日 - Meaning and history | Japanese Kanji

JLPT N54 strokes
daysunjapancounter for days

Kun readings 🇯🇵

-び-か

On readings 🇨🇳

にちじつ

The kanji derives from the pictogram that originally represented the solar disk and which in its evolution has taken its current form. Each word that contains 日 has to do with the day of the year on the calendar, and also with sunlight.

This ideogram has 4 (かく) traits and is also radical, meaning that it becomes a part within other kanji, like a keyword of the kanji itself.

(あか)るい is an adjective which means bright, clear. As you can see the kanji 明 contains the element 日 "Sun, light"
日本(にほん) Nihon or Nippon is the term that indicates Japan: the Rising Sun, 本 in this case indicates the origin

The adjective "Japanese" derives directly from the Japanese name and pronunciation.

(にち)(よう)() Sunday, the day of the Sun

All terms indicating the day of the week contain the ideogram of day 日 at the end of the word:

  • (げつ)(よう)() Monday
  • ()(よう)() Tuesday
  • (すい)(よう)() Wednesday
  • (もく)(よう)() Thursday
  • (きん)(よう)() Friday
  • ()(よう)() Saturday
  • (にち)(よう)() Sunday

(よう)() indicates the day of the week.

(たん)(じょう)() the birthday, the day (日) of the birth (誕生)

For the birthday there is also often the loan word from English "birthday", which is adapted to Japanese phonetics and becomes バースデイ.

(たん)(じょう)()
おめでとうぎざいます。

Happy birthday

ハッピーバースデー
Happy birthday with the expression borrowed from the English Happy Birthday.
(とき) is the ideogram that translates time, moment, hour, season and contains as radicals the element 日 day, say

日 is also counter, classifier or numeric suffix to count the days of the month:

  • 一日(ついたち) the first of the month
  • 二日(ふつか) the two
  • 三日(みっか) three
  • 四日(よっか) four
  • (いつ)() five
  • (むい)() you are
  • (なの)() seven
  • (よう)() eight
  • (ここの)() nine
  • (おお)() ten
  • (じゅう)(いち)(にち) eleven
  • (じゅう)()(にち) twelve
  • (じゅう)(さん)(にち) thirteen
  • (じゅう)四日(よっか) fourteen
  • (じゅう)()(にち) fifteen
  • (じゅう)(ろく)(にち) sixteen
  • (じゅう)(しち)(にち) seventeen
  • (じゅう)(はち)(にち) eighteen
  • (じゅう)()(にち) nineteen
  • 二十日(はつか) twenty
  • ()(じゅう)(いち)(にち) twenty-one
  • ()(じゅう)()(にち) twenty-two
  • ()(じゅう)(さん)(にち) twenty-three
  • ()(じゅう)四日(よっか) twenty-four
  • ()(じゅう)()(にち) twenty-five
  • ()(じゅう)(ろく)(にち) twenty-six
  • ()(じゅう)(しち)(にち) twenty-seven
  • ()(じゅう)(はち)(にち) twenty-eight
  • ()(じゅう)()(にち) twenty-nine
  • (さん)(じゅう)(にち) thirty
  • (さん)(じゅう)(いち)(にち) thirty-one

Here above we see the kanji of the numbers. It's important to consider that Arabic numbers are widely used also in the Japanese language.

日 is also the kanji of the famous city of Nikkō: 日光(にっこう)(), "the city of sunlight”, in the mountainous region of Tochiji prefecture
日光市
City of Nikkō, in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo.

(せい)(ねん)月日(がっぴ) we need to fill in some documents where the date of birth is requested: 生 birth, 年 year, 月 month, 日 day.

()(づけ) is the term instead that simply refers to the "date".

(ほん)(じつ) indicates today, today's date. (よく)(じつ) the next day, the next day.

(まい)(にち)

Every day

Other adverbs of time that contain 日:

  • 今日(きょう) today
  • 昨日(きのう) yesterday
  • 一昨日(おととい) the day before yesterday
  • 明日(あした) tomorrow
  • 明後日(あさって) after tomorrow
(がん)(じつ) is the first day of the year, January 1st; (おお)(みそ)() instead indicates the last day of the year, December 31st
日 as a radical also in kanji () wisdom, reason and intelligence
日の名残り
What remains of the day film based on the novel of the same name by the Japanese writer Ishiguro Kazuo which was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.

A beautiful holiday in Japan is Nature Day which falls on the Golden Week period, the holiday week between late April and early May. (みどり)() the day of greenery which is celebrated in May.

()(さま) is a beautiful term for the Sun; the kanji () of sun / day is preceded by a prefix お and followed by a suffix (さま), both honorific to emphasize the greatness and gratitude to the Star to whom we owe our Life
(ひま) free time, rest, relaxation contains the radical 日
晩
The kanji in the evening, night 晩 also contains the element Sun and day 日
()
(いち)(にち)
を!

Have a nice day!


Example of kunyomi readings 🇯🇵

The reading ひ (hi) is the standard reading for the word day and sun and all the expressions that contain these words: every day, one day, number of days, sunlight.

It is also used in words like (はる)() spring, (あさ)() morining sun, and (ゆう)() evening sun.

(そと)
()
もう
(ゆう)()
(しず)んでいた。

If you go outside the evening sun was already setting down.

The reading び (bi) is used for the days of the week among other things:

  • (にち)(よう)(): Sunday
  • ()(よう)(): Saturday
  • (ひら)(): weekday

Example of onyomi readings 🇨🇳

にち

The reading にち (nichi) is used for time frequencies (everyday, all day long) and for some relative dates (today, tomorrow, first day).

じつ

The reading じつ (jitsu) is similar to にち. It is used for words about a time duration or to specify a relative date: today, tomorrow, yesterday, previous day, half day, and such.

(こん)(じつ)
(ほん)(とう)
ありがとうございました。

Thank you so much for today.

Learn something new Every Week 🇯🇵

Every week new ideas and explanations about the Japanese Language, sent directly to your inbox 📧

More Kanji you may be interested in 🈷️