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Kana (かな in Hiragana, カナ in Katakana, 仮名 in Kanji, the term as used in English is both singular and plural) are Japanese phonetic characters. They come in two types: hiragana and katakana. Cf. Japanese language. The term is derived from the word "karina" meaning", provisional character".

As well as Romaji, Kana is quite frequently used for transliteration, a method to express one language in the alphabet of another language. Given that, kana is regarded as alphabet in Japanese. For example, the United States President George W. Bush can be represented in Japanese using kana like ジョージWブッシュ (Note: Japanese convention is generally to leave middle initials in alphabetic characters.)

See also: Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Furigana, Romaji, Transliteration

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