Course Description

For many students learning Japanese, learning Hiragana and Katakana on their own is the first major challenge. It is often overwhelming and sometimes discouraging. This course is dedicated to the learning of Hiragana and Katakana. Students can focus on the mastery of the syllabaries only, without having to learn new sentence structures and vocabulary at the same time. Students will be provided with guidance in learning the Japanese phoneme system and orthography, and through meaningful activities they will be able to read words and short sentences written in Hiragana and Katakana with confidence. Being able to read Hiragana and Katakana comfortably with a thorough understanding of the Japanese phoneme inventory and all the additional rules will enable the students to learn other skills more easily in the future. This course is suitable for anyone who is considering studying Japanese or the students who want to enhance their learning of Japanese.

Course Outline

You will work on:

  • Understanding how the charts are organized, using them effectively, and recognizing 46 letters of Hiragana and 46 letters of Katakana;
  • Learning the use of diacritics to transcribe the sounds not found in the charts and reading the words with the letters with diacritics;
  • Understanding how the contracted sounds, geminate consonants, and long vowels are represented in Hiragana and Katakana and reading them;
  • Learning how non-Japanese sounds are perceived and transcribed in Japanese, and reading loan words written in Katakana and identifying their meanings; and
  • Reading Hiragana and Katakana in words both in isolation and in short sentences.

Learner Outcomes


In this 6-week course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the Japanese moraic system;
  • Distinguish the uses of Hiragana and Katakana;
  • Register the syllabary charts mentally;
  • Recognize all 46 letters in each set and additional system of notations;
  • Identify the sounds and meanings of the words written in Hiragana and Katakana in isolation and in short sentences.


This course will not require a textbook.

You must be at least 18 years old on the first day of instruction in order to enroll in this course.


This course has no prerequisites.


Class meetings will be held online on Zoom.  Webcam use is strongly encouraged.

Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.
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