は Particle in Japanese - All you need to know

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'は Particle in Japanese - All you need to know'

Anna Baffa Volpe

5 min reading time

は Particle in Japanese - All you need to know

In this post we see one of the most used and common topics of Japanese grammar: the particle は (ha, read wa).

Particles are one of the most intriguing and interesting topics in the Japanese language. The term that identifies the particles is (じょ)():

  • help, assist
  • 詞 indicates a part of speech

The first joshi we are going to learn is .

How to form は

The particle は is read wa and written in hiragana with the character ha.

Particles are of various kinds, have various functions and also different positions within the sentence.

Let's see below the various grammatical structures that use the particle は:



The snow is white.



Demon Slayer is a Japanese manga.

I also report this particular use of は in a form of prohibition which sees the verb in its te form joined with は and the verb いけない: てはいけない.



In the library it is forbidden to speak aloud.

How and when to use は

is used to introduce and present a topic.

()(だい) is the topic that the particle は introduces.

For example, when we talk about the subject (まち) city, the particle は is placed after 町 and thus a sentence is formed which introduces the subject city and continues adding a quality, a characteristic:


This city is ancient.

は can be considered a ()(じるし) mejirushi or マーカー mākā, a marker that highlights the subject keyword of the sentence

は: theme or topic of the sentence

As we have anticipated, the particle は is used to present the topic of the sentence.

The topic or theme constitutes the material for a conversation, the word that expresses it is followed by は:


My name is Lisa.

We find は in ()()(しょう)(かい) jiko shōkai: when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time

は and true statements

The particle は is used to state a fact that is true, an aspect that no one can deny and which is universally valid.


Tokyo is the capital of Japan.

We find the structure は and the copula だ in plain form or です in the polite form


Everest is a mountain in the Himalayas, 8,848 meters high.

The word for truth is ()() and it is also a beautiful female name in Japan.

は and personal opinion

is also used to express the speaker's point of view, the personal and subjective opinion.


This panorama is enchanting.

(はな)() hanashite is the speaker; ()() kikite the interlocutor and (しゅ)(かん) shukan subjectivity, personal opinion

は and description of things

When we describe things, people or situations we find the particle は:


This bag is very light.

は and explanations, extracted from an article on the web

When we provide an explanation about a thing or circumstance we find は.

The Nile River japanese
Extract from a Wikipedia article in Japanese about the Nile River.

I have quoted the excerpt from Wikipedia Japanese version of the description and explanation of the Nile River. The sentences are articulated in their structure and contain various kanji and terms, but we can in turn extract the basic structure that interests us for the study of the は particle.


The Nile is a river on the African continent.

We find the structure also seen in the previous sentences:

Noun++Noun or adjective+だ or である

は and yes or negative answers

is also present in direct questions that require answers with a yes or a no':


Do you like miso soup?

In this question we find the structure of the verb like / love expressed with 好きだ:






Can you eat natto? Do you like natto?

In the audio question particles are omitted. This happens often in informal conversations, where particles are omitted. It is also common to omit the subject when it can be inferred from the context. The copula だ was used in the polite form でしょうか when expressing a guess or a conjecture I wonder if you like natto, or in the future tense Will you like it in natto?.

Examples of the は particle


That actress is a really good singer!


Power spot is a Wasei Eigo term.

和製英語 Wasei eigo is a term used to indicate all Japanese words and linguistic constructions, born from the fusion with English , but which are used only in Japan and which are often not understood in English-speaking languages.


Adverbs are words that don't decline.

We find the basic structure again: noun + は + noun + だ / です.


Adverb is a word.

The previous example contains a relative clause, which in Japanese precedes the noun it refers to:

  • (かつ)(よう) しない (こと)(): a word that cannot be declined

(かつ)(よう) katsuyō, means inflection, declension, conjugation