What's new

TYJ The months and the days

Status
This article is in the series Teach Yourself Japanese
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, 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 for 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 a 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, 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 most significant part comes first in Japanese.

← Previous page (Decimals and fractions) | Next page (Greetings) →
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.

Comments

There are no comments to display.

Article information

Author
Takasugi
Views
743
Last update

More in Language

More from Takasugi

Top