|Unicode name||KATAKANA LETTER A|
ア (romaji a)
- The katakana syllable ア (a). Its equivalent in hiragana is あ (a). It is the first syllable in the gojūon order; its position is ア行ア段 (a-gyō a-dan, “row a, section a”).
Unlike the hiragana system, used for Japanese language words that kanji does not cover, the katakana syllabary is used primarily for transcription of foreign language words into Japanese and the writing of loan words (collectively gairaigo), as well as to represent onomatopoeia, technical and scientific terms, and the names of plants, animals, and minerals. Names of Japanese companies, as well as certain Japanese language words, are also sometimes written in katakana rather than the other systems.