Martin Barker

Martin Barker is London-based graphic designer with specialist skills in illustration and animation.

Memorising the Hiragana

Personal Project, 2018

After several failed attempts, I’m trying once again to learn Japanese. This time, I’ve decided to learn it properly, starting with the Hiragana, the ‘ordinary’ or ‘simple’ Kana. The Hiragana is a Japanese syllabary that sits alongside the Kanji and Katakana as one component of the Japanese writing system. It is a phonetic lettering system that consists of 46 basic characters and 62 modified forms.

In order to memorise the Hiragana I’ve adopted a mnemonic system to remember each character, equating its sound to a memorable word and image. This is the first set of symbols, known as the ‘A’ series – A Aikido – I Sneeze – U BooE Ferry – O Oasis. After weeks of repetitively drawing each symbol I have become increasingly appreciative of each character’s simplistic beauty and graphic strength.


Martin Barker
Graphic Design • Illustration • Animation


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