Hiragana, the phonetic alphabet every Japanese student learns to write has often been characterized as “cute” with the loopy and curvy way characters are written, compared to the more difficult and angular Chinese characters of katakana. Niconico News website recently conducted a survey to their readers to know which of the characters they find cutest and 21.1. percent of those who participated voted for “あ”, the character that stands for the letter “a” and the first thing that everyone meets on their phonetic alphabet lessons.
Survey participants said that since it’s the first letter they meet, the letter “a” feels like the main character of the phonetic alphabet with “a harmony as well as a certain assertiveness.” One man even responded that since the character is found at the beginning of the word ai (love), he also “loves the character.” 14 percent of the vote went to the character ゆ or “yu” because of the way it has to be written, curling up and because it sounds nice. One respondent said that the character is “circular and starts off some classic Showa names for cute girls like Yuko and Yumi,” gives it a cute vibe.
7.4 percent of the votes went to the character ね or “ne” which is often used at the end of a Japanese sentence conveying, “don’t you think so?” or “right?” with some respondents saying that it’s the cutest because the character has an actual meaning and “not just a sound” while another one said that “the sound is cute and the little twist at the end looks like a tail.”
[via Rocket News]