Hiragana う

Japanese Hiragana U

Transliteration u
Section Vowels
Hiragana Man'yōgana
Stroke Number 2

in hiragana or in katakana (romanised u) is one of the Japanese kana, each of which represents one mora. In the modern Japanese system of alphabetical order, they occupy the third place in the modern Gojūon (五十音) system of collating kana. In the Iroha, they occupied the 24th position, between and . In the Gojūon chart (ordered by columns, from right to left), う lies in the first column (あ行, "column A") and the third row (う段, "row U"). Both represent the sounds Template:Audio-IPA. In the Ainu language, the small katakana ゥ represents a diphthong, and is written as w in the Latin alphabet.

Form variantsEdit

Form Rōmaji Hiragana Katakana
Normal a/i/u/e/o
(あ行 a-gyō)
Uu, wu
うう, をぅ
ウウ, ウゥ
Addition dakuten v-
(あ行 a-gyō)
Other additional forms
Form A (W-)
Romaji Hiragana
Wi うぃ
We うぇ
Wya うゃ
Wyu うゅ
Wye うぃぇ
Wyo うょ
Form B (V-)
Romaji Hiragana
Va ゔぁ
Vi ゔぃ
Ve ゔぇ
Vo ゔぉ
Vya ゔゃ
Vyu ゔゅ
Vye ゔぃぇ ヴィェ
Vyo ゔょ

The hiragana form with dakuten, ゔ, representing the sound "v", is rarely seen on older words, since the sound does not occur in native Japanese words. However, it is becoming more common with Western influences.


Both う and ウ originate, via man'yōgana, from the kanji (pronounced u and meaning space).

Variant formsEdit

Scaled-down versions of the characters (ぅ, ゥ) are used to create new morae that do not exist in the Japanese language, such as トゥ (tu). This convention is relatively new, and many older loanwords do not use it. For example, in the phrase Tutankhamun's cartouche, the recent loan cartouche uses the new phonetic technique, but the older loan Tutankhamun uses (tsu) as an approximation:

タンカーメン の カルトゥーシュ
Tsutankāmen no karutushu

The character う is also used, in its full-sized form, to lengthen "o" sounds. For example, the word 構想 is written in hiragana as こうそう (kousou), pronounced kōsō. In a few words the character (o) is used instead for morphological or historical reasons.

The character ウ can take dakuten to form ヴ (vu), a sound foreign to the Japanese language and traditionally approximated by ブ (bu).

Pronunciation Edit

Word with 'う' Edit

'う' at the beginning Edit

'う' in the middle Edit

'う' at the end Edit

Stroke order Edit

Hiragana う stroke order animation

Stroke order in writing う

Trivia Edit