About Japanese writing (part 2)

Japanese is written by combining 3 syllabary or phonetic alphabets: hiraganas (ひらがな), katakanas (カタカナ) and kanjis (漢字).

Each kanji can be associated with several meanings and pronunciations (sometimes belonging to the same lexical field) depending on whether it is used alone or accompanied by another character. Similarly, for the same pronunciation there are many different kanji.

For instance : 

  • the kanji “” can be read both i, u, ha, nama, sei or shou with as many different meanings.
namaraw, nature, alive
生まれるumareruto be born
生きるikiruto live
生やすhayasuto grow
生じるshoujiruto occur
  • The sound “shou” can be written with the following kanjis : , , , etc… 

Hiraganas and katakanas were created in Japan and are a simplified version of certain kanji. Each of these systems has about 46 characters and each character corresponds to a syllable present in Japanese phonology.

Hiraganas are mainly used for Japanese words or to transcribe kanji, while katakanas that arrived later mainly tend to transcribe the pronunciation of words of foreign origin, onomatopoeias or scientific and/or standardized names.

For instance :

  • the kanji 花 meaning “flower” and pronounced “hana” is written in hiragana はな with は = ha and な = na.
  • フランス or FURANSU is the katakana transcription of “France” with フ=FU, ラ=RA, ン=N and ス=SU.

Robert in hiraganas

Robert in hiraganas

Robert in katakanas

Robert in kanjis

You can create your hanko by choosing among these 3 writing systems. And thanks to our online editor and our advice, you can easily transcribe your first or last name into kanji and give it the meaning you want and that suits you.