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Months in Japanese - What Are Their Names? - January, February, etc.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
The names of the months in Japanese are not like the names of the months in English. In English, we have these very name-like names: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December. In Japanese, however, they are literally just numbers.

Yep, you heard that right. Literally just numbers:
  1. January. ichigatsu 一月
  2. February. nigatsu 二月
  3. March. sangatsu 三月
  4. April. shigatsu 四月
  5. May. gogatsu 五月
  6. June. rokugatsu 六月
  7. July. shichigatsu 七月
  8. August. hachigatsu 八月
  9. September. kugatsu 九月
  10. October. jyuugatsu 十月
  11. November. jyuuichigatsu 十一月
  12. December. jyuunigatsu 十二月

You might be asking: well, where are the numbers? I don't see "one" "two" three"? Well, that's because those are Japanese numbers, not English numbers, obviously.

The names of the months in Japanese such literally just numbers names that you often see them written not with kanji but with actual Arabic numbers. Like January being written as ichi gatsu 1月, or December being written like jyuu ni gatsu 12月.

(by the way, name of the anime 3-gatsu no lion 3月のライオン  means literally "Lion of March")

Not The Moon

The word for "moon" in Japanese is tsuki 月. It has the same kanji, but a different reading. (see kun'yomi and on'yomi readings of kanji). I can't really say the moon has nothing to do with the months, but take care not to mistake one word with the other, because they are not the same.

Also, the words for the moon phases in Japanese include stuff like "new moon," shingetsu 新月. That is not "new month," it's "new moon."

Difference Between 月 and ヶ月 (Gatsu And Kagetsu)

Now, if you're familiar with the Japanese counters, you might have noticed the names of the months look like we are actually saying "six months" and not "sixth month" when we say something like roku gatsu 6月.

This is normal to think, because it's confusing as fuck.

What happens is that to say "six months" in Japanese you actually say rokukagetsu 六ヶ月 (6ヶ月), not rokugatsu 六月 (6月). Note it''s kagetsu かげつ not gatsu がつ. Here's a list:

The names of the months in Japanese: "January" ichigatsu 一月, "February" nigatsu 二月 "March" sangatsu 三月 "April" shigatsu 四月 "May" gogatsu 五月 "June" rokugatsu 六月 "July" shichigatsu 七月 "August" hachigatsu 八月 "September" kugatsu 九月 "October" jyuugatsu 十月 "November" jyuuichigatsu 十一月 "Dezember" jyuunigatsu 十二月

So if something happens in June, it happens in roku gatsu 六月, but if something takes 6 months of time to happen, then it's roku kagetsu 六ヶ月.

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