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TYJ The months and the days

By Takasugi, May 22, 2017 | |
  1. Takasugi
    5.5. The months and the days

    5.5.1. The months

    Japanese lost the names of months hundreds of years ago, and now months are called with sequential numbers. After a number, just say the word がつ "gatu", which means month.

    EnglishJapaneseMeaning
    Januaryいちがつ
    i ti ga tu
    The first month
    Februaryにがつ
    ni ga tu
    The second month
    Marchさんがつ
    sa n ga tu
    The third month
    Aprilしがつ
    si ga tu
    The fourth month
    Mayごがつ
    go ga tu
    The fifth month
    Juneろくがつ
    ro ku ga tu
    The sixth month
    Julyしちがつ
    si ti ga tu
    The seventh month
    Augustはちがつ
    ha ti ga tu
    The eighth month
    Septemberくがつ
    ku ga tu
    The ninth month
    Octoberじゅうがつ
    zyû ga tu
    The tenth month
    Novemberじゅういちがつ
    zyû i ti ga tu
    The eleventh month
    Decemberじゅうにがつ
    zyû ni ga tu
    The twelfth month
    For the names of the months, the common digit names of 4, 7, and 9 are not used. (よんがつ "yongatu", なながつ "nanagatu", and きゅうがつ "kyûgatu" are not used.)

    5.5.2. The ancient names of the months

    Here is a list of the ancient names of the months. Just skip this paragraph if you are not interested.

    EnglishJapaneseMeaning
    Januaryむつき
    mu tu ki
    The month of friendship
    Februaryきさらぎ
    ki sa ra gi
    The month of the rebirth of plants
    Marchやよい
    ya yo i
    The month of growing plants
    Aprilうづき
    u zu ki
    The month of the rabbit, which is the fourth animal of the Chinese zodiac.
    Mayさつき
    sa tu ki
    The month of rice sprouts
    Juneみなづき
    mi na zu ki
    The month of water
    Julyふみづき
    hu mi zu ki
    The month of letters
    Augustはづき
    ha zu ki
    The month of leaves
    Septemberながづき
    na ga zu ki
    The month of long nights
    Octoberかんなづき
    ka n na zu ki
    The month of gods
    Novemberしもつき
    si mo tu ki
    The month of frost
    Decemberしわす
    si wa su
    The month of busy people
    5.5.3. The days of the week

    The days of the week are named after the sun, the moon, and planets. They are translations of the days of the week in European languages such as Latin. Sunday is the first day of the week in Japan.

    EnglishJapaneseMeaning
    Sundayにちようび
    ni ti bi
    The day of the sun (たいやう "taiyô")
    Mondayげつようび
    ge tu bi
    The day of the moon (つき "tuki")
    Tuesdayかようび
    ka bi
    The day of Mars (かせい "kasei")
    Wednesdayすいようび
    su i bi
    The day of Mercury (すいせい "suisei")
    Thursdayほくようび
    mo ku bi
    The day of Jupiter (ほくせい "mokusei")
    Fridayきんようび
    ki n' bi
    The day of Venus (きんせい "kinsei")
    Saturdayどようび
    do bi
    The day of Saturn (どせい "dosei")
    The suffix ようび "yôbi" in the days of the week means shine + day. The suffix せい "sei" in the planets' names means star. The prefixes にち "niti" and つき "getu" of Sunday and Monday come from different words that mean the sun and the moon respectively.

    5.5.4. The seasons

    The Japanese word for a season is きせつ "kisetu". There are four season names in Japan.

    EnglishJapaneseMonths
    Springはる
    ha ru
    March, April, May
    Summerなつ
    na tu
    June, July, August
    Autumnあき
    a ki
    September, October, November
    Winterふゆ
    hu yu
    December, January, February
    Actually Japan also has the following season from the mid of June to the mid of July, in which season there is much more rain than any other season:

    つゆ
    L H
    tu yu
    It is called the rainy season or just tsuyu in English.

    5.5.5. The days of the month

    To my regret, the names of the days of the month in Japanese are not as easy as the names of the months, because they preserve ancient names.

    The days 11th through 31st except the 14th, 20th, and 24th have straightforward names. Their names are the combination of the number and word にち "niti", which means a day. For example, the 15th day is called じゅごにち "zyûgoniti". The word にち sometimes becomes んち "nti" in colloquial Japanese.

    For other days, please look at the table below. Notice that they are similar to the traditional number names. The suffix か "ka" (or possibly うか "uka") was a counter for days in ancient Japanese. Using にち for the days listed below is understandable, so don't hesitate to use にち when you can't remember their real names.

    EnglishJapaneseMeaning
    1ついたち
    tu i ta ti
    The beginning of the month.
    It came from つき) "tuki" (month, moon) + たつ "tatu" (to stand up)
    2ふつか
    hu tu ka
    The second day
    3みっか
    mi k ka
    The third day
    4よっか
    yo k ka
    The fourth day
    5いつか
    i tu ka
    The fifth day
    6むいか
    mu i ka
    The sixth day
    7なのか
    na no ka
    The seventh day
    8ようか
    yô ka
    The eighth day
    9ここのか
    ko ko no ka
    The ninth day
    10とうか
    tô ka
    The tenth day
    14じゅうよっか
    zyû yo k ka
    The fourteenth day
    10 + 4 day
    じゅう + よっか
    20はつか
    ha tu ka
    The twentieth day
    20 + 4 day
    24にかじゅうよっか
    ni zyû yo k ka
    The twenty-fourth day
    20 + 4 day
    にかじゅう + よっか
    OthersA day number + にち (ni ti)
    ha tu ka
    This is a suffix added to a number.
    5.5.6. How to read date and time

    In Japanese, it is necessary to say the biggest part first, then go down to smaller parts. This is because of the head-last rule of Japanese. This rule is applied not only for date but also for time and addresses.

    Dates are read in the following order: a year, a month, a day of the month, a day of the week. To read a year, just add ねん "nen", which means a year, after the number.

    Example: Monday, June 16th, 1997 is 1997 ねん 6 づき 16 にち げつうび "sen kyûhyaku kyûzyû nananen rokugatu zyûrokuniti getubi". The Japanese style of abbreviation of the date is 1997/6/16 (year/month/day).

    Please remember the American style and the European style are also different from each other.

    American: day-of-week, month/day/year
    European: day-of-week, day/month/year
    Asian: year/month/day, day-of-week

    To read time, add じ "zi" after hours, ふん "hun" after minutes, and びょう "byô" after seconds. For instance, 11:29:07 is 11 じ 29 ふん 7 びょう "zyûitizi nizyû kyûhun nanabyô".

    When you say both date and time, say date first. Please remember the biggest part comes first in Japanese.


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    About Author

    Takasugi
    My name is TAKASUGI Shinji. TAKASUGI is my family name, and Shinji is my given name; a family name is placed before a given name in Japan, as in other Asian nations. My family name is capitalized to avoid misunderstanding.

    I have been living in Yokohama since I was born. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, which is just 30 kilometers away from the biggest city Tôkyô. It takes 30 minutes to go by train from home to Shibuya, which is the hottest town now in Tôkyô.

    I work as a display engineer.

    One of my hobbies is creating things with computers; creating programs, computer graphics and web pages is the thing I spent a lot of time doing. I am also interested in a wide range of sciences, and linguistics is my favorite. I like English and I like using it, but my focus is mainly on Japanese, which is my native language. I'm proud of knowing the language, and the difference between English and Japanese has been fascinating me. I have been thinking whether I can introduce it to people outside of Japan. My attempt of introducing Japanese with some Java applets has had more than 1 million visitors.


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