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Japanese Katakana

There are four Japanese writing systems: Katakana, Hiragana, Kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet.

Katakana is a 9th century Japanese style of phonetic symbol writing that currently uses 46 basic characters. It is often described as a simpler, shorthand version of Kanji. Each symbol represents a certain sound, and when combined together they provide the means to translate the pronunciationn of a word, especially foreign words, into the written language. Each word is usual separated by a ‘middle dot’, and the basic characters can be changed by the use of a vowel extender and certain Katakana iteration marks.

The difficult part for westerners to grasp is that the phonetic translation starts from the way a Japanese person would pronounce the word in question. This can result in some very unusual translations from English to katakana and back again.

Katakana is of particular interest to us as you will need to use it if you attain a black belt rank. Part of the registration process of your new Dan grade with the IOGKF requires your name to be translated and recorded in Katakana.

Online Katakana Translator

To translate your name into Katakana, we recommend you use this third party website – click here. To save you time, enter your last name first and then your first name. This matches the format required by IOGKF grading form.