Japanese Consonants: How to Pronounce つ

Japanese letter /tsu/

Description of the Japanese Pronunciation つ

Picture describing Japanese pronunciation /tsu/

つ consists of the Japanese consonant [ts] with the Japanese vowel [u]. When you pronounce [ts] your tongue is going to touch your upper gums. This closure will cause a buildup of pressure. Soon after that, you will make a chink and cause friction by passing air through the chink. This way is similar to the one to pronounce [tɕ] in ち, but you will use the point of your tongue where you make a chink is a little farther forward than the [tɕ]. Be careful however, because if your tongue makes contact with the back part of your upper gums, it would sound like ちゅ. [ts] is an unvoiced sound.

Does it make sense to you? Let's try to pronounce つ after the tutor on the video!

Wasabi Japanese Pronunciation Lessons

Words Exercise with the Pronunciation [ts] つ

Please repeat the following words after the tutor on the video.

Words Roman Letters Meanings
つき tsu ki moon
つぎ tsu gi next
tsu ku to arrive
つくえ tsu ku e desk, table
つく tsu ku ru to make
つよい tsu yo i strong
ついたち tsu i ta chi 1st (day)
ひとつ hi to tsu one
ふたつ fu ta tsu two
みっつ mi ttsu three

Sentences Exercise with the Pronunciation [ts] つ

Please repeat the following sentences after the tutor in the video.

Japanese Sentences English Translations
つくえひとつくります。 I will make a desk.
つぎ月曜げつよう一日ついたちです。 The next Monday is the 1st.
つききました。 I arrived at the moon.

Tongue Twister Exercise with the Pronunciation [ts] つ

Please repeat the following tongue twisters after the tutor on the video. Also, please focus on the pronunciation practice, not the meaning, because they were made only for the sake of practice.

Japanese Tongue Twisters Vocabulary

つづら: vine clothes, つらつら: closely きつつき: woodpecker, つづる: write


いえ: house, つるべ: (well) bucket, つぶれる: break, となり: neighbor


つま: wife, つつじ: Japanese azalea, る: to pick


This is the how to pronounce [ts] つ. We recommend that you practice the sentences above at least 5 times for each exercise, though we understand that pronunciation practice can be dull. Good pronunciation will give you listening and speaking ability, and thereby you will be confident enough to speak Japanese with native speakers. Thus, the ability you gain is well worth the time spent. We are looking forward to seeing you in the next lesson; [n] な ぬ ね の.

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