I'm talking about some nuances that appear to make the symbols look better. I mean everything from small, end of simple line swoops like the KO that has two lines and the first line can either look like a simple flat line, or a line with a small swoop downward and to the left. or for the right part of the NA, the diagonal line on top can either be connected to make it look nicer or unconnected for simplicity. I'm just confused as to whether these decorative things are part of the symbol or letter or if they're unnecessary. I also see a similar thing on the MU character that might either be three lines or two for simplicity, and if they're connected it would be to look decorative. The YA also looks like the small nub on the top right might connect to the vertical-ish line. RI also might either have two lines or they might be connected for beauty and decorative purposes. also the KE might have a little swoop off the bottom of the left line for decorative purposes. that's all the hiragana that I noticed might look different depending on whether you want it to look simple or decorative/pretty. please let me know if the simple or decorative version of the symbol is more common or if it matters which kind you use. Thank you if you are willing to help me with this question

1 Answer 1


Hiragana are made from cursive script of kanji. By nature, they can have decorative elements and variations, just as Latin calligraphy fonts have many unimportant "serifs" and "connecting lines". Shapes of hiragana of Japanese fonts can look pretty inconsistent at first (see pictures in this page), but there are underlying rules which are very important for some people.

In general, while you are a beginner, I recommend you learn the basic handwritten shape of hiragana, katakana and kanji using 教科書体 ("textbook font"). Common "serif", "sans-serif" or "universal design" fonts for adults may have characters that are not suitable for learners. Please read the following questions (although they are about kanji).

Practically, there is no single correct way to write hiragana. After understanding the underlying idea, you may even choose to write い, こ, け with only one stroke. But you may also choose to ignore most of those decorative "hooks" and "connections". Although not necessary, understanding where those decorative elements can appear will help you to write beautiful hiragana in the long run.

  • where can I actually find that textbook font? so I know I'm wrighting all my alphabets in a standardized way. or do you mean there's no standard as in some people will simply not be able to read half of the fonts out there because you don't have to learn their's
    – Shuey
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 2:41
  • also the Wi and We characters of hirigana seem to be completely missing from this site that I was originally going to learn from. are they part of the hirigana alphabet, or not? guidetojapanese.org/learn/complete/hiragana
    – Shuey
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 2:44
  • @Shuey How about this one? If you're on Windows 10, you can follow these steps to get a version of 教科書体. ゐ and ゑ are obsolete, so beginners do not have to practice them.
    – naruto
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 3:37

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