Introduction to Japanese Writing: Hiragana Group 8: Y (やゆよ)

Did you miss our introduction to Hiragana?  If so, you can go back and read it here.

The consonant for this column is Y, so all members of this group will be Y followed by one of the five vowels.  That said, this group is relatively unique in that it only uses three of the vowels: A, U, and O:

  • や [YA]
  • ゆ [YU]
  • よ [YO]

YI and YE do not exist natively in modern Japanese.1

How to Write

For reference, here is a quick review of the general rules for stroke order:

  • All characters should fill a square of about the same size
  • Top to bottom, left to right
  • Horizontal strokes before vertical strokes that intersect them


Vocabulary Practice

The following words can be written using only the characters we have covered so far.  Once you’ve practiced reading them a couple of times, try writing them on a piece of paper without looking and see how well you do.

  • やく [ya ku] roughly, about
  • ゆく [yu ku] to go
  • よく [yo ku] quite
  • よい [yo i] good


When you’re ready, click here to move on to Group 9: R!

  1. It’s possible that they existed in very old forms of Japanese, however they appear to have disappeared by the time Japanese started being written down.  In the rare event these sounds need to be written (more common when using Katakana, since it is used for foreign words) the kana for I (い) and E (え) are substituted, respectively.

Published by

Paul Baptist

Japanese linguist, web developer, bassist, teacher, and long-time anime fan.