Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana:

  • 食べる
  • 水割り
  • 鷹の爪

Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters plus katakana too:

  • 段ボール
  • 紙パック

But I can't think off the top of my head of any words that are written with a mixture of hiragana and katakana. Are there any?

For the purposes of this question I don't include katakana + する since they are special and can be seen either as a single word or as pairs of words.

Since "word" can mean many overlapping concepts, for the purposes of this question I mean word in the sense that dictionaries often have a dedicated entry for it. (Linguists call these lexemes and listemes.)

  • 3
    There's a whole bunch of slangy words which can often be seen written in a mix of katakana/hiragana. バレる、ググる、サボる etc., do these count? And yeah, what did you mean by しる?
    – Robin
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 13:23
  • 1
    Obviously, you can always write hiragana instead of kanji. By the way, What do you mean by しる? Do you mean する? (日本は反省しる )
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 13:24
  • @TokyoNagoya and ash sorry しる was a typo for する. Ash, Those examples look like they count. Is that ググる "to Google"? I expected the る to also be katakana ル so could be just what I'm looking for. I'm not familiar with the other words though to be able to say either way. But I'll look them up now ... Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 13:32

7 Answers 7


There's even an exceptional word which mixes hiragana, katakana, and kanji, くノ一.

Generally speaking, words are written with mixed writing systems when there are reasons to write different parts in different ways. (Sounds obvious, huh?)

For example, in Tokyo Nagoya's example of あんパン, the first morpheme comes from Chinese 餡{あん}, and the second from Portuguese pão. パン may be written in katakana, reflecting its origin, while hiragana is more natural for あん.

Another common reason to use katakana is for slang terms, including slang uses of existing words (like モテる) and colloquial shortenings of existing words, as in キモい from 気持ち悪い.

Any of these motivations for using katakana (foreign origin, slang, onomatopoeia) can compete with the tendency to write endings like い and る in hiragana, resulting in a mixed word.

Let's take a look at your example of ググる:

  • Here, the loanword Google (グーグル gūguru) has been reanalyzed as a verb. Since Japanese has a lot of inflectional morphology, it's harder for words to jump categories; it still happens, but it's easiest for words that already end in ru like this one (or ダブる "double", トラブる "trouble", etc.).

    As is usual for this sort of derivation, any long vowels are removed (グーグル gūguru becomes ググル guguru), and then the final ru is reanalyzed as r-u, giving the godan verb ググる gugur-u. The ending -u is usually written in hiragana, and therefore the r before it must be as well, but the rest of the word remains in katakana.

If the source word doesn't end in ru, then it needs to be added, as in ミスる (from ミス "miss") or コピる (from コピー "copy"), and if the word is long it may be clipped, as in the slang ハモる (from ハーモニー "harmony"). In these cases the words still conjugate as godan, meaning that コピる is kopir-u rather than kopi-ru, even though the r wasn't present in the original word. You can find more colloquial examples here.

Occasionally words ending in i are reanalyzed as colloquial adjectives, and quite rarely from sii as well, as in the rare colloquial セクしい from セクシー, and when this happens the suffix is written in hiragana. If i isn't present, it can be added. Less uncommonly い is added to existing words, which may be shortened, as in グロい from グロテスク "grotesque". A more common example is エロい "erotic".

So there are lots of different reasons words end up written with mixed writing systems.


After reading the first couple of examples in the comments I Googled them and discovered the English Wiktionary actually has an appendix of exactly these terms:

Appendix:Japanese words written in mixed kana

But they must be quite rare or the appendix very incomplete, because it currently only includes three words (plus one Proper noun):

  • サボる (saboru, “to cut class”), from French sabotage + 〜る to make it a verb.
  • デモる (demoru), from English demonstrate + 〜る to make it a verb.
  • ググる (guguru, “to search the Web”), from Google + 〜る to make it a verb.
  • 5
    I know some more! :D メモる(take notes) ミスる(mess up) モテる(be popular) デキる(be in a relationship/be pregnant) キレる(lose one's temper) パクる(steal) ハモる(harmonize) ダブる(overlap) ビビる(be spooked) ポシャる(fizzle out)...
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 15:53
  • @Chocolate: どのようにして「デキる」と「出来る」、「キレる」と「切れる」を区別するんですか?
    – istrasci
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 22:59
  • @istrasci 文脈でしょうか・・・。「あの二人デキてる」と聞くと「付きあってる」、「デキちゃった」と聞くと「おめでた?」と思います。(←"何が"できたのか、主語を敢えて言わないところが違うのかも。)主語が人で、「キレる」「キレやすい」というと「怒る」の意味かと思いますが、でも「デキる」「キレる」で「よくできる、頭の切れる、有能な」という意味の時もありますよね。
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:05
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    Five years later, the Wiktionary appendix has grown to six words.
    – Pere
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 20:58

あんパン(bread roll filled with red bean paste)、
ピザまん(pizza flavored steamed bun)、
じゃがバター(baked/boiled potato topped with butter)、
みそラーメン(ramen with miso based soup)、

  • 1
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:08
  • 偶然や。回答者と関連付けたらあかんえ~。
    – user4032
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:15
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    I think it's perfectly fine to answer in Japanese only if the OP asked in English but the answerer cannot answer in English. But I would certainly appreciate if somebody could edit in a translation so I can understand too and then I can also vote accordingly. (-: Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:33
  • 2
    Aren't the food ones really just two words concatenated into one concept, more than one word consisting of both hiragana & katakana?
    – istrasci
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 15:57
  • @istrasci: The tricky part is to decide if it's a word that's made out of two words or a phrase consisting in two words. That's why I included some clarifications in my question, such as whether they have entries in dictionaries. Obviously even that breaks down though for colloquial and slang words which don't get into the dictionary for other reasons. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 17:36

Yes - the weird one for me was always サボる because it even conjugates normally.

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    This answer would be even better if you could add a very brief description of how these normally do not conjugate normally. What's normally not normal about them? (-: Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:47
  • 4
    Oh, there aren't katakana words that don't conjugate abnormally as far as I know. Another weird one is ググる (to Google) which is a normal verb as well, allowing words/phrases like ググり方 (how to google). Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 16:34
  • バグる → (technology) to be buggy, not work correctly; freezing; crashing
    • スマホ、バグッちゃった! → My smartphone froze/crashed/messed up!
  • 3
    Hadn't seen バグる before. Neat!
    – Kaji
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 19:05
  • 1
    – user1016
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 15:15

Anime characters are often the case since children cannot read kanji.

ドラえもん ジャムおじさん タルるート


Wiktionary lists イく as slang to come to climax ("to cum"), which has the first letter in katakana and the second letter in hiragana. Unlike other katakana verbs listed in answers to this question, this is derived from the Japanese word 行く, not a European word.

  • Apparently this is can also be written as 逝く.
    – kandyman
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 18:28

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