Japanese characters, which include hiragana, katakana, and kanji, are brand new scripts for most Japanese learners. At first, you can rely on romaji (the romanization of Japanese) to help you pronounce a word. But that's not the ideal way to perfect your Japanese pronunciation in the long run.

The best way to master your pronunciation is to learn the Japanese alphabet- hiragana & katakana. It can be challenging and frustrating in the beginning, but once you have an idea of how the Japanese characters work, you can then proceed to further your knowledge of the language by acquiring essential words and phrases for practical application. And we've found 5 great apps that will help you learn and memorize the Japanese characters more easily.

Learn Japanese Characters with 5 Great Apps

1. imiwa?
Image via App Store

Imiwa? is a powerful dictionary that lets you search the dictionary using kanji, kana, romaji, or words in English, and other languages it supports. Words are shown in full sentences, so you can see how the words are used in real-life conversations. Not sure how to pronounce a word? Search the dictionary for the word and tap to hear how it's pronounced.

One of the best features imiwa? offers is its kanji feature. You can even search for a kanji that you might not know how to pronounce by drawing the character on your screen. When you've found the kanji character, you'll see an animated stroke order diagram and learn how to write out the kanji character.

2. IMI
Image via Google Play

Don't worry, Android owners, we have something for you as well. IMI is another excellent dictionary, and it's only for Android users. Very similar to imiwa?, you can search the dictionary using kanji, kana, or romaji. IMI also shows vocabulary in full sentences. And guess what? It provides you with lists of conjugated verbs and adjectives. How convenient!

3. Kana (Hiragana & Katakana)
Image via App Store// Also available on Google Play

Hiragana and Katakana are the alphabets used in Japanese. And for most learners, these alphabets are new and foreign, which means it will take more time and effort to learn them. Kana is organized in chapters with quizzes to review. Not only do you learn about the sound and the stroke order of the character, but you will also learn the history and usage of each kana from the app.

4. Kana Quiz
Image via App Store

Kana Quiz gives its users two options to learn kana: You can select a word in romaji and match it with the corresponding kana, or you can choose a word in kana and find its romaji. What's good about this app is you will hear the pronunciation of a kana character every time you tap on it, and this helps with memorization.

5. Kanji Senpai
Image via Google Play

Kanji Senpai is a handy app to practice Japanese vocabulary and kanji. Like Glossika, this app uses a spaced repetition system, so you can easily remember different aspects of each word: meaning, pronunciation, etc. One of the best features of Kanji Senpai is it will check the stroke order to make sure you write out each kanji correctly.

After You've Learned the Japanese Characters...

You now have a relatively good understanding of the Japanese characters. But this is only the beginning! After you've acquired all the skills required to read and pronounce Japanese characters correctly, you can now move onto learning essential words and phrases. The best way to truly learn Japanese is to internalize everything you've learned via repetition, whether it be the alphabet, writing system, sentences, vocabulary, or pronunciation.

The next step for you is to work on achieving fluency. Maintain a consistent schedule and put in just 20 minutes a day to train with Glossika to reach a conversational level of fluency in as little as three months. By setting measurable, achievable goals for yourself on a daily basis, you will see a significant improvement in your Japanese ability over time. With hundreds of levels and thousands of vocabulary words, you can continue using the dictionary apps to help you learn new vocabulary. This way, you will develop a solid foundation and keep building onto it as you grow.

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