All About Japan

Learn Hiragana From Handsome Anime Men

| Smartphones , Learning Japanese

The Japanese language system is made up of three different classes of characters, one of which is hiragana. There are 46 hiragana you’ll need to remember for modern Japanese proficiency, which can feel like a lot, but now there's a new smartphone game that features handsome anime-style men that help you memorize all 46 hiragana characters.

The premise of the Hiragana Boys (Hiragana Danshi, in Japanese), from Japanese developer Tabot, is that a mysterious incident causes written characters to disappear from the world. As one of the few scholars left in society who’s able to read, it falls to you to seek out the Hiragana Boys, hiragana that were reborn as human men when the art of writing was lost.

Among the characters announced so far are A, the embodiment of the hiragana for “a,” written in Japanese as あ. Seeing as how あ is the first character in the standard order in which hiragana are organized (much like A is the first letter in alphabetical order), it makes sense that A is also the first Hiragana Boy the player meets.

Many of the Hiragana Boys have character traits based off their names. For example, U (representing the hiragana う) boasts that he’s skilled in fortune-telling, which in Japanese is uranai. People think his claims are fishy (usankusai, but he insists he’s not telling lies (uso) or exaggerating his powers.

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