How to Tell Time in Japanese

How to tell time in Japanese

Telling the time in Japanese isn’t too difficult, but it takes some practice. You will need to know the basics of counting in Japanese (see here).


Very simply the formula is:

Hour number + ๆ™‚ ji + Minutes number + ๅˆ† fun

The trick is, the ๅˆ† changes with some numbers. It is recommended to learn the following chart:

 

Vocabulary needed:
ๆ™‚้–“ jikan time
ๅˆๅพŒ gogo afternoon; P.M.
ๅˆๅ‰ gozen morning; A.M.
ๅ‰ mae before
Minutes: (the * means irregular pronunciation)
ๆ™‚้–“ jikan – Time
ๅˆๅ‰ gozen – A.M. (morning)
ๅˆๅพŒ gogo – P.M. (afternoon)
ๅ‰ mae – Before (before the hour)

1:15 P.M. – gogo ichiji juugofun
7 A.M. – gozen shichiji
6:30 – rokuji sanjuupun
6:31 – rokuji sanjuu ippun
6:45 P.M. – gogo rokuji yonjuugo fun
15 ’til 7 – shichiji juugo fun mae

*ไธ€ๅˆ† ippun 1 minute
ไบŒๅˆ† ni fun 2 minutes
ไธ‰ๅˆ† san pun 3 minutes
ๅ››ๅˆ† yon pun 4 minutes
ไบ”ๅˆ† go fun 5 minutes
*ๅ…ญๅˆ† roppun 6 minutes
ไธƒๅˆ† nana fun 7 minutes
*ๅ…ซๅˆ† happun or hachifun 8 minutes
ไนๅˆ† kyuu fun 9 minutes
*ๅๅˆ† juppun 10 minutes
*ๅไธ€ๅˆ† juu ippun 11 minutes

There are two pronunciation changes going on here.

1) Changes to the number itself
2) Changes to the ‘fun’

1) Changes to the number itself
The number is changed in 1, 6, 8 (sometimes) and 10:

Normal Number: Changed Number:
ไธ€ ichi
ๅ…ญ roku
ๅ…ซ hachi
ๅ juu
ไธ€ๅˆ† ippun
ๅ…ญๅˆ† roppun
ๅ…ซๅˆ† happun (or often ใฏใกใตใ‚“)
ๅๅˆ† juppun (without the extra ใ†)

2) Changes to the ‘fun’
The ๅˆ† can change to ‘pun’ or sometimes ‘bun’ after some sounds. Please note, this is highly regional and the following should be used as a guide for further study.

Affected Numbers
ไธ€ๅˆ† ippun
ไธ‰ๅˆ† san pun
ๅ››ๅˆ† yon pun

ๅ…ญๅˆ† roppun
ๅ…ซๅˆ† happun (or often ใฏใกใตใ‚“)
ๅๅˆ† juppun

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