Katakana

Summary

Katakana (片仮名、カタカナ, Japanese pronunciation: [katakaꜜna][note 1]) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana,[2] kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word katakana means "fragmentary kana", as the katakana characters are derived from components or fragments of more complex kanji. Katakana and hiragana are both kana systems. With one or two minor exceptions, each syllable (strictly mora) in the Japanese language is represented by one character or kana in each system. Each kana represents either a vowel such as "a" (katakana ア); a consonant followed by a vowel such as "ka" (katakana カ); or "n" (katakana ン), a nasal sonorant which, depending on the context, sounds either like English m, n or ng ([ŋ]) or like the nasal vowels of Portuguese or Galician.

Katakana
片仮名
カタカナ
Japanese Katakana kyokashotai KA.svg
Script type
Time period
~800 CE to the present
Directiontop-to-bottom, left-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
LanguagesJapanese, Ryukyuan, Ainu[1]
Taiwanese Hokkien, Palauan (formerly)
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
Hiragana
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Kana, 411 Edit this on Wikidata, ​Katakana
Unicode
Unicode alias
Katakana
  • Katakana:
    U+30A0–U+30FF
  • Katakana Phonetic Extensions:
    U+31F0–U+31FF
  • Enclosed CJK Letters and Months:
    U+3200–U+32FF
  • Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms:
    U+FF00–U+FFEF
  • Kana Extended-B:
    U+1AFF0–U+1AFFF
  • Kana Supplement:
    U+1B000–U+1B0FF
  • Kana Extended-A:
    U+1B100–U+1B12F
  • Small Kana Extension:
    U+1B130–U+1B16F
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

In contrast to the hiragana syllabary, which is used for Japanese words not covered by kanji and for grammatical inflections, the katakana syllabary usage is comparable to italics in English; specifically, it is used for transcription of foreign-language words into Japanese and the writing of loan words (collectively gairaigo); for emphasis; to represent onomatopoeia; for technical and scientific terms; and for names of plants, animals, minerals and often Japanese companies.

Writing systemEdit

OverviewEdit

Gojūon – Katakana characters with a nucleus
a i u e o
k
s
t
n
h
m
y [3] [3]
r
w [3]
(n)

The complete katakana script consists of 48 characters, not counting functional and diacritic marks:

  • 5 nucleus vowels
  • 42 core or body (onset-nucleus) syllabograms, consisting of nine consonants in combination with each of the five vowels, of which three possible combinations (yi, ye, wu) are not canonical
  • 1 coda consonant

These are conceived as a 5×10 grid (gojūon, 五十音, literally "fifty sounds"), as shown in the adjacent table, read ア (a), イ (i), ウ (u), エ (e), オ (o), カ (ka), キ (ki), ク (ku), ケ (ke), コ (ko) and so on. The gojūon inherits its vowel and consonant order from Sanskrit practice. In vertical text contexts, which used to be the default case, the grid is usually presented as 10 columns by 5 rows, with vowels on the right hand side and ア (a) on top. Katakana glyphs in the same row or column do not share common graphic characteristics. Three of the syllabograms to be expected, yi, ye and wu, may have been used idiosyncratically with varying glyphs, but never became conventional in any language and are not present at all in modern Japanese.

The 50-sound table is often amended with an extra character, the nasal ン (n). This can appear in several positions, most often next to the N signs or, because it developed from one of many mu hentaigana, below the u column. It may also be appended to the vowel row or the a column. Here, it is shown in a table of its own.

The script includes two diacritic marks placed at the upper right of the base character that change the initial sound of a syllabogram. A double dot, called dakuten, indicates a primary alteration; most often it voices the consonant: kg, sz, td and hb; for example, カ (ka) becomes ガ (ga). Secondary alteration, where possible, is shown by a circular handakuten: hp; For example; ハ (ha) becomes パ (pa). Diacritics, though used for over a thousand years, only became mandatory in the Japanese writing system in the second half of the 20th century. Their application is strictly limited in proper writing systems,[clarification needed] but may be more extensive in academic transcriptions.

Furthermore, some characters may have special semantics when used in smaller sizes after a normal one (see below), but this does not make the script truly bicameral.

The layout of the gojūon table promotes a systematic view of kana syllabograms as being always pronounced with the same single consonant followed by a vowel, but this is not exactly the case (and never has been). Existing schemes for the romanization of Japanese either are based on the systematic nature of the script, e.g. nihon-shikiti, or they apply some Western graphotactics, usually the English one, to the common Japanese pronunciation of the kana signs, e.g. Hepburn-shikichi. Both approaches conceal the fact, though, that many consonant-based katakana signs, especially those canonically ending in u, can be used in coda position, too, where the vowel is unvoiced and therefore barely perceptible.

JapaneseEdit

Syllabary and orthographyEdit

Katakana used in Japanese orthography
a i u e o
k
g
s
z
t
d
n
h
b
p
m
y [3] [3]
r
w [3]
(n)
Functional marks
and diacritics
  Unused, extinct, or obsolete

Of the 48 katakana syllabograms described above, only 46 are used in modern Japanese, and one of these is preserved for only a single use:

  • wi and we are pronounced as vowels in modern Japanese and are therefore obsolete, having been supplanted by i and e, respectively.
  • wo is now used only as a particle, and is normally pronounced the same as vowel オ o. As a particle, it is usually written in hiragana (を) and the katakana form, ヲ, is almost obsolete.

A small version of the katakana for ya, yu or yo (ャ, ュ or ョ, respectively) may be added to katakana ending in i. This changes the i vowel sound to a glide (palatalization) to a, u or o, e.g. キャ (ki + ya) /kja/. Addition of the small y kana is called yōon.

A character called a sokuon, which is visually identical to a small tsu ッ, indicates that the following consonant is geminated (doubled). This is represented in rōmaji by doubling the consonant that follows the sokuon. In Japanese this is an important distinction in pronunciation; for example, compare サカ saka "hill" with サッカ sakka "author". Geminated consonants are common in transliterations of foreign loanwords; for example, English "bed" is represented as ベッド (beddo). The sokuon also sometimes appears at the end of utterances, where it denotes a glottal stop. However, it cannot be used to double the na, ni, nu, ne, no syllables' consonants; to double these, the singular n (ン) is added in front of the syllable. The sokuon may also be used to approximate a non-native sound: Bach is written バッハ (Bahha); Mach as マッハ (Mahha).

Both katakana and hiragana usually spell native long vowels with the addition of a second vowel kana. However, in foreign loanwords, katakana instead uses a vowel extender mark, called a chōonpu ("long vowel mark"). This is a short line (ー) following the direction of the text, horizontal for yokogaki (horizontal text), and vertical for tategaki (vertical text). For example, メール mēru is the gairaigo for e-mail taken from the English word "mail"; the ー lengthens the e. There are some exceptions, such as ローソク (rōsoku (蝋燭, "candle")) or ケータイ(kētai (携帯, "mobile phone")), where Japanese words written in katakana use the elongation mark, too.

Standard and voiced iteration marks are written in katakana as ヽ and ヾ, respectively.

Extended KatakanaEdit

Small versions of the five vowel kana are sometimes used to represent trailing off sounds (ハァ haa, ネェ nee), but in katakana they are more often used in yōon-like extended digraphs designed to represent phonemes not present in Japanese; examples include チェ (che) in チェンジ chenji ("change"), ファ (fa) in ファミリー famirī ("family") and ウィ (wi) and ディ (di) in ウィキペディア Wikipedia.

Many of these digraphs have been used, mainly to represent the sounds in words of other languages.

Digraphs with orange backgrounds are the general ones used for loanwords or foreign places or names, and those with blue backgrounds are used for more accurate transliterations of foreign sounds, both suggested by the Cabinet of Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.[4] Katakana combinations with beige backgrounds are suggested by the American National Standards Institute[5] and the British Standards Institution as possible uses.[6] Ones with purple backgrounds appear on the 1974 version of the Hyōjun-shiki formatting.[7]

Pronunciations are shown in Hepburn romanization.

イィ yi イェ ye
ウァ wa* ウィ wi ウゥ wu* ウェ we ウォ wo
ウュ wyu
ヴァ va ヴィ vi vu ヴェ ve ヴォ vo
ヴャ vya ヴュ vyu ヴィェ vye ヴョ vyo
キェ kye
ギェ gye
クァ kwa クィ kwi クェ kwe クォ kwo
クヮ kwa
グァ gwa グィ gwi グェ gwe グォ gwo
グヮ gwa
シェ she
ジェ je
スィ si
ズィ zi
チェ che
ツァ tsa ツィ tsi ツェ tse ツォ tso
ツュ tsyu
ティ ti トゥ tu
テュ tyu
ディ di ドゥ du
デュ dyu
ニェ nye
ヒェ hye
ビェ bye
ピェ pye
ファ fa フィ fi フェ fe フォ fo
フャ fya フュ fyu フィェ fye フョ fyo
ホゥ hu
ミェ mye
リェ rye
ラ゜ la リ゜ li ル゜ lu レ゜ le ロ゜ lo
リ゜ャ lya リ゜ュ lyu リ゜ェ lye リ゜ョ lyo
va vi ve vo
  • * — The use of in these two cases to represent w is rare in modern Japanese except for Internet slang and transcription of the Latin sound [w] into katakana. E.g.: ミネルウァ (Mineruwa "Minerva", from Latin MINERVA [mɪˈnɛrwa]); ウゥルカーヌス (Wurukānusu "Vulcan", from Latin VVLCANVS, Vulcānus [lˈkaːnʊs]). The wa-type of foreign sounds (as in watt or white) is usually transcribed to ワ (wa), while the wu-type (as in wood or woman) is usually to ウ (u) or ウー (ū).
  • ⁑ — has a rarely-used hiragana form in that is also vu in Hepburn romanization systems.
  • ⁂ — The characters in green are obsolete in modern Japanese and very rarely used.[8][9]

UsageEdit

 
An example of Japanese writing in 1940 using katakana exclusively. パアマネントハヤメマセウ (Pāmanento wa yamemashō, "Stop the permanent wave")

In modern Japanese, katakana is most often used for transcription of words from foreign languages or loanwords (other than words historically imported from Chinese), called gairaigo.[10] For example, "television" is written テレビ (terebi). Similarly, katakana is usually used for country names, foreign places, and foreign personal names. For example, the United States is usually referred to as アメリカ Amerika, rather than in its ateji kanji spelling of 亜米利加 Amerika.

Katakana are also used for onomatopoeia,[10] words used to represent sounds – for example, ピンポン (pinpon), the "ding-dong" sound of a doorbell.

Technical and scientific terms, such as the names of animal and plant species and minerals, are also commonly written in katakana.[11] Homo sapiens, as a species, is written ヒト (hito), rather than its kanji .

Katakana are often (but not always) used for transcription of Japanese company names. For example, Suzuki is written スズキ, and Toyota is written トヨタ. As these are common family names, Suzuki being the second most common in Japan,[12] using katakana helps distinguish company names from surnames in writing. Katakana are commonly used on signs, advertisements, and hoardings (i.e., billboards), for example, ココ koko ("here"), ゴミ gomi ("trash"), or メガネ megane ("glasses"). Words the writer wishes to emphasize in a sentence are also sometimes written in katakana, mirroring the usage of italics in European languages.[10]

Pre–World War II official documents mix katakana and kanji in the same way that hiragana and kanji are mixed in modern Japanese texts, that is, katakana were used for okurigana and particles such as wa or o.

Katakana was also used for telegrams in Japan before 1988, and for computer systems – before the introduction of multibyte characters – in the 1980s. Most computers of that era used katakana instead of kanji or hiragana for output.

Although words borrowed from ancient Chinese are usually written in kanji, loanwords from modern Chinese dialects that are borrowed directly use katakana instead.

Examples of modern Chinese loanwords in Japanese
Japanese Hepburn Meaning Chinese Pinyin/Yale Source language
マージャン mājan mahjong 麻將 májiàng Mandarin
ウーロン茶 ūroncha Oolong tea 烏龍茶 wūlóngchá
チャーハン chāhan fried rice 炒飯 chǎofàn
チャーシュー chāshū barbecued pork 叉燒 chā sīu Cantonese
シューマイ shūmai shumai 燒賣 sīu máai

The very common Chinese loanword rāmen, written in katakana as ラーメン, is rarely written with its kanji (拉麺).

There are rare instances where the opposite has occurred, with kanji forms created from words originally written in katakana. An example of this is コーヒー kōhī, ("coffee"), which can alternatively be written as 珈琲. This kanji usage is occasionally employed by coffee manufacturers or coffee shops for novelty.

Katakana is used to indicate the on'yomi (Chinese-derived readings) of a kanji in a kanji dictionary. For instance, the kanji 人 has a Japanese pronunciation, written in hiragana as ひと hito (person), as well as a Chinese derived pronunciation, written in katakana as ジン jin (used to denote groups of people). Katakana is sometimes used instead of hiragana as furigana to give the pronunciation of a word written in Roman characters, or for a foreign word, which is written as kanji for the meaning, but intended to be pronounced as the original.

 
In this travel warning, the kanji for "fog" () has been written in katakana (キリ) to make it more immediately readable

Katakana are also sometimes used to indicate words being spoken in a foreign or otherwise unusual accent. For example, in a manga, the speech of a foreign character or a robot may be represented by コンニチワ konnichiwa ("hello") instead of the more typical hiragana こんにちは. Some Japanese personal names are written in katakana. This was more common in the past, hence elderly women often have katakana names. This was particularly common among women in the Meiji and Taishō periods, when many poor, illiterate parents were unwilling to pay a scholar to give their daughters names in kanji.[13] Katakana is also used to denote the fact that a character is speaking a foreign language, and what is displayed in katakana is only the Japanese "translation" of their words.

Some frequently used words may also be written in katakana in dialogs to convey an informal, conversational tone. Some examples include マンガ ("manga"), アイツ aitsu ("that guy or girl; he/him; she/her"), バカ baka ("fool"), etc.

Words with difficult-to-read kanji are sometimes written in katakana (hiragana is also used for this purpose). This phenomenon is often seen with medical terminology. For example, in the word 皮膚科 hifuka ("dermatology"), the second kanji, , is considered difficult to read, and thus the word hifuka is commonly written 皮フ科 or ヒフ科, mixing kanji and katakana. Similarly, difficult-to-read kanji such as gan ("cancer") are often written in katakana or hiragana.

Katakana is also used for traditional musical notations, as in the Tozan-ryū of shakuhachi, and in sankyoku ensembles with koto, shamisen and shakuhachi.

Some instructors teaching Japanese as a foreign language "introduce katakana after the students have learned to read and write sentences in hiragana without difficulty and know the rules."[14] Most students who have learned hiragana "do not have great difficulty in memorizing" katakana as well.[15] Other instructors introduce katakana first, because these are used with loanwords. This gives students a chance to practice reading and writing kana with meaningful words. This was the approach taken by the influential American linguistics scholar Eleanor Harz Jorden in Japanese: The Written Language (parallel to Japanese: The Spoken Language).[16]

AinuEdit

Katakana is commonly used by Japanese linguists to write the Ainu language. In Ainu katakana usage, the consonant that comes at the end of a syllable is represented by a small version of a katakana that corresponds to that final consonant followed by an arbitrary vowel. For instance "up" is represented by ウㇷ゚ (ウ [u followed by small pu]). Ainu also uses three handakuten modified katakana, セ゚ ([tse]), and ツ゚ or ト゚ ([tu̜]). In Unicode, the Katakana Phonetic Extensions block (U+31F0–U+31FF) exists for Ainu language support. These characters are used for the Ainu language only.

TaiwaneseEdit

Taiwanese kana (タイ  ヲァヌ  ギイ  カア  ビェン ) is a katakana-based writing system once used to write Holo Taiwanese, when Taiwan was under Japanese control. It functioned as a phonetic guide for Chinese characters, much like furigana in Japanese or Zhùyīn fúhào in Chinese. There were similar systems for other languages in Taiwan as well, including Hakka and Formosan languages.

Unlike Japanese or Ainu, Taiwanese kana are used similarly to the zhùyīn fúhào characters, with kana serving as initials, vowel medials and consonant finals, marked with tonal marks. A dot below the initial kana represents aspirated consonants, and チ, ツ, サ, セ, ソ, ウ and オ with a superpositional bar represent sounds found only in Taiwanese.

OkinawanEdit

Katakana is used as a phonetic guide for the Okinawan language, unlike the various other systems to represent Okinawan, which use hiragana with extensions. The system was devised by the Okinawa Center of Language Study of the University of the Ryukyus. It uses many extensions and yōon to show the many non-Japanese sounds of Okinawan.

Table of katakanaEdit

This is a table of katakana together with their Hepburn romanization and rough IPA transcription for their use in Japanese. Katakana with dakuten or handakuten follow the gojūon kana without them.

Characters shi シ and tsu ツ, and so ソ and n(g) ン, look very similar in print except for the slant and stroke shape. These differences in slant and shape are more prominent when written with an ink brush.

Notes

  1. ^ Prior to the e/ye merger in the mid-Heian period, a different character (𛀀) was used in position e.
  2. ^ a b Theoretical combinations yi and wu are  unused . Some katakana were invented for them by linguists in the Edo and Meiji periods in order to fill out the table, but they were never actually used in normal writing.
  3. ^ The combination ye existed prior to the mid-Heian period and was represented in very early katakana, but has been  extinct  for over a thousand years, having merged with e in the 10th century. The ye katakana (エ) was adopted for e (displacing 𛀀, the character originally used for e); the alternate katakana 𛄡 was invented for ye in the Meiji period for use in representations of Old and Early Classical Japanese so as to avoid confusion with the modern use of エ for e.
  4. ^ a b c The characters in positions wi and we are  obsolete  in modern Japanese, and have been replaced by イ (i) and エ (e). The character wo, in practice normally pronounced o, is preserved in only one use: as a particle. This is normally written in hiragana (を), so katakana ヲ sees only limited use. See Gojūon and the articles on each character for details.
  5. ^ a b c d e The ヂ (di) and ヅ (du) kana (often romanised as ji and zu) are primarily used for  etymologic spelling , when the unvoiced equivalents チ (ti) and ツ (tu) (usually romanised as chi and tsu) undergo a sound change (rendaku) and become voiced when they occur in the middle of a compound word. In other cases, the identically-pronounced ジ (ji) and ズ (zu) are used instead. ヂ (di) and ヅ (du) can never begin a word, and they are not common in katakana, since the concept of rendaku does not apply to transcribed foreign words, one of the major uses of katakana.

HistoryEdit

 
 
 
A page of the Meiji Constitution written exclusively with kyūjitai and katakana

Katakana was developed in the 9th century (during the early Heian period) by Buddhist monks in Nara by taking parts of man'yōgana characters as a form of shorthand, hence this kana is so-called kata (, "partial, fragmented"). For example, ka () comes from the left side of ka (, lit. "increase", but the original meaning is no longer applicable to kana). The adjacent table shows the origins of each katakana: the red markings of the original Chinese character (used as man'yōgana) eventually became each corresponding symbol.[17]

Early on, katakana was almost exclusively used by men for official text and text imported from China.[18]

Official documents of the Empire of Japan were written exclusively with kyūjitai and katakana.

Obsolete kanaEdit

Variant formsEdit

Katakana have variant forms. For example,  (ネ) and  (ヰ).[19] However, katakana's variant forms are fewer than hiragana's ones. Katakana's choices of man'yōgana segments had stabilized early on and established – with few exceptions – an unambiguous phonemic orthography (one symbol per sound) long before the 1900 script regularization.[20]

Polysyllabic kanaEdit

Yi, Ye and WuEdit

Stroke orderEdit

The following table shows the method for writing each katakana character. It is arranged in a traditional manner, where characters are organized by the sounds that make them up. The numbers and arrows indicate the stroke order and direction, respectively.

 

Gugyeol-inspired theoryEdit

According to Yoshinori Kobayashi, professor of linguistics at Tokushima Bunri University, katakana is likely based on a system of writing from the Korean Peninsula. He claims that his findings suggest the possibility that the katakana-like annotations used in reading guide marks (乎古止点 / ヲコト点, okototen) possibly originated in 8th-century Korea – Silla – and were then introduced to Japan through Buddhist texts.[21][22] Linguist Alexander Vovin elaborates on Kobayashi's argument, asserting that katakana derives from the Korean gugyeol (구결) system.[23][check quotation syntax]

Computer encodingEdit

In addition to fonts intended for Japanese text and Unicode catch-all fonts (like Arial Unicode MS), many fonts intended for Chinese (such as MS Song) and Korean (such as Batang) also include katakana.

Hiragana and katakanaEdit

In addition to the usual full-width (全角, zenkaku) display forms of characters, katakana has a second form, half-width (半角, hankaku) (there are no kanji). The half-width forms were originally associated with the JIS X 0201 encoding. Although their display form is not specified in the standard, in practice they were designed to fit into the same rectangle of pixels as Roman letters to enable easy implementation on the computer equipment of the day. This space is narrower than the square space traditionally occupied by Japanese characters, hence the name "half-width". In this scheme, diacritics (dakuten and handakuten) are separate characters. When originally devised, the half-width katakana were represented by a single byte each, as in JIS X 0201, again in line with the capabilities of contemporary computer technology.

In the late 1970s, two-byte character sets such as JIS X 0208 were introduced to support the full range of Japanese characters, including katakana, hiragana and kanji. Their display forms were designed to fit into an approximately square array of pixels, hence the name "full-width". For backward compatibility, separate support for half-width katakana has continued to be available in modern multi-byte encoding schemes such as Unicode, by having two separate blocks of characters – one displayed as usual (full-width) katakana, the other displayed as half-width katakana.

Although often said to be obsolete, the half-width katakana are still used in many systems and encodings. For example, the titles of mini discs can only be entered in ASCII or half-width katakana, and half-width katakana are commonly used in computerized cash register displays, on shop receipts, and Japanese digital television and DVD subtitles. Several popular Japanese encodings such as EUC-JP, Unicode and Shift JIS have half-width katakana code as well as full-width. By contrast, ISO-2022-JP has no half-width katakana, and is mainly used over SMTP and NNTP.

UnicodeEdit

Katakana was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 1991 with the release of version 1.0.

The Unicode block for (full-width) katakana is U+30A0–U+30FF.

Encoded in this block along with the katakana are the nakaguro word-separation middle dot, the chōon vowel extender, the katakana iteration marks, and a ligature of コト sometimes used in vertical writing.

Katakana[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+30Ax
U+30Bx
U+30Cx
U+30Dx
U+30Ex
U+30Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0

Half-width equivalents to the usual full-width katakana also exist in Unicode. These are encoded within the Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms block (U+FF00–U+FFEF) (which also includes full-width forms of Latin characters, for instance), starting at U+FF65 and ending at U+FF9F (characters U+FF61–U+FF64 are half-width punctuation marks). This block also includes the half-width dakuten and handakuten. The full-width versions of these characters are found in the Hiragana block.

Katakana subset of Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
... (U+FF00–U+FF64 omitted)
U+FF6x
U+FF7x ソ
U+FF8x
U+FF9x
... (U+FFA0–U+FFEF omitted)
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0

Circled katakana are code points U+32D0–U+32FE in the Enclosed CJK Letters and Months block (U+3200–U+32FF). A circled ン (n) is not included.

Katakana subset of Enclosed CJK Letters and Months[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
... (U+3200–U+32CF omitted)
U+32Dx
U+32Ex
U+32Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0

Extensions to Katakana for phonetic transcription of Ainu and other languages were added to the Unicode standard in March 2002 with the release of version 3.2.

The Unicode block for Katakana Phonetic Extensions is U+31F0–U+31FF:

Katakana Phonetic Extensions[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+31Fx
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0

Historic and variant forms of Japanese kana characters were added to the Unicode standard in October 2010 with the release of version 6.0.

The Unicode block for Kana Supplement is U+1B000–U+1B0FF:

Kana Supplement[1]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1B00x 𛀀 𛀁 𛀂 𛀃 𛀄 𛀅 𛀆 𛀇 𛀈 𛀉 𛀊 𛀋 𛀌 𛀍 𛀎 𛀏
U+1B01x 𛀐 𛀑 𛀒 𛀓 𛀔 𛀕 𛀖 𛀗 𛀘 𛀙 𛀚 𛀛 𛀜 𛀝 𛀞 𛀟
U+1B02x 𛀠 𛀡 𛀢 𛀣 𛀤 𛀥 𛀦 𛀧 𛀨 𛀩 𛀪 𛀫 𛀬 𛀭 𛀮 𛀯
U+1B03x 𛀰 𛀱 𛀲 𛀳 𛀴 𛀵 𛀶 𛀷 𛀸 𛀹 𛀺 𛀻 𛀼 𛀽 𛀾 𛀿
U+1B04x 𛁀 𛁁 𛁂 𛁃 𛁄 𛁅 𛁆 𛁇 𛁈 𛁉 𛁊 𛁋 𛁌 𛁍 𛁎 𛁏
U+1B05x 𛁐 𛁑 𛁒 𛁓 𛁔 𛁕 𛁖 𛁗 𛁘 𛁙 𛁚 𛁛 𛁜 𛁝 𛁞 𛁟
U+1B06x 𛁠 𛁡 𛁢 𛁣 𛁤 𛁥 𛁦 𛁧 𛁨 𛁩 𛁪 𛁫 𛁬 𛁭 𛁮 𛁯
U+1B07x 𛁰 𛁱 𛁲 𛁳 𛁴 𛁵 𛁶 𛁷 𛁸 𛁹 𛁺 𛁻 𛁼 𛁽 𛁾 𛁿
U+1B08x 𛂀 𛂁 𛂂 𛂃 𛂄 𛂅 𛂆 𛂇 𛂈 𛂉 𛂊 𛂋 𛂌 𛂍 𛂎 𛂏
U+1B09x 𛂐 𛂑 𛂒 𛂓 𛂔 𛂕 𛂖 𛂗 𛂘 𛂙 𛂚 𛂛 𛂜 𛂝 𛂞 𛂟
U+1B0Ax 𛂠 𛂡 𛂢 𛂣 𛂤 𛂥 𛂦 𛂧 𛂨 𛂩 𛂪 𛂫 𛂬 𛂭 𛂮 𛂯
U+1B0Bx 𛂰 𛂱 𛂲 𛂳 𛂴 𛂵 𛂶 𛂷 𛂸 𛂹 𛂺 𛂻 𛂼 𛂽 𛂾 𛂿
U+1B0Cx 𛃀 𛃁 𛃂 𛃃 𛃄 𛃅 𛃆 𛃇 𛃈 𛃉 𛃊 𛃋 𛃌 𛃍 𛃎 𛃏
U+1B0Dx 𛃐 𛃑 𛃒 𛃓 𛃔 𛃕 𛃖 𛃗 𛃘 𛃙 𛃚 𛃛 𛃜 𛃝 𛃞 𛃟
U+1B0Ex 𛃠 𛃡 𛃢 𛃣 𛃤 𛃥 𛃦 𛃧 𛃨 𛃩 𛃪 𛃫 𛃬 𛃭 𛃮 𛃯
U+1B0Fx 𛃰 𛃱 𛃲 𛃳 𛃴 𛃵 𛃶 𛃷 𛃸 𛃹 𛃺 𛃻 𛃼 𛃽 𛃾 𛃿
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0

The Unicode block for Small Kana Extension is U+1B130–U+1B16F:

Small Kana Extension[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1B13x
U+1B14x
U+1B15x 𛅐 𛅑 𛅒
U+1B16x 𛅤 𛅥 𛅦 𛅧
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Kana Extended-A Unicode block is U+1B100–1B12F. It contains hentaigana (non-standard hiragana) and historic kana characters.

Kana Extended-A[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1B10x 𛄀 𛄁 𛄂 𛄃 𛄄 𛄅 𛄆 𛄇 𛄈 𛄉 𛄊 𛄋 𛄌 𛄍 𛄎 𛄏
U+1B11x 𛄐 𛄑 𛄒 𛄓 𛄔 𛄕 𛄖 𛄗 𛄘 𛄙 𛄚 𛄛 𛄜 𛄝 𛄞 𛄟
U+1B12x 𛄠 𛄡 𛄢
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

The Kana Extended-B Unicode block is U+1AFF0–1AFFF. It contains kana originally created by Japanese linguists to write Taiwanese Hokkien known as Taiwanese kana.

Kana Extended-B[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1AFFx 𚿰 𚿱 𚿲 𚿳 𚿵 𚿶 𚿷 𚿸 𚿹 𚿺 𚿻 𚿽 𚿾
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Katakana in other Unicode blocks:

  • Dakuten and handakuten diacritics are located in the Hiragana block:
    • U+3099 COMBINING KATAKANA-HIRAGANA VOICED SOUND MARK (non-spacing dakuten): ゙
    • U+309A COMBINING KATAKANA-HIRAGANA SEMI-VOICED SOUND MARK (non-spacing handakuten): ゚
    • U+309B KATAKANA-HIRAGANA VOICED SOUND MARK (spacing dakuten): ゛
    • U+309C KATAKANA-HIRAGANA SEMI-VOICED SOUND MARK (spacing handakuten): ゜
  • Two katakana-based emoji are in the Enclosed Ideographic Supplement block:
    • U+1F201 SQUARED KATAKANA KOKO ('here' sign): 🈁
    • U+1F202 SQUARED KATAKANA SA ('service' sign): 🈂
  • A katakana-based Japanese TV symbol from the ARIB STD-B24 standard is in the Enclosed Ideographic Supplement block:
    • U+1F213 SQUARED KATAKANA DE ('data broadcasting service linked with a main program' symbol): 🈓

Furthermore, as of Unicode 14.0, the following combinatory sequences have been explicitly named, despite having no precomposed symbols in the katakana block. Font designers may want to optimize the display of these composed glyphs. Some of them are mostly used for writing the Ainu language, the others are called bidakuon in Japanese. Other, arbitrary combinations with U+309A handakuten are also possible.

Katakana named sequences
Unicode Named Character Sequences Database
Sequence name Codepoints Glyph
KATAKANA LETTER BIDAKUON NGA U+30AB U+309A カ゚
KATAKANA LETTER BIDAKUON NGI U+30AD U+309A キ゚
KATAKANA LETTER BIDAKUON NGU U+30AF U+309A ク゚
KATAKANA LETTER BIDAKUON NGE U+30B1 U+309A ケ゚
KATAKANA LETTER BIDAKUON NGO U+30B3 U+309A コ゚
KATAKANA LETTER AINU CE U+30BB U+309A セ゚
KATAKANA LETTER AINU TU U+30C4 U+309A ツ゚
KATAKANA LETTER AINU TO U+30C8 U+309A ト゚
KATAKANA LETTER AINU P U+31F7 U+309A ㇷ゚

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Also Japanese pronunciation: [kataꜜkana].

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McAuley, Thomas E. (2001). Language change in East Asia. Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 0700713778.
  2. ^ Roy Andrew Miller (1966) A Japanese Reader: Graded Lessons in the Modern Language, Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Tokyo, Japan, p. 28, Lesson 7 : Katakana : a—no. "Side by side with hiragana, modern Japanese writing makes use of another complete set of similar symbols called the katakana."
  3. ^ a b c d e f See obsolete kana
  4. ^ Cabinet of Japan. "平成3年6月28日内閣告示第2号:外来語の表記" [Japanese cabinet order No.2 (28 June 1991):The notation of loanword]. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  5. ^ "米国規格(ANSI Z39.11-1972)―要約". Retrieved 27 February 2016.[self-published source]
  6. ^ "英国規格(BS 4812 : 1972)―要約". Retrieved 27 February 2016.[self-published source]
  7. ^ "標準式ローマ字つづり―引用". Retrieved 27 February 2016.[self-published source]
  8. ^ Cabinet of Japan (16 November 1946). 昭和21年内閣告示第33号 「現代かなづかい」 [Japanese Cabinet Order No.33 in 1946 – Modern kana usage] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 6 October 2001. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  9. ^ Cabinet of Japan (1 July 1986). 昭和61年内閣告示第1号 「現代仮名遣い」 [Japanese Cabinet Order No.1 in 1986 – Modern kana usage] (in Japanese). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "The Japanese Writing System (2) Katakana", p. 29 in Yookoso! An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese. McGraw-Hill, 1993, ISBN 0070722935
  11. ^ "Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji". Japanese Word Characters. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  12. ^ "明治安田生命 全国同姓調査 [Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company – National same family name investigation]" (PDF) (Press release). Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company. 24 September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  13. ^ Tackett, Rachel. "Why old Japanese women have names in katakana". RocketNews24. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  14. ^ Mutsuko Endo Simon (1984) Section 3.3 "Katakana", p. 36 in A Practical Guide for Teachers of Elementary Japanese, Center for Japanese Studies, the University of Michigan. ISBN 0939512165
  15. ^ Simon, p. 36
  16. ^ Reading Japanese, Lesson 1. joyo96.org
  17. ^ Japanese katakana. Omniglot.com
  18. ^ Taku Sugimoto; James A. Levin (2000). Global Literacies and the World-Wide Web. London: Routledge. p. 137. ISBN 9781134657759.
  19. ^ 『小学略則教授法』「五十音図」
  20. ^ Tranter, Nicolas (2012). The Languages of Japan and Korea. Routledge. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-415-46287-7.
  21. ^ Japan Times, "Katakana system may be Korean, professor says"
  22. ^ Yoshinori Kobayashi, 日本のヲコト点の起源と古代韓国語の点吐との関係 ("Relationship between tento in Ancient Korean and the origin of Japan's okoto point)
  23. ^ Vovin, Alexander (2010). "Is Japanese Katakana Derived from Korean Kwukyel?". In Sang-Oak Lee (ed.). Contemporary Korean Linguistics: International Perspectives. Thaehaksa Publishing Co. ISBN 978-89-5966-389-7.

External linksEdit

  • Practice pronunciation and stroke order of Kana
  • Katakana Unicode chart
  • Japanese dictionary with Katakana, Hiragana and Kanji on-screen keyboards
  • Katakana study tool Archived 18 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine