Originally written around 2016 by Matt Sheridan
Do you know the days of the week in Japanese? Just like our days of the week are named after old Norse and Greek gods along with the Sun and the Moon. Japanese days of the week also share a common theme.
Sunday in English is named after the Sun, interestingly this stays the same in Japanese. Sunday or Nichiyōbi (日曜日) is The Day of the Sun. ☀️
Mondays in English is named after the Moon, and, like the previous day, this stays the same in Japanese. Monday or Getsuyōbi (月曜日) is The Day of the Moon. 🌙
Unfortunately that is where the similarities end. But don’t let that intimidate you! The rest of the days are named after the Asian elements of nature. Starting with Fire. Tuesday is Kayōbi (火曜日) in Japanese and is The Day of Fire. 🔥
I know what you are thinking, “How am I going to remember that?!?” I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Luckily there is an easy was to remember Wednesday, as Wednesday is The Day of Water. Wednesday… Water… W… W… Wednesday is Suiyōbi (水曜日). 💧
Thursday can be remembered in a similar fashion as Thursday is The Day of Trees. Thursday… Trees… T… T… Thursday is Mokuyōbi (木曜日). Think of Mokujin (木人) from Tekken holding a Bokutō (木刀)… or at least that is something that helped me when learning Mokuyōku. 🌲
Friday, is another toughy, but I have faith in you! Friday is The Day of Metal/ Gold! Often, when we get our firsts jobs, Pay Day is usually on a Friday. Chaching! Chaching. Friday is pronounced Kinyōbi (金曜日) in Japanese. Just match up those I’s and you’ll be winning the gold! 💰🥇🏆🎖
Saturday… oh, Saturday. Saturday is named after another heavenly body. A planet! (And a god, but that won’t help us remember this, so calm down.) The planet, Saturn. We also live on a planet! Which planet? Planet Earth! The best planet in our solar system! Earth? That’s right, Saturday is The Day of Earth* in Japanese, Doyōbi (土曜日). 🌎
See that wasn’t tooooooo hard. And learning the days of the week is something we can practice, quite literally, every day.
Sunday — Day of the Sun — Nichiyōbi ☀️
Monday — Day of the Moon — Getsuyōbi 🌙
Tuesday — Day of Fire — Kayōbi 🔥
Wednesday — Day of Water — Suiyōbi 💧
Thursday — Day of Tree/ Wood — Mokuyōbi 🌲
Friday — Day of Metal/ Gold — Kinyōbi 🥇
Saturday — Day of Earth — Doyōbi 🌎
Side Notes: While I don’t think it is important to learn Kanji until after Hiragana and Katakana, I’m going to share some Kanji notes now, so that later review is possible. If you don’t wish to possibly confuse yourself, skip this section.
You may have noticed that in the days of the week all of them have the same body with varying prefixes at the end: -yōbi. Because of this, most the time when you look at a calendar or schedule book this section (~曜日) will not be written down. Instead you’ll just have the beginning Kanji marking the days.
日 Sunday ☀️
月 Monday 🌙
火 Tuesday 🔥
水 Wednesday 💧
木 Thursday 🌲
金 Friday 🥇 🏆 💰
土 Saturday 🌎
These also correspond with the Sun, Moon, and natural elements.
日 Sun/ Day ☀️
月 Moon/ Month 🌙
火 Fire 🔥
水 Water 💧
木 Wood/ Tree🌲
金 Metal/ Gold 🥇
土 Earth* 🌎
*This Earth is more like dirt, soil, and the ground. However making the connection between the planet is a helpful mnemonic devise for remembering the days of the week.