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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Japanese language and Okinawan pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-ja}}, {{IPAc-ja}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

Examples in the charts are Japanese words transliterated according to the Hepburn romanization system.

See Japanese phonology for a more thorough discussion of the sounds of Japanese.

IPA Example English approximation
Kana Romanization
b しょ, , ァージョン basho, kabin, vājon bug
びょうき byōki beauty
ç と, ひょ hito, hyō hue
ɕ た, っしょ shita, isshō sheep
d うも, dōmo, dōdō doctor
dz[1] っと, , ッズ zutto, zenzen, kizzu[2] cards
[1] ぶん, ょじょ, ッジ jibun, jojo, ejji[2] jeep
ɸ fuji roughly like phew!
ɡ[3] っこう, りん, んこう gakkō, ringo, ginkō goat
ɡʲ ぎょ kigyō argue
h ん, はは hon, haha hat
j くしゃ, yakusha, yuzu yacht
k る, っき kuru, hakki skate
きょうかい, っきょ kyōkai, kekkyoku skew
m かん, ぱい, もんも mikan, senpai, monmon much
みゃ myaku mute
n っとう, たん nattō, kantan not
ɲ わ, んにゃ, ちょう niwa, konnyaku, kinchō canyon
ŋ[3] ご, きょく ringo, nankyoku pink
ɴ にほ nihon roughly like long
p ン, たんぽぽ pan, tanpopo span
っぴょ happyō spew
ɾ く, roku, sora American better
ɾʲ りょうり ryōri American party
s る, さっそ suru, sassō soup
t べる, とって taberu, totte stop
かい, っちゃ chikai, ketchaku[2] itchy
ts なみ, っつ tsunami, ittsui[2] cats
ɰ[4] さび wasabi roughly like was
ɰ̃[5] いき, , しん fun'iki, denwa, anshin sin
z[1] , aza, tsuzuku zoo
ʑ[1] かい, じょ mijikai, jojo vision
ʔ あつ atsu'! uh-oh
IPA Example English approximation
Kana Romanization
a aru father
e eki bet
i iru meet
[6] shita whispered meet
o oni story
ɯ[7] なぎ unagi shoot, but unrounded
ɯ̥[6] きやき sukiyaki same as above, but whispered
IPA Description Example English approximation
ː Long vowel hyōmei, ojiisan re-equalize
Pitch drop[8] [kaꜜki] (牡蠣, 'oyster'),
[kakiꜜ] (, 'fence')
/ˈmæri/ (marry),
/məˈr/ (Marie)
. Syllabification nin'i [ɲiɰ̃.i] higher /ˈh.ər/


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Voiced fricatives [z, ʑ] are generally pronounced as affricates [dz, ] in word-initial positions and after the moraic nasal /N/ ([n] before [dz] and [ɲ] before [dʑ]) or the sokuon /Q/ (spelled ッ, only in loanwords). Actual realizations of these sounds vary (see Yotsugana).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 When an affricate consonant is geminated, only the closure component of it is repeated: [kiddzɯ], [eddʑi], [ittsɯi], [kettɕakɯ].
  3. 3.0 3.1 A declining number of speakers pronounce word-medial /ɡ/ as [ŋ] (Vance 2008:214), but /ɡ/ is always represented by [ɡ] in this system.
  4. [ɰ], romanized w, is the consonant equivalent of the vowel [ɯ], which is pronounced with varying degrees of rounding, depending on dialect.
  5. The syllable-final n (moraic nasal) is pronounced as some kind of nasalized vowel before a vowel, semivowel ([j, ɰ]) or fricative ([ɸ, s, ɕ, ç, h]). [ɰ̃] is a conventional notation undefined for the exact place of articulation (Vance 2008:97).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Close vowels [i, ɯ] become voiceless [i̥, ɯ̥] when short and surrounded by voiceless consonants within a word. When the second consonant is [ɸ], [ç] or [h], or when both consonants are fricatives (including the second component of an affricate), devoicing is much less likely to occur (Fujimoto 2015), so vowels in such environments are not transcribed as voiceless (nor are word-final or non-close vowels, whose devoicing is also less consistent). Where close vowels that would be devoiced according to the above rules occur in succession, however, usually whichever is accented or, if neither is, the second remains voiced (Fujimoto 2015:189), so transcribe them accordingly: [kɯꜜɕi̥kɯmo, tsɯ̥kɯɕi]. These rules may be overridden by citing a reliable source that marks devoicing, such as NHK (2016) or Kindaichi & Akinaga (2014), if the word being transcribed appears in it.
  7. [ɯ], romanized u, exhibits varying degrees of rounding depending on dialect. In Tokyo dialect, it is either unrounded or compressed [ɯᵝ], meaning the sides of the lips are held together without horizontal protrusion, unlike protruded [u].
  8. A pitch drop may occur only once per word and does not occur in all words. The mora before a pitch drop has a high pitch. When it occurs at the end of a word, the following grammatical particle has a low pitch.


  • Fujimoto, Masako (2015). "Vowel devoicing". In Kubozono, Haruo (ed.). Handbook of Japanese Phonetics and Phonology. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 167–214. doi:10.1515/9781614511984.167. ISBN 978-1-61451-252-3.
  • Kindaichi, Haruhiko; Akinaga, Kazue, eds. (2014). 新明解日本語アクセント辞典 (in Japanese) (2nd ed.). Tokyo: Sanseido. ISBN 978-4-385-13672-1.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  • NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute, ed. (2016). NHK日本語発音アクセント新辞典 (in Japanese). Tokyo: NHK Publishing. ISBN 978-4-14-011345-5.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  • Vance, Timothy J. (2008). The Sounds of Japanese. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-5216-1754-3.