Hiragana-HA HI FU HE HO

In the last lesson, we went over なにぬねの — a pretty simple lesson with not much to watch out for.

Get ready though, the H consonant series throws a couple of curve-balls at us. As in a whole new sound that isn’t so easy to say — and double modifiers!

HA HI FU HE HO-はひふへほ

First let’s cover how to pronounce these characters. You can tap each character to hear the native pronunciation.

Pronouncing はひふへほ

  • は (ha) – sounds like “ha”
  • ひ (hi) – sounds like “he”
  • ふ (fu) – sounds like “who” with a slight F sound “fwho”
  • へ (he) – sounds like “hay”
  • ほ (ho) – sounds like “hoe”

What the ふ?

Fu is interesting. First, because it’s part of the H consonants (ha, hi, hu/fu, he, ho). Second, it doesn’t sound like it looks. It’s not “foo” but instead “fwho.”


Yep, imagine fu as “fwho.” It’s like saying who, but with a very faint F sound mixed with the w.

Look Out For は and ほ

(ha) and (ho) are very similar. At first glance it appears just one stroke separates them, but there is more than that. Take special notice that the top “stem” on ほ is at the top — not crossing.

Something Else: Double Modifier

There’s something else you will need to think about with the H consonants. There are two modifiers to change the sounds of these characters.

I don’t want to overwhelm you just yet, we’ll talk more about this later in the course.