When i see Hiragana/Katakana Charts i see them always take a form similar to this

hiragana chart

i see a logical pattern here (except for ん but it's a one off). i am wondering is there a particular name for the rows and columns of the hiragana/katakana charts? ie. row = あ, か, さ etc, column = か, き, く etc.

1 Answer 1


The columns (or rows) that have the same initial consonant are labeled as the first item in that column (consonant + a) followed by [行]{ぎょう}. Examples of such are あ行, か行, さ行, た行, etc.

The rows (or columns) that have the same vowel sound are labeled with that vowel in hiragana (あ, い, う, え, or お) followed by [段]{だん}. Thus, the five rows are labeled as あ段, い段, う段, え段, and お段.

One exception for both of these is ん; it's just its own thing.

The chart on this Wiki page illustrates better what I'm talking about.

  • 1
    Can you please add furigana to these kanji? 行 段 Jul 22, 2016 at 14:58
  • @JacobKrall: added
    – istrasci
    Jul 22, 2016 at 15:21
  • Is this a learning chart specific for those coming from with English as a primary language? Would the ordering be the same for someone coming from another language (e.g. another East Asian language)? Jul 22, 2016 at 20:13
  • 2
    @Darthfett For Japanese, there's really only the chart. While the chart in the OP might be depicted in various orientations and with various writing systems for the pronunciation, there really only is the 五十音. The ordering is strictly on the vowel-by-consonant matrix, no matter which language you come from, because that's how it works in the language you're going to. (五十音 is not the only ordering of kana possible, there's also いろは, but it's increasingly uncommon) Jul 23, 2016 at 1:40
  • @Darthfett: To wit: I'm used to the chart being presented with あ in the top left corner, progressing horizontally on the vowels and vertically on the consonants, but that's more about making sure the natural order in which it's read is アイウエオ and not アカサタナ. There will be local variations in how things are oriented, but not in how they are ultimately ordered. Jul 23, 2016 at 1:45

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