Introduction to Hiragana series – あ、い、う、え、お – A, I, U, E, O

Welcome to the Introduction to Hiragana series where I’ll go through how I learnt each Hiragana character through the use of mnemonics. If you don’t know what mnemonics is then it essentially is a technique people use to memorize the particular item by associating it with a pattern of letters or words that makes it easier to remember.

1. My Hiragana mnemonics

In this series I have developed my own set of Hiragana mnemonics based on what I came across from my studies and what worked for me.  I will also provide real world example words that’ll be useful for you, and dip you a little bit into Japanese culture.

Before you begin, I suggest you read my 7 simple step guide to write in Japanese Hiragana as it provides a list of simple techniques that I followed and applied while learning these mnemonics.

Shall we get started?

2. First 5 Hiragana characters

The 5 Hiragana characters あ、い、う、え、お represent the 5 basic vowel sounds.

あ– a, is your first Hiragana and is pronounced ‘ah’.

Mnemonics: あ for eggman screaming ‘ahh’


い– i, is pronounced ‘ee’.

Mnemonics: い for eel

う– u, is pronounced ‘oo’.

Mnemonics: う for rotated ui

u u-mnemonics

え– e, is pronounced ‘eh’.

Mnemonics: え for a halo zed


お– o, is pronounced ‘oh’.

Mnemonics: お for octopus

o o-mnemonics

3. Additional resources

The following resources is what I used in conjunction with these mnemonics, so be sure to check them out:.

Test your knowledge at Learning Hiragana words #1 post.

Next up is か, き, く, け, こ - Ka, Ki, Ku, Ke, and Ko.

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