If you want to learn the days of the week Japanese, you’ve come to the right place! Before modern times, Japan didn’t use a seven day calendar. Starting around 800 AD, a seven-day calendar was brought by Buddhists from India, but it was mostly used for astrological purposes. Japan originally worked on a lunar calendar that had no weeks, and each month had a different name. But once they adopted a weekly calendar, they had to give names to the days of the week in Japanese. Where did they get them? Since the days of the week were named after the planets in ancient Greece and Rome, that system was somehow spread all over the world! In 1876, the Japanese days of the week were adopted to officially align with the Western system. But you might say, Hey! These days of the week are named after elements, not planets! But you can read on to find out why… and help you learn the days of the week Japanese, as well as where all the names came from!
Japanese Days of the Week Infographic!
Each of the days of the week Japanese corresponds to an element name from the ancient Chinese. Each of those elements is also the name for a planet. It’s important to remember that 土 is the kanji for “earth/soil” and NOT the kanji for the planet Earth. 土 is actually the kanji for the planet Saturn! Also 金 refers to the kanji for metal/gold. Don’t think of it as gold in terms of money, but rather gold or metal as an element from the earth!
Here are links to the full dictionary entries for every day of the week in Japanese:
Sunday in Japanese: 日曜日 (にちようび)
Monday in Japanese: 月曜日 (げつようび)
Tuesday in Japanese: 火曜日 (かようび)
Wednesday in Japanese: 水曜日 (すいようび)
Thursday in Japanese: 木曜日 (もくようび)
Friday in Japanese: 金曜日 (きんようび)
Saturday in Japanese: 土曜日 (どようび)