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Lesson Transcript

みなさんこんにちは。(Mina-san, konnichiwa) Hi everyone, I am Chihiro and welcome back to JapanesePod101.com’s Kantan kana. In the last lesson, we learned the katakana characters マ(ma), ミ(mi), ム(mu), メ(me) and モ(mo). Be sure to review the last lesson if you don’t get confident with these. We are almost done with katakana. Today we are going to cover ヤ(ya), ユ(yu) and ヨ(yo).
We will begin with ヤ(ya). 1, 2. It kind of looks like an angular version of Hiragana や(ya), doesn’t it? In the katakana version, there is no short stroke on the top. Here is タイヤ(taiya), “a tire” for your car and here is ヤム(yamu), “yam”.
Next up is ユ(yu). 1, 2. It looks like an angular alphabetical letter U turned down upside, doesn’t it? Here is ユニーク(yunīku), “unique” and here is ユーモア(yūmoa), “humor”, an important thing to have.
Okay our last character today is ヨ(yo) which looks like a backwards capital “E” which won’t help you remember it but this is actually a trick tip because now you will remember it as ヨ(yo) the backwards “E”. Now you can write ヨーヨー(yōyō) which you probably guessed is a yo-yo and ツナマヨ(tsunamayo) which is a contraction of the word to tuna and mayonnaise, a popular food combination Japan. That’s all in your katakana today but before you go, I like to talk about one more thing.
Remember in lesson 12 when I talked about combined vowels, adding a small ヤ(ya), ユ(yu) orヨ(yo) after any character in the イ(i) row creates a combination sound or as you might have guessed, it works for katakana as well. Now you can read ショートケーキ(shōtokēki) which means strawberry shortcake and アマチュア(amachua) which is “amateur.” These combined sounds are really useful if you are from ニューヨーク(Nyūyōku) or New York.
Now let’s have a short quiz. I will show you the katakana and you read it. Bonus points if you remember what it means.
タイヤ(taiya), “a tire”
ヨーヨー(yōyō), “yo-yo”
ユニーク(yunīku), “unique”
Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. Some Japanese words are written in katakana even though they are not foreign words. For example, the word オススメ(osusume) means recommended and it is written a lot on menus. Katakana is used in this case because it adds emphasis to the word. Try and spot them. You might see them from time to time.
Have you ever danced サルサ(sarusa) or ridden on メトロ(metoro)? you will learn how to write both “salsa” and “metro” in the next lesson. I will see you then.


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Friday at 6:30 pm
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Only 3 characters in this lesson - but they are important ones! Today we'll learn ヤ, ユ, and ヨ.

user profile picture
June 14th, 2019 at 8:22 pm
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Hi there,

There are 4 types of accounts on JapanesePod101: Free Lifetime Account, Basic, Premium, and Premium PLUS.

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June 11th, 2019 at 5:26 pm
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that's really dreadfu I can't buy it... lam jut14!!!where can I barrow money?:(

but... I love your teach style:)


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January 10th, 2019 at 2:21 pm
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Hello Faye,

Thank you for the question.

Please check this series about Japanese pronunciation:


We hope it helps.

Let us know if you have any further questions.



Team JapanesePod101.com

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Faye Valentine
November 22nd, 2018 at 2:40 am
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Hi i wonder how you can tell if you have to make a long vowel sound in a word? I mean when do you put a vowel sound?

Also, another question (sorry i ask a lot!), sometimes when a word has "su" or "shi" in it, i dont hear the sound of the vowel? Is it just pronounced fast that i dont catch the vowel sound or do you really omit the vowel sound?? I hope I made myself clear??

Thanks in advance!!

I love Chihiro by the way. She is the first teacher Ive seen here and I like her the most already! She looks very professional but doesnt look intimidating. Also her diction is great. I hope I see her more in other lessons.

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February 17th, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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Farebury san,

Konnichiwa. :smile:

Yes, recommendation means “おすすめ”.

However, it’s written in hiragana or kanji.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

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February 17th, 2015 at 9:27 am
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im just making sure i got this recommended is オススメ?

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March 10th, 2014 at 2:09 pm
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thank you for the suggestion!:smile:

I'll share your post and discuss about the possible new feature positively:innocent::thumbsup:

In meanwhile, please feel free to ask us some examples with certain kana

using this space:wink: We're happy to help you!

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

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March 10th, 2014 at 1:30 am
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The words you add were very helpful. It would be nice if the creators of this website added a section contains like 50 or 100 words for each Kana .

Because two or three words is not enough , and whenever I try to look for a new words myself, I find kanji everywhere & can't read that word/ sentence :(...

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August 15th, 2013 at 5:24 pm
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Sailor_sisters san,

Thank you for your comment.:heart:

"humor" sounds like "ヒューモア" for me, but we say "ユーモア" in Japanese.

And I also think humor is very important for everyone.:grin:

Rosalie san,

Do you wanna know more words with ヤ、ユ、ヨ?

For example, ケチャップ(ketchup)、ユーチューブ(YouTube)、ヨーグルト(yogurt)...like that.:grin:

zd san,

We use ya yu yo in romaji.:wink:

If you use ja ju jo in romaji, that would be ジャ、ジュ、ジョ.


Team JapanesePod101.com

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August 13th, 2013 at 4:24 am
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is it ja ju jo or ya yu yo?