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Hiragana Lesson 6: はひふへほ ばびぶべぼ ぱぴぷぺぽ

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Illustration and voice by Shou Yukiya Bookmark and Share

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Hiragana Romaji Mnemonics




H and a are hidden inside.




The 'hee...hee...' sound made when one smiles.




  1. It looks like an 'f' flipped horizontally.
  2. It looks like a chicken foot.




  1. The rotor of a helicopter
  2. This way to heaven





'hoT' is hidden inside.

Photo of chicken foot is taken by Fir0002, used under GNU1.2.

How to pronounce ふ?

While this Hiragana is usually written as "fu" in Romaji, its pronunciation is different from English "fu". Now, try to pronounce some English words that begin with the letter "F", such as "fast", "four", "full", etc. Do you notice that when you pronounce these words, your upper front teeth touch your lower lip slightly? This is how "f" in a word is pronounced in English.

ふ in Japanese is pronounced differently. When you pronounce this Hiragana, your upper front teeth should not touch your lower lip. In other words, to pronounce it correctly, just pronounce it like English "fu" without letting the upper front teech touch the lower lip.

The IPA for the consonant of this Hiragana is Φ. Very few languages have this sound.

About ぱぴぷぺぽ

In Japanese grammar textbook, they are called handakuon, or semi-voiced consonsants. But actually they are unvoiced.

Same as ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, Japanese pa, pi, pu, pe, po are not as aspirated as English. You may notice that they are like the p sound after an "s" such as "spa, spit, spoon, spat, sport".

They usually appear after ん and Sokuon っ. A tiny circle is used on the top right corner to indicate that they are handakuon.

How to write:

hiragana ha

hiragana hi

hiragana fu

hiragana he

hiragana ho

The stroke order illustrations are made by D.328, used under CCSA3.0.