Cristy Burne


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Monster app for learning katakana and hiragana

Want a fun game to teach yourself hiragana or katakana?

Like monsters and manga? Check out these fun apps!

A few months back I had the pleasure of working with Jessica Perrin on Japanese language and culture workshops for Year 9s.

Jessica’s husband is also interested in Japanese and has just released two apps designed to help learners of Japanese hiragana and katakana alphabets.

Attack and whack!

Called Kana Attack (for iPad) and Kana Whack (for iPhone), they use Japanese yokai monsters, including the tanuki, kappa and more.

Players are rewarded with specialities from each Japanese prefecture and the screen backgrounds are borrowed from famous Japanese art. Plus there are flash cards, study charts, and you can hear each kana pronounced properly.

All this and cute monsters too? Yee ha! Yokai are everywhere!


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Hiragana word search: Find the yokai demons and practise your Japanese

Want a fun way to practise your hiragana? Try this spooky hiragana wordsearch!

If you’re studying Japanese, then you alredy know that the Japanese language is written using three different alphabets: hiragana, katakana and kanji. Words can also be written in romaji, using the English alphabet.

This word search uses hiragana and features demons from spooky adventure story Takeshita Demons.

Can you find the yokai demons before they find Miku?

Head to the resources section of my website and you can download a PDF of the activity and its answer sheet.


Takeshita Demons hiragana word search: Find the yokai demons

HIRAGANA      KANJI          ENGLISH (ROMAJI)

ようかい                    溶解                Yōkai (demon)

ゆうれい                    幽霊                Yuurei (ghost)

みく                            未来                Miku (our hero!)

かず                           和                    Kazu (Miku’s brother)

たけした                    竹下                Takeshita (Miku’s family name)

かわにし                   川西                Kawanishi (where Miku lived in Japan)

ぬけくび                  抜け首            Nukekubi (cut-throat demon)

ぬれおんな              濡女                Nure-onna (woman of the wet)

さかばしら                逆柱                 Sakabashira (inverted pillar)

ざしきわらし             座敷童             Zashiki-warashi (house ghost)

ゆきおんな               雪女                Yuki-onna (snow woman)

おに                           鬼                    Oni (ogre)