Katakana, hiragana, kanji

How is a beginner to understands, read and sound the japanese symbols?
Is there a section with the japanese alphabet?
Also, is there a text section with the english translation and vocabulary?
Maybe there is need for a pre-beginner section?

Suggest you start with LingQ 101 in Japanese. Let your ears do the work. As you listen, look at those funny symbols. Mouse-over them. There will be lingQs already created by other students. Create LingQs based on those hints. Learn those lingQs. Repeat with another lesson.

That’s what I’m doing anyway.


Yes, some of the podcasts (Who is She? and Eating Out) are in English and most of the other languages at LingQ. Go into the English library to find the English version, the Italian library for the Italian version, etc.

Sakura/Cakupa/Rasana is a member who seems to have learned a lot of Japanese here. Perhaps she will give her opinion as well.

It only takes a couple of hours to learn Hiragana. That’s what you really need to begin in Japanese. Then learn Katakana. Again, it won’t take long.

Steve usually recommends learning the basics from Teach Yourself or Colloquial books first. I haven’t used these for Japanese, but there is usually an excellent selection of Japanese textbooks (some may be fun) at an internet business called The Japan Shop. They have the best prices I have ever seen for texts, dictionaries and grammars from Japan. This is for people in the US. I know other people use other sites, but I have never seen any site to beat this one and I have never had any problems with their service. It used to be run by a man named Clay and his wife named Yumi. I don’t know if that is still the case.

Happy learning!

“It only takes a couple of hours to learn Hiragana.”

I’d say you should budget a week to be able to read it smoothly and easily.

Try this page: 初級日本語げんき第3版公式サイト「Genki-online」

初級日本語げんき第3版公式サイト「Genki-online」 for katakana. But I’d say it’s a good idea to learn hiragana thoroughly first.


Some people may take more than two hours to learn hiragana, but it doesn’t take long.

Your link doesn’t work for me, rob.

A simple, if silly, way to learn is to use “Hiragana for Fun”.

There is also a “Talking Hiragana chart” for kids on the internet. Yes, it’s childish and cutesy, but who has to know?

How to start Japanese "Hiragana and Katakana are Japanese alphabets. "

Please take out the spaces to see my link. Also, to the original poster, don’t be discouraged if you can’t read fluently after 2 hours. I think that’s far too quickly to expect to be able to read fluently. (fluently = the same speed as the recording). Keep listening to recordings and practise kana - you’ll be able to do it soon enough!


I never implied that the learner would be able to read at the same speed as the recordings here after two hours.

I suppose it depends how quickly the student can learn a script, but Hiragana is not difficult. Two hours is
enough time to write the characters and get started. If the student uses LingQ, there will be plenty of podcasts for Hiragana practice.