Japanese study books: Kana

It is approximately 1 month before I return to Japan. In my head I am already busy making lists of things I should definitely bring to Japan. This time I’m also taking a number of books. No romantic fantasy thrillers to read on the beach but books to study. Because I’ll have to take the JLPT I decided to take a number of books with me.

Japanese study books: Which one should I buy?

Over the years I bought a lot of books. Therefore, I decide to write about these books in three or four posts. Maybe it can help you to choose a book to start learning.

The start of many post about books…

This week I’m going to talk briefly about educational tools for learning hiragana. After that I’ll talk about the grammar books that I’ve used over the years. They all have good qualities but they focus on different points.

Japanese study books: Kana

Japanese study books: Kana
The Japanese hiragana and katakana alphabet

The first thing you should do before you can start learning Japanese  is learning to read hiragana and shortly after that katakana. On the internet there are thousands of websites on this subject, so it’s not necessary to spend much money on this. Learning hiragana is also something that you can master quickly. Therefore you won’t need to use these learning materials for long.

Kana flashcards

Japanese study books: Kana
Kana Flashcards By: Max HODGES, Tomoko OKAZAKI

 The kana flash cards of ‘White Rabbit Press’ contain both a hiragana and katakana card deck. The cards have step by step writing instructions and practice words on it. On the back there are tips to remember the characters and information on the pronunciation. This can be a fun way to learn your first steps of the Japanese alphabet.

Japanese study books: Kana
The way the cards are structured.


Kana pict-o-graphix

Japanese study books: Kana

This little book, only a little bigger than a credit card, has both katakana and hiragana tips to help you remember them. At the beginning and at the end you’lll find a hiragana and katakana table. This is ideal if you need to quickly look up something. I often used this booklet on my way to school to revise everything.

Other ways: Grammar books

I only have bought these two things to help me study hiragana and katanana. Many books that are dedicated to study the first steps of Japanese grammar also have a introduction to hiragana and katakana. This is also for many of the books (Genki series, Japanese for buzy people, …)  that I will talk about in the next post. Because these books main subject is grammar I’m not going to discuss them in this post.

The short first part

This is it. The first part of an overview off all the books that I use(d) to study Japanese. The first post is a short one. The next posts will be much longer. Like I said before the next one will be; Japanese study books (Part 2): Grammar.

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