Hiragana-SA SHI SU SE SO

In the last lesson we went over かきくけこ and here we’ll add the S consonant characters to your repertoire.

This series has an odd character to think about: (shi). Just keep it in the back of your mind for now — there’s something different about it.


First up, pronouncing these characters. Tap each character to hear native speakers pronounce them.

Notice し sounds like “she” not “see.” You will sometimes see it written in romaji as “si.”

Pronouncing さしすせそ

  • さ (sa) – sounds like “sah” — “ah” with a S in front
  • し (shi) – sounds like “she”
  • す (su) – sounds like “Sue”
  • せ (se) – sounds like “say”
  • そ (so) – sounds like “so” 🙂

Look Out For き-さ and け-せ

I mentioned these combinations in the last lesson. Now that you’ve learned them, the recall practice will help you memorize the differences.

“You can see (ki) is very similar to (sa). It has one more stroke across the top stem.

(ke) and (se) are a little less similar. The catch is when written on signs け almost looks like せ. I like to think け is “facing left” and せ is ‘facing right.'”

Plan ahead for さ-ち

You haven’t learned (chi) yet. It will be in the next lesson. You can see it looks like they are inverses of each other. Typed out like this it does, but on signs and menus, there will be breaks and spaces in the text — making it harder to detect.