Introduction to Japanese Writing: Hiragana Group 6: H (はひふへほ)

Did you miss our introduction to Hiragana?  If so, you can go back and read it here.

The consonant for this column is H, so all five members of this group will be H followed by one of the five vowels, in order.

  • は [HA]
  • ひ [HI]
  • ふ [FU]
  • へ [HE]
  • ほ [HO]

As we saw in the S and T columns, there is an irregular consonant in this column in the form of ふ [FU], which replaces the expected HU.  As with the others, this is to remind English speakers that the pronunciation is FU (as in “food”), though HU can appear at times in materials intended for Japanese readers.

How to Write

For reference, here is a quick review of the general rules for stroke order:

  • All characters should fill a square of about the same size
  • Top to bottom, left to right
  • Horizontal strokes before vertical strokes that intersect them

Note that in ふ FU the middle portion is written fully before the dots to the sides.  Depending on one’s writing style, it is not unusual to see these conjoined into a single stroke.

Vocabulary Practice

The following words can be written using only the characters we have covered so far.  Once you’ve practiced reading them a couple of times, try writing them on a piece of paper without looking and see how well you do.

  • ひさしい [hi sa shi i] a long time ago
  • ふく [fu ku] clothing
  • へいき [he i ki] calm, OK, all right
  • ほうおう [ho u o u] phoenix
  • ほか [ho ka] other
  • は [ha] tooth
  • はつ [ha tsu] first


When you’re ready, click here to move on to Group 7: M!

Published by

Paul Baptist

Japanese linguist, web developer, bassist, teacher, and long-time anime fan.