The Origin of the Japanese Alphabet

Before the introduction of Chinese symbols in Japan, there was no concrete evidence that the people of the rising sun already had a form of writing. Despite the talk about the origin of the Japanese writing, everyone agrees that it originated with Chinese symbols.

Origin of the Japanese Alphabet

origin of japanese alphabetMany historians believe that Chinese characters arrived through Buddhist monks, who, when they came to Japan, brought Chinese texts with them around the 5th century. These texts were written in the Chinese language, and at first they would have been read as such, but with Over the years, a system known as kanbun (漢文) was developed. THE new system basically used signs to allow Chinese symbols to be used to represent Japanese words, thus preserving the native language.

As the Japanese language did not have a written form at that time, another system called man'yogana which used some Chinese characters based on their own pronunciation rather than their meaning.

During the 8th century, when Japanese literature was growing, many Chinese symbols were simplified, giving rise to a system based on phonemes that we know today as hiragana. At that time, although Japanese women did not have access to higher education and training, many of them stood out in the field of literature and contributed to the construction of hiragana. “I think it was because of the female influence that the hiragana It has these curved and more drawn shapes…”

On the other side of the coin, the monastery students sought to find a simple way to represent sounds in writing. The new symbols produced by this process were created with more polygonal or square lines, making them easier to write. These symbols are now called katakana.

Through a simple and small study of Japanese history, we confirm that Japanese writing did indeed come from China, and that the alphabets known as hiragana and katakana are from Chinese characters.