う in hiragana or ウ 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 む and ゐ. 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.
|Addition dakuten v-|
|Other additional forms|
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.
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 ツ (tsu) as an approximation:
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 お (o) is used instead for morphological or historical reasons.