the months of the year in Japanese

To understand how to write the months of the year in Japanese, it is necessary to know the numbers in Japanese. This is necessary because the months of the year are formed by the numbers in japanese and by the Japanese symbol.

From our studies of Japanese language, we know that  can convey the idea of moon, abbreviated monday and month of the year. Using  as an idea of the month of the year, its pronunciation changes again. And now the Japanese symbols  will be read as がつ.

How to form the months of the year in Japanese

To form the words that represent the months of the year in Japanese, just add one of the numbers in japanese on the left side of . This is because the Japanese language does not have specific words to represent each month of the year (such as January, February, etc.). Instead, the Japanese use the numbers 1 to 12 followed by the symbol . Therefore, March is 三月, which means “third month of the year”.

I imagine this is not a very complicated concept to learn, as we also treat the months of the year in a similar way. The table below shows what the months of the year look like in Japanese.

the months of the year in Japanese
kanji reading Translation
一月 いちがつ January, first month of the year
二月 にがつ February, second month of the year
三月 さんがつ March, third month of the year
四月 しがつ April, fourth month of the year
五月 ごがつ May, fifth month of the year
六月 ろくがつ June, sixth month of the year
七月 しちがつ July, seventh month of the year
八月 はちがつ August, eighth month of the year
九月 くがつ September, ninth month of the year
十月 じゅうがつ October, tenth month of the year
十一月 じゅういちがつ November, eleventh month of the year
十二月 じゅうにがつ December, twelfth month of the year

The days of the month in Japanese

Just as there is no specific word for the days of the month in Portuguese, there is also no word for the days of the month in Japanese. This seems to be a concept much closer to our reality.

When someone asks us the question – “What day is today?”, we simply reply “Today is day first.” or "the twenty-seventh." In the Japanese language, things work in a very similar way.

The only different thing we need to do is use the Japanese numbers and add the kanji , which in this case will have its pronunciation changed to にち, representing the meaning of “day”. Look at the table below:

The days of the month in Japanese
kanji reading Translation
一日 ついたち First day
二日 ふつか day two
三日 みっか Day three
四日 よっか day four
五日 いつか Day five
六日 むいか day six
七日 なのか day seven
八日 ようか day eight
九日 ここのか day nine
十日 とおか Day ten
十一日 じゅういちにち day eleven
十二日 じゅうににち day twelve
十三日 じゅうさんにち day thirteen
十四日 じゅうよっか day fourteen
十五日 じゅうごにち day fifteen
十六日 じゅうろくにち day sixteen
十七日 じゅうしちにち day seventeen
十八日 じゅうはちにち day eighteen
十九日 じゅうくにち day nineteen
二十日 はつか Day twenty
二十一日 にじゅういちにち day twenty one
二十二日 にじゅうににち day twenty two
二十三日 にじゅうさんにち day twenty three
二十四日 にじゅうよっか day twenty four
二十五日 にじゅうごにち day twenty five
二十六日 にじゅうろくにち day twenty six
二十七日 にじゅうしちにち day twenty seven
二十八日 にじゅうはちにち day twenty eight
二十九日 にじゅうくにち day twenty nine
三十日 さんじゅうにち day thirty
三十一日 さんじゅういちにち day thirty one

When we look at kanji from one to ten, we are faced with the first complications. Numbers, when used to represent the days of the month, have a different reading than what we learn in articles about the numbers in japanese. For example, four in japanese is よんwhile “the fourth or fourth day of the month” is よっか. Furthermore, we must be especially careful not to confuse 四日 with 八日.

Also note that reading よっか is repeated for the 14th and 24th. And, finally, the 20th has a special reading はつか. As for the other numbers, they follow the same pattern as the numbers we've learned so far.

Indo-Arabic numbers and months of the year in Japanese

Despite having written this page entirely in kanji, it is very common to find the words we learn today written with the Indo-Arabic numbers (the western numbers 1, 2, 3, 4…). In cases like these, just swap the Japanese numbers for the Western numbers.

The thirtieth day, for example, can be written as 三十日 or how 30日, and the month 八月can also be written as 8 月. Despite this, remember that the pronunciation will always be in Japanese.

Kanji calligraphy exercise

Below are the Japanese ideographic symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji, copy and paste them into Worksheet for Kana and Kanji Practice , a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write yourself. Just print and practice.