The kanji 五, five

This is 5 Minute Kanji, and today we are going to go over a fairly easy kanji this time, the kanji for five.


IT’S a GO! We GO in 5 minITSU!




itsu,     itsutsu

Like the other number kanji, the onyomi is used when counting up in Japanese, while the kunyomi いつつ is used as a generic counter for objects that don’t have a specific counter.

Mnemonic Factory

The kanji actually looks a lot like a 5 with an extra line added to it. It could also be city blocks with 5 streets. Or it’s someone “taking 5” by resting on one knee.

Readings are pretty easy for this one. For the onyomi reading, there is of course, go, as in “go to the mall”. The kunyomi is almost just as easy. We can say “it’s” as in “it is”.

Example Words

How about a few examples where these words are used?

For onyomi, we have ご for 5. Again, the kanji itself is rarely used in everyday situations. You will most likely see it on formal documents, awards, or price lists at old fashioned restaurants. Like the other number kanji, the month is the onyomi plus がつ, so to talk about May, we would say 五月ごがつ.

We also have 五人ごにん for 5 people. Another useful, but not N5 word is 五輪ごりん, literally 5 rings, but it is a way to refer to the Olympics.

There is the generic counter いつつ, used to count objects that don’t have a counter of their own or you forgot which one to use. The good news is that the day of the month is not irregular for this one. You can use the kunyomi and say 五日いつか.

Story Review

Can you remember the story from the beginning? Let’s give it a try, and yell out the words that are missing.

___ a __! We __ in _ min____!

Perfect? Let’s give it another try.

___ a __! We __ in _ min____!

Word Review

Can you read these? I’ll give you the kanji and please yell out the reading for each word






That’s it for the kanji for five. Be sure to visit the Courses site to download the kanji practice sheet, which will walk you through how to remember this kanji’s reading and help you use it well.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. If you’d like to learn more kanji, hit the subscribe button and hit the bell mark to get a notification every time I send out a new video. Also be sure to check out my other 5 Minute Kanji videos.