Katakana usage

I know that katakana is used for foreign loan words, accented speech, robotic speech, and certain proper nouns (ie: トヨタ), but what does it mean when used for normal Japanese words?

Specifically, I was skimming the first volume of 咲 (just for fun, since my Japanese is nowhere near enough to actually handle Seinen) and I saw キレイな子. Why is きれい written in katakana here? The only context here is the protagonist saying it when she sees a pretty girl.


For a word like きれい, it’s just a matter of style. The kanji for きれい, which is 綺麗, is difficult, in the sense that the first of the two kanji is not required to be taught in school, so using kana is normal. And for whatever reason, people sometimes use キレイ rather than きれい, but you’ll see both.

By the way, are you sure it wasn’t キレイな子?


Yes it was キレイな子. 女の子 has been forced into my muscle memory by WK, so I just did that on accident. Edited the post. Thanks for the explanation!

So if I understand correctly, people sometimes use katakana to write normal Japanese words with complicated Kanji?

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I’ve also seen katakana used for emphasis or exaggeration, like how we would type something in all-caps. I’ve seen a negative review once entitled ナニコレ(何これ), and I took it to mean “WHAT IS THIS.”


Yeah, that’s another possible way to use katakana. There are a bunch. Style, emphasis, foreign accent, animal or plant names, etc.

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Yeah, I know about that and forgot to mention it, but in the context it was just the character whispering to herself, so I didn’t think it was that.

Katakana is also often used to spell animal or plant species

Here used for the often seen animal pretty girl.

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