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Nihongo - Japanese Language Lesson - 103


Okay Boys and Girls! It's time for another SaruDama Japanese Language Lesson. (SJLL!!) Today we'll explore some basic Kanji. woo hoo!!

If you need, be sure to check out the prior SaruDama Nihongo Lessons.

Today's lesson consists of the following eight kanji:

For this lesson, we want to go through the "days of the week" in Japanese Kanji. The best way to master this is to take a step back and consider the source of the ENGLISH source of "Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", etc.

If you look back into history, you'll see that the English days of the week are named after lunar and ancient deities:

  • Sunday is "sun"
  • Monday is "moon"
  • Tuesday refers to the Nordic/Germanic god of combat "Tyr"
  • Wednesday is derived from "Woden", a Supreme Nordic/Germanic/Anglo-Saxon god
  • Thursday comes from "Thor" the Thunder god of Norse Mythology
  • Friday originally meant the "day of Frige", the Germanic goddess of beauty and the Norse goddess Frigg
  • Saturday is named after the Roman god Saturn

If you can remember/recall that simple bit of history, you'll go FAR in remembering the Japanese configuration. Of course, the ancient Japanese had nothing to do with Nordic Gods, but they DID build their "days of the week" upon similarly basic (ancient) elements, such as:

  • Sun - Ni (日)
  • Moon- Getsu (月)
  • Fire- Ki (火)
  • Water - Sui (水)
  • Wood - Moku (木)
  • Gold - Kin (金)
  • Earth - Do (土)

These basic elements, just like the (Western) Nordic-derived equivalents, are followed by a "day" suffix. (Thor + Day = "Thursday"). In Japanese the "day" suffix is 曜日 (you-bi). The Kanji "yo-u" (曜) occurs ONLY in this scenario of "days of the week" and signifies ONLY the title of days from Sunday (日曜日 - nichiyoubi) to Saturday (土曜日).

The Kanji for Sun (日) is expanded to mean also "day". That is why is appears after "yo-u", as "yo-u-bi" (曜日). The important question of when the Kanji "日" is pronounced "nichi" or "bi" (or otherwise) is the subject of a later SJLL episode. For the time being, your mission is to examine and memorize the following:

kanji meaning(s) pronunciations usage
Sun, day Nichi/Jitsu/Hi/Bi 日曜日 (nichi youbi / Sunday)
Moon, month Getsu/Gatsu/Tsuki 月曜日 (getsu youbi / Monday)
Fire Ka/Hi/Bi 火曜日 (ka youbi / Tuesday)
Water Mizu/sui 水曜日 (sui youbi / Wednesday)
Tree, wood Moku/Boku/Ki/Gi 木曜日 (moku youbi / Thursday)
Gold, money Kin/Kon/Kane 金曜日 (kin youbi / Friday)
Earth, soil Do/To/Tsuchi 土曜日 (do youbi / Saturday)
used (only) for a designation of days of the week You

See it. Believe it. Be it.


i have a problem ! i don't know the mean of "suiheryu" plz reply me .. thx you !
Dear Myanmar Citizen, I'm not quite sure where you're finding "suiheryu". The only complex word I suggest containing "sui" (water) is the very basic "suiyoubi" (wednesday). I understand, however, how the Japanese Kanji (consisting of ""you" and "bi") may have legitimate alternative readings in Mandarin, Cantonese, and even Korean (North & South?). The "Youbi" reading I mention here is purely the Japanese. Thanks for the question!

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