narutoe top 2

Read about the adventures of Narutoe – a ninja toe – and his friend Sauceke – a jar of tomato sauce.

Hey there and welcome to to the second installment of Learn Japanese through Ridiculous Manga, where, every Friday, we study Japanese together in a quick, fun way.

In case you missed last week’s episode where we learned the first five hiragana, you may want to go there first. This article assumes you’ve read that one, so don’t continue on without it.

And even if you’re thinking, “Oh I already know the first five hiragana,” go check it out anyway! There’s a pretty gosh darn funny manga there, if I do say so myself.

▼ If you haven’t yet read about Gorilla D. Ruffy – who wants to be the Pilot King – and Zoru – the three swordfish-using fighter – then you should check it out.

two piece teaser

All right, are you a master of the first five hiragana? Great. Let’s move on!

Today we’re going to look at the next five hiragana. Just like before, I highly recommend putting these five into Anki, a flashcard program, so that you can practice them between articles. As long as you just do whatever Anki tells you to do every day (which usually isn’t much), you’ll be a master in no time.

1) Today’s first hiragana: か (ka)
(Pronounced like “copy”)

(Click the play button below to listen to our wonderful
native Japanese writer Meg pronounce this hiragana for you!)

little hiragana ka

▼ No problem here! This looks like a guy on his knees,
jammin’ out while singing some karaoke.

hiragana ka

2) Today’s next hiragana: き (ki)
(Pronounced like “key”)

little hiragana ki

▼ This one looks like a bit of an oddly-shaped key.

hiragana ki

3) Today’s next-next hiragana: く (ku)
(Pronounced like “cocoon”)

little hiragana ku

▼ Fun fact: Pac-man comes from the Japanese word paku paku,
which is the sound of eating. So just remember Paku-man!

hiragana ku

4) Today’s penultimate hiragana: け (ke)
(Pronounced like “okay“)

little hiragana ke

▼ You have two kebob sticks, but only one of them has meat.
Hey, uh, some of these are harder than others….

hiragana ke

5) Today’s final hiragana: こ (ko)
(Pronounced like “co-pilot”)

little hiragana ko

▼ If you fill in the blank space with your imagination,
it looks like a round coin.

hiragana ko

(Click below to hear Meg pronounce all five hiragana!)

Okay, quiz time! Can you read the five hiragana below? (Hint: they’re not in the same order we just did them.)

kakikukeko quiz

And, if you’re already a pro at that, try reading all ten hiragana we’ve learned:

cumu hiraga quiz 01











(1st Quiz Answer: ke, ki, ko, ku, ka)
(2nd Quiz Answer: o, ku, u, i, ki // ke, ka, ko, a, e)

Did you get them right? If you don’t feel confident yet, just review them in Anki and try again until you’re a Pokémon hiragana master.

But for now, it’s time for another segment that I like to call: Particle Party.

▼ Hooray! Particle Party!

particle party

Japanese has lots of “particles,” which are basically “little” words that help the “more important” words in a sentence come together and make sense. They’re kind of like “at,” “of,” “the” etc. in English.

This week we’ll be looking at one of the most important particles, which also just so happens to be one of the hiragana we learned today: か (ka).

What Does か (ka) Do?
It has several uses, but when it comes at the end of a sentence, it turns a statement into a question.

Japan-glish Examples:
He is a ninja. (Statement)
He is a ninja か = Is he a ninja? (Question)

You are alive. (Statement)
You are alive か = Are you alive? (Question)

Easy, right? Now let’s take a look at the particle か and the rest of the hiragana you’ve learned so far by reading excerpt from the manga Narutoe.

Narutoe – a disembodied toe – and his friend Sauceke – a jar of spaghetti sauce – live in the hidden ninja village of Konohaha. Tomorrow is their chewnin exam, where they will hopefully pass and become real ninjas. But before that, they need to get something in their stomachs for dinner.

(Read like a real Japanese manga: panels go from top right to left,
hiragana is read from left to right.)

narutoe manga 01

Sauceke: Koko kuu ka? (Koko = here, kuu = eat, ka = the particle we learned)
Narutoe: Ee! Ikou!

Narutoe: Kaki kuu ka? (Kaki = oysters, kuu = eat, ka = particle)
Sauceke: Iie.
Narutoe: Ika kuu ka? (Ika = squid, kuu = eat, ka = particle)
Sauceke: Iie.

Sauceke: Okaikei!
Narutoe: E?!

Narutoe: Okaikei kuu ka?! (Okaikei = check, kuu = eat, ka = particle)

Sauceke: (Shall we) eat here?
Narutoe: Yeah! Let’s go!

Narutoe: (Will you) eat oysters?
Sauceke: No.
Narutoe: (Will you) eat squid?
Sauceke: No.

Sauceke: Check (please)!
Narutoe: Wha?!

Narutoe: (You’re going to) eat the check?!

All right! Did you read it yourself? If not, then keep reviewing those hiragana in Anki until they’re no problem, and give it another crack!

And don’t worry about the meaning of the words right now. For now, we’re just concentrating on learning to read the hiragana. But don’t fret, we’ll get to those pesky meanings eventually!

Next Friday we’ll be taking a look at the next five hiragana, which will be the easiest ones yet. We’ll also have another parody manga, so be sure to get ready for another barrage of hilarious heinous puns.

In the meantime if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter. I can’t promise that I know everything, but I can guarantee at least an attempt at a witty response.

See you next Friday everyone, and remember to stay ridiculous!

(Click here for Episode 3)

“Extra Credit” Anki Input: (Front / Back)
ここ / koko, here
くう / kuu, to eat
ここ くう か / koko kuu ka, (shall we) eat here?
ええ / ee, yeah
いこう / ikou, let’s go!
かき / kaki, oysters
かき くう か / kaki kuu ka, (will you) eat oysters?
いか / ika, squid
いか くう か / ika kuu ka, (will you) eat squid
おかいけい / okaikei, check (please!)

Text/images: ©RocketNews24