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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone! Welcome to BASIC JAPANESE WRITING. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to master the Japanese alphabet!
You've learned these five Katakana characters from the previous lesson.
In this lesson, you'll learn five new characters. Remember the dakuten? We'll see it appear again in this lesson.
The first katakana character for this lesson is カ. カ.
Katakana カ actually looks like a more angular version of hiragana か and without this stroke.
Just like in the K column of hiragana, the K column of katakana can also be modified by the "dakuten" or "ten ten" mark.
Again, we put it in the upper right corner so now it will be pronounced ガ. カ; ガ. カ; ガ.
Katakana カ is written in 2 strokes.
It is written in a similar way to hiragana か but is more angular.
The first stroke starts with a long horizontal line going to the right then it turns sharply downwards to make a slightly curved diagonal line. Finally it ends with a hane.
Since katakana characters are more angular, the hane stroke also gets a sharper angle.
The second stroke is a curved diagonal just like in hiragana か. Then that's it. No more third stroke like its hiragana counterpart.
Ok, let's see it again.
Ok, next up is the katakana character キ. キ.
キ also looks like its hiragana counterpart but without this part at the bottom.
Just like the katakana カ, we could also put a "dakuten" on it.
キ with a dakuten is pronounced as ギ. キ; ギ. キ; ギ.
Katakana キ is written in 3 strokes.
This one is also written in a similar way to its hiragana counterpart without this part.
The first two strokes are parallel diagonal lines both going from the lower left to the upper right.
The third stroke is another diagonal which cuts through the first two strokes.
And that's it. No need for the hane and the half smile curve.
Ok, let's see it again.
The third one is the katakana ク. ク.
If hiragana く is a *CU*CKOO's beak, then try remembering katakana ク as the *CU*CKOO's tail.
Let's add a "dakuten" to ク as well. It's now pronounced as グ. ク; グ. ク; グ.
Katakana ク is written in 2 stroke.
The first stroke is a curved diagonal.
The second stroke starts where the first stroke starts. It's a short horizontal line which turns sharply into a longer curved diagonal than the first stroke.
To make your writing neat, try to make these two curves parallel.
Ok, let's see it again.
This is the katakana character ケ. ケ.
Try looking at it from this angle and you'll see a letter *K*!
Just like the first three characters, ケ can be modified by a dakuten.
ケ with a dakuten is pronounced as ゲ. ケ; ゲ. ケ; ゲ.
Katakana ケ is written in 3 strokes.
This character starts the same way as katakana ク - with this curved diagonal line.
This time the second stroke starts from the middle of the first stroke. It's also a longer horizontal line going to the right.
The third stroke also starts from the middle of the second stroke. It's a curved diagonal line that goes to the lower left.
Ok, let's see it again.
And our final character for this lesson is the katakana コ. コ.
Imagine this character as a road with 2 *CO*RNERS.
Now, do you remember what コ sounds like with a dakuten?
It will be ゴ. コ; ゴ. コ; ゴ.
Katakana コ is written in 2 strokes.
The first stroke starts as a horizontal stroke which turns sharply downwards.
The second stroke is a horizontal stroke at the bottom meeting the first stroke where it ends.
To avoid confusion with other characters, make the length of the second stroke the same as the horizontal line of the first stroke.
Ok, let's see it again.
Let's see all the characters again. カ, ガ, キ, ギ, ク, グ, ケ, ゲ, コ, ゴ.
Quiz time!
Now, let's review what you've learned. I'll show you a character or a word and give you time to say them. Ready?
Which one is the katakana ケ? (pause 3 sec) It's this one! Just find the sideways K.
It has a dakuten so it's グ.
りょ. Remember it's a digraph so don't say the "i" sound.
ふ, as in Mt. *FU*JI.
エコ. This means "eco-friendly." It's a popular katakana word right now.
ギア. It means "gear."
カカオ. カカオ means "cacao."
ケーキ. This is "cake." Yum!
カーカー. This is the sound crows make.
イケてる. This means cool or sexy.
グーグー. This is an onomatopoeia for the sound of snoring or a stomach grumbling.
オーケー. As you can guess, it means "Okay."
Great job! Have you forgotten some hiragana characters? Many katakana characters look very similar to their hiragana counterparts so it will actually take less to remember if you've mastered all the hiragana already. So keep on reviewing the hiragana characters even if we're doing the katakana characters already.
Ok, let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what you've learned.
In this lesson, you learned カ and ガ, キ and ギ, ク and グ, ケ and ゲ, and コ and ゴ.
よくできました! You've now mastered 56 Japanese characters.
Do you know the right word to use when ordering an ice cream? It might not be what you think, so tune in to the next lesson to find out when I teach you the katakana characters in the S column.
Before you go, practice writing the following words on your own!
And to learn MORE Japanese, go to JapanesePod101.com.
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See you in the next lesson! またね!


Please to leave a comment.
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 6th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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Do you know any word with these katakana?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 17th, 2020 at 06:54 PM
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Konnichiwa Nicole,

Thank you for your comment.

Well, "Ge" pronounce as ゲ/げ.

But for the グ/ぐ, It's always "Gu".

Keep up the good work and Feel free to ask us any questions.


Team JapanesePod101.com

September 8th, 2020 at 10:09 AM
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why is グ sounds gu and not ge?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 22nd, 2019 at 11:30 PM
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Thank you for the comment.

I'm sorry for my late reply.

The word for "kiwi" is キウイ or キーウィ in katakana.

Actually, katakana words which have diphthong or digraph, especially from foreign words are a bit obscure to be written.

Because キウイ (kiui) is more like Japanese pronunciation and キーウィ (kīwi) is similar to English.

We use both writings and that's why the confusion happens.

So please don't be surprised when you find this kind of case again :)

Hope this helps.



Team JapanesePod101.com

April 22nd, 2019 at 04:39 AM
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For the word "kiwi", are we using the small イ?

From the way it's written in the video it looks like a normal character and not a diagraph. If not, why would you use one over the other? ウィ is pronounced "wi" where ウイ is pronounced "ui".

When vocalized they sound the same with the exception of the added syllable, so what's the distinction between the two?

Reading katakana is still a bit challenging for me and I love all the context you bring to the different kana to make it a bit easier to understand.

Thanks for all your help 😊

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 5th, 2018 at 03:40 AM
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Hi Dan,

Thank you for the comment and studying Japanese with us!

Hi Mohammad,

Thanks for the question.

イケてる is written this way because...

イケ comes form the term イケメン which means "a cool, good-looking guy."

てる is a colloquial form of ている (te-form of a verb).

Combined イケてる means "cool" or "sexy."

Often times, katakana and hiragana are used together for made-up words.

イケメン stems to the two words, 1. いけてる=かっこいい, 2. 面[メン(men] = face >> かっこいい面の男.

So to describe the condition "cool or sexy," イケている or イケてる has been formed.

Hope this helps.

Hi Lee,

Thank you for the comment. I checked the video and didn't notice the errors you've mentioned.


Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

August 5th, 2018 at 10:34 AM
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I think I noticed a couple errors in the lesson. For example in the instruction for ku-ku- They actually used the ke character.

July 6th, 2018 at 07:20 AM
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Why don't we write eketeru (イケてる) just with hiragana ? Or just with katakana.

I don't get why we used both

Can you please tell me what's the point of using both hiragana and katakana ?

Thank you

June 6th, 2018 at 07:14 AM
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I do like using this site, but it would be great if you did more work on the second sound and if the connecting word match the sound and spelling of the Katakana

Japanesepod101.com Verified
July 25th, 2017 at 02:03 AM
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Hi Mina,

Thank you for your message.

Please check out this Kantan Kana series > Lesson Notes pdf. You can print it for practicing writing katakana (k-column):


We also offer special resources on Katakana for improving your skills:

Learn Katakana: Practice writing Japanese katakana with these printable katakana practice sheets, audio charts and videos.


Kana Quiz:


Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.

Ganbatte kudasai :)

Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team Japanesepod101.com

July 25th, 2017 at 12:12 AM
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This Katagana is extremely hard! Is there any study sheets or anything that might help maybe?

Thank you!