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How to specify a date in Japanese

In Japanese you mention the biggest unit first and then move onto a smaller unit. So if you want to say a date in full, you need to say it in the order of yyyyねんMMがつDDにち/か

Stating the Year

In English, the year 2021 is pronounced as “twenty twenty-one” but in Japanese a 4-digit dominical year is read as an ordinary number. So 2021 is にせんにじゅういち by the word year, 年(ねん).

If you need help reading the four digits, please watch these videos.

Many official, domestic documents prefer the year to be written with the name of the imperial era. 2021 is the third year of the 令和れいわ era, so it can be written 令和れいわ3年. 令和れいわ can be shortened with the English letter “R.” 

I will list the beginning and ending year of the last 5 eras.

  • 令和れいわ : 1 May 2019 – (ongoing)
  • 平成へいせい: 7 Jan 1989 – 30 Apr 2019
  • 昭和しょうわ: 25 Dec 1926 – 6 Jan 1989
  • 大正たいしょう: 30 Jul 1912 – 24 Dec1926
  • 明治めいじ: 8 Sep 1868 – 29 Jul 1912

Name of each Month

It is basically the number + がつ but you need to be careful with April, July and September.

EnglishKanjiHiragana
January一月いちがつ
February二月にがつ
March三月さんがつ
April四月がつ
May五月ごがつ
June六月ろくがつ
July七月しちがつ/なながつ
August八月はちがつ
September九月がつ
October十月じゅうがつ
November十一月じゅういちがつ
December十二月じゅうにがつ

Name of each Day

It is basically the number + にち but 1st to 10th, 14th, 20th and 24th all end in . You also need to be careful with 17th, 19th, 27th and 29th.

DateKanjiHiragana
1st一日ついたち
2nd二日ふつか
3rd三日みっか
4th四日よっか
5th五日いつか
6th六日むいか
7th七日なのか
8th八日ようか
9th九日ここのか
10th十日とおか
11th 十一日じゅういちにち
12th十二日じゅうににち
13th十三日じゅうさんにち
14th十四日じゅうよっか
15th十五日じゅうごにち
16th十六日じゅうろくにち
17th十七日じゅうしちにち
18th十八日じゅうはちにち
19th十九日じゅうにち
20th二十日はつか
21st二十一日にじゅういちにち
22nd二十二日にじゅうににち
23rd二十三日にじゅうさんにち
24th二十四日にじゅうよっか
25th二十五日にじゅうごにち
26th二十六日にじゅうろくにち
27th二十七日にじゅうしちにち
28th二十八日にじゅうはちにち
29th二十九日にじゅうにち
30th三十日さんじゅうにち
31st三十一日さんじゅういちにち

Suggested Activities

Say all important days in your life in Japanese.

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