Japanese has a total of 4 character sets they use -
Kanji - 1,950 total - Chinese characters. Express whole words or ideas, or the roots of verbs, etc. There are only ~1950 official ones, but many more in archaic usage that natives know and can read/write. You need to know 1950 of them to read a newspaper.
Hiragana - 46 of these - smooth script posted above -- each letter represents a syllable. Used to spell out how to pronounce Kanji, particles, and word endings.
Katakana - 46 of these - 1:1 with Hiragana, only more angular and used to sound out foreign words. But sometimes it's best to just use
Roumaji - "Roman letters" - 26 of course. Used when exotic or foreign is what you're after. Modern Japanese are fascinated by English, and they all take English in High School the way we take 2-3 years of Spanish or French.
I could go on about Japanese all day, since it's probably my strongest 2nd language. If you have any other questions, please let me know.