This is the complete list of Windows ALT codes for letters of the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. If you are new to ALT codes and need detailed instructions on how to use them, please read How to Use ALT Codes to Enter Special Characters.
Hiragana and Katakana are not considered letters in the traditional sense like the letters in the English alphabet. Instead, they are two sets of syllabic scripts used in the Japanese writing system. Each character in Hiragana and Katakana represents a syllable sound, which combines a consonant and a vowel (except for the standalone vowel characters). These syllables are the basic building blocks of Japanese words.
Hiragana (ひらがな) and its ALT Codes
Hiragana is a cursive and rounded script used primarily for native Japanese words, grammatical elements, verb endings, and word inflections. It consists of 46 basic characters (Gojūon / 五十音), which represent all the possible sounds in the Japanese language. Hiragana characters cover both consonants and vowels, including standalone vowel characters such as あ (a), い (i), う (u), え (e), and お (o). Listed in the chart below are the ALT Codes for each Hiragana syllabogram.
Katakana (カタカナ) and its ALT Codes
Katakana is a more angular and geometric script used primarily for foreign loanwords, technical terms, onomatopoeia, and emphasis. Like Hiragana, Katakana also consists of 46 basic characters (Gojūon / 五十音), representing the same sounds as Hiragana. However, Katakana characters tend to be more angular and straighter in appearance. Listed in the chart below are the ALT Codes for each Katakana syllabogram.
More concepts regarding Hiragana and Katakana
In the Japanese writing system, both Hiragana (ひらがな) and Katakana (カタカナ) are syllabaries used for phonetic writing. They consist of characters that represent different syllables in the Japanese language. Each syllabary has its own set of Gojūon (五十音), Dakuon (濁音), Handakuon (半濁音), Yōon (拗音), and Sokuon (促音). Let’s explore these concepts in relation to both Hiragana and Katakana:
- Gojūon (五十音):
- The Gojūon, meaning “Fifty Sounds,” is the traditional order in which Hiragana and Katakana characters are arranged. It consists of five rows (a-i-u-e-o) and ten columns (k, s, t, n, h, m, y, r, w, and vowel sounds).
- The Gojūon order provides a systematic way of organizing Hiragana and Katakana characters, making it easier for learners to memorize and recognize them.
- Dakuon (濁音):
- Dakuon, also known as “voiced sounds,” refers to the modification of certain Hiragana and Katakana characters by adding two small dots or dashes (゛) called dakuten. Dakuten changes the pronunciation of the original character to create a new sound with a “voiced” quality.
- For example, か (ka) becomes が (ga) in Hiragana, and カ (ka) becomes ガ (ga) in Katakana with the addition of dakuten. The pronunciation shifts from an unvoiced “k” sound to a voiced “g” sound.
- Handakuon (半濁音):
- Handakuon, also known as “semi-voiced sounds” or “pre-nasalized sounds,” refers to the modification of certain Hiragana and Katakana characters by adding a small circle (゜) called handakuten. Handakuten changes the pronunciation of the original character to create a new sound with a “semi-voiced” quality.
- For example, は (ha) becomes ぱ (pa) in Hiragana, and ハ (ha) becomes パ (pa) in Katakana with the addition of handakuten. The pronunciation shifts from an unvoiced “h” sound to a semi-voiced “p” sound.
- Yōon (拗音):
- Yōon, also known as “contracted sounds” or “double sounds,” are special combinations of Hiragana and Katakana characters that represent a single syllable with a different sound than their individual components.
- Yōon is created by placing a small version of the “ya,” “yu,” or “yo” Hiragana and Katakana characters (ゃ, ゅ, or ょ) next to another Hiragana or Katakana character.
- For example, きゃ (kya) is a Yōon in both Hiragana and Katakana that represents a single syllable pronounced like “kya” (as in “kyaa!”).
- Sokuon (促音):
- Sokuon, also known as “geminate sounds” or “small tsu,” is represented by a small version of the “tsu” Hiragana and Katakana character (っ or ッ). Sokuon indicates a doubling of the following consonant sound within a word.
- For example, きって (kitte) uses Sokuon in both Hiragana and Katakana with て (te), making the “t” sound slightly elongated and pronounced as “tte” in quick succession.
Understanding these concepts in both Hiragana and Katakana is essential for reading, writing, and pronouncing Japanese accurately. Mastery of these fundamentals is crucial for learners of Japanese as they progress in their language studies. Both Hiragana and Katakana, along with Kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese writing), are essential components of the Japanese writing system. They work together to represent different aspects of the language and serve specific functions in written Japanese. While they are not letters like those in the English alphabet, they are crucial scripts used to convey the rich and diverse sounds and meanings of the Japanese language.
See more symbol sets for popular ALT codes at ALT Codes for Miscellaneous Symbols. For the the complete list of the first 256 Windows ALT Codes, visit Windows ALT Codes for Special Characters & Symbols.