Japanese Lessons

Japanese Vowels: How to Pronounce い

Japanese letter i

Description of the Japanese Pronunciation い

Picture of Mouth for Pronunciation [i]

The pronunciations of Japanese vowels are determined by 3 factors; two of which are the position of your tongue, high or low (1) and front or back (2), and the final factor is the form of your mouth (3). When you pronounce い, you are going to open both sides of your mouth wide (like an open-mouthed smile) and raise your tongue almost to the front part of the roof of your mouth (at the high and the front position).

Does it make sense to you? Let’s try to pronounce [i] い after the tutor on the video!

Wasabi Japanese Pronunciation Lessons 

Words Exercise with the Pronunciation [i] い

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

Words Roman Letters Meanings
i ma
いえ i e house
いく i ku to go
れる i re ru to put in
いくつ i ku tsu how many, how old?
いくら i ku ra how much?
いろいろ i ro i ro various
はい ha i yes (agreeable)
えいが e i ga movie
おいしい o i shi i delicious

Sentences Exercise with the Pronunciation [i] い

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

Japanese Sentences English Translations
いまからいえきます。 From now I’ll go to the house.
にいさんとえいきました。 I went to a movie with my older brother.
このけいはいくらですか? How much is this watch?


Tongue Twister Exercise with the Pronunciation [i] い

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

相合傘あいあいがさでもいいですか」 なんていちいちわなくてもいいじゃない。

相合傘あいあいがさ: sharing the same umbrella, いちいち: every time (*negative meaning)


いしさん: person’s name, ろん: different opinion, はさむ: to put in, わせる: to happen to be at~


いやいや: unwillingly, いよいよ: at last, ようする: to prepare



This is the how to pronounce [i] い. 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 [u] う.

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