How to learn all Japanese writing systems?

The Japanese language is unique to have three writing systems, Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

Recently, I’ve got a question, “How do Japanese people learn all writing systems?”

Here is an answer. 😉

Watch the video below and you know the clear path how to learn these writing systems!

*The video doesn’t work? Click HERE to watch!

The Japanese language has three writing systems

How do we learn them all?


Recently, I’ve got a question from my students.

“Is it true that the Japanese language has three writing systems?”

My answer is, “Yes, it’s true.”


“Then, how do Japanese people learn them all?”


I’ll tell you how native Japanese people learn the Japanese writing system.


When kids enter elementary school, they start learning the Japanese language officially.


First, they learn Hiragana.

Hiragana is the foundation of Japanese literacy.

Children practice how to write and read Hiragana.


And then, they study Katakana.

Katakana is used to write foreign words.

They represent the same sound as Hiragana but have slightly different spelling rules.

Children learn how and when they need to use Katakana.


And then, they learn Kanji.

In the first grade, children learn 80 Kanji characters.

It means that children master Hiragana, Katakana, and the fundamental Kanji characters within one year.


In 2nd year, they learn 160 characters.

In 3rd year, 200 characters,

4th year, 202 characters.

5th year, 193 characters.

And 6th year, 191 characters.


When they graduate from elementary school, they master a total of 1026 kanji characters!


When they move up to junior high school, they learn 1110 characters, the rest of the Joyo kanji chart.


When we finish a 9-year-long compulsory education, we master all 2136 kanji characters in the Joyo kanji list, our official Kanji list for daily use.


*If you would you like to know more about the Joyo kanji list, Click Here and watch this video! 


Now we know it takes 9 years for pupils to master all letters and characters.

Then, how they write sentences when they haven’t learned all the characters?


The answer is, They replace the unknown part with Hiragana.


For example, let’s translate this sentence.

I like bananas.

If the kids just started elementary school, they write this sentence like this.


All Hiragana letters!



Once they learn Katakana,


They can write banana part in Katakana.



In 4th year, they learn the kanji 好 きso that they can write




Then when they learn the kanji 私 in 6th grade,




When you start learning the Japanese writing system, follow this path.

Start from Hiragana, then move on to Katakana.

Learn primary Kanji characters and vocabulary, and slowly but surely build up your Kanji knowledge.



Today, I show you how Japanese kids master the Japanese three writing system.

Japanese kids start from Hiragana, and Katakana, then learn Kanji for nine years to master all Joyo kanji characters.

Practice makes perfect! 


Happy learning!

Asuka sensei



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