and the body type are similar to each other. But the languages they speak differ from one another. I’m a Japanese, but Chinese and Korean are quite incomprehensible foreign languages for me. First, please know that Japanese is a separate language in East Asia.   Most foreign learners say that Japanese is very difficult. One of the reasons is that large variety of characters of Kanji […]