What Is “m” In Japanese? [ma, mi, mu, me, mo]

Mamma Mia? No. Mami Mume? Yes. What the heck am I talking about? I’m talking about the sounds that begin with today’s special letter. What is “m” in Japanese?

Today is going to be super easy, because you can already make these sounds really well. That’s the good news!

And the bad news? There’s isn’t any. Let’s begin!

The 5 [m] Sounds In Japanese

You pretty much make the Japanese [m] sound the exact same way that you make the English one.

I will say that it’s maybe not as vibrational as the English [m], but that’s probably just because it gets used at the beginning of syllables, whereas in English it’s at the end a lot of times.

In other words, you start a sound with [m] in Japanese a lot so you use it as more of a springboard onto the following sound, but in English with words such as “mom” or Bomb” you land on the [m] sound so it sounds like it gets more emphasis.

That being said, let’s take a look at them now.

ま = ma

み = mi

む = mu

め = me

も = mo

Since there’s not too much to discuss in this group, let’s move on to the writing portion of this lesson.

Calligraphy Class

Calligraphy is “a visual art related to writing” and can be seen in very beautiful letters and writing. Some people take classes so that they can turn normal handwriting to the next level and make it something that truly pleases the eyes.

If you have decided to continue writing out the hiragana to learn them, then think about making each character visually appealing and something that is really nice when you read it.

If you have decided to use a different tool for learning this script, such as the flashcard program we talked about in the last lesson, then you won’t really need to do these parts of the lessons anymore.

ま = ma

み = mi

む = mu

め = me

も = mo

Also, if you would like some tips on how to improve your handwriting, check out this next section where I share my ideas and what has worked for me in the past.

Tips For Better Penmanship

Penmanship is “the art or skill of writing by hand.” While it’s not something that people do a lot today, it can actually make a big difference when you use it.

For example, it is much more meaningful these days to hand write a letter to your friends or family and send it to them in the mail instead of just emailing them or sending them a message on Facebook.

This is true even when your handwriting isn’t all that good (me in English, lol).

But if you would like to write Japanese and have it look well written, then here are some of the things that have worked for me.

First of all, learn the correct stroke order for each kana and practice writing it that way.

Second, write slowly at first and focus on technique (quality) rather than on how many you can get done (quantity).

Third, try writing in boxes. This is similar to how kids practice writing English letters by keeping them all the same height with a top line and a bottom line.

In Japanese, it’s a little different because you are trying to keep all characters proportional to one another within the context of each character fitting snugly into a square.

This part might be a little hard to do, since you’ll have to find the right kind of paper. Graph paper is the basic idea, but those particular squares are too small.

Thankfully you can do a search on Hiragana Writing Practice Sheets and then print out the ones you find online.

Lastly, print out a sheet of paper with rows of the kana written on them in a grey color. You can then trace each character with a black pen to fill them in.

Happy writing!

Practice Words, Practice Words

There’s actually quite a few example words for today. Of course, some of them are from the last lesson and there are other sounds sprinkled in from others as well.

That being said, the emphasis is always on the information you just learned.

ふね = Boat

みみ = Ear

はは = Mother

まもの = Monster

もとめ = Request

ほか = Other

ひ = Fire

I think I mentioned this once before, but at the very end I am going to give you a master file of all these example words that you can download for free and practice listening to.

So don’t worry about trying to remember the words we’ve covered so far because you are going to have another opportunity to review them again later on.

Today’s Task List

Remember, if you are using flashcard, then there is no need to do the writing part below.

  • Practice every sound three or more times.
  • Write out each kana five or more times.
  • Practice each word three or more times.

And of course, when I say practice each sound or word I mean listen to them and then repeat what you hear.

Good work on today’s stuff! Ready for more?

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