日本語 | Telling the Time 時間

Time, translated into Japanese is 時間 (jikan), made up of the kanji for hour and interval. This post discusses how to tell the time in Japanese.

Hours

The kanji for hour is 時, pronounced ji. Hours are indicated by using the number as the word’s root, then adding 時 as the suffix.

English Kanji Romanised
1 o’clock 一時 Ichiji
2 o’clock 二時 Niji
3 o’clock 三時 Sanji
4 o’clock 四時 Yoji
5 o’clock 五時 Goji
6 o’clock 六時 Rokuji
7 o’clock 七時 Shichiji
8 o’clock 八時 Hachiji
9 o’clock 九時 Kuji
10 o’clock 十時 Jūji
11 o’clock 十一時 Jūichiji
12 o’clock 十二時 Jūniji

 

There are two ways to show whether it is am or pm. The literal translation is午前 (gozen) for am, and午後 (gogo) for pm. These go before the number, for example: 午後八時  (gogo hachiji) is eight pm.

Another way to indicate the time of day is to say “in the morning/afternoon/night”. In Japanese, this is  朝の (asa no) = in the morning,  昼の (hiru no) = at noon,  夜の (yoru no) = at night.

Again, this is put before the number, for example: 朝の六時 (asa no rokuji) is six in the morning.

 

Minutes

When talking about minutes, the number is also used as the root. The kanji for minute is 分, and pronounced as either pun or fun.  分 is added onto the number as a suffix.

English Kanji Romanised
1 minute 一分 Ippun
2 minutes 二分 Nifun
3 minutes 三分 Sanpun
4 minutes 四分 Yonpun
5 minutes 五分 Gofun
6 minutes 六分 Roppun
7 minutes 七分 Nanafun
8 minutes 八分 Happun/Hachifun
9 minutes 九分 Kyūfun
10 minutes 十分 Jūppun/Jippun
11 minutes 十一分 Jūippun
12 minutes 十二分 Jūnifun

 

These follow the same numerical pattern as regular numbers. However, to say it is half past the hour, the word for half, 半 (han) is used after the hour, for example: 三時半 is half past three.

 

Asking the time

To ask what time it is, the phrase is 今何時ですか? (Ima nanji desu ka). This is literally translated as “Right now, what time is it?”.

To respond to the question, the sentence structure is hour + minutes + desu.

e.g.

Q: 今何時ですか?
Ima nanji desu ka?
What time is it?

A: 二時五分です。
Niji gofun desu.
It’s five minutes past two.

 

*Any native Japanese speakers, please feel free to make any corrections. This information is based on studying from the Genki series of textbooks (Genki I, 2nd edition).*

For more language posts, click here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s