Kana definition

Kana is the Japanese phonetic version of the written language.  Kana comes in two forms – katakana and hiragana.  Katakana may be used to stress a certain aspect of a word (similar to putting the word in bold print or in italics). It may also be used to write names and words that come from other languages (with the exception of Chinese).  Hiragana is normally used to change kanji and write Chinese and Japanese words phonetically.  Both katakana and hiragana use forty-six basic characters that in turn can be made into one hundred syllables.