Hiragana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ゐ and ゑ (ancient hiragana in disuse) ]
Katakana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ヰ and ヱ (ancient katakana in disuse) ]

HIRAGANA In this lesson you are going to learn how to read and write "ゐ" and "ゑ". These characters are not used in modern Japanese but are found in old Japanese texts. They are included here mostly for completeness. The student can choose whether to memorise these. Most study aids will not practise these.

Brush Stroke: ゐ-bw.png
Sound:

Exactly the same as I, but in ancient times there was a clear difference. Scholars guess that the sound was something like Wi.

Mnemonic:
Example:
  • ゐ (i) well (normally written in hiragana as い, but sometimes written in the former way to differentiate it)
Brush Stroke: ゑ-bw.png
Sound:

Exactly the same as E, but in ancient times there was a clear difference. Scholars guess that the sound was something like We.

Mnemonic:
Example:
  • ゑびす (ebisu) Ebisu, one of the seven lucky gods, and also the name of a Japanese beer.

KATANKANA In this lesson you are going to learn how to read and write ヰ and ヱ. These characters are not in modern Japanese but because they were legitimate characters before, one sees them in old Japanese text.

Brush Stroke: ヰ-bw.png
Sound:

It is pronounced the same as "イ", but in ancient times there was a clear difference. Scholars guess that the sound was something like "ウィ".

Mnemonic:
Example:

Not normally seen in modern Japanese. Occasionally, ウイスキー (whiskey) is written as ウヰスキー.

Brush Stroke: ヱ-bw.png
Sound:

It is pronounced the same as "エ", but in ancient times there was a clear difference. Scholars guess that the sound was something like "ウェ".

Mnemonic:
Example:

ヱビス - Ebisu, one of the seven lucky gods.