Kana 1-1 Basic Sounds in Japanese – JapaneseUp

Kana 1-1 Basic Sounds in Japanese

Kana course

Here are two videos I found explaining the basic sounds in Japanese.

The objective here is to train yourself to listen to the nuances in Japanese pronunciations.

(You can put hiragana and katakana aside for now, we’ll tackle them in the coming lessons.)

The first video walks you through the basic sounds in Japanese. Pay special attention to:

  • Long vowels: obaasan (grandmother) vs obasan (aunt)
  • How to pronounce “r”
  • How to pronounce “fu”
  • Double consonants: kitte (stamp), kippu (ticket)
  • The nasal sound “n”
  • Different pitches: kaki (oyster) vs kaki (persimmon)


The second video is about:

  • Voiced consonants eg “ka” → “ga”
  • Doubled consonants: annai (guide), sannin (three people), kippu (ticket), kitte (stamp)
  • Long vowels: obaasan (grandmother), ojiisan (grandfather), keeki (cake), kaa (car)
  • Contracted sounds eg “kya”

Don’t worry, it’s less scary than it sounds!


If you want to refer to text, here’s a guide on Japanese prounciation on JapaneseUp.

Your Task

Listen to these two audio files of basic sounds recorded by a native Japanese speaker.  Be sure to mimic what you hear out loud to ensure you achieve the best possible pronunciation you can.

Audio 1

Audio 2