Vocab

Japanese Days of the Week – The Easiest Way to Remember!

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Japanese Days of the Week – The Easiest Way to Remember!

Mnemonics Series

We have suffixes for the days of the week – 曜日 “youbi”.
So if you remember the parts without this suffix, you are good to go!

Before we start the mnemonics way, I’ll explain each words.

 

Monday – 月曜日 GETSU-youbi

月 つき means  the  moon.

月 has two more readings, and one of them is げつ (GEtsu)

The words that use “getsu” as the reading in words :

Days of the week : lE.g  Monday – 月曜日 GETSU-youbi.

And for counting months as a length such as

一ヶ月   i-kka-GEtsu = 1 month
二ヶ月   ni-ka-getsu = 2 months
三ヶ月   san-ka-getsu = 3 months
四ヶ月   yon-ka-getsu = 4 months
五ヶ月   go-ka-getsu = 5 months
六ヶ月   ro-kka-getsu = 6 months
七ヶ月   nana-ka-getsu = 7 months
八ヶ月   ha-kka-getsu = 8 months
九ヶ月   kyuu-ka-getsu = 9 months
十ヶ月   ju-kka-getsu = 10 months

After 十ヶ月 (10 months),
10 (十 juu) + 1 months (一ヶ月 i-kka-getsu)  = 11 months
= 十一ヶ月  juu-ikka-getsu

10 + 2 months = 12 months
=十二ヶ月 juu-ni-ka-getsu
etc…

And for words like

先月 sen-GEtsu = last month 
今月 kon-GEtsu = this month
来月 rai-GEtsu = next month

 

 

Another reading is がつ. You use GATSU for the names of months.

E.g
一月 – ichi-GAtsu = January (lit. First month)
二月 ni-GAtsu = February  (lit. Second month)
三月 san-GAtsu = March
四月 shi-GAtsu = April  *Be careful, it’s not “YON-gatsu” but “SHI-gatsu”.
五月 go-GAtsu = May
六月 roku-GAtsu = June
七月 shichi-GAtsu = July  *Be careful, it’s not “NANA-gatsu” but “SCHICHI gatsu”.
八月 hachi-GAtsu = August
九月 KU-gatsu = September  *Be careful, it’s not “KYUU-gatsu” but “KU-gatsu”.
十月 juu-gatsu = October
十一月 juu-ichi-gatsu = November
十二月 juu-ni-gatsu = December

A lot of students get confused with these “GEtsu” and “GAtsu”,
so just remember this rule and you can always use 月 right!

Now I’ll show you the rest of the days of the week.

 

Tuesday – 火曜日 KA-youbi

火 ひ means  “fire“. 
KA is the Chinese reading and it wouldn’t make a sense on its on,
so used in a word. As the word / noun “fire”, use the reading “HI”.

 

Wednesday – 水曜日 SUI-youbi

水 みず means  “water.
Again, “sui” is the Chinese reading. As the noun “water”, use “MIZU”.

 

Thursday – 木曜日 MOKU-youbi

木 き means  “tree / wood“.

 

Friday – 金曜日 KIN-youbi

金 かね means  “money“.
Usually put the honorific prefix お before かね.
= おかね  o-kane = money
Otherwise it sounds rude. (For example, Yakuza would use the word “kane”.)

 

Saturday – 土曜日 DO-youbi

土 つち means  “ground/ earth.
As the word “earth”, we say “地球 (chikyuu)”.

 

Sunday – 日曜日 NICHI-youbi

日 ひ means  “day / sun“.
* Though the kanji 日 means “sun” (e.g 日本 ni-hon = the origin of the sun)
as the word “sun”, we say “太陽 (taiyou)”.

– how to use them in a sentence –

For example, if you want to say “ON Monday / Tuesday…”,
you can use the particle に or は.
E.g
月曜日宿題を出してください。
Getsu-youbi NI shukudai wo dashite-kudasai
= Please hand in / submit your homework on Monday.

You use に particle when putting emphasis on WHEN taking an action.

In other cases, such as in a sentence like
“What will you do on Sunday?”, then “ON Sunday” isn’t the one you really want to ask about so
日曜日、何をしますか。
Nichiyou-bi WA, nani wo shi-masu ka
sounds better.

 

Finally let’s start the mnemonics time!!

Make up your own crazy funny story to remember the order and names!

My story :
Imagine that there is a couple.
The girlfriend has to leave him for her job in another city.
The boyfriend tries everything to make her stay.

On Monday 月曜日GETSU-youbi”

He GETS the moon for her.

getsmoon

But she still says ‘no’ and breaks up with him.

On Tuesday 火曜日KA-youbi”

He was so angry that he sets fire to her CAR.

car youbi

On Wednesday 水曜日SUI-youbi”.

She is ready to leave with her SUItcase.
But then realizes the fire, and tries to put out
the fire by using her suitcase to bring water.

sui youbi

On Thursday 木曜日 MOKU-youbi”

He goes crazy because of her leaving
and being very poor due to the purchase of the moon.

He starts MOCKing a tree.

mockingyoubi

On Friday 金曜日KIN-youbi”

People liked his mocking-tree performance
and gave him money.
Now he has money and is rich like a KINg.

kingyoubi

On Saturday 土曜日DO-youbi”

With that money, he starts a new business.
DOnuts shop in the underground.

Donutsyoubi

On Sunday 日曜日NICHI-youbi”

On a sunny day of Sunday,

a customer complained that
she got aN ITCHY tongue from eating the donut.

He takes her on a date to make it up to her.

nichiyoubi

On Monday 月曜日 “GETSU-youbi”

He finally forGETS about his ex

and HAPPY ENDING x

Misa
Translator / Linguist / Japanese Teacher / Happy World Traveler/ manga, anime, comedy lover. Speaks Japanese, English, Russian and German.

3 Comments

  1. that mnemonic is so funny, but its a little long.

    When I was learning the days of the week it was much easier to hear it in a song.
    the song weeeeek by NEWS, the chorus is all the days of the week as well.
    And its so catchy, so if you memorize you’ll just be in a good mood everytime you think of it.
    the chorus goes:

    明日っからまた日、月、火 ほら水、木回って金、土、日曜
    Ashita, kara mata nichi, gestu, ka, hora sui, moku mawatte kin, dou, nichiyou,

    夢の日々を 大事にいきましょう もういっちょ!
    yume no hibi wo, daiji ni ikimashou, mouichou!

    and a quick translation:
    From tomorrow, back to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, look out Wednesday then Thursday come around to Friday, Saturday, Sunday
    Let’s go on with these cherished days of dreams, one more time!

    and heres the song:
    http://www.downvids.net/news-weeeek-pv-368220.html

  2. If you know the days of the week in a Romance language, and the Japanese names of the planets, it is even more easy.
    Lunedi martedi mercoledi giovedi venerdi samedi domenica (oops, that one doesn’t work, better use English Sunday)
    Moon mars mercury jupiter venus saturn sun
    月 火星 水星 木星 金星 土星 日

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