4.3. Hiragana shapes


4.3.1. Hiragana fonts


The following hiragana often have different shapes for different fonts. Since all the Japanese characters have the same height and width, they don't have a different width in proportional fonts. Even the smaller kana used for double kana have the same height and width, considering the space around them.

Romanizationkikosanafumuyayurari
FontsMinchô (ki of Minchô) (ko of Minchô) (sa of Minchô) (na of Minchô) (hu of Minchô) (mu of Minchô) (ya of Minchô) (yu of Minchô) (ra of Minchô) (ri of Minchô)
Gothic (ki of Gothic) (ko of Gothic) (sa of Gothic) (na of Gothic) (hu of Gothic) (mu of Gothic) (ya of Gothic) (yu of Gothic) (ra of Gothic) (ri of Gothic)
Kaisho (ki of Kaisho) (ko of Kaisho) (sa of Kaisho) (na of Kaisho) (hu of Kaisho) (mu of Kaisho) (ya of Kaisho) (yu of Kaisho) (ra of Kaisho) (ri of Kaisho)
Textbook (ki of Textbook) (ko of Textbook) (sa of Textbook) (na of Textbook) (hu of Textbook) (mu of Textbook) (ya of Textbook) (yu of Textbook) (ra of Textbook) (ri of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (ki of Maru Gothic) (ko of Maru Gothic) (sa of Maru Gothic) (na of Maru Gothic) (hu of Maru Gothic) (mu of Maru Gothic) (ya of Maru Gothic) (yu of Maru Gothic) (ra of Maru Gothic) (ri of Maru Gothic)
Pop (ki of Pop) (ko of Pop) (sa of Pop) (na of Pop) (hu of Pop) (mu of Pop) (ya of Pop) (yu of Pop) (ra of Pop) (ri of Pop)

Most newspapers and books published in Japan use the Minchô font, which is a modern font equivalent to the Times Roman font in English. This font is based on the style of China's Míng Dynasty (1368-1644), which is called Minchô in Japanese. By the way, Chinese people prefer the Sôchô font, which is based on the style of Sòng Dynasty (960-1279).

The Gothic font is equivalent to the Helvetica font in English. The font has nothing to do with the German Gothic font. This font is easier to learn with, because it has no serif. The Minchô font and Gothic font are the two most popular fonts on computers.

The Kaisho font is similar to the Script font in English, and hiragana are often drawn like this font in calligraphy. The traditional equipment to write characters that has been used for more than two thousand years in East Asia is a brush and paper, not a quill and parchment, and the Kaisho font has beautiful brushstrokes that apeal to East Asians.

The Textbook font is a kind of Kaisho font, but its brushstrokes are not so strong. This font is good to learn Japanese with, because it is similar to hand-writing. Textbooks for elementary schools in Japan use the Textbook font.

The Maru Gothic font and the Pop font are funny fonts often used for advertisements.


4.3.2. Confusing hiragana


The following hiragana resemble one another.

Romanizationaonume
FontsMinchô (a of Minchô)(o of Minchô)(nu of Minchô)(me of Minchô)
Gothic (a of Gothic)(o of Gothic)(nu of Gothic)(me of Gothic)
Kaisho (a of Kaisho)(o of Kaisho)(nu of Kaisho)(me of Kaisho)
Textbook (a of Textbook)(o of Textbook)(nu of Textbook)(me of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (a of Maru Gothic)(o of Maru Gothic)(nu of Maru Gothic)(me of Maru Gothic)
Pop (a of Pop)(o of Pop)(nu of Pop)(me of Pop)


Romanizationiri
FontsMinchô (i of Minchô)(ri of Minchô)
Gothic (i of Gothic)(ri of Gothic)
Kaisho (i of Kaisho)(ri of Kaisho)
Textbook (i of Textbook)(ri of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (i of Maru Gothic)(ri of Maru Gothic)
Pop (i of Pop)(ri of Pop)


Romanizationuera
FontsMinchô (u of Minchô)(e of Minchô)(ra of Minchô)
Gothic (u of Gothic)(e of Gothic)(ra of Gothic)
Kaisho (u of Kaisho)(e of Kaisho)(ra of Kaisho)
Textbook (u of Textbook)(e of Textbook)(ra of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (u of Maru Gothic)(e of Maru Gothic)(ra of Maru Gothic)
Pop (u of Pop)(e of Pop)(ra of Pop)


Romanizationkisati
FontsMinchô (ki of Minchô)(sa of Minchô)(ti of Minchô)
Gothic (ki of Gothic)(sa of Gothic)(ti of Gothic)
Kaisho (ki of Kaisho)(sa of Kaisho)(ti of Kaisho)
Textbook (ki of Textbook)(sa of Textbook)(ti of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (ki of Maru Gothic)(sa of Maru Gothic)(ti of Maru Gothic)
Pop (ki of Pop)(sa of Pop)(ti of Pop)


Romanizationkenihaho
FontsMinchô (ke of Minchô)(ni of Minchô)(ha of Minchô)(ho of Minchô)
Gothic (ke of Gothic)(ni of Gothic)(ha of Gothic)(ho of Gothic)
Kaisho (ke of Kaisho)(ni of Kaisho)(ha of Kaisho)(ho of Kaisho)
Textbook (ke of Textbook)(ni of Textbook)(ha of Textbook)(ho of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (ke of Maru Gothic)(ni of Maru Gothic)(ha of Maru Gothic)(ho of Maru Gothic)
Pop (ke of Pop)(ni of Pop)(ha of Pop)(ho of Pop)


Romanizationnerewa
FontsMinchô (ne of Minchô)(re of Minchô)(wa of Minchô)
Gothic (ne of Gothic)(re of Gothic)(wa of Gothic)
Kaisho (ne of Kaisho)(re of Kaisho)(wa of Kaisho)
Textbook (ne of Textbook)(re of Textbook)(wa of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (ne of Maru Gothic)(re of Maru Gothic)(wa of Maru Gothic)
Pop (ne of Pop)(re of Pop)(wa of Pop)


Romanizationruro
FontsMinchô (ru of Minchô)(ro of Minchô)
Gothic (ru of Gothic)(ro of Gothic)
Kaisho (ru of Kaisho)(ro of Kaisho)
Textbook (ru of Textbook)(ro of Textbook)
Maru Gothic (ru of Maru Gothic)(ro of Maru Gothic)
Pop (ru of Pop)(ro of Pop)



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