Kana are written in large and small versions with different pronunciations in the composition of words but I am not able to determine if all kana can be used in this way. Thank you.

  • 2
    What exactly do you mean, upper and lower case kana? Do you have an example?
    – Christer
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 12:46
  • 2
    So by lower and upper case you mean small- and normal-sized kana?
    – Christer
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 13:00
  • 7
    We don't have upper or lower case kana in Japanese. っッゃゅょャュョ etc. are not lower case kana. つツやゆよヤユヨ etc. are not upper case kana. Just to make sure, are you aware that さっき, きょう are pronounced differently from さつき, きよう, for example?
    – chocolate
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 13:45
  • 1
    カリフオルニア would be pronounced differently from カリフォルニア. And, we don't have small sized カ, リ, フ, ル, ニ.
    – chocolate
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 13:55
  • 2
    Those small kana characters are called 捨て仮名 (sutegana) and are referred to as small script, 小書き.
    – Christer
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


There are no such things as "lowercase" katakana in Japanese. If you mean as opposed to , and such, please call them small katakana. I assume you mean this.

Not all katakana have small versions. Here is the full list of small katakana characters defined in the Japanese character set.

ァ ィ ゥ ェ ォ
ヵ ㇰ ヶ ㇱ ㇲ ッ ㇳ
ㇴ ㇵ ㇶ ㇷ ㇷ゚ ㇸ ㇹ ㇺ
ャ ュ ョ ㇻ ㇼ ㇽ ㇾ ㇿ ヮ

Very common ones are ャ ュ ョ ッ. I think you already know how to use these. If not, consult the easiest textbook you have.

The character is also common but has a different usage from others (see this). is for the same purpose, but much rarer.

ァ ィ ゥ ェ ォ ヮ are relatively less common, but you will find them often used to approximate foreign sounds or old Japanese sounds (eg. ドゥ, フェ, グヮ).

The others are very rare special katakana used to write Ainu words (see: Special katakana for the Ainu language) and sometimes Korean words. You can safely forget them.

There are of course small hiragana, too. But the number is much smaller because we don't use hiragana to represent foreign words.

ぁ ぃ ぅ ぇ ぉ っ ゃ ゅ ょ ゎ

These small vowels are mainly used to represent long vowels in native Japanese words (see this).

  • Hiragana should be included in the answer too as there is nothing katakana specific about the question. (ぁぃぅぇぉっゃゅょゎ)
    – Christer
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 14:16
  • @Christer これでどうでしょう?
    – naruto
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 14:24
  • Seems good to me. +1
    – Christer
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 14:55

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