Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Especially for those who have started to learn Japanese, you should know the difference between three different Japanese symbols or writing form called:
Japanese people use 3 different Japanese Symbols
About Kanji Symbols: Normally, many Westerners think that kanji symbol is the only writing form we use in Japanese. It is true that we use kanji symbols more than hiragana or katakana symbols when writing something in Japanese. However, unlike Chinese people who use only Kanji symbols, we mix up all Japanese scripts.
About Hiragana symbols: Hiragana symbols are normally used by supporting Kanji symbols' meaning. For example, if you write "I love You" in Japanese, you would use the kanji symbol for Love, but the rest of characters are written with Hiragana symbols. Of course, we just use only Hiragana symbols to write a word or phrase in Japanese as well.
About Katakana symbol: Finally, Katakana symbol is often used to represent foreign words, or names which have adopted into the Japanese writing system. Therefore, if you can read the Katakana symbols, you can normally work out what a word or phrase means in English. Nowadays, the majority of companies write their names both in English and Katakana symbols.
Each Japanese symbols are used something like this in Japan.
If you travel to Japan, you would see how each Japanese Kanji Symbols, Hiragana and Katakana symbols are used.
For example, Japanese Magazine normally use 80% of Kanji symbols, and 10% of Hiragana and Katakana symbols.
This picture http://www.learn-japanese-kanji-hiragana-katakana.com/Images/Kanji/Japanese-Symbols.jpg is a part of a Japanese Magazine. In this case, they use Kanji symbols and Katakana symbls for the title. But, otherwise, they used all 3 Japanese symbols.
Because this page of the Japanese magazine is talking something about the name of the company in Unites States which is foreign name, they used the Katakana symbols for its name.
Takanori Tomita, a Japanese translator who is specializing in Japanese symbols. He lives in Tokyo, Japan. This article is (c) Takanori Tomita 2006.
For more information about Japanese symbols, please check Learn Japanese Language and Symbols http://www.learn-japanese-kanji-hiragana-katakana.com/