How These Paper flashcards Can Help you Learn Hiragana and Katakana

Today I’m going to tell you about a brand-new resource for beginner learners.

You can now learn hiragana and katakana with a wonderful set of paper flashcards.

What? Paper flashcards? – you may wonder.

Yes… I know there are plenty of digital and web-based flashcards out there, but paper flashcards can also have their advantages.

If you are a beginner learner of Japanese and you find flashcards useful but prefer to stay away from your PC or mobile, this post is for you!


What this is all about?

This is a set of cards which help you learn hiragana and katakana.

Hiragana and katakana are the basic elements of the Japanese script, so you need to be familiar with them first before starting to learn the more dreaded Chinese characters (kanji).

Carddia is a company that produces educational flashcards in a variety of subjects such as languages, science, history, flags, etc.

Their products struck me as high quality materials and design, and this definitely makes learning with them more enjoyable.

Now let’s have a look at their flashcards in detail!


Features and benefits of using Carddia’s paper flashcards

The cards for learning hiragana and katakana come in two separate boxes just the size of the cards themselves (W: 67 x H: 9 mm).

Each deck contains 208 cards covering not only the 50 sounds of both hiragana and katakana but – most importantly – their derivations (dakuon / handakuon) as well as their combinations (yōon).

On each card you have one symbol on one side, and the flipped side displays additional information such as its transcription in the Western alphabet (rōmaji).

There are 4 main benefits in using these sets of flashcards for learning hiragana and katakana:

1) Stroke order diagrams

 For each symbol you are provided with the correct stroke order, so that you will know exactly how to write them.

2) Hiragana/katakana equivalents

Each hiragana has its equivalent katakana symbol (for example, か KA and カ KA). You can study hiragana and katakana in pairs and strengthen your memory.

3) Original Chinese characters

Hiragana‘s shapes were derived from the Chinese cursive script (sōsho), whereas katakana are parts of more complex Chinese characters. Knowing this can help you memorize their shapes and pronunciation.

Reference: Table from Wikipedia

4) Sample words

On the flipped side of each card, you are provided with sample words in kanji (along with rōmaji and English meaning), so that you can have an idea of how the symbols are used .


Digital VS Paper

As I said earlier, there are lots of digital options for learning hiragana and katakana nowadays (websites, apps, etc.).

Having flashcards in digital form has indeed its advantages – easiness of search, synchronization with audio… you name it!

However, Carddia ignored all that in favor of a simple paper format.


Because with paper flashcards you can do different things:

  • Flicking through the cards
  • Flipping them
  • Looking at more than one card at a time

Each action generates feelings which are different from just clicking on the button of a mouse, and this again stimulates memory.

We all have our own learning style(s) and preferences, and for some of us digital resources might not lead to good results.

They say it’s the same effect of reading ebook. Studies such as this confirm that some people are more easily distracted when reading from a screen.

That’s definitely my case!

I love searching for interesting articles or resources online but I prefer to print them out when possible and read them on paper.

I can highlight or underline interesting parts, jot down ideas in the surrounding space and creatively interact with the text, which also helps me remember new vocabulary and grammar when I read in Japanese.


How about you? Would you find flashcards useful for learning hiragana and katakana?

Which format would you prefer – digital or paper?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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