Kanshudo Component Builder
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Draw a component:
Type a component or its name:
 
Choose from a list:
Change component list
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By default the Component Builder shows the most common Joyo kanji components (ie, components which are themselves Joyo kanji, or which are used in at least 3 other Joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.



For details of all components and their English names, see the Component collections.
Kanshudo Component Builder Help
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For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of. Once you have identified any component, search for it in any of three ways:
  1. Draw it in the drawing area
  2. Type the name in the text area
  3. Look for it in the list
Example: look up 漢
  • Notice that 漢 is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫
  • Draw any of these components (one at a time) in the drawing area, and select it when you see it
  • Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
  • If you know the meanings of the components, type any of them in the text area: water (氵), grass (艹), mouth (口) or husband (夫)
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.
Kanshudo Component Builder Drawing Help
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The Kanshudo Component Builder can recognize any of the 416 components listed in the chart below the drawing area. Tips:
  • Draw a component in the center of the area, as large as you can
  • Try to draw the component as it appears in the kanji you're looking up
  • Don't worry about stroke order or number of strokes
  • Don't draw more than one component at a time
Not finding your component?
If you believe you've drawn your component correctly but the system is not recognizing it, please:
Let us know!

Hiragana

Hiragana is one of the two Japanese 'syllabaries', the writing systems used to represent the sounds of Japanese syllables. If you are just starting out with your Japanese studies, learning hiragana is one of the most useful first steps you can take.
Hiragana symbols are used in all Japanese sentences to represent grammatical constructions such as verb endings and particles, as well as for words for which there are no kanji or only less common kanji.
If you are just starting out with your Japanese studies, learning hiragana is the most useful first step. Once you have learnt hiragana, your second step should be the other syllabary, katakana.
For more information on how to go about learning written Japanese, see our other detailed guides:
Study hiragana now: use QUICK TEST to find out what you know. Hone your writing with DRAWING PRACTICE then study with free
FLASHCARDS
When you are ready, take the Kanshudo hiragana CHALLENGE.
Contents
1. Basic hiragana chart
The basic hiragana chart is as follows.
a ka sa ta na ha ma ya ra wa n
     
i ki shi chi ni hi mi   ri    
   
u ku su tsu nu fu mu yu ru    
   
e ke se te ne he me   re   dakuten
o ko so to no ho mo yo ro (w)o handakuten
2. Dakuten and handakuten
The 'dakuten' symbol ( ゛) and the 'handakuten' symbol ( ゜) are not used on their own - they are used to modify the hiragana symbols they appear after.
When ゛is displayed after another hiragana symbol, it indicates that the symbol should be 'voiced'. 'Voicing' is a linguistic term for a sound that makes the vocal cords vibrate - as opposed to just emanating from the mouth. In Japanese, this means that the sound of a consonant moves further down your throat. So, for example, the unvoiced sound か (ka) becomes the voiced sound が (ga).
When ゜is displayed after a hiragana symbol, it changes the sound to a 'p' sound, so for example, は (ha) becomes ぱ (pa).
ga za da ba pa
 
gi ji   bi pi
 
gu zu   bu pu
ge ze de be pe
go zo do bo po
3. Yōon and sokuon
The basic hiragana can be modified in a couple more ways. Hiragana ending in 'i' can be followed by a small ya, yu or yo (ゃ, ゅ or ょ), which elides the sounds of the two characters. For example, き (ki) plus や (ya) would become きゃ (kya). This type of modification is known as 'yōon'.
きゃ ぎゃ しゃ じゃ ちゃ にゃ
kya gya sha ja cha nya
きゅ ぎゅ しゅ じゅ ちゅ にゅ
kyu gyu shu ju chu nyu
きょ ぎょ しょ じょ ちょ にょ
kyo gyo sho jo cho nyo
ひゃ びゃ ぴゃ みゃ りゃ
hya bya pya mya rya
ひゅ びゅ ぴゅ みゅ りゅ
hyu byu pyu myu ryu
ひょ びょ ぴょ みょ りょ
hyo byo pyo myo ryo
Finally, a small っ can be used between two hiragana to double the second consonant. For example, いって is read as 'itte'. This is known as a 'sokuon'.
4. Okurigana
When hiragana symbols are used to inflect kanji-based words, they are known as 'okurigana'. For example, in the word 高い (たかい, high / expensive), the い is an okurigana.
5. Furigana
Hiragana symbols are also written above (or beside) kanji to indicate their pronunciation, especially names, in which case they are known as 'furigana'. For example, the surname たなか, Tanaka, could be written like this, using furigana:
なか
6. Drawing practice
To learn the hiragana, there is no substitute for lots of practice! Practice your recognition with flashcards (use the link at the top of this guide), develop muscle memory by practicing drawing, and take the Kanshudo Challenge to learn and test hiragana in context. Most importantly of all, practice using hiragana by reading Japanese sentences whenever you can.
Use our Hiragana Drawing Practice, or practice any individual hiragana by using one of the links below.
7. Hiragana font differences and differences between printed and handwritten versions
Several hiragana can appear quite different when displayed in different fonts - even to the point of having different stroke counts when compared with the common handwritten versions. Additionally, the printed versions of some characters are a little different to the standard way of drawing the characters (which is the form Kanshudo's drawing practice uses). These differences are especially common for the following characters: き, さ, そ, ふ and ゆ.
For example, when き is drawn by hand, it is typically composed of four strokes, and the fourth stroke forms a curve at the underside of the character which is entirely separate from the lattice made by the first three characters. However, in most printed fonts, the third stroke joins the fourth stroke, leading to a character which appears to be made of only three strokes.
None of these differences is 'incorrect', and you will need to recognize the various versions as you will encounter them in the real world. A similar issue exists with certain kanji.
The following image shows typical printed forms on the left and the standard handwritten forms on the right:
8. Unused and rarely used kana
Hiragana evolved over time, and in some cases multiple variants of characters came into use. Additionally some characters represent sounds that are no longer common in contemporary Japanese. You may still encounter these characters in names of products or stores, for example, as a way of expressing 'authenticity'.
ゑ represented the 'we' sound, which was pronounced 'i-e' in classical Japanese, distinct from the modern え sound. This character is still encountered in the name of the popular beer, ゑびす - but it is pronounced as Ebisu in both English and Japanese.
In the same way ゐ represented 'wi', which is no longer distinguished from い.

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