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Learn Katakana


STEP 1: Learn how to read katakana

Kana Exercise is a program designed to teach how to read
the pronunciation of katakana through association.
The software is free and you can download it from the following site.
(This software only runs on Windows.)
You don't need to have Nakama textbook to use this program.

Download KanaExercise.zip

Select the "Hiragana" door.

Out of the three choices you see on the page, choose "Presentation."
Select a row of hiragana and click "Begin.”

After presentation, you can choose "flashcard" and "quessing game" for practice.

Katakana recognition game

1. Gojuon order      2. Random order

Higarana-katakana association game

3. Hiragana-Katakana association

Katakana cards

You can download ready-to-use katakana cards for your practice.

Download the entire set


STEP 2: Increasing speed of reading katakana

This is a simple trainer to improve recognition speed of hiragana.

Katakana Trainer

Select "Basic shapes" or "Voiced sounds and glides."

1 Select “With audio feedback” for review
2. Read the character before you hear audio.


3. Select “Speed exercise.”
4. Choose an interval of 0.9 and read hiragana aloud.

Try shorten your interval! (0.7 is a good goal.)
Native speakers we tested achieved 0.5 second.


STEP 3: Practice reading words in katakana

 Animals 1            Sweets1

Northeastern states      Midwestern states

Soutern states         Western states

STEP 4: Exercise spelling

In this exercise, you will reconstruct the word you hear by selecting katakana.
You do not need to know meanings of words.

Food and drinks 1           Sweeets 1
Countries 1            Cities 1

Northeastern states      Midwestern states

Southern states         Western states

  EU countries scrambler     Olympic Games -Winter- scrambler

Pokemon Name Challenge

This series of exercises challenge your knowledge of names of 150 pokemons.
Five groups are set. In each exercise, you can three a difficulty level.
If you clear all five groups in "very challenging" level, your knowledge of Pokemon is superb.


Group 1 Part 1 Part 2

Group 2 Part 1 Part 2

Group 3 Part 1 Part 2

Group 4 Part 1 Part 2

Group 5 Part 1 Part 2

STEP 5: Practice writing

When you practice writing katakana, pay attention to the following three points:

1. Stroke orders: Click the katakana in the table and watch how a character is written. Follow the stroke order.
2. Three stoke types: There are 3 types of strokes, stop, release, and hook.

3. Some characters when typed or printed look different from hand-written shapes. You will practice hand-written shapes here, but be aware when you read printed text.

Katakana table

You can watch how to write a kana by clicking it.


Download katakana writing practice grid

Mobile app for writing practice: Kana Bimoji

Kana Bimoji is a mobile app to practice writing Hiragana and Katakana.
It is developed and released from Gloding Inc.
The app is free and available for both Android and iOS.

This app was originally developed for Japanese children.
It has been modified for Japanese language learners.
All directions are in English.

Andoroid version iOS version 


Writing with a finger is not the same as writing with a pen or pencil.
So, a stylus pen is recommended to simulate writing motion with a pen.
Stylus pens are available for purchase at a major computer or stationery store for $5 to $10.

Open Bimoji app and touch "スタート" (start) in blue. Touch the first character "あ."
Characters are arranged vertically from right to left.
* If you want to turn BGM off, click the circle on the left.


In the blank white box, write the character "あ" following the correct stroke order.
The number on the upper left indicates remaining time in seconds to finish writing.


The program rates handwriting in three levels: "残念" (bad), "並" (good), or "美" (great)
by calculating deviations from model.
Touch "新規" (New) in the lower left corner to write again.
The arrow ▶ brings up a next character.
The arrow ◀ brings up a previous character.︎
Touch BACK on the top right corner for the table.


The table shows the current rating on characters a student has practiced.
Getting "美" stamps on all hiragana is a good goal,
but score of 80, 並" (good) is sufficient.