Martin Barker

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

Memorising the Hiragana – Part Two

Personal Project, 2018

I’m currently memorising the Japanese Hiragana, a phonetic / syllabary alphabet that sits alongside the Kanji and Katakana as one component of the Japanese writing system. It’s the first step in the process of learning Japanese and in order to memorise it I’ve adopted a system of mnemonics equating each phonic symbol to a memorable English word of the same sound. Whilst trying to memorise each symbol I realised that this would make a great graphic design project with possibilities to create a book, flash cards and animation.

The ‘K’ Series is the second set of symbols in the Hiragana. Each character in this series is graphically distinct and nicely occupies its own imaginary square space. Animals feature in all but one of the equated symbols. Ka – Cat, Ki – Key, Ku – Cuckoo, Ke – Kestrel and Ko – Cobra. The addition of the Dakuten or Ten-ten (resembling a quotation mark) changes the ‘K’ sounds into ‘G’ sounds: Ka – Ga, Ki – Gi, Ku – Gu, Ke – Ge, Ko – Go.


Martin Barker
Graphic Design • Illustration • Animation


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