The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Japanese language and Okinawan pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

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

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

IPAHiragana exampleTransliterationEnglish approximation
bしょ, basho, kabinbug
ç, ひょhito, hyōhue
ɕ, っしょshita, isshō sheep
dうも, dōmo, dōdōdoctor
dz[1]っと, , ッズzutto, zenzen, kizzu[2]cards
z[1], aza, tsuzukuzoo
[1]ぶん, ょじょ, ッジjibun, jojo, ejji[2]jeep
ʑ[1]かい, じょmijikai, jojovision
ɸfujiroughly like foot
ɡ[3]っこう, ごご, んこうgakkō, gogo, ginkōgoat
h, ははhon, hahahat
jくしゃ, ゆゆしいyakusha, yuyushiiyacht
k, っきkuru, hakkiskate
きょうかい, っきょkyōkai, kekkyokuskew
mかん, ぱい, もんもmikan, senpai, monmonmuch
nっとう, たんnattō , kantannot
ɲ, んにゃ, ちょうniwa, konnyaku, kinchōcanyon
ŋ, きょくringo, nankyokupink
ɴにほnihonroughly like long
p, たんぽぽpan, tampopospan
ɾ, roku, soraAmerican better
ɾʲりょうりryōriAmerican party
s, さっそsuru, sassōsoup
tべる, とってtaberu, tottestop
tsなみ, っつtsunami, ittsui[2]cats
かい, っちゃchikai, ketchaku[2]itchy
ɰ[4]さびwasabiroughly like was
ɰ̃[5]いき, , しんfun'iki, denwa, anshinsin
ʔあつatsu'!uh-oh (glottal stop)
IPAHiragana exampleTransliterationEnglish approximation
[6]shitawhispered meet
ɯ[7]なぎunagiroughly like food
ɯ̥[7][6]きやきsukiyakiroughly like whispered food
IPADescriptionJapanese exampleEnglish approximation
ːLong vowelhyōmei, ojiisanre-equalize
Pitch drop[8][kaꜜki] (‎"oyster"), [kakiꜜ] (‎"fence")i/ (merry), / (Marie)
.Syllabificationnin'i [ɲiɰ̃.i]react t/
  • notes


  1. ^ a b c d In dialects such as the Tokyo dialect, the voiced fricatives [z, ʑ] are generally pronounced as affricates [dz, ] in word-initial positions and after the moraic nasal /N/ (pronounced [n] before [dz] and [ɲ] before [dʑ]) or the sokuon /Q/ (spelled , only in loanwords). Actual realizations of these sounds vary among speakers (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], 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.
  6. ^ a b In many dialects including the Tokyo dialect, close vowels [i] and [ɯ] become voiceless (marked by a ring under the symbol) when surrounded by voiceless consonants and not followed by a pitch drop.
  7. ^ a b [ɯ], romanized u, exhibits varying degrees of rounding depending on dialect. In the 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.
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