Why Are There Two Syllabaries?

If hiragana and katakana characters both represent the same sounds, then why do we have to have two syllabaries in the first place? Couldn’t we have just hiragana? Or just katakana?

Well, yeah, in theory that might work. But it would be a bit more confusing than the way it is now. By having two syllabaries—hiragana and katakana—we can distinguish between different words, clarify which words are taking up which parts of sentences, and alter the nuance and strength of words in general.

The super-short version: Trust me. It makes more sense this way.

The long, detailed version: Um… coming soon?




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