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hiragana and katakana origin


Originally, Japanese did not have a writing system, so they used kanji that were adopted from China and Korea. The system used only the phonetic reading of the kanji regardless of their meaning, and it is called manyogana.

However, kanji are composed of many strokes, and take longer to write,
so they were simplified as you can see below.
On the left is the manyogana, and on the right are simplified hiragana and katakana forms.

安 →あ   阿 → ア
以 →い   伊 → イ
宇 →う、ウ
衣 →え   江 → エ
於 →お、オ

This is how hiragana and katakana are thought to have been created some time in the eighth to ninth century.

Hiragana are said to be mainly a simplified form of the strokes a kanji, while katakana are mainly taken from a single element of a kanji.
There are also some cases in which the hiragana and katakana were created from different characters.

Among hiragana and katakana that express the same sound, there are those such as り and リ that have similar shapes, as well as those such as あ and ア that are dissimilar.

If you would like to know more, please take a look at this site. ↓

http://www.nihonjiten.com/nihongo/hk_jigen/index.html

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