Now that you’ve learned how to count in Japanese, it’s a good time to learn how to say the days of the week, the months, and time. The kanji for the days of the week can get rather complicated, so for now they will be displayed only in hiragana. The months of the year and time of day use the same number kanji symbols from the previous lesson; they should be easy to pick up on!
The days of the week are formed in Japanese like days of the week are in English. For example, the “day” part remains the same while the first part of the word changes. The same is true for Japanese. The Japanese ending that means “day” is writtenようび in hiragana and pronounced as “youbi.” The only changes between the days of the week are the syllables in front of the word for day. See the list below for all seven days:
にちようび nichiyoubi Sunday
げつようび getsuyoubi Monday
かようび kayoubi Tuesday
すいようび suiyoubi Wednesday
もくようび mokuyoubi Thursday
きんようび kinyoubi Friday
どようび doyoubi Saturday
The months of the year are written with the kanji numbers plus the symbol for month. The word for month is written がつin hiragana and 月in kanji. This kanji is pronounced as “gatsu.”
When telling time in Japanese, the number kanji are still used. They are combined with the word for time (pronounced “ji”). The kanji for time is 時and the hiragana is じ.
一時 ichi ji 1:00
二時 ni ji 2:00
三時 san ji 3:00
四時 yoji 4:00
五時 goji 5:00
六時 roku ji 6:00
七時 shichi ji 7:00
八時 hachi ji 8:00
九時 kuji 9:00
十時 jyuu ji 10:00
十一時 jyuuichi ji 11:00
十二時 jyuuni ji 12:00
*note that the pronunciation for 4:00 and 9:00 differ slightly from the original numbers.
If you want to say 12:30 instead of 12:00, you simply add one more kanji after the time. The kanji used to mark the half hour is written as 半and pronounced “han.” 12:30 would be written 十二時半and pronounced “jyuuni ji han.”
You can further modify time by specifying AM or PM. AM isごぜんand PM isごご. For example, 1:00PM would be written ごご一時.
Look at the following practice conversation for some basic review. Be sure to look for how to ask a question and how to tell time!
A: Tachibana-san, konnichiwa! Ogenki desu ka?
(Good afternoon Tachibana-san! How are you?)
B: Nanahara-san, konnichiwa! Genki desu. Genki desu ka?
(Good afternoon Nanahara-san. I’m fine. How are you?)
A: Hai, genki desu. Sumimasen, ima nanji desu ka?
(Yes, I’m well. Excuse me, what time is it now?)
B: Gogo san ji han desu.
(It is 3:30 PM.)
A: Sou desu ka? Arigatou gozaimasu. Jyaa, mata!
(Is that so? Thank you. I’ll see you later!)
B: Jyaa ne!