Japanese Vocabulary Lesson 5: Week days!

Today’s lesson is about week days! Here they are!

Sunday – 日曜日, にちようび (nichiyoubi)
Monday – 月曜日, げつようび (getsuyoubi)
Tuesday – 火曜日, かようび (kayoubi)
Wednesday – 水曜日, すいようび (suiyoubi)
Thursday – 木曜日, もくようび (mokuyoubi)
Friday – 金曜日, きんようび (kin’youbi)
Saturday – 土曜日, どようび (doyoubi)
Now to the origin of them! Maybe you already know from some other languages!
The answer is… PLANETS!
“Planet” in Japanese is “惑星, わくせい (wakusei)”, and some planets have their names related to week days. Here is the list, now with the planets!
Sunday – 日曜日, にちようび (nichiyoubi) -> 日, ひ – Sun
Monday – 月曜日, げつようび (getsuyoubi) -> 月, つき – Moon
Tuesday – 火曜日, かようび (kayoubi) -> 火星, かせい – Mars
Wednesday – 水曜日, すいようび (suiyoubi) -> 水星, すいせい – Mercury
Thursday – 木曜日, もくようび (mokuyoubi) -> 木星, もくせい – Jupiter
Friday – 金曜日, きんようび (kin’youbi) -> 金星, きんせい – Venus
Saturday – 土曜日, どようび (doyoubi) -> 土星, どせい – Saturn
(Week days)
(Planets in Japanese)
You can see that the first kanji of each planet’s name is the same kanji and has the same reading as its week day! Somehow Uranus, Neptune and Pluto don’t have a correspondence. Maybe at that time they had not yet been discovered, or maybe they simply didn’t use them. Quite interesting this topic! Etymology is indeed fascinating!

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