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Learn how to say the days of the week in Japanese
Learn how to say the days of the week in Japanese
Days of the week
In this lesson, we will be learning about the days of the week such as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on. It’s a simple lesson with a touch of history and modern culture. I hope you will all enjoy this lesson, if you have further questions please leave a comment below.
Weekday Quick History and Modern Use
The seven day week is used in Japan like much of the rest of the world. Its modern usage was introduced during the Meiji era (late 1800’s) but was used for astrological purposes since the 9th century. Standard workdays are Monday through Friday and the weekend is considered Saturday and Sunday. It is common for businessmen and women to work overtime on the weekend (some say on average, once a month) but should not be considered a rule.

Schools used to have a 6-day program (Monday-Saturday) but has abandoned it in 2002 in favor of a half-day during Saturdays but this rule however, does not apply to all schools.
The Weekdays
Learning each weekday can be simplified by breaking the word into two pieces; the meaning and day. In English we have Monday [Mon][day] where [Mon] means Moon and [day] means Day, “Moon Day”. In Japanese, it’s the very same, getsuyoubi [getsu][youbi] means Moon Day (of the week) and would be written as , 月曜日notice that there are no kana used for weekdays.

Before we begin, please take note that “Day of the week” has been omitted in the meaning to prevent redundancy. For linguists and advanced students, this is not an advanced lesson therefore we will for now, ignore the topic of on and kun readings.

Learning the Kanji
While there may be 21 kanji used in all days of the week, there are only 8 unique kanji characters to learn, most which have few strokes.

The Elements

Day of the Week is expressed by using a compound word combining 曜日together. Please take note that the kanji for Sun 日, also means day.
The Weekdays
  • Familiarize yourself with the pattern: element + day (of the week)
  • Study each day of the week individually starting with either日曜日or月曜日
  • Do not ignore the Kanji, it is uncommon to ever see the days of the week written differently
  • When you are familiar with each day of the week, reverse it “Sunday, Saturday, Friday…”
  • When you are familiar with the reversal method, try saying them randomly while understanding what days of the week you are saying.
  • Print flash cards to learn on the go
  • Be sure to practice every day, if it’s Wednesday, practice saying and writing 水曜日.
What to Learn Next
We suggest that if you feel confident in knowing each day of the week, to proceed to learning the Months in the Year, and Days in a Month (which is different than Days in a Week).

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