The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Japanese language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA 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 about
びょうき byōki rebuke
ç と, ひょ hito, hyō hue
ɕ た, っしょ shita, isshō sheep
d うも, dōmo, dōdō today
dz[1] ぜん, あん, ッズ zazen, anzen, kizzu[2] cards
[1] ょじょ, かん, ッジ jojo, kanja, ejji[2] jeep
ɸ fuji phew!
ɡ[3] っこう, りん, んこう gakkō, ringo, ginkō again
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[4] 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 atom
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
w[5] さび wasabi roughly like was
ɰ̃[6] いき, , しん fun'iki, denwa, anshin sin
z[1] ん, zazen, 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
[7] shita whispered meet
o oni story
ɯ[8] なぎ unagi shoot
ɯ̥[7] きやき sukiyaki whispered shoot
IPA Description Example English approximation
ː Long vowel hyōmei, ojiisan re-equalize
Pitch drop[9] [kaꜜki] (牡蠣, 'oyster'),
[kakiꜜ] (, 'fence')
/ˈmæri/ (marry),
/məˈr/ (Marie)
. Syllabification nin'i [ɲiɰ̃.i] higher /ˈh.ər/


  1. ^ a b c d Voiced fricatives [z, ʑ] are generally pronounced as affricates [dz, ] in utterance-initial positions and after the moraic nasal /N/ ([n] before [dz] and [ɲ] before [dʑ]) or the sokuon /Q/ (only in loanwords). Actual realizations of these sounds vary (see Yotsugana).
  2. ^ a b c d When an affricate consonant is geminated, only the closure component of it is repeated: [kiddzɯ, eddʑi, ittsɯi, kettɕakɯ].
  3. ^ a b A declining number of speakers pronounce word-medial /ɡ/ as [ŋ] (Vance 2008:214), but /ɡ/ is always represented as [ɡ] in this system.
  4. ^ The utterance-final nasal is traditionally described as uvular [ɴ], but instrumental studies have found that this is inaccurate and the actual realization varies (Maekawa 2023). However, an alternative transcription has yet to be established, so ⟨ɴ⟩ is used.
  5. ^ [w] is phonetically a bilabial approximant [β̞], but it is traditionally described as a velar [ɰ] or labialized velar [w] approximant and transcribed with ⟨ɰ⟩ or ⟨w⟩ (Maekawa 2020).
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ a b 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, usually whichever vowel is accented is voiced; if neither is accented, the second is voiced (Fujimoto 2015:189): [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.
  8. ^ [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].
  9. ^ 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.


See also[edit]