There are 3 Japanese scripts : Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji. Mostof the Japanese sentences are written in Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji, all three.
Hiragana is used for the endings of verbs and for grammatical particles.
Katakanais used for transcription of words borrowed from foreign languages(except Chinese), like country names, personal names, etc.
Both Hiragana and Katakana letters are a phonetic reperesentation of sound representing exactly the same set of sounds.
Kanji, which is a set of Chinese characters called sinograms, is used for the nouns and the radicals of verbs.
The Hiragana script has a Kanji equivalent (excepts the endings of verbs and the particles).
The Katakana script does not have a Kanji equivalent.
Whereas Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic representations of sound, Kanji conveys sounds as well as meanings.
A sentence in Japanese can be written in Hiragana and Katakana only (without Kanji).
Romaji (Roman letters) is simply the transliteration of Japanese in the Latin script. It is sometimes used for the convenience of foreigners, mostly on sign-boards and at stations.
The Romaji vowelsā,ī, ū,ē signify emphasis, and hence are also written asaa, ii, uuetee. ex.īe = iie
The vowel ō becomes ou and notooex. gakkō = gakkou
In Katakana, the emphasis on the vowel signifies a long sound written as ー. ex.nōto (notebook), will be written in katakana as : ノート
Example. The sentence 'Mr.Yoshida, show your passport please.' is written in :
Japanese Romaji :Yoshida san, pasupōto o misete kudasai.. ;
Japanese traditional (Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji) : 吉田さんパスポートを見せて下さい。; where Kanji = 吉田 (Yoshida), 見(mi) and 下 (kuda) ; Katakana = パスポート(pasupōto = passport) and the rest is Hiragana.
Japanese Hiragana and Katakana (without Kanji) : よしださんパスポートをみせてください。 Note - The Kanjis in the sentence written in Japanese traditional, 吉田, 見and 下 are replaced by their hiragana equivalents よしだ,み and くだrespectively.
Note : 'San' is used as a suffix to a personal name and is the equivalent of Mr, Mrs, Miss and Master. Japanese names (Yoshida) are written in Hiragana and Kanji as shown in the above example.
を(o) is used as the particle in a sentence to indicate the direct object of a transitive verb. を(o)is always used after the object and before the verb. In the example above, を(o) comes after the object pasupōto パスポート(passport) and before the verb misete (show).
Kanji is sometimes written in combination with Hiragana. In the above example misete (show) is written in Kanji as 見せて, and in Hiragana as みせて. likewise, kudasai (please) is written in Kanji as 下さい, and in Hiragana as ください.