The , colloquially , is a diacritic sign most often used in the
kana The are syllabaries used to write Japanese phonological units, morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systemat ...

syllabaries to indicate that the
consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the ...
of a
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...
should be pronounced voiced, for instance, on sounds that have undergone rendaku (sequential voicing). The , colloquially , is a diacritic used with the kana for syllables starting with ''h'' to indicate that they should instead be pronounced with .


The ''
kun'yomi are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese language, Japanese syllabic scripts ''hiragana'' and ''katakana''. The Japanese term ''kanji'' for the Chinese c ...
'' pronunciation of the character is ''nigori''; hence the ''daku-ten'' may also be called the ''nigori-ten''. This character, meaning ''muddy'' or ''turbid'', stems from historical Chinese phonology, where consonants were traditionally classified as ''clear'' ( "voiceless"), ''lesser-clear'' ( " aspirated") and ''muddy'' ( "voiced"). (See: Middle Chinese § Initials) ''Dakuten'' were used sporadically since the start of written Japanese; their use tended to become more common as time went on. The modern practice of using dakuten in all cases of voicing in all writing only came into being in the
Meiji period The is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 un ...


The ''dakuten'' resembles a quotation mark, while the ''handakuten'' is a small circle, similar to a degree sign, both placed at the top right corner of a kana character: * * Both the ''dakuten'' and ''handakuten'' glyphs are drawn identically in
hiragana Also , is a Japanese language, Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with ''katakana'', ''kanji'' and in some cases Latin script. It is a phonetic lettering system. The word ''hiragana'' literally means "ordina ...
katakana is a Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golde ...
scripts. The combining characters are rarely used in full-width Japanese characters, as
Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is mai ...
and all common multibyte Japanese encodings provide precomposed glyphs for all possible ''dakuten'' and ''handakuten'' character combinations in the standard hiragana and katakana ranges. However, combining characters are required in half-width kana, which does not provide any precomposed characters in order to fit within a single byte. The similarity between the ''dakuten'' and quotation marks (") is not a problem, as written Japanese uses Quotation mark, corner brackets (「」).

Phonetic shifts

The following table summarizes the Japanese phonology, phonetic shifts indicated by the ''dakuten'' and ''handakuten''. Literally, syllables with ''dakuten'' are , while those without are . However, the ''handakuten'' (lit. "half-muddy mark") does not follow this pattern. Handakuten on ''ka, ki, ku, ke, ko'' (rendered as ) represent the sound of ''ng'' in ''singing'' (), which is an allophone of in many dialects of Japanese. They are not used in normal Japanese writing, but may be used by linguists and in dictionaries (or to represent characters in fiction who speak that way). This is called . Another rare application of ''handakuten'' is on the ''r''-series, to mark them as explicitly ''l'': , and so forth. This is only done in technical or pedantic contexts, as many Japanese Perception of English /r/ and /l/ by Japanese speakers, cannot tell the difference between ''r'' and ''l''. Additionally, linguists sometimes use to represent in cases when speaker pronounces at the beginning of a word as a moraic nasal. In katakana only, the ''dakuten'' may also be added to the character ''u'' and a small vowel character to create a sound, as in ヴァ ''va''. However, a hiragana version of this character also exists, with somewhat sporadic compatibility across platforms (). As does not exist in Japanese, this usage applies only to some modern loanwords and remains relatively uncommon, and e.g. Venus is typically transliterated as (''bīnasu'') instead of (''vīnasu''). Many Japanese, however, would pronounce both the same, with a sound, or even much as in Spanish language, Spanish, and may or may not recognize them as representing the same sound. An even less common method is to add ''dakuten'' to the ''w''-series, reviving the mostly obsolete characters for () and (). is represented by using /u/, as above; becomes despite its normally being silent. Precomposed characters exist for this method as well ( ), although most Input Method Editor, IMEs do not have a convenient way to enter them. In Ainu language#Writing, Ainu texts, handakuten can be used with the katakana to make it a /ts/ sound, ''ce'' [tse] (which is interchangeable with ), and is used with small ''fu'' to represent a final ''p'', . In addition, handakuten can be combined with either katakana or (''tsu'' and ''to'') to make a [tu̜] sound, or . In informal writing, ''dakuten'' is occasionally used on vowels to indicate a shocked or strangled articulation; for example, on or . ''Dakuten'' can also be occasionally used with to indicate a guttural hum, growl, or similar sound.

Kana iteration marks

The ''dakuten'' can also be added to hiragana and katakana iteration marks, indicating that the previous kana is repeated with voicing: Both signs are relatively rare, but can occasionally be found in personal names such as ''Misuzu'' () or brand names such as Isuzu Motors, ''Isuzu'' (いすゞ). In these cases the pronunciation is identical to writing the kana out in full. A longer, multi-character iteration mark called the ''kunojiten'', only used in Yokogaki and tategaki, vertical writing, may also have a ''dakuten'' added.

Other communicative representations

*Representations of Dakuten *Representations of Handakuten Voiced syllables and semi-voiced syllables do not have independent names in radiotelephony and are signified by the unvoiced name followed by "ni dakuten" or "ni handakuten". * Full Braille representation

See also

* Tsu (kana) * Sokuon


External links

* * and {{ill, Dakuten and handakuten, lt=Handakuten, ja, 半濁点, display=yes on Japanese Wikipedia Kana Japanese phonology Japanese writing system terms Diacritics