American pop culture is turning Japanese. Every day, millions of kids spend hours watching translated anime on Cartoon Network and reading telephone book-sized comics called manga. From Spirited Away to Shonen Jump, if the label says "Made in Japan," it's cool.
But what if you want to enjoy anime and manga in its original language? Written Japanese consists of three scripts: the phonetic hiragana and katakana syllabaries, each comprised of 46 characters (collectively known as kana); and kanji, a complex set of characters based on Chinese ideographs. Hiragana and katakana are the true "ABCs of Japanese," as they can be used to write complete sentences. Children in Japan learn to read and write hiragana and katakana long before they are introduced to kanji. Most manga targeted toward the youngest readers in Japan are also written completely in kana.
Kana de Manga makes learning hiragana and katakana easy and fun for students who already enjoy Japanese comics. Each page has a humorous manga illustration representing a word that begins with the hiragana or katakana character featured prominently at the top. A brief explanation accompanies each drawing; the English equivalent of the word is given, and there is a work area where students can practice writing the characters.
Written by Glenn Kardy, editor of several volumes in the popular How to Draw Manga series, including Getting Started, the first book of its kind to be used at major universities in the United States (UCLA) and Japan (Waseda). Artwork by Chihiro Hattori. Features a foreword by Ronald A. Morse, retired professor of Japan Studies at UCLA and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.