万葉仮名. An old system of writing that uses kanji purely for their phonetic values. Both katakana and hiragana are derived from man'y­ōgana.

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Why was 邪 chosen to spell the names of 伊邪那岐神 and 伊邪那美神 in the 古事記?

I had been wondering about this for a while. Consider the spelling of he names of Izanagi and Izanami in the 古事記: 伊邪那岐神【いざなぎのかみ】 and (妹【いも】)伊邪那美神【いざなみのかみ】 (source) Both of their names ...
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Why is 左必之佐 read as サビシサ in 万葉集 entry 3734?

Entry 3734 of the 万葉集 reads as follows1: 等【ト】保【ホ】伎【キ】山【やま】 世【セ】伎【キ】毛【モ】故【コ】要【エ】伎【キ】奴【ヌ】 伊【イ】麻【マ】左【サ】良【ラ】尓【ニ】 安【ア】布【フ】倍【ベ】伎【キ】与【ヨ】之【シ】能【ノ】 奈【ナ】伎【キ】我【ガ】佐【サ】夫【ブ】之【シ】佐 【サ】 Transcribed in more modern ...
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Origin of katakana ン (カタカナの「ン」の字源)

Looking on various pages, the origin of ン seems to be very confused. Most lists either don't include ン, or list one theory. So far I've found the following options: 一 爾 无 尓 二 冫 Wikipedia also ...
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Are 万葉仮名 (man'yōgana) chosen consistently?

This answer got me wondering how relevant the presentation in 万葉仮名 is to finding a 漢字 for a given word. As far as I understand, 万葉仮名 are used largely for phonetic value. Knowing that some word was ...
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Pre-Kana Kanji readings

How did Japanese know how to read kanji before invention of kana? (having only kanji to write a language) Without kana and romaji, if they heard a new word - how could they look it up in a ...
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Was the の particle sometimes written in katakana?

In "Maiko Haaaan!!!", a bridge going over Yumekawa (a fictional river in Kyoto) apparently has "夢ノ橋" written on it, rather than "夢の橋". I had two theories about why that may be the case. One was that ...
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Was “乎” the manyogana spelling of the accusative/object particle “を”?

In the English Wiktionary entry for "を" there is a quote or example sentence using the character "乎" with no explanation seemingly where the particle "を" would normally occur. Now I couldn't find ...