essay word in japanese

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Transition Words and Phrases for Japanese Essays  

  June 9, 2020

By   Alexis Papa

Are you having a hard time connecting between your ideas in your Japanese essay? In this article, we have listed useful transition words and phrases that you can use to help you let your ideas flow and have an organized essay.

Transition Words and Phrases for Japanese Essays

Japanese Phrases for Giving Examples and Emphasis

For example,

がいこく、たとえばちゅうごくへいったことがありますか。 Gaikoku, tatoeba Chuugoku e itta koto ga arimasu ka?

Have you been abroad, for instance China?

たぶんちゅうごくへいったことがあります。 Tabun Chuugoku e itta koto ga arimasu.

I have probably been to China.

Japanese Essay Phrases: General Explaining

しけんにごうかくするのために、まじめにべんきょうしなきゃ。 Shiken ni goukaku suru no tame ni, majime ni benkyou shinakya.

In order to pass the exam, I must study.

あしたあめがふるそう。だから、かさをもってきて。 Ashita ame ga furu sou. Dakara, kasa wo motte kite.

It seems that it will rain tomorrow. So, bring an umbrella.

Showing Sequence

まず、あたらしいさくぶんのがいせつをしようとおもう。 Mazu, atarashii sakubun no gaisetsu wo shiyou to omou.

First, I am going to do an outline of my new essay.

つぎに、さくぶんをかきはじめます。 Tsugi ni, sakubun wo kaki hajimemasu.

Then, I will begin writing my essay.

Adding Supporting Statements

かれはブレーキをかけ、そしてくるまはとまった。 Kare wa bureki wo kake, soshite kuruma wa tomatta.

He put on the brakes and then the car stopped.

いえはかなりにみえたし、しかもねだんがてごろだった。 Ie wa kanari ni mieta shi, shikamo nedan ga tegoro datta.

The house looked good; moreover,the (selling) price was right.

Demonstrating Contrast 

にほんごはむずかしいですが、おもしろいです。 Nihongo wa muzukashii desu ga, omoshiroi desu.

Although Japanese language is difficult, it is enjoyable.

にほんごはむずかしいです。でも、おもしろいです。 Nihongo wa muzukashii desu. Demo, omoshiroi desu.

Japanese language is difficult. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable.

にほんごはむずかしいです。しかし、おもしろいです。 Nihondo wa muzukashii desu. Shikashi, omoshiroi desu.

Japanese language is difficult. However, it is enjoyable.

にほんごはむずかしいですけれど、おもしろいです。 Nihongo wa muzakashii desu keredo, omoshiroi desu.

Japanese Essay Phrases for Summarizing

われわれはこのはなしはじつわだというけつろんにたっした。 Wareware wa kono hanashi wa jitsuwa da to iu ketsuron ni tasshita.

We have come to a conclusion that this is a true story.

Now that you have learned these Japanese transitional words and phrases, we hope that your Japanese essay writing has become easier. Leave a comment and write examples of sentences using these Japanese essay phrases!

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Alexis Papa

Alexis is a Japanese language and culture enthusiast from the Philippines. She is a Japanese Studies graduate, and has worked as an ESL and Japanese instructor at a local language school. She enjoys her free time reading books and watching series.

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Home » Articles » How to Write in Japanese — A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Writing

essay word in japanese

Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. ?

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written by Caitlin Sacasas

Language: Japanese

Reading time: 13 minutes

Published: Apr 2, 2021

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

How to Write in Japanese — A Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Writing

Does the Japanese writing system intimidate you?

For most people, this seems like the hardest part of learning Japanese. How to write in Japanese is a bit more complex than some other languages. But there are ways to make it easier so you can master it!

Here at Fluent in 3 Months , we encourage actually speaking over intensive studying, reading, and listening. But writing is an active form of learning too, and crucial for Japanese. Japanese culture is deeply ingrained in its writing systems. If you can’t read or write it, you’ll struggle as you go along in your studies.

Some of the best Japanese textbooks expect you to master these writing systems… fast . For instance, the popular college textbook Genki , published by the Japan Times, expects you to master the basics in as little as a week. After that, they start to phase out the romanized versions of the word.

It’s also easy to mispronounce words when they’re romanized into English instead of the original writing system. If you have any experience learning how to write in Korean , then you know that romanization can vary and the way it reads isn’t often how it’s spoken.

Despite having three writing systems, there are benefits to it. Kanji, the “most difficult,” actually makes memorizing vocabulary easier!

So, learning to write in Japanese will go a long way in your language studies and help you to speak Japanese fast .

Why Does Japanese Have Three Writing Systems? A Brief Explainer

Japanese has three writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. The first two are collectively called kana and are the basics of writing in Japanese.

Writing Kana

If you think about English, we have two writing systems — print and cursive. Both print and cursive write out the same letters, but they look “sharp” and “curvy.” The same is true for kana. Hiragana is “curvy” and katakana is “sharp,” but they both represent the same Japanese alphabet (which is actually called a syllabary). They both represent sounds, or syllables, rather than single letters (except for vowels and “n”, hiragana ん or katakana ン). Hiragana and katakana serve two different purposes.

Hiragana is the most common, and the first taught to Japanese children. If this is all you learn, you would be understood (although you’d come across child-like). Hiragana is used for grammar functions, like changing conjugation or marking the subject of a sentence. Because of this, hiragana helps break up a sentence when combined with kanji. It makes it easier to tell where a word begins and ends, especially since Japanese doesn’t use spaces. It’s also used for furigana, which are small hiragana written next to kanji to help with the reading. You see furigana often in manga , Japanese comics, for younger audiences who haven’t yet learned to read all the kanji. (Or learners like us!)

Katakana serves to mark foreign words. When words from other languages are imported into Japanese, they’re often written in Japanese as close as possible to the original word. (Like how you can romanize Japanese into English, called romaji). For example, パン ( pan ) comes from Spanish, and means “bread.” Or from English, “smartphone” is スマートフォン ( suma-tofon ) or shortened, slang form スマホ ( sumaho ). Katakana can also be used to stylistically write a Japanese name, to write your own foreign name in Japanese, or to add emphasis to a word when writing.

Writing Kanji

Then there’s kanji. Kanji was imported from Chinese, and each character means a word, instead of a syllable or letter. 犬, read inu , means “dog.” And 食, read ta or shoku , means “food” or “to eat.” They combine with hiragana or other kanji to complete their meaning and define how you pronounce them.

So if you wanted to say “I’m eating,” you would say 食べます ( tabemasu ), where -bemasu completes the verb and puts it in grammatical tense using hiragana. If you wanted to say “Japanese food,” it would be 日本食 ( nipponshoku ), where it’s connected to other kanji.

If you didn’t have these three forms, it would make reading Japanese very difficult. The sentences would run together and it would be confusing. Like in this famous Japanese tongue twister: にわにはにわにわとりがいる, or romanized niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru . But in kanji, it looks like 庭には二羽鶏がいる. The meaning? “There are chickens in the garden.” Thanks to the different writing systems, we know that the first niwa means garden, the second ni wa are the grammatical particles, the third niwa is to say there are at least two, and niwatori is “chickens.”

Japanese Pronunciation

Japanese has fewer sounds than English, and except for “r,” most of them are in the English language. So you should find most of the sounds easy to pick up!

Japanese has the same 5 vowels, but only 16 consonants. For the most part, all syllables consist of only a vowel, or a consonant plus a vowel. But there is the single “n,” and “sh,” “ts,” and “ch” sounds, as well as consonant + -ya/-yu/-yo sounds. I’ll explain this more in a minute.

Although Japanese has the same 5 vowel sounds, they only have one sound . Unlike English, there is no “long A” and “short A” sound. This makes it easy when reading kana because the sound never changes . So, once you learn how to write kana, you will always know how to pronounce it.

Here’s how the 5 vowels sound in Japanese:

  • あ / ア: “ah” as in “latte”
  • い / イ: “ee” as in “bee”
  • う / ウ: “oo” as in “tooth”
  • え / エ: “eh” as in “echo”
  • お / オ: “oh” as in “open”

Even when combined with consonants, the sound of the vowel stays the same. Look at these examples:

  • か / カ: “kah” as in “copy”
  • ち / チ: “chi” as in “cheap”
  • む / ム: “mu” as in “move”
  • せ / セ: “se” as in “set”
  • の / ノ: “no” as in “note”

Take a look at the entire syllabary chart:

Based on learning how to pronounce the vowels, can you pronounce the rest of the syllables? The hardest ones will be the R-row of sounds, “tsu,” “fu,” and “n.”

For “r” it sounds between an “r” and an “l” sound in English. Almost like the Spanish, actually. First, try saying “la, la, la.” Your tongue should push off of the back of your teeth to make this sound. Now say “rah, rah, rah.” Notice how your tongue pulls back to touch your back teeth. Now, say “dah, dah, dah.” That placement of your tongue to make the “d” sound is actually where you make the Japanese “r” sound. You gently push off of this spot on the roof of your mouth as you pull back your tongue like an English “r.”

“Tsu” blends together “t” and “s” in a way we don’t quite have in English. You push off the “t” sound, and should almost sound like the “s” is drawn out. The sound “fu” is so soft, and like a breath of air coming out. Think like a sigh, “phew.” It doesn’t sound like “who,” but a soft “f.” As for our lone consonant, “n” can sound like “n” or “m,” depending on the word.

Special Japanese Character Readings and How to Write Them

There are a few Japanese characters that combine with others to create more sounds. You’ll often see dakuten , which are double accent marks above the character on the right side ( ゙), and handakuten , which is a small circle on the right side ( ゚).

Here’s how dakuten affect the characters:

And handakuten are only used with the H-row characters, changing it from “h” to “p.” So か ( ka ) becomes が ( ga ), and ひ ( hi ) becomes either び ( bi ) or ぴ ( pi ).

A sokuon adds a small っ between two characters to double the consonant that follows it and make a “stop” in the word. In the saying いらっしゃいませ ( irasshaimase , “Welcome!”), the “rahs-shai” has a slight glottal pause where the “tsu” emphasizes the double “s.”

One of the special readings that tend to be mispronounced are the yoon characters. These characters add a small “y” row character to the other rows to blend the sounds together. These look like ちゃ ( cha ), きょ ( kyo ), and しゅ ( shu ). They’re added to the “i” column of kana characters.

An example of a common mispronunciation is “Tokyo.” It’s often said “Toh-key-yo,” but it’s actually only two syllables: “Toh-kyo.” The k and y are blended; there is no “ee” sound in the middle.

How to Read, Write, and Pronounce Kanji Characters

Here’s where things get tricky. Kanji, since it represents a whole word or idea, and combines with hiragana… It almost always has more than one way to read and pronounce it. And when it comes to writing them, they have a lot more to them.

Let’s start by breaking down the kanji a bit, shall we?

Most kanji consist of radicals, the basic elements or building blocks. For instance, 日 (“sun” or “day”) is a radical. So is 言 (“words” or “to say”) and 心 (“heart”). So when we see the kanji 曜, we see that “day” has been squished in this complex kanji. This kanji means “day of the week.” It’s in every weekday’s name: 月曜日 ( getsuyoubi , “Monday”), 火曜日 ( kayoubi , “Tuesday”), 水曜日 ( suiyoubi , “Wednesday”), etc.

When the kanji for “words” is mixed into another kanji, it usually has something to do with conversation or language. 日本語 ( nihongo ) is the word for “Japanese” and the final kanji 語 includes 言. And as for 心, it’s often in kanji related to expressing emotions and feelings, like 怒る ( okoru , “angry”) and 思う ( omou , “to think”).

In this way, some kanji make a lot of sense when we break them down like this. A good example is 妹 ( imouto ), the kanji for “little sister.” It’s made up of two radicals: 女, “woman,” and 未, “not yet.” She’s “not yet a woman,” because she’s your kid sister.

So why learn radicals? Because radicals make it easier to memorize, read, and write the kanji. By learning radicals, you can break the kanji down using mnemonics (like “not yet a woman” to remember imouto ). If you know each “part,” you’ll remember how to write it. 妹 has 7 strokes to it, but only 2 radicals. So instead of memorizing tons of tiny lines, memorize the parts.

As for pronouncing them, this is largely a memorization game. But here’s a pro-tip. Each kanji has “common” readings — often only one or two. Memorize how to read the kanji with common words that use them, and you’ll know how to read that kanji more often than not.

Japanese Writing: Stroke Order

So, I mentioned stroke order with kanji. But what is that? Stroke order is the proper sequence you use to write Japanese characters.

The rule of stroke order is you go from top to bottom, left to right.

This can still be confusing with some complex kanji, but again, radicals play a part here. You would break down each radical top left-most stroke to bottom right stroke, then move on to the next radical. A helpful resource is , which shows you how to properly write all the characters. Check out how to write the kanji for “kanji” as a perfect example of breaking down radicals.

When it comes to kana, stroke order still matters. Even though they’re simpler, proper stroke order makes your characters easier to read. And some characters rely on stroke order to tell them apart. Take シ and ツ:

[Shi and Tsu example]

If you didn’t use proper stroke order, these two katakana characters would look the same!

How to Memorize Japanese Kanji and Kana

When it comes to Japanese writing, practice makes perfect. Practice writing your sentences down in Japanese, every day. Practice filling in the kana syllabary chart for hiragana and katakana, until there are no blank boxes and you’ve got them all right.

Create mnemonics for both kanji and kana. Heisig’s method is one of the best ways to memorize how to write kanji with mnemonics. Using spaced repetition helps too, like Anki. Then you’re regularly seeing each character, and you can input your mnemonics into the note of the card so you have it as a reminder.

Another great way to practice is to write out words you already know. If you know mizu means “water,” then learn the kanji 水 and write it with the kanji every time from here on out. If you know the phrase おはようございます means “good morning,” practice writing in in kana every morning. That phrase alone gives you practice with 9 characters and two with dakuten! And try looking up loan words to practice katakana.

Tools to Help You with Japanese Writing

There are some fantastic resources out there to help you practice writing in Japanese. Here are a few to help you learn it fast:

  • JapanesePod101 : Yes, JapanesePod101 is a podcast. But they often feature YouTube videos and have helpful PDFs that teach you kanji and kana! Plus, you’ll pick up all kinds of helpful cultural insights and grammar tips.
  • LingQ : LingQ is chock full of reading material in Japanese, giving you plenty of exposure to kana, new kanji, and words. It uses spaced repetition to help you review.
  • Skritter : Skritter is one of the best apps for Japanese writing. You can practice writing kanji on the app, and review them periodically so you don’t forget. It’s an incredible resource to keep up with your Japanese writing practice on the go.
  • Scripts : From the creator of Drops, this app was designed specifically for learning languages with a different script from your own.

How to Type in Japanese

It’s actually quite simple to type in Japanese! On a PC, you can go to “Language Settings” and click “Add a preferred language.” Download Japanese — 日本語 — and make sure to move it below English. (Otherwise, it will change your laptop’s language to Japanese… Which can be an effective study tool , though!)

To start typing in Japanese, you would press the Windows key + space. Your keyboard will now be set to Japanese! You can type the romanized script, and it will show you the suggestions for kanji and kana. To easily change back and forth between Japanese and English, use the alt key + “~” key.

For Mac, you can go to “System Preferences”, then “Keyboard” and then click the “+” button to add and set Japanese. To toggle between languages, use the command key and space bar.

For mobile devices, it’s very similar. You’ll go to your settings, then language and input settings. Add the Japanese keyboard, and then you’ll be able to toggle back and forth when your typing from the keyboard!

Japanese Writing Isn’t Scary!

Japanese writing isn’t that bad. It does take practice, but it’s fun to write! It’s a beautiful script. So, don’t believe the old ideology that “three different writing systems will take thousands of hours to learn!” A different writing system shouldn’t scare you off. Each writing system has a purpose and makes sense once you start learning. They build on each other, so learning it gets easier as you go. Realistically, you could read a Japanese newspaper after only about two months of consistent studying and practice with kanji!

essay word in japanese

Caitlin Sacasas

Content Writer, Fluent in 3 Months

Caitlin is a copywriter, content strategist, and language learner. Besides languages, her passions are fitness, books, and Star Wars. Connect with her: Twitter | LinkedIn

Speaks: English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish

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Learn A Language Through Stories

how to write in japanese

How To Write In Japanese – A Beginner’s Guide

Olly Richards Headshot

Do you want to learn how to write in Japanese , but feel confused or intimidated by the script?

This post will break it all down for you, in a step-by-step guide to reading and writing skills this beautiful language.

I remember when I first started learning Japanese and how daunting the writing system seemed. I even wondered whether I could get away without learning the script altogether and just sticking with romaji (writing Japanese with the roman letters).

I’m glad I didn’t.

If you’re serious about learning Japanese, you have to get to grips with the script sooner or later. If you don’t, you won’t be able to read or write anything useful, and that’s no way to learn a language.

The good news is that it isn’t as hard as you think. And I’ve teamed up with my friend Luca Toma (who’s also a Japanese coach ) to bring you this comprehensive guide to reading and writing Japanese.

By the way, if you want to learn Japanese fast and have fun while doing it, my top recommendation is  Japanese Uncovered  which teaches you through StoryLearning®. 

With  Japanese Uncovered  you’ll use my unique StoryLearning® method to learn Japanese naturally through story… not rules. It’s as fun as it is effective.

If you’re ready to get started,  click here for a 7-day FREE trial.

If you have a friend who’s learning Japanese, you might like to share it with them. Now, let’s get stuck in…

One Language, Two Systems, Three Scripts

If you are a complete beginner, Japanese writing may appear just like Chinese.

But if you look at it more carefully you'll notice that it doesn’t just contain complex Chinese characters… there are lots of simpler ones too.

Take a look.

それでも、 日本人 の 食生活 も 急速 に 変化 してきています 。 ハンバーグ や カレーライス は 子供に人気 がありますし 、都会 では 、 イタリア 料理、東南 アジア 料理、多国籍料理 などを 出 す エスニック 料理店 がどんどん 増 えています 。

Nevertheless, the eating habits of Japanese people are also rapid ly chang ing . Hamburgers and curry rice are popular with children . In cities , ethnic   restaurants serv ing Italian cuisine , Southeast Asian cuisine and multi-national cuisine keep increas ing more and more .

(Source: “Japan: Then and Now”, 2001, p. 62-63)

As you can see from this sample, within one Japanese text there are actually three different scripts intertwined. We’ve colour coded them to help you tell them apart.

(What’s really interesting is the different types of words – parts of speech – represented by each colour – it tells you a lot about what you use each of the three scripts for.)

Can you see the contrast between complex characters (orange) and simpler ones (blue and green)?

The complex characters are called kanji (漢字 lit. Chinese characters) and were borrowed from Chinese. They are what’s called a ‘logographic system' in which each symbol corresponds to a block of meaning (食 ‘to eat', 南 ‘south', 国 ‘country').

Each kanji also has its own pronunciation, which has to be learnt – you can’t “read” an unknown kanji like you could an unknown word in English.

Luckily, the other two sets of characters are simpler!

Those in blue above are called hiragana and those in green are called katakana . Katakana and hiragana are both examples of ‘syllabic systems', and unlike the kanji , each character corresponds to single sound. For example, そ= so, れ= re; イ= i, タ = ta.

Hiragana and katakana are a godsend for Japanese learners because the pronunciation isn’t a problem. If you see it, you can say it!

So, at this point, you’re probably wondering:

“What’s the point of using three different types of script? How could that have come about?”

In fact, all these scripts have a very specific role to play in a piece of Japanese writing, and you’ll find that they all work together in harmony in representing the Japanese language in a written form.

So let’s check them out in more detail.

First up, the two syllabic systems: hiragana and katakana (known collectively as kana ).

The ‘Kana' – One Symbol, One Sound

Both hiragana and katakana have a fixed number of symbols: 46 characters in each, to be precise.

Each of these corresponds to a combination of the 5 Japanese vowels (a, i, u, e o) and the 9 consonants (k, s, t, n, h, m, y, r, w).

hiragana katakana comparison chart

(Source: Wikipedia Commons )

Hiragana  (the blue characters in our sample text) are recognizable for their roundish shape and you’ll find them being used for three functions in Japanese writing:

1. Particles (used to indicate the grammatical function of a word)

は     wa     topic marker

が     ga      subject marker

を     wo      direct object marker

2. To change the meaning of verbs, adverbs or adjectives, which generally have a root written in kanji. (“Inflectional endings”)

急速 に     kyuusoku ni        rapid ly

増 えています       fu ete imasu     are increas ing

3. Native Japanese words not covered by the other two scripts

それでも     soredemo     nevertheless

どんどん     dondon     more and more

Katakana  (the green characters in our sample text) are recognisable for their straight lines and sharp corners. They are generally reserved for:

1. Loanwords from other languages. See what you can spot!

ハンバーグ     hanbaagu     hamburger

カレーライス     karee raisu     curry rice

エスニック     esunikku     ethnic

2. Transcribing foreign names

イタリア     itaria     Italy

アジア     ajia     Asia

They are also used for emphasis (the equivalent of italics or underlining in English), and for scientific terms (plants, animals, minerals, etc.).

So where did hiragana and katakana come from?

In fact, they were both derived from kanji which had a particular pronunciation; Hiragana took from the Chinese cursive script  (安 an →あ a), whereas katakana developed from single components of the regular Chinese script (阿 a →ア a ).

japanese kana development chart

So that covers the origins the two kana scripts in Japanese, and how we use them.

Now let’s get on to the fun stuff… kanji !

The Kanji – One Symbol, One Meaning

Kanji  – the most formidable hurdle for learners of Japanese!

We said earlier that kanji is a logographic system, in which each symbol corresponds to a “block of meaning”.

食     eating

生     life, birth

活     vivid, lively

“Block of meaning” is the best phrase, because one kanji is not necessarily a “word” on its own.

You might have to combine one kanji with another in order to make an actual word, and also to express more complex concepts:

生 + 活   =   生活     lifestyle

食 + 生活   =  食生活     eating habits

If that sounds complicated, remember that you see the same principle in other languages.

Think about the word ‘telephone' in English – you can break it down into two main components derived from Greek:

‘tele' (far)  +  ‘phone' (sound)  = telephone

Neither of them are words in their own right.

So there are lots and lots of kanji , but in order to make more sense of them we can start by categorising them.

There are several categories of kanji , starting with the ‘pictographs' (象形文字 sh ōkei moji), which look like the objects they represent:

the origin of kanji

(Source: Wikipedia Commons )

In fact, there aren’t too many of these pictographs.

Around 90% of the kanji in fact come from six other categories, in which several basic elements (called ‘radicals') are combined to form new concepts.

For example:

人 (‘man' as a radical)   +   木 (‘tree')    =  休 (‘to rest')

These are known as 形声文字 keisei moji or ‘radical-phonetic compounds'.

You can think of these characters as being made up of two parts:

  • A radical that tells you what category of word it is: animals, plants, metals, etc.)
  • A second component that completes the character and give it its pronunciation (a sort of Japanese approximation from Chinese).

So that’s the story behind the kanji , but what are they used for in Japanese writing?

Typically, they are used to represent concrete concepts.

When you look at a piece of Japanese writing, you’ll see kanji being used for nouns, and in the stem of verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Here are some of them from our sample text at the start of the article:

日本人     Japanese people 多国籍料理     multinational cuisine 東南     Southeast

Now, here’s the big question!

Once you’ve learnt to read or write a kanji , how do you pronounce it?

If you took the character from the original Chinese, it would usually only have one pronunciation.

However, by the time these characters leave China and reach Japan, they usually have two or sometimes even more pronunciations.

How or why does this happen?

Let's look at an example.

To say ‘mountain', the Chinese use the pictograph 山 which depicts a mountain with three peaks. The pronunciation of this character in Chinese is sh ā n (in the first tone).

yama kanji mountain

Now, in Japanese the word for ‘mountain' is ‘yama'.

So in this case, the Japanese decided to borrow the character山from Chinese, but to pronounce it differently: yama .

However, this isn’t the end of the story!

The Japanese did decide to borrow the pronunciation from the original Chinese, but only to use it when that character is used in compound words.

So, in this case, when the character 山 is part of a compound word, it is pronounced as san/zan – clearly an approximation to the original Chinese pronunciation.

Here’s the kanji on its own:

山は…      Yama wa…     The mountain….

And here’s the kanji when it appears in compound words:

火山は…     Ka zan wa     The volcano…

富士山は…     Fuji san wa…     Mount Fuji….

To recap, every kanji has at least two pronunciations.

The first one (the so-called訓読み kun'yomi or ‘meaning reading') has an original Japanese pronunciation, and is used with one kanji on it’s own.

The second one (called音読み  on'yomi or ‘sound-based reading') is used in compound words, and comes from the original Chinese.

Makes sense, right? 😉

In Japan, there’s an official number of kanji that are classified for “daily use” (常用漢字 joy ō kanji ) by the Japanese Ministry of Education – currently 2,136.

(Although remember that the number of actual words that you can form using these characters is much higher.)

So now… if you wanted to actually learn all these kanji , how should you go about it?

To answer this question, Luca’s going to give us an insight into how he did it.  

How I Learnt Kanji

I started to learn kanji more than 10 years ago at a time when you couldn't find all the great resources that are available nowadays. I only had paper kanji dictionary and simple lists from my textbook.

What I did have, however, was the memory of a fantastic teacher.

I studied Chinese for two years in college, and this teacher taught us characters in two helpful ways:

  • He would analyse them in terms of their radicals and other components
  • He kept us motivated and interested in the process by using fascinating stories based on etymology (the origin of the characters)

Once I’d learnt to recognise the 214 radicals which make up all characters – the building blocks of Chinese characters – it was then much easier to go on and learn the characters and the words themselves.

It’s back to the earlier analogy of dividing the word ‘telephone' into tele and phone .

But here’s the thing – knowing the characters alone isn’t enough. There are too many, and they’re all very similar to one another.

If you want to get really good at the language, and really know how to read and how to write in Japanese, you need a higher-order strategy.

The number one strategy that I used to reach a near-native ability in reading and writing in Japanese was to learn the kanji within the context of dialogues or other texts .

I never studied them as individual characters or words.

Now, I could give you a few dozen ninja tricks for how to learn Japanese kanji. B ut the one secret that blows everything else out of the water and guarantees real success in the long-term, is extensive reading and massive exposure.

This is the foundation of the StoryLearning® method , where you immerse yourself in language through story.

In the meantime, there are a lot of resources both online and offline to learn kanji , each of which is based on a particular method or approach (from flashcards to mnemonic and so on).

The decision of which approach to use can be made easier by understanding the way you learn best.

Do you have a photographic memory or prefer working with images? Do you prefer to listen to audio? Or perhaps you prefer to write things by hands?

You can and should try more than one method, in order to figure out which works best for you.

( Note : You should get a copy of this excellent guide by John Fotheringham, which has all the resources you’ll ever need to learn kanji )

Summary Of How To Write In Japanese

So you’ve made it to the end!

See – I told you it wasn’t that bad! Let’s recap what we’ve covered.

Ordinary written Japanese employs a mixture of three scripts:

  • Kanji, or Chinese characters, of which there are officially 2,136 in daily use (more in practice)
  • 2 syllabic alphabets called hiragana and katakana, containing 42 symbols each

In special cases, such as children’s books or simplified materials for language learners, you might find everything written using only hiragana or katakana .

But apart from those materials, everything in Japanese is written by employing the three scripts together. And it’s the kanji which represent the cultural and linguistic challenge in the Japanese language.

If you want to become proficient in Japanese you have to learn all three!

Although it seems like a daunting task, remember that there are many people before you who have found themselves right at the beginning of their journey in learning Japanese.

And every journey begins with a single step.

So what are you waiting for?

The best place to start is to enrol in  Japanese Uncovered . The course includes a series of lessons that teach you hiragana, katakana and kanji. It also includes an exciting Japanese story which comes in different formats (romaji, hiragana, kana and kanji) so you can practice reading Japanese, no matter what level you're at right now.

– – –

It’s been a pleasure for me to work on this article with Luca Toma, and I’ve learnt a lot in the process.

Now he didn’t ask me to write this, but if you’re serious about learning Japanese, you should consider hiring Luca as a coach. The reasons are many, and you can find out more on his website:

Do you know anyone learning Japanese? Why not send them this article, or click here to send a tweet .

essay word in japanese

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Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List of Resources for Every Level

Japanese writing can be one of the scariest aspects of learning Japanese! And there’s no shortcut to success – you simply have to get your Japanese writing practice in . Luckily there are no shortage of tools to help you with this!

Whether you are a beginner looking to practise your Japanese handwriting, or an advanced student in need of Japanese essay writing practice, there are lots of free and cheap resources out there at every level.

Here’s my roundup of the best websites, apps, printables and other tools for Japanese writing practice.

Japanese writing practice apps

Free websites for japanese writing practice online, easy japanese writing practice for beginners, japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice.

If you are new to learning Japanese, you’ll want to get your hiragana and katakana down pat before you move on to anything else.

Spending time on your hiragana and katakana writing practice not only helps you memorise the characters, it will also improve your handwriting and help you become accustomed to correct stroke order, which will be a massive benefit when you move on to learning kanji !

There are loads of free Japanese katakana and hiragana writing practice sheets online for you to download and print at home. Here’s a selection:

Free Japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice sheets pdf workbook

Screenshot showing example printable kana worksheets from JapanesePod101

This free workbook from JapanesePod101 introduces all the hiragana and katakana characters and has spaces for you to trace, and then copy them out. The workbook also contains flashcards to practise your recognition. Note: you need to create a free account to access the workbook.

Japanese hiragana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out hiragana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Japanese katakana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out katakana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Free BLANK Japanese writing practice sheets

Image showing 3 different kinds of blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing kana and kanji. The pages are shown as a flatlay on a pink background.

If you just want blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing out your characters, I have created my own in various sizes/formats for you to download and print!

Kakikata print maker

Screenshot from the website Kakikata Print Maker, showing some of the many types of Japanese writing worksheets you can generate and print for free.

An awesome website (designed for Japanese parents/teachers to use with their children) where you can design and print your own worksheets with kana or kanji characters of your choice, in various formats. You can even choose to add stroke order! Useful if you want to practise a particular word or set of characters.

Japanese Tools: create your own kana practice sheets

Here is another useful site where you can create your own Japanese practice writing sheets with the characters of your choice, printed with a gradual fade to trace/copy.

Japanese kanji writing practice

If you are studying kanji from a textbook or course and you just need blank kanji graph paper to practise writing on, you can print that out here .

If you are looking for pre-printed kanji worksheets with kanji to copy out, the best resource I have found is this one:

Screenshot showing example N5 level kanji worksheet from

This amazing website lets you download and print kanji writing practice worksheets for kanji sets according to JLPT level, Japanese school grade level, Wanikani level, Kanji Garden app level, or frequency. It’s totally free and so useful!

Easy Japanese sentence writing practice

Once you know your kana and a few kanji, you might start to think about writing out some Japanese sentences.

JapanesePod101 writing practice worksheets 

Screenshot showing some free Japanese writing worksheets from JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 has a selection of free Japanese writing practice sheets, available as pdfs that you can download and print yourself. They currently have 16+ free writing practice workbooks on beginner-friendly topics such as daily routine or ordering food. This is a good way to get used to writing out simple Japanese sentences at the beginner level. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend them for complete beginners because they use kanji – so you should be familiar with some kanji and the basic rules of stroke order before you use them.

As soon as you are able to form Japanese sentences on your own, I recommend you start a Japanese journal and/or sharing your sentences with others using the resources in the intermediate/advanced section below!

When you are learning to write in Japanese, I recommend writing them out by hand as much as possible because it helps you learn by muscle memory and helps you develop neat handwriting! However, it’s also useful to have a great writing practice app or two on your phone so you can study on the go.

There are lots of great apps out there to practise writing Japanese characters. Here are some recommendations:

Screenshot from the Skritter app to learn Japanese hiragana and katakana

Skritter is an app for learning Japanese (and Chinese) writing and vocabulary. You can use Skritter to learn kana and kanji from scratch, or simply to review what you’ve learned. It uses handwriting recognition and a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you learn effectively.

Under the ‘test’ settings section you can choose to focus on writing only, or add in flashcards for reading and definition too.

It works well alongside other courses and textbooks to practise your characters. They have pre-made flashcard decks from various textbooks which is great when you get on to drilling vocabulary.

Screenshot of Ringotan app to practise writing Japanese characters

As with Skritter, you can either use this app to learn kana and kanji as a complete beginner, or just to practise writing the characters you already know. In fact, it’s probably the best app I’ve found if you just want a simple flashcard-style writing practice app with handwriting recognition. It’s a little clunkier to use but once you’ve got it set up, it’s easy. If you already know the kana and you just want to practise, choose ‘Yes, but I need more practice’ during the set-up stage.

Screenshot of Scripts app showing a demonstration of how to write the hiragana character あ (a)

The Scripts app from the makers of Drops teaches you kana and kanji (and also has the option to learn other languages’ scripts, such as hangul or hanzi, if you’re doing the polyglot thing). You learn by tracing the characters with your finger on the screen.

It’s a good option if you are learning to write the Japanese characters from scratch. However, I could not see an option to skip the ‘learning’ stage and just review, so if you’ve already mastered your kana it won’t be for you.

Learn Japanese! 

This is a very simple and easy to use app to learn how to write hiragana and katakana. However, you only learn 5 characters at a time and I couldn’t see a way to skip to review only, so again, great for complete beginners but not if you just want to practise.

Intermediate and advanced Japanese writing practice

At the intermediate and advanced levels, you are well beyond copying out characters/sentences on worksheets, and you will be creating your own compositions in Japanese. In fact, I highly recommend doing this as soon as you are able to! 

One popular method to get your Japanese writing practice is to keep a daily diary or journal in Japanese . You can try to incorporate new grammar and vocabulary you’ve learned, or simply write whatever comes into your head just to get used to writing in Japanese.

Even jotting down a few private sentences in your own notebook will be beneficial. But if you want to step it up a notch, use one of the websites/apps below to share your writing with other learners and native speakers and receive feedback.

If you’ve been studying languages for a while you might be mourning the loss of Lang8, a site where you could post journal entries in your target language online and get feedback from native speakers. Here are a couple of Lang 8 alternatives I’ve found:


Screenshoot of LangCorrect homepage, a website where language learners can keep a journal online

LangCorrect is a site where you can practise your Japanese writing online by writing daily journal entries and getting corrections from native speakers. It’s fairly active with the Japanese learning community, and you can usually expect to get a few comments/corrections within a few hours (don’t forget to take the time difference into account!). They also have journal prompts in case you’re feeling the writer’s block. It’s free to use.

Journaly is a similar site I’ve heard, about although I haven’t used it and I have the impression its user base is smaller than LangCorrect. It’s free to use and there is also a paid version which has a few extra benefits, such as bumping up your posts to get more attention.

This is a free website offered by Dickinson College. Its main purpose is for connecting language exchange partners, but they also have a feature where you can post writing samples to receive corrections from native speakers.


This subreddit is a forum to practise writing in Japanese. It’s for anyone at any level who wants to practise their Japanese writing. The idea is that you write something every day to build up a ‘streak’ and build the habit of writing in Japanese regularly.

You can write whatever you feel like; many people write diary-like entries about their day, or share random thoughts, or write about something new they’ve learned etc. There are native Japanese speaking mods who drop by to correct mistakes.

There are a lot more learners than native speakers on the forum, though, so unfortunately you’re not guaranteed feedback. But it’s still a great place to practise writing (and reading!) Japanese.

Screenshot of the homepage of language exchange app HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a language exchange app where you can connect with Japanese native speakers, chat via text, voice or video call and receive feedback on your Japanese. In addition to connecting with people directly, you can also create ‘moments’ (write posts such as sharing journal entries, or pictures of your day) and ask general questions, and receive comments/feedback from other users.

Be warned, recently I hear a lot of users complaining that people use the messaging function like a dating app – but you may have better success using the ‘moments’ function or messaging people yourself first.

Another language exchange app where you can exchange text messages with a Japanese-speaking partner and receive corrections.


On HiNative you can ask questions about language usage and get feedback from native speakers. You can write your questions either in Japanese or English. This question/answer service is free. Premium paid members can also post diary entries to get feedback.

More resources for Japanese writing practice

Here’s a mixture of other useful tools and resources I’ve found for Japanese writing practice that don’t fit neatly into the above categories! This section contains a mixture of free and paid resources.

Japanese water calligraphy practice kits (paid)

Why not go old-school and practise your Japanese characters with a real calligraphy brush! In Japan, students often practise their calligraphy with these nifty ‘magic’ kits, where you paint with water on the special water-activated paper, which fades away after a few minutes so you can reuse it time and time again. This is a fun way to refine your Japanese handwriting while reviewing the characters!

Kuretake DAW100-7 Calligraphy Set, Water Writing, Hard Brush, Use Water, Can Be Written Many Times, Beautiful Characters, Practice Set

Printable Japanese journals with writing prompts (paid) 

Promotional image titled '215 Japanese writing prompts' and showing 2 example Japanese writing worksheets.

I found this printable Japanese journaling/writing practice kit on Etsy. It contains dozens of writing prompts at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, so you’ve got no excuse not to jot down a few sentences in Japanese every day! Check out the other great resources by the same author.

Japanese planner templates (free)

If you want to take daily notes or plan your day/week in Japanese, this site has loads of free Japanese planner templates to print out.

Japanese writing practice notebooks (paid)

The paper used in Japan for school compositions/essay writing practice is called genkouyoushi . There are lots of genkouyoushi notebooks with cute cover designs available on Amazon.

Genkouyoushi Practice Book: Japanese Kanji Practice Paper - Notebook for Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana - Large 8.5" x 11" - 121 Pages

Free printable genkouyoushi (Japanese composition paper)

Alternatively, you can print out your own genkouyoushi-style blank writing sheets here for free.

Japanese sentence/usage databases

These databases are useful tools that I often use when writing in Japanese to check how words are used. You can search for a Japanese word and see it in context of many authentic, native Japanese sentences, to get an idea of correct and natural usage. You can also use them for sentence mining , if that’s your thing.

  • Reverso – my favourite. Need to create a free account to see all sentences.
  • Natsume – see how often a word is used, and which particles and other words usually follow it
  • Sentence search with audio

How to Write Japanese Essays book (paid)

If you are studying Japanese to a very high level, for example to enter a Japanese university or company, you will need Japanese essay writing practice. The book How to Write Japanese Essays comes highly recommended and will train you to write in the formal academic style that is taught in Japan.

Japanese writing practice roundup

Which tools and resources do you use for Japanese writing practice? If you know any I’ve missed out, please share in the comments!

See these related posts for more useful resources to learn Japanese:

  • Japanese Writing Paper: FREE Printable Blank Japanese Writing Sheets
  • FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)
  • 10+ Effective Ways to Get Japanese Speaking Practice (Even if You Study By Yourself!)
  • Where to get Your Japanese Listening Practice: The Epic List of Resources!
  • The Ultimate List of Japanese Podcasts for Listening Practice (Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced)
  • Best YouTube Channels to Learn Japanese {20+ Japanese YouTubers!}

essay word in japanese

Rebecca Shiraishi-Miles

Rebecca is the founder of Team Japanese. She spent two years teaching English in Ehime, Japan. Now back in the UK, she spends her time blogging, self-studying Japanese and wrangling a very genki toddler.

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Welcome to Kakimashou

Practice writing Japanese on your screen. Let's write!

Learning to write in Japanese takes a lot of practice, but this website will take care of a lot of the legwork for you. You can stop wasting paper and looking up stroke-order diagrams and just focus on learning.

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Resource Guide for Japanese Language Students: Essays

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About This Page

This page introduces the variety of essays written by popular contemporary authors. Unless noted, all are in Japanese.

The author, さくらももこ, is known for writing a comic titled 『 ちびまる子ちゃん 』. The comic is based on her own childhood experiences and depicts the everyday life of a girl with a nickname of Chibi Maruko-chan. The author has been constantly writing casual and humorous essays, often recollecting her childhood memories. We have both the『 ちびまる子ちゃん 』 comic series and other essays by the author. 

To see a sample text in a new tab, please  click on the cover image or the title .

中島らも(1952-2004) started his career as a copyrigher but changed his path to become a prolific writer, publishing novels, essays, drama scripts and rakugo stories. He became popular with his "twisted sense of humour."  He is also active in the music industry when he formed his own band. He received the 13th Eiji Yoshikawa New Author Prize with his 『今夜、すべてのバーで』 and Mystery Writers of Japan Aaward with 『 ガダラの豚 』.


東海林さだお(1937-) is a well-known cartoonist, but he is also famous for his essays on food. His writing style is light and humorous and tends to pay particular attention toward regular food, such as bananas, miso soup, and eggd in udon noodles, rather than talk about gourmet meals. (added 5/2/2014)

Collection of Essays: 天声人語 = Vox Populi, Vox Deli (Bilingual)

A collection of essays which appear on the front page of Asahi Shinbun . Each essay is approx. 600 words. KU has collections published around 2000. Seach KU Online catalog with call number AC145 .T46 for more details. 

To see a sample text, please click on the cover image or the title .

Other Essays

Cover Art

Online Essay

  • 村上さんのところ "Mr. Murakami's Place" -- Haruki Murakami's Advice Column Part of Haruki Murakami's official site. He answers questions sent to this site. He will also take questions in English. Questions will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2015.

Search from KU Collection

If you are looking for essays in Japanese available at KU, use this search box. If you know the author, search by last name, then first name, such as "Sakura, Momoko." Make sure to select "Author" in the search field option.:

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  • Draw it in the drawing area
  • Type the name in the text area
  • Look for it in the list
  • Notice that 漢 is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫
  • Draw any of these components (one at a time) in the drawing area, and select it when you see it
  • Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
  • If you know the meanings of the components, type any of them in the text area: water (氵), grass (艹), mouth (口) or husband (夫)
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.
  • Draw a component in the center of the area, as large as you can
  • Try to draw the component as it appears in the kanji you're looking up
  • Don't worry about stroke order or number of strokes
  • Don't draw more than one component at a time


Welcome to Kanshudo Sentence Builder

essay word in japanese

10 Easy Transition Phrases In Japanese To Sound Like A Native

Betül Dağ

  • , July 21, 2023

Transition phrases in Japanese - Ling

Even though you know hundreds of Japanese vocabulary and grammar rules, you may not speak native-like. And that’s because you are missing the transition phrases in Japanese.

Transition phrases, or filler words, are the language items that make your sentences flow. So, even if you don’t speak Japanese at the N1 level, you can fake it until you make it by using filler words in your speech! Surprisingly, the Japanese language also has filler words, as we have in English. In this article, we’ll cover how to connect sentences in a natural and flowing way – like native speakers do – by using transition words.

Page Contents 📑

Why should you learn transition phrases in japanese.

Learning filler words in Japanese as a learner is essential for natural and fluent communication . It will make your speech sound more authentic, boost your confidence, and enhance your overall language skills, making conversations more enjoyable and even more effective.

In case you didn’t know, fillers are short words or phrases (like “um,” “well,” or “you know”) that native speakers use to give themselves time to think or show agreement , and they make a conversation sound natural.

In today’s lesson, we’ll focus on transition words like fillers in the Japanese language. So, if you’re looking for Japanese conjunctions rather than fillers to connect your sentences, you should read our related article.

Japanese notebook

Commonly Used Transition Words In Japanese

1. あの (ano).

Although it also means “that” as a demonstrative pronoun , あの (ano) can be used as a filler word in Japanese, similar to how you use “um” or “uh” in English. It is used when pausing to gather thoughts, express hesitation, or politely signal to others that you want to speak. It helps create a more natural flow in conversation and shows politeness or consideration while speaking.

あの、ちょっと待ってください。(Ano, chotto matte kudasai) – Um, please wait a moment.

2. えーと (Eeto)

In Japanese, えーと (eeto) is a common filler word used when pausing to gather thoughts or express hesitation, similar to the English “uh” or “um.” It helps give the speaker time to think before continuing their sentence. It’s a natural part of Japanese conversation and is used to avoid awkward silence while speaking.

えーと、それはちょっとわかりません。(Eeto, sore wa chotto wakarimasen) – Um, I don’t quite understand that.

3. それで (Sore de)

In Japanese, それで (sorede) is not typically used as a filler word like “um” or “uh.” Instead, it is a conjunctive adverb that means “so” or “therefore.” It is used to link ideas or events in a cause-and-effect manner. It indicates that the second action is a result of the first.

Aを買った。それで、Bも買った。(A o katta. Sore de, B mo katta) – I bought A. So, I also bought B.

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In Japanese, ええ (ee) is not commonly used as a filler word like “um” or “uh.” Instead, it is a casual way to say “yes.” For example, if someone asks you if you want tea, you can reply with “ええ” to mean “yes.” It’s a simple and informal affirmation.

ええ、それは本当に素晴らしい景色ですね。(Ee, sore wa hontou ni subarashii keshiki desu ne.) – Um, that’s truly a wonderful view, isn’t it?

5. そうそう (Sou sou)

In Japanese, そうそう (sou sou) is used as a filler word to express agreement or confirmation, similar to the English “yeah,” “that’s right,” or “exactly.” It is often used in casual conversations to show that you understand or relate to what the other person is saying. For example, if someone tells you about their recent trip, you can respond with “そうそう” to show that you are following their story and agree with their points.

そうそう、昨日のパーティー楽しかったね!(Sō sō, kinō no pātī tanoshikatta ne!) – Yeah, yesterday’s party was fun, right!

6. なんか (Nanka)

In Japanese, なんか (nanka) is used as a filler word to express vagueness, uncertainty, or to downplay something. It’s similar to saying “sort of” or “kind of” in English. It softens the statement and shows that you may not have a strong opinion or can’t quite explain the situation clearly.

それはなんか面白い。(Sore wa nanka omoshiroi) – That’s kind of interesting.

Japanese speakers

7. ていうか (Te iu ka)

In Japanese, ていうか (te iu ka) is a filler phrase often used to introduce a different or contrasting thought. It’s similar to saying “or rather” or “more like” in English. It allows the speaker to rephrase or clarify their previous statement. It helps add nuance to the conversation and highlight a specific aspect of the subject.

彼は先生、ていうか、研究者だ。(Kare wa sensei, te iu ka, kenkyuusha da) – He’s a teacher, or rather, a researcher.

8. そういえば (Sō ieba)

In Japanese, そういば (sou ieba) is a filler phrase used to recall or mention something that suddenly comes to mind. It’s similar to saying “by the way” in English. It helps introduce a new topic or memory into the conversation.

そういえば、彼から連絡があった。(Sou ieba, kare kara renraku ga atta) – By the way, I got a message from him.

9. あら (Ara)

In Japanese, あら (ara) is not commonly used as a filler word. Instead, it is an interjection used to express surprise, similar to the English “oh” or “wow.” It is often used in reaction to unexpected or astonishing situations. It adds an emotional tone to the conversation.

あら、すごい!(Ara, sugoi!) – Oh, that’s amazing!

10. うーん (Uun)

In Japanese, うーん (uun) is a common filler word used when pausing to think, similar to the English “hmm” or “well.” It’s used to express hesitation or uncertainty while considering what to say. It helps to show that you’re thinking about your response.

うーん、ちょっと考えてください (Uun, chotto kangaete kudasai) – Well, please give me a moment to think.

Having read this article, we hope these filler words will help you speak Japanese more fluently from now on! If you’re tired of speaking with textbook phrases, throw that book into the garbage bin and start using Ling!

Start Learning Japanese With Ling!

Ling is a language-learning app that’s been specifically designed to help you learn 60+ foreign languages in a practical and natural way.

With Ling , you can start from scratch and learn how to write Japanese (and other Asian languages) characters. Then, you can practice your speaking and listening skills thanks to Ling’s AI chatbot, which creates real-life conversations and engages with you! So that you can develop not only vocabulary but also the local writing system, Japanese prepositions , and Japanese pronunciation .

By the way, Ling has a massive Japanese language blog where you can find dozens of articles covering every aspect of the Japanese language and culture.

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The Ultimate Guide to Citing Japanese Sources Everything you need to know about properly giving credit in Japanese

September 4, 2015 • words written by Kristen Dexter • Art by Aya Francisco

Whether you're in high school, college, or grad school, you need to know how to cite your sources. Guides and styles litter the internet but the moment you have to cite something that isn't in English all of those sources of knowledge seem to dry up. That's where we come in! You're about to learn everything there is to know about citing Japanese sources and making your works cited/bibliography page with those sources. Let's get started.

What is a Colophon?

A colophon is something you're probably familiar with but never knew it had a name. It's that page at the beginning of a book that looks a little something like this:

citing japanese sources colophon example

It has all the information you need to write a citation, nicely organized into one easy to access place. Whether you're citing in MLA, Chicago, or APA, everything you need should be here. It has some extra info you don't need, like what font they used, but it's going to be your best friend regardless.

In Japanese this is called okudzuke 奥付 ( おくづけ ) . These colophons are a little different from the ones your probably used to. They contain way more information than English language ones usually do. The terms they use can change simply for style purposes, and they are almost always at the back of the book (but sometimes they're at the front like English ones). This may sound daunting at first, but once you know what you're looking for it's actually quite simple!

Important Terms

Knowing what the colophon is will help, but not if you don't know what you're looking for. Here's what you need to have a complete citation:

  • Place of Publication
  • Date of Publication

That's all well and good, but if you don't know those terms in Japanese they aren't very helpful. Learn these words:

  • 著 / 著者 – Author
  • 発行所 / 出版社 – Publisher
  • 出版 / 発行日 / 発行の年月日 – Date of Publication

The title should be pretty obvious, it's going to be on the cover and usually at the top of the colophon. The date is also pretty easy to find since it should be in roman numerals, but if you're using a super old, dusty book it might be written with the Japanese date. If you see something like 昭和64 (Showa 64) that was 1989. But so was Heisei 1. Make sure to brush up on your Japanese calendar skills if you need to. Whenever you encounter these dates, change them over to the western calendar and use roman numerals.

If you'd like to know what the rest of the information you're looking at is, take a look at this vocabulary list:

  • 発行者 – Publisher (Person)
  • 発行人 – Publisher / Issuer (Person)
  • 印刷者 – Printer
  • 印刷所 – Printing Office / Press
  • 編集 – Editor
  • 組版所 – Typesetter

Edition Information:

  • 初版 / 初版発行 – First Edition
  • 〜版発行 – (number) Edition
  • 第〜版発行 – (number) Issue / Edition
  • 印行 – Reprinting

Less common nowadays:

  • 本文製版 – Text Printing
  • 印刷 – Printing
  • 製本 /製本所- Book Making / Binding / Book Bindery
  • 製版所 – Platemaking shop

Practice Makes Perfect

The best way to learn this kind of thing is with examples and practice. Here are a few colophons. Let's find the information we need to make a citation with some manga!

citing japanese sources terra formars colophon

  • Author: 貴家悠
  • Title: テラフォーマーズ
  • Publisher: 株式会社集英社
  • Place of Publication: 東京都

citing japanese sources gantz colophon

  • Author: 奥 浩哉
  • Title: GANTZ -ガンツ-

That wasn't so bad, right? And they were very similar in style and used all the same terms. That's because, as you now know, they were both published by the same publishing company 株式会社集英社 which translates to Shueisha Publishing Co., Ltd. and is one of the biggest manga publishing companies in Japan.

Style and Consistency

Before we go over what to do with this information, you have to decide what style you're going to use. It doesn't really matter which one you pick, as long as you are consistent throughout your paper and works cited page. Some stylistic choices you get to make are:

  • MLA, Chicago, or APA
  • Japanese or English
  • Italics or No Italics

Your teacher/professor might choose that first one for you. Most of my professors preferred Chicago Style because of it's simple, straightforward citations. But you might have to follow a different one. Make sure you follow whatever those guidelines may be throughout your entire paper! You may never encounter APA (it's mainly used for psychology), so you should probably only focus on MLA and Chicago.

Using Japanese and/or English is the more fun and challenging decision you get to make. But if you provide both Japanese and English for one citation, you have to do it for all of them. That means translating non-translated titles and author names. If your professor doesn't speak Japanese you should probably provide English for their convenience. If your professor is Japanese and you're at a Japanese school you can stick with just Japanese. You can also choose to ditch the Japanese all together and only use English, but I wouldn't recommend it. Especially if you're using a Japanese-only source. Your professors might not like having to work harder to find what you're referencing.

Within your paper you'll need to decide whether you should or should not use italics when using romaji. If you're only using Japanese words in Japanese, you should not italicize them. Ever. Please don't, it's hard to read and looks terrible. But with romaji, it can be helpful for clarification reasons if you at least italicize Japanese words the first time you use them. Then you can leave them as is. Or you can choose to always italicize them. But never ever sometimes do and sometimes don't. If you're going to do one word one way, you need to treat the rest the same.

Works Cited

Your works cited/bibliography is where we put all this new knowledge to work. Once you pick your style, look up the guidelines, and put everything in the right place. This is where you make most of your stylistic choices. Are you using all Japanese, all English, or a mix? Choosing this before you start will make everything go much faster. And if you make your Works Cited before you write your paper, your in text citations will be more organized and easy to do.

After you decide what style you're going to use, you need to know a few important things about citing Japanese sources:

  • Last name always comes first in Japanese AND English
  • If you include English for one title you must include English for them all
  • Use macrons, or do not

When citing using Japanese you should always use Japanese name ordering. That means surname first and given name second. You might be thinking, but isn't that how all citations are done? Kind of. But you do not add a comma after the surname, like you would with an English language citation.

If you decide to provide English for a Japanese title, which can be pretty easy if it's been translated, you need to do it for all of them. This can be a pain if you realize you're using something that has never been translated or talked about in English. This means translating the title yourself. If you aren't comfortable with that, don't use any English at all. If you think that's fun and want some practice (or if your professor requires English and Japanese) give it a try!

Macrons are the long marks, or diacritical marks, you see over vowels to indicate that they are long (also called "heavy"). They let us know that you're saying よう and not よ.

They look like this: ā ī ū ē ō

You'll probably only see ū and ō, because they are the most common, but it is possible to see the others. If you decide to use them, you need to use them the whole time. That means you need to know your romaji well. The only exception for this is when a company or person has a specific stylized preference to their English name. If that's the case, like it is with Shueisha (technically Shuueisha or Shūeisha), then it's common to choose whatever their preference is to avoid misunderstandings.

Once you've figured all that out it's time to get citing! Below are citations in MLA, Chicago, and APA for the Terra Formars manga we cited above.

貴家悠. テラフォーマーズ. 東京都: 株式会社集英社, 2012. Print.

Sasuga Yuu 貴家悠. Terra Formars テラフォーマーズ. Tokyo 東京都: Shueisha Inc. 株式会社集英社, 2012. Print.

Sasuga Yuu. Terra Formars . Tokyo: Shueisha Inc., 2012. Print.

貴家悠. テラフォーマーズ. 東京都: 株式会社集英社, 2012.

Sasuga Yuu 貴家悠. Terra Formars テラフォーマーズ. Tokyo 東京都: Shueisha Inc. 株式会社集英社, 2012.

Sasuga Yuu. Terra Formars . Tokyo: Shueisha Inc., 2012.

貴家悠. (2012). テラフォーマーズ. 東京都: 株式会社集英社.

Sasuga Yuu 貴家悠 (2012). Terra Formars テラフォーマーズ. Tokyo 東京都: Shueisha Inc. 株式会社集英社.

Sasuga Yuu. (2012). Terra Formars . Tokyo: Shueisha Inc.

(If you decided that you wanted to use macrons, Sasuga Yuu's name would look like this: Sasuga Yū.)

In Text Citations

In text citations are formatted the same as your works cited/bibliography page! Sometimes they are very similar, but there are usually small differences.

MLA loves to be short and sweet. You put the author's last name and the page number(s) you are citing in parenthesis after the quote or piece of information.

The first character to die has her neck snapped by one of the creatures (Sasuga 30).

Sasuga kills the first character within minutes of introducing her (30).

Sasuga's first female character's neck went, "Crack" (30).

Chicago uses footnotes and endnotes. They're indicated with numbers either at the end of each page (footnotes) or at the end of the paper (endnotes). Once you've cited something once in text, you get to shorten the rest of the citations that use the same work from then on.

Sasuga Yuu 貴家悠. Terra Formars テラフォーマーズ. (Tokyo 東京都: Shueisha Inc. 株式会社集英社, 2012), 3-40. Sasuga, Terra Formars , 3-40. Make sure you remember to add page numbers when you cite in text.

APA loves footnotes too, but these are more about elaboration than citation of where you got the information from. You should be citing in text with quotations like MLA does. They also really like dates, which makes sense since this is mostly used for psychology.

The main character yelled, "Aki" (Sasuga, 2012, p. 45-46), exactly six times after she died.

Supplemental Practice Citing Japanese Sources

If you'd like to test what you've learned you can! Below are three pdfs that you can use for practice. Use them to make your own works cited page and compare it to the answer sheet!

  • Colophon Practice
  • Colophon Practice Answer Key
  • Works Cited/Bibliography Answer Key

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12 Japanese Filler Words to Speak More Like a Native [with Audio]

How often do you say “like” and “um” when you’re speaking to a friend?

These little space-fillers are called filler words, and they’re extremely useful for maintaining the flow of a sentence.

So, as a Japanese learner, you may be wondering if filler words are as commonly used in Japanese speech .

Pretty much every language out there has filler words and they’re common in Japanese just like they are in English.

In this post, you’ll learn the 12 most common Japanese filler words so you can speak more like a native and take natural pauses in your speech without breaking up your use of the language. 

How Are Filler Words Used in Japanese?

Japanese filler words to fill awkward pauses, 1. えーと — “eeto”, 2. それで — “sore de”, 3. そうそう — “sou sou”, 4. ていうか — “te iu ka”, 5. なんか — “nanka”, 6. そういえば — “sō ieba”, 7. あのね — “ano ne”, 8. うーん — “uun”, 9. あら — “ara”, 10. ええ — “ee”, 11. あの — “ano”, 12. はあ — “hā”, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

A filler word is essentially a  form of slang in which syllables, sounds or words are used to fill pockets of silence in spoken sentences. Often, these words are used while trying to figure out exactly what you need to say or while deep in thought.

We all use filler words in our native tongue and it’s very much the same concept in Japanese. However, Japanese filler words are sometimes used in different parts of sentences than you’d expect .

And you might be surprised to discover that Japanese filler words sound very different from English ones! Saying  “Eeto”  instead of “Umm” is just one small but effective way to sound more natural when you’re speaking Japanese.

It’s worth noting that these words are entirely optional, but speaking very strict Japanese without filler words, especially when in an informal setting , can make you come across as harsh or overly posh.

These 12 filler words are among the most common in the Japanese language. 

えーと — “Eeto” can also be written as えっと. This filler word is probably the most common one in Japanese. It’s essentially a Japanese version of “uhh” or “umm.”

えーと will commonly be heard or seen at random parts of a sentence. Rather than say えーと once and move on, you can either draw out the “eeeeeeeto” sound for the duration of the pause or say the filler word multiple times in a row.

あなたは、 えーと、えーと . . . とても美しいです。 (あなた は、 えーと、 えーと. . . とても うつくしい です。)  — You are, uh, um… so beautiful.

This filler word basically means “so.” It’s commonly heard when someone’s explaining something or starting a new topic in the conversation. Typically, you say it once at the beginning of a sentence.

それで is the formal version while で can be used informally.

それで、 明日何かしていますか? ( それで、 あしたなにかしていますか?)  — So, are you doing anything tomorrow?

This is a way of saying “that’s right” or “correct” as an exclamation. More literally, it’s like saying “yes, yes!”

Use it to quickly let someone know you agree with them, they have a point or they’ve figured something out. Imagine a one-sided conversation on the phone: “Ah, yes, yes. Mm-hm! I see.”

ああ、 そうそう、 きみは絶対に正しいです! (ああ、 そうそう、 きみはぜったいにただしいです!)  — Ah, yes, yes, you’re absolutely right!

Use this one to say “I mean…” when you need to think about what you’re going to say or politely disagree with something.

You can also use it to rephrase something to make it clearer, similar to saying “What I mean is…”

映画を見てみましょう。 ていうか、 映画館に行きましょう。 (えいがをみてみましょう。 ていうか、 えいがかんにいきましょう。)  — Let’s watch a movie. I mean, let’s go to the movies.

なんか is very similar to the word “like” when used as a filler word, often used when you’re searching for the correct word or phrase to say.

It can also be said when you’re listening for something or when you discover something. In this case, なんか would be more like a “hey…” or “wait…”

なんか、 今日は雨みたいだよ。 (なんか きょう は あめ みたいだよ。) — Hey, it seems like rain today.

そう言えば can mean several things, including “speaking of,” “which reminds me,” “come to think of it” or “now that you mention it…” It almost always comes at the beginning of a sentence .

そういえば、 私は前にこの映画を見たことがありました。 ( そう いえ ば、 わたし は まえ に この えいが を みたこと が ありました。)  — Come to think of it, I’ve seen this film before.

Use this one to get someone’s attention with a verbal nudge, similar to saying “hey” or “hey there.” This is also the expression you’d use if you suddenly remembered something, had an idea or just want a moment to collect your thoughts.

Although there isn’t a single English equivalent, think of it like saying “You know…” or “Hang on a sec…”

あのね、 聞いて! ( あのね、 きいて!)  — Hey, listen!

If thinking had a sound, it would be うーん.

When you’re not sure what to say, you’re stalling for time or you haven’t come up with an answer or decision, use this handy filler word. It’s the equivalent of the English “Ummm…”

うーん . . . 赤いものが好きです。 ( うーん . . . あかいものがすきです。)  — Umm… I like the red one.

When you’re saying that you’ve just noticed something, you’d use あら.

You can also use あら when expressing that you understand something you’ve been told or along the lines of “Ah, I see.” It’s mostly used by women, like in this compilation from the anime series “Aria” :

あら、 小麦粉を見つけた! ( あら、 こむぎ こな を みつけた!)  — Oh, I found the flour!

ええ is a very versatile filler word. It can be affirming and used in place of “yes” or “sure.” It can be used in place of “umm” or “uhh” similar to えーと. It can also be placed in a negative context to express displeasure.

One variation of ええ is ええと, which we learned earlier in this post, and the two can be used interchangeably.

ええ、 家に帰りたい。 (ええ、 いえ に かえりたい。) — Ughh, I want to go home.

あの is very similar to えーと in that it essentially represents a pause to think, similar to “err” or “umm.”

日本語を、 あの、 話しません。 (にっぽん ご を、 あの、 はなしません。)  — I don’t, uhh, speak Japanese.

はあ is an affirmative filler word that usually means “yes” or “indeed.” However, it can also be used to denote confusion, making it similar to “huh?”

Sometimes はあ is also used in place of a sigh.

はあ、 めんどくさい。 — Ahh, what a pain.

For extra practice with these words, let native content guide you. When you’re watching Japanese movies and series on Netflix , pay close attention to the way they fill pauses in their speech.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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It’s comforting to know that learning a new language doesn’t mean achieving perfection in your way of speaking . Now, you have some authentic ways to take a pause and gather your thoughts without losing your flow! 

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FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

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Essays About Japan: Top 5 Examples and 5 Prompts

Japan is a beautiful country famous for its lush landscape, delicious food, and well-mannered people. Here are some examples of essays about Japan.

A developed country in Asia known as the “land of the rising sun,” Japan has become a hot commodity for tourism and business. Japan is truly a sight to behold, from its beautiful cherry blossoms, efficient public transportation system, and delicious food. 

Japan’s rich history has allowed it to develop into one of the most advanced nations in the world, and its technology is renowned worldwide. Moreover, its people are known for their discipline, hard work, and resilience, even in the face of severe natural disasters. Japan is, without a doubt, a country worth visiting. 

If you want to write essays about Japan, here are our best essay examples and writing prompts to help you begin. 

1. What Japan Taught Me About Life by Beth Louise

2. japan experience: reflection on japanese culture by rayan elhafiz abdalla, 3. what i learned about design from travel in japan by teo yu siang.

  • 4.  The best time to visit Japan by Pat Kay

5. A Day Trip To Kobe by David Swanson

5 prompts for essays about japan, 1. what does japan mean to you , 2. misogyny in japanese society, 3. why visit japan, 4. japan’s history, 5. living in japan: what’s it like.

“In fact, there’s so much to see and do that it feels like a lifetime of exploring would never uncover all that’s on offer. It’s also a bright, buzzing lesson in living fast; just wandering around in the crowds is a massive adrenaline rush, and Monday nights are as mental as Fridays. But despite the intensity of a city so large, people are calm and quiet. It’s the most magical juxtaposition. Everything is moving at light-speed, but with such efficiency and thoughtfulness, that it feels like a well-oiled, intuitive machine, powering a ride that you never want to get off.”

In her essay, Louise writes about her experience traveling to Tokyo, Japan. She compares it to a machine, with all the people in the city playing their part. She is amazed by the people’s focus, discipline, manners, and sense of purpose, and she can better appreciate life’s simplicity. She is mesmerized by Japan and recommends booking a trip to Tokyo as soon as possible. 

You might also like these essays about being yourself and essays about college .

“People were very friendly, they will greet you even if they don’t know you. One shocking incident that I will not forgot, is when the cashier was trying to help me put all my coin money in my wallet with me. In America I am not used to having someone put my money inside my wallet, that is really invading personal space. However, I learned that in Japan it seems normal to just drop off someone’s coins in their wallet.”

Similar to Louise, Abdalla reflects on new things he discovered about Japan and its people during his time there. These range from trivial things such as the “Pokemon Go” rollout in the country to the Japanese’ sense of honor and discipline. He recounts an experience in which the cashier was helping him put his change into his wallet, something he is not used to back home. He provides excellent, although short, insight into Japan, its culture, and its people. 

“Everything around us is designed: from the smartphones we use every day to the tactile paving on a walkway. But it’s often hard to examine the designed environment around us with eyes as fresh as a tourist’s. So if you’ve made it to the end of this post, I’ve got a challenge for you: The next time you take a walk outside, try to become aware of the thousands of design decisions around you. What works, and what can be improved?”

Siang writes about the edge that Japanese cities and society in general have because they are well-designed. He cites innovations such as fast, automated cash register machines and aid for the visually impaired and recalls lessons such as the importance of accessibility when designing something. 

4.   The best time to visit Japan by Pat Kay

“When people ask me “When is the best time to visit Japan?”, I usually reply with “anytime”. Japan is always a good idea, at any time of year. It’s truly an all-year-round destination that provides vastly varied experiences throughout its distinct 4 seasons. Whether you’re a traveller who loves snow, or one who thrives in humidity; a traveller who wants to see beautiful nature changes, or wants to be thrown into crowds; whatever your style of travel, there’s a season and a time for that.”

Kay describes the weather and activities during the different seasons in Japan, giving readers an idea of when they would prefer to visit. Japan ranges from the ethereal but chaotic cherry blossom season to the calm, frigid snow season; however, each year’s season has its own charm. Kay’s essay gives good insight into the best times to visit Japan.

“When planning a visit to Kobe, consider the fact that the city has been completely rebuilt since 1995, following the great Hanshin earthquake that leveled much of the city. Except for a few memorials, you likely won’t be aware of the destruction at all. Instead, what you will discover is a cosmopolitan port city where foreign influences intermingle, museums are dedicated to sake, and a conveniently compact and walkable quarter showcases a robust nightlife scene that has featured jazz on the menu for nearly a century. Oh, and, of course, there is the beef.”

In this short write-up, Swanson lists the best things to do in Kobe, Japan, a place best known for its top-quality beef. However, there are many things to do in the city besides eating beef, such as viewing historical buildings, going to the hot springs, and visiting the botanical gardens. However, Swanson notes that eating is an integral part of a trip to Kobe, and one should not miss out on trying the beef. 

In your essay, you can write about the country’s significance to you. For example, are you from there, or do you have Japanese ancestry? Have you visited? Write about your connection to the country and why this connection exists in the first place. If Japan has a special place in your heart, this essay topic is for you. 

When editing for grammar, we also recommend taking the time to improve the readability score of a piece of writing before publishing or submitting

With all its glory and excellence, Japan is less evolved in gender equality. So how are women treated in Japan? First, delve into research about the treatment of women in Japanese society, and show how the culture differs from modern western gender equality ideologies. Then, discuss why Japan is behind in encouraging women’s equal rights. Make sure to cite research, statistics, and interviews to support your point. 

Essays About Japan: Why visit Japan?

This topic is straightforward; whether you have been or not, try to persuade others to visit the country. Include highlights that others should visit and suggestions for places others can visit. If Japan was a bad experience for you, go the other way: why should you not visit Japan?

Japan has a dark history surrounding its role in World War II. In your essay, briefly explain these events and research their effects on Japan after the war. How did the war change Japan- for better or for worse? Elaborate on the impact and, as always, include references to strengthen your arguments. This is quite a broad topic, so you can focus on one element of Japanese society: values, city planning, relationships with tourists, race, inequality, and gender equality.

Based on reading articles and sample essays as well as any experiences in Japan, list the advantages and disadvantages of living in Japan and conclude whether it would be ideal for moving to Japan or not. Use anecdotes from travel writers or people who live in Japan to show why living in japan is enjoyable or not so enjoyable. Pick a stance for a compelling argumentative essay.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our essay writing tips !

If you’re stuck picking your next essay topic, check out our guide on how to write an essay about diversity .

essay word in japanese

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Essay on Japanese Culture

Students are often asked to write an essay on Japanese Culture in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Japanese Culture

Traditional clothing.

Japanese culture is famous for its traditional clothing. The kimono is the most well-known dress. People wear it on special occasions like festivals and weddings. It’s made of silk and comes in many colors and patterns. The obi is a wide belt tied around the kimono. It’s not just clothing; it’s a symbol of Japanese beauty.

Japanese food is more than just sushi. Rice is a staple in their meals. They also love noodles like ramen and udon. Meals often include fish, pickled vegetables, and miso soup. Eating in Japan is an art. They value presentation and flavor.

Festivals are big in Japan. They celebrate the seasons, like cherry blossoms in spring. There’s music, dancing, and food stalls. Children and adults dress up and enjoy games. Lanterns light up the night. These events show Japan’s love for nature and community.

Japanese arts include delicate crafts and performances. Origami, paper folding, and calligraphy, beautiful writing, are popular. In theaters, you can see kabuki, a dramatic play style with colorful costumes. Their art is about detail and expressing feelings.

Respect is key in Japan. People bow to greet each other. They are polite and considerate. Children learn to respect elders and each other early on. This respect makes their society peaceful and orderly. It’s a core part of being Japanese.

250 Words Essay on Japanese Culture

Japanese traditions.

Japan is known for its unique traditions. Tea ceremonies show the beauty of calm and respect. People sit on tatami mats and enjoy green tea. The host carefully prepares the tea, showing the importance of every step. This tradition helps people find peace and enjoy simple moments.

Festivals and Celebrations

Japanese festivals are colorful and exciting. They celebrate the seasons, like cherry blossoms in spring or leaf colors in autumn. People wear traditional clothes called yukata and enjoy street food. Fireworks light up the sky in summer, and everyone feels joy together.

Arts in Japan

Japanese art includes beautiful paintings, calligraphy, and pottery. Manga and anime are popular among kids. These are comic books and cartoons that tell all kinds of stories. Origami, the art of paper folding, is also famous. With just a paper, you can make animals, flowers, and more.

Japanese Food

Food in Japan is not just about taste but also how it looks. Sushi is a well-known dish made with rice and fish. It’s healthy and delicious. Japanese people also enjoy noodles like ramen and soba. Meals are often served with green tea, which is good for your health.

Respect and Manners

In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. This shows respect. Kids learn to be polite and listen carefully when others speak. Saying “thank you” and “please” is very important. In schools, students clean their classrooms to learn responsibility and respect for their environment.

Japanese culture is rich with traditions, celebrations, art, food, and respect. It’s a beautiful blend of old and new, where each part is important and adds to the whole picture.

500 Words Essay on Japanese Culture

Introduction to japanese culture.

Japanese culture is like a beautiful tapestry, woven with history, traditions, and modern life. It’s a unique blend that forms the way of life in Japan, a country in East Asia. The culture is known for its traditional arts, distinct foods, and strong sense of community. Let’s explore some key parts of this fascinating culture.

Traditional Arts

When you think of Japan, you might imagine delicate paper cranes or beautiful paintings of cherry blossoms. These are part of the traditional arts that have been passed down for generations. Origami, the art of paper folding, is not just a craft but a way for people to express creativity. Calligraphy, which is the art of writing with a brush and ink, is another important traditional art. It’s not just about writing words; it’s about making the writing look like a piece of art.

Food in Japan

Japanese food is famous all over the world. Sushi, which is rice with fish or vegetables, is probably the most well-known dish. But there’s so much more! Try a bowl of ramen, which is a type of noodle soup, or tempura, which is seafood or vegetables that have been battered and fried. Japanese people take great care in preparing and presenting their food, making it not only delicious but also a feast for the eyes.

Festivals, or ‘matsuri’, are a big part of Japanese culture. They are often lively events with music, dance, and colorful costumes. One famous festival is the Cherry Blossom Festival, or ‘Hanami’, where people gather under blooming cherry trees to enjoy the beauty and welcome spring. Another important celebration is ‘Obon’, which is a time to remember and honor ancestors. During this time, people might visit their hometowns, clean family graves, and enjoy traditional dances.

Family and Community

Family is at the heart of Japanese society. Respect for elders and ancestors is very important. Many homes have a small altar called a ‘butsudan’, where they place pictures and offer food to remember family members who have passed away. Community is also key in Japan. People often work together to keep their neighborhoods clean and safe, and there’s a strong sense of helping each other out.

Modern Pop Culture

Japan is not just about tradition; it has a vibrant modern culture too. Japanese anime (animated movies and TV shows) and manga (comic books) are popular all over the world. Characters like Pikachu from Pokémon have fans of all ages. Japanese technology is also cutting-edge, with inventions like high-speed trains and advanced robots.

Japanese culture is a rich mix of old and new. From the quiet beauty of a tea ceremony to the excitement of a high-tech video game, there’s something for everyone. It’s a culture that values both respect for the past and innovation for the future. Learning about Japanese culture can be a fun adventure, full of surprises and new experiences.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

  • Essay on Japanese Family
  • Essay on Japanese Friend
  • Essay on Japanese Holiday

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essay word in japanese

To the moms all alone on Mother's Day, I see you and you are enough.

essay word in japanese

Most of my 14 years of motherhood felt like Mother’s Day was spent alone, including some of the years I was married.

Every May, when the second Sunday in May comes around, I think of the women who are where I was in multiple places of my mother journey: scared, alone and envious of the moms with a supportive partner at home.

This year, I've written a letter to every single mother struggling to celebrate herself today, who feels inferior to the other families she sees.

When the flowers don't come, when there are no "thank yous," when there is no one posting our picture, I want us to remember where our gift truly lies.

To our kids, this is the life and this love is enough. So, we can raise our glass.

Dear, single mom on Mother's Day

Maybe you woke up a little early today to give yourself the gift of solitude. There is no one to tag in at the end of the day. It’s exhausting.

You might get a few minutes before feelings of inadequacy come flooding in. You are reminded of all the things you can't do, never seeing all that you have. You wonder how a single-parent home is affecting your kids, who will be down in a matter of moments.

Then, the day will begin just like any other day.

Maybe there were once flowers waiting for you. Maybe there were never flowers at all. You may find crumpled up Mother's Day art in your kids' backpack today, but they may not recognize that there should be anything to celebrate.

You will prepare every meal, answer every request, create every moment, wipe every tear and calm every fear. But your requests will be left unmet, your moments 60 seconds at a time, your tears wiped by your own hand and your fears, ever ponding.

Yet every day you show up and you do it, maybe with a little envy for the two-parent home down the street, because it's hard to be a full-time parent and a full-time provider. You can't possibly do either perfectly well.

If you're feeling discouraged today, seeing only your lack, look inside.

You are the creator of all the good that you see.

Tonight, when you tuck in your kids, witness your gifts.

There may have not been anything on the table this morning, you may have cleaned up the house and cooked every meal, but there is peace in the room. There is joy on their faces. There is a tangible love providing security like the blanket wrapped around their feet.

Your family is not inferior.

You are enough. Your kids know it, and some day someone else will too.

But it has to start with you.

My son was feeling left behind: What kids with autistic siblings want you to know.

Your married friend may be struggling, too

Single mothers should know that married mothers aren't necessarily better supported. Sure, they may have flowers, but just like you, they have learned how to water themselves.

There were Mother's Days when all I felt was hollow. There were flowers, photos, dinners and lots of hugs, but it obscured a darker reality. Presence doesn't equal support. Lonely doesn't equal alone.

Knowing my "enoughness" led me back into singleness and back to the mother I've always been. So, cherish where you are and never trade your peace for support. Recognize yourself and celebrate this day.

Last year, I bought myself a bouquet of wildflowers, and this year, I bought myself a few.

My gift is this home I've created and the peace I feel at night. Sure, it may be a little messy, but it is far from inferior.

When I release my kids into the world, they will take this love that they've been given and begin planting it in places of their own, definitely better than if they had grown up in our broken two-parent home.

Yet I know that you, like me, may have a desire to share your life with someone. Just make sure that they are a seer too, a seer of your worth and your "enoughness," on more than just this special day.

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One Japanese Word Changed the Course of Her Career

Devin Halbal had amassed hundreds of thousands of TikTok followers with her inspirational videos. Then she went to Asia.

A young woman stands in front of promotional posters for a store.

By Jessica Roy

In January, the travel and fashion influencer Devin Halbal decided to take a trip to Kurashiki, a city in the Okayama Prefecture of Japan. Ms. Halbal, a Queens-born 26-year-old who goes by the username “Hal Baddie” on TikTok, had spent four years traveling around Europe with an extra-long selfie stick and a dream, sharing videos with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Ms. Halbal had become known for coining inspirational phrases, like “ doll check-in ” as a proud calling card to her fellow trans girls, and “ Met Gala behavior ,” for when you’re feeling and acting confident about what you’re wearing. Her fame seemed to peak in 2022 when she was profiled by W magazine and Rolling Stone, and invited on a brand trip to Ibiza by Loewe. But after globe-trotting and a few months off with friends in New York, she wanted to do more than “fashion and affirmations,” she said in a recent interview.

It was with this mind-set that she set off for Asia. Ms. Halbal said she loves finding places that are off the beaten path and close to nature — and Kurashiki, a small city of less than half a million people known as the birthplace of jeans in Japan , fit the bill.

She was experimenting, posting different types of travel videos. At the same time, she was learning Japanese, and there was one word she kept hearing everywhere: kudasai, which translates to “may I please have.”

“It kept on ringing in my head,” she said. “I would just be sitting down on a random Tuesday and I would just be thinking to myself: kudasai , kudasai .” She decided to make a video of herself using the word while walking down the street: “Sushi, kudasai,” (sushi, please) she says in a sing-songy voice while strutting with her selfie stick. “Ocha, kudasai.” (Tea, please.)

To date, the video has gotten more than 13.5 million views.

@hal.baddie The only words I know in Japanese. ♬ original sound - Devin Halbal

“I had no idea, out of all my content, that the one video that just goes super, super viral all throughout Asia is me saying five words,” Ms. Halbal said.

The video’s success convinced her to extend her stay in Japan; she went to Tokyo, Takamatsu, Mt. Fuji and Yamanashi, making videos about food , travel and the Japanese language. She made friends and volunteered on a farm . She started not just getting recognized on the street, but swarmed by fans . A quick trip to pick up some bubble tea became a two hour meet-and-greet. Then the fan accounts started cropping up, as did media coverage , calling her the “kudasai girl.”

“Now, ‘kudasai’ is the trend word in Japan,” a Japanese TikToker named Sorari said in a video posted last month, expressing surprise about how quickly and thoroughly Ms. Halbal’s content spread.

Ms. Halbal’s trip, originally planned for two weeks, turned into two months, and her reach expanded beyond Japan to other countries.

She started getting comments in Korean, Thai, Hindi, Nepali and Mandarin. “I’m like, ‘I have to do an Asia tour,’” she said. “What better way to continue learning about other cultures and continue learning about languages?”

Ms. Halbal attributes her success to the way she tries to actually speak the language and engage with different cultures wherever she goes. “I’m actually trying to pronounce the food in the way that they pronounce it — I’m not doing it with an American accent,” she said.

Last month, Ms. Halbal left Japan and traveled to Busan, South Korea. She’s still saying kudasai, but now she’s also started incorporating Korean into her vernacular, including the word for please, juseyo .

Now, the largest percentage of her followers on Instagram , where Ms. Halbal also shares her videos, are from the United States, but South Korea comes in second. At a recent meet-up at Korea University in Seoul, hundreds of fans crowded around her on the street, jostling to take selfies with her, or to give her food recommendations and ask her to speak in their language.

“Showcasing people’s food, showcasing people’s culture, in a way is a sense of community,” Ms. Halbal said. “You’re saying: I respect you, I value you and I value your food.”

She is continuing to tour Asia, with plans to potentially go to China, the Philippines and Malaysia. She said she was also weighing a permanent move to South Korea or Japan.

“I feel really at home here,” Ms. Halbal said. “People are so sweet. They treat me like I’m their family. So even though I’m ‘solo traveling,’ I never feel alone here.”

In South Korea, she said, some fans have started asking her to get into pop music.

“Especially in Korea, I think there’s a certain rhyme and cadence to the way that I’m speaking that they really want me to make music,” she said.

Is she ready to make the leap?

“I’m entering my K-pop star era,” Ms. Halbal teased.

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More From Forbes

Today’s nyt ‘strands’ hints, spangram and answers for friday, may 17.

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Today's NYT Strands hints and answers.

Looking for Thursday’s Strands hints, spangram and answers? You can find them here:

Hey there, troops! This is my last day of Strands coverage for now. My esteemed colleague Paul Tassi will be here with your hints and answers tomorrow. I’ll be back in the saddle in a couple of weeks.

Today’s NYT Strands hints, spangram and answers are coming right up.

How To Play Strands

The New York Times’ Strands puzzle is a play on the classic word search. It’s in beta for now, which means it’ll only stick around if enough people play it every day.

There’s a new game of Strands to play every day. The game will present you with a six by eight grid of letters. The aim is to find a group of words that have something in common, and you’ll get a clue as to what that theme is. When you find a theme word, it will remain highlighted in blue.

You’ll also need to find a special word called a spangram. This tells you what the words have in common. The spangram links at least two sides of the board, but it may not start or end there. While the theme words will not be a proper name, the spangram can be a proper name. When you find the spangram, it will remain highlighted in yellow.

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Every letter is used once in one of the theme words and spangram. You can connect letters vertically, horizontally and diagonally, and it’s possible to switch directions in the middle of a word. If you’re playing on a touchscreen, double tap the last letter to submit your guess.

If you find three valid words of at least four letters that are not part of the theme, you’ll unlock the Hint button. Clicking this will highlight the letters that make up one of the theme words.

Be warned: You’ll need to be on your toes. Sometimes you’ll need to fill the missing word(s) in a phrase. On other days, the game may revolve around synonyms or homophones. The difficulty will vary from day to day, and the puzzle creators will try to surprise you sometimes.

What Is Today’s Strands Hint?

Scroll slowly! Just after the hint for today’s Strands puzzle, I’ll reveal what the answer words are.

The official theme hint for today’s Strand puzzle is...

Looking for a mate

Need some extra help? Here’s another hint...

Missing a partner.

There are nine theme words to find today, including the spangram.

What Are Today’s Strands Answers?

Spoiler alert! Don’t scroll any further down the page until you’re ready to find out today’s Strands answers.

I’ll first tell you the spangram and show you where that is on the grid. I’ll then tell you the other words and show you how they fit in.

This is your final warning!

Today’s Strands spangram is...

Here’s where you’ll find it on the grid...

New York Times Strands screenshot, showing the highlighted term

The rest of today’s Strands theme words are...

Here’s what the completed grid looks like...

Completed Strands grid for May 17 featuring the words PLIER, CHOPSTICK, MITTEN, PAIRED, BOOKEND, ... [+] EARPLUG, TONG and WING.

I did not do all that well with today's game as I used three hints overall. After using one to unlock the letters for WING, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what word the letters GONT were spelling out — TONG, obviously.

It was clear to me then that I was looking for things that usually come in pairs. So I found the spangram all by myself. That made it easy to spot BOOKEND and then EARPLUG.

I wasn't seeing anything in the top section, so I unlocked another hint for the PLIER letters. I then spotted MITTEN just underneath that and, after some time to think about it, I got CHOPSTICK with the remaining letters.

Not how I would have liked to round off my latest stint of Strands coverage, but I'll try not to let it bug me for too long.

That’s all there is to it for today’s Strands clues and answers. Be sure to check Paul’s blog for hints and the solution for Saturday’s game if you need them.

P.S. I've had this earworm stuck in my head over the last couple of days and now you can too.

Kris Holt

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    Welcome to Kakimashou. Practice writing Japanese on your screen. Let's write! Learning to write in Japanese takes a lot of practice, but this website will take care of a lot of the legwork for you. You can stop wasting paper and looking up stroke-order diagrams and just focus on learning. Why not give it a try?

  9. Joy o' Kanji Essays

    This page provides a synopsis of all 528 kanji that have so far been featured by Joy o' Kanji. Each section provides the ability to purchase and download a kanji essay ( ), study flashcards for the essay content ( ), play entertaining study games ( ), or view the kanji's details on Kanshudo ( ). Quick links: JOK home My JOK credits & purchases ...

  10. Resource Guide for Japanese Language Students: Essays

    A collection of essays by Murakami Haruki who is a best-selling contemporary Japanese writer. Each essay, originally published in a women's magazine "an-an" from 2000 to 2001, is approx. 4-8 pages. No furiganas are provided. (added 4/8/2014) To see a sample text in a new tab, please click on the cover image or the title.

  11. Sentence Builder

    Welcome to Kanshudo Sentence Builder. Kanshudo Sentence Builder helps you develop your knowledge of Japanese grammar in tandem with vocabulary. Drag the words in order to build each sentence. After you complete each sentence, you can easily study any words or grammar you were not sure about. Games of Sentence Builder will improve your Grammar ...

  12. Writing an essay about life in Japan

    Writing an essay about life in Japan. The essay below has about 1500 words. It is written by an international student in Japan. Opening. 日本に来てから、もう四年半になりました。 Nihon ni kite kara, mou yonnen han ni narimashita. It has been four and a half years since I came to Japan.

  13. Complete Japanese Conjunctions List

    Conjunctions are words that connect phrases, clauses, or sentences together. This is a complete list of Japanese conjunctions and their meanings arranged by JLPT level from beginner N5 to advanced N1. Click on any of the lessons in the table to see more detail about that grammar point, with formation rules and example sentences.

  14. 10 Easy Transition Phrases In Japanese To Sound Like A Native

    あの、ちょっと待ってください。. (Ano, chotto matte kudasai) - Um, please wait a moment. 2. えーと (Eeto) In Japanese, えーと (eeto) is a common filler word used when pausing to gather thoughts or express hesitation, similar to the English "uh" or "um.". It helps give the speaker time to think before continuing ...

  15. Easy Japanese Learn Japanese

    Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, offers this fun and reliable Japanese language course to beginners. Download MP3 audio and PDF text lessons for free, and learn phrases you'll use right away.

  16. How to say "Essay" in Japanese

    This video demonstrates "How to say Essay in Japanese"Talk with a native teacher on italki: Japanese with Japanese...

  17. Citing Japanese Sources: The Definitive Guide

    MLA loves to be short and sweet. You put the author's last name and the page number (s) you are citing in parenthesis after the quote or piece of information. The first character to die has her neck snapped by one of the creatures (Sasuga 30). Sasuga kills the first character within minutes of introducing her (30).

  18. 12 Japanese Filler Words to Speak More Like a Native [with Audio]

    Japanese Filler Words to Fill Awkward Pauses. 1. えーと — "eeto". えーと — "Eeto" can also be written as えっと. This filler word is probably the most common one in Japanese. It's essentially a Japanese version of "uhh" or "umm.". えーと will commonly be heard or seen at random parts of a sentence.

  19. words

    Sorted by: Reset to default. This answer is useful. 1. Save this answer. Show activity on this post. 小論文or随筆or評論or感想文. と訳せるとは思いますが、いずれも微妙に意味が違うので、essayは「エッセイ」と記すことが多いです。. 日本においては. essay={エッセイ}⊃{小論文 ...

  20. 100+ Basic Japanese Words for Complete Beginners

    Japanese people enjoy a rich variety of Washoku ( 和食: Traditional Japanese food) and Yoshoku (洋食: Japanese food inspired by Western food). Here are some basic words in Japanese that relate to food and drink: Asa-gohan (朝ご飯): Breakfast. Hiru-gohan (昼ご飯): Lunch. Yoru-gohan (夜ご飯): Dinner.

  21. Essays About Japan: Top 5 Examples And 5 Prompts

    Kay's essay gives good insight into the best times to visit Japan. 5. A Day Trip To Kobe by David Swanson. "When planning a visit to Kobe, consider the fact that the city has been completely rebuilt since 1995, following the great Hanshin earthquake that leveled much of the city.

  22. Essay on Japanese

    500 Words Essay on Japanese Introduction to Japanese Culture. Japan, an island nation located in East Asia, is a blend of ancient traditions and advanced technology. Known for its unique culture, aesthetic principles, and technological prowess, Japan has left an indelible mark on global civilization.

  23. Essay on Japanese Culture

    500 Words Essay on Japanese Culture Introduction to Japanese Culture. Japanese culture is like a beautiful tapestry, woven with history, traditions, and modern life. It's a unique blend that forms the way of life in Japan, a country in East Asia. The culture is known for its traditional arts, distinct foods, and strong sense of community.

  24. To the single mom on Mother's Day, I see you and you are enough

    To the moms all alone on Mother's Day, I see you and you are enough. Most of my 14 years of motherhood felt like Mother's Day was spent alone, including some of the years I was married. Every ...

  25. Today's NYT 'Strands' Hints, Spangram And Answers For ...

    There's a new game of Strands to play every day. The game will present you with a six by eight grid of letters. The aim is to find a group of words that have something in common, and you'll ...

  26. 2024 Proofreading Services Costs: Per Word and Hourly ...

    Proofreading rates per word are commonly used for pricing in the proofreading industry. This model provides a clear and straightforward way for clients to estimate the cost based on the length of their document. In 2024, average proofreading rates per word range from £0.018 to £0.035. This rate can vary depending on the technicality of the ...

  27. Today's NYT 'Connections' Hints And Answers For ...

    Just after the hints for each of today's Connections groups, I'll reveal what the groups are without immediately telling you which words go into them. Today's 16 words are: OPEN. AURA. HODA ...

  28. Today's NYT 'Connections' Hints And Answers For Monday, May 13

    Scroll slowly! Just after the hints for each of today's Connections groups, I'll reveal what the groups are without immediately telling you which words go into them. Today's 16 words are ...

  29. One Japanese Word Changed the Course of Her Career

    In January, the travel and fashion influencer Devin Halbal decided to take a trip to Kurashiki, a city in the Okayama Prefecture of Japan. Ms. Halbal, a Queens-born 26-year-old who goes by the ...

  30. Today's NYT 'Strands' Hints, Spangram And Answers For ...

    The New York Times' Strands puzzle is a play on the classic word search. It's in beta for now, which means it'll only stick around if enough people play it every day. There's a new game of ...