あ      い      う       え       お
a        i         u        e         o

あい - love 
あう - to meet
いえ - house
おい - nephew
うえ - above
いう - to say

か       き       く      け       こ
ka       ki       ku      ke       ko





きん - gold 
おんな - woman; girl 
おんがく - music


Japanese has only 5 vowels: a, i, u, e, o.

They are terse vowels, pronounced clearly and sharply.
Note: the “u” is pronounced with no forward movement of the lips.

Ah (a) we (i) soon (u) get (e) old (o)

Grammar characteristics

Nouns have no plural form. 

Verbs can only be in past or present tense. 


Japanese uses a combination of 3 different scripts; kanji, hirigana and katakana


Kanji represents blocks of meaning (nouns, stems of adjectives and verbs)
Hiragana expresses the grammatical relationship between them (endings of adjectives and verbs, particles)
Katakana is used for foreign names, the names of foreign places and words of foreign origin.

If you want to learn Japanese writing, start with hiragana and katakana, then kanji. Hiragana and katakana are simpler than kanji, and have only 46 characters each. It is possible to write an entire Japanese sentence in hiragana. For example, many children’s books are written in hiragana only. Japanese children start to read and write in hiragana before making an attempt to learn some of the two thousand kanji commonly used.