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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. Sounds occurring only as allophones are included for narrow transcription.

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.

IPA Hiragana example Transliteration English approximation
b ?, basho, kabin bug
b? by?ki beauty
ç ??, hito, hy? hue
? ??, shita, issh? sheep
d ?, d?mo, d?d? doctor
dz[1] ?, , zutto, zenzen, kizzu[2] cards
z[1] ??, aza, tsuzuku zoo
d?[1] ?, , jibun, jojo, ejji[2] jeep
?[1] ??, mijikai, jojo vision
? ?? fuji roughly like foot
?[3] ?, , gakk?, gogo, gink? goat
[3] ?? kigy? argue
h ??, hon, haha hat
j ?, yakusha, yuyushii yacht
k ??, kuru, hakki skate
k? , ky?kai, kekkyoku skew
m ?, , mikan, senpai, monmon much
m? myaku mute
n ?, natt? , kantan not
? ??, , niwa, konnyaku, kinch? canyon
?[3] ???, ringo, nankyoku pink
? ? nihon roughly like long
p ??, pan, tampopo span
p? ?? happy? spew
??, roku, sora American better
ry?ri American party
s ??, suru, sass? soup
t ?, taberu, totte stop
ts ?, tsunami, ittsui[2] cats
t? ?, chikai, ketchaku[2] itchy
?[4] ? wasabi roughly like was
[5] ??, , fun'iki, denwa, anshin sin
? ?! atsu'! uh-oh (glottal stop)
IPA Hiragana example Transliteration English approximation
a ?? aru father
e ??, eki hey
i ?? iru meet
i?[6] shita whispered meet
o ??, oni American owe
?[7] ? unagi roughly like food
[7][6] sukiyaki roughly like whispered food
IPA Description Japanese example English approximation
: Long vowel hy?mei, ojiisan re-equalize
? Tone drop[8] [ka?ki] (?"oyster"), [kaki?] (?"fence")  (merry),  (Marie)
. Syllabification nin'i [?i.i] react 


  1. ^ a b c d In dialects including the Tokyo dialect, the voiced fricatives [z, ?] are generally pronounced as affricates [dz, d?] in word-initial positions and after the moraic nasal /N/ (pronounced [n] before [dz] and [?] before [d?]) or the sokuon /Q/ (spelled ?, only found in loans). However, actual realization of these sounds varies greatly depending on region and speaker (see Yotsugana).
  2. ^ a b c d When an affricate consonant is gemintated, only the closure component of it is repeated: [kiddz?], [edd?i], [itts?i], [kett?ak?].
  3. ^ a b c When placed between vowels, /?/ is sometimes pronounced [?] by older speakers.
  4. ^ [?], romanized w, is the consonant equivalent of the vowel [?], which is pronounced with varying degrees of rounding depending on dialect.
  5. ^ The moraic nasal /N/ is pronounced as some kind of nasalized vowel before a vowel, semivowel or fricative. [] 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 [?] become voiceless (marked by a ring under the symbol) when unaccented and surrounded by voiceless consonants.
  7. ^ a b [?], romanized u, exhibits varying degrees of rounding depending on dialect. In the Tokyo dialect, it is either unrounded or compressed ([]), meaning the sides of the lips are held together without horizontal protrusion, rather than protruded [u].
  8. ^ The position of this downstep, which does not occur in all words, varies between dialects and is usually not indicated. The downstep is a drop in pitch, and the word rises in pitch before the ?. When ? occurs after the final syllable of a word, any attached grammatical particles have a low tone.

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