Fu/hu question


Yesterday I drove by an office building with fujitsu on it and thought, aha, I now know this word is composed of three syllables and I can write those down in hiragana (the simple joys of the beginner).
ji and tsu I remembered, fu not, so I decided to look that one up once back home.
Once there I opened up the hiragana chart supplied by WaniKani, but how long and good I looked, no fu, even nothing starting with an f. Google translate only produced the katakana for fujitsu, but searching for hiragana 2 romaji produced a website which came up with both hiragana and katana and now I know fujitsu = ふじつ. I’ve seen ふ before and it is also in the hiragana chart, called hu. The Ultimate Guide to Hiragana tells about ふ as being the f/h sound with う, giving fu/hu.
But what is the matter here? No (or almost no) f-words in Japanese?
Can someone shed a light on this?

It’s similar to the R/L situation. It’s not exactly h and it’s not exactly f. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound like one or the other at various times either.

I will say though, that like any proper IME, WaniKani accepts hu and fu for ふ when you are typing.

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It’s an intermediate sound that doesn’t have an exact equivalent in English. Try blowing air out of your mouth like an “h” sound, but as you do, aaaaalmost bring your lips/teeth together for a full “f” sound.


The correct way is “fu”. But I remember that in one of the lessons in JapanesePod, they said that in Tokyo people usually say “hu” for some reason.
Speaking of strange accents, I’ve also heard in TV shows here in japan がぎぐげご being said with a sound very similar to “N”, as “na ni nu ne no”.


It doesn’t actually occur in English, so there really can’t be a “correct” way simply by using the English alphabet.


One famous Japanese place name comes to mind - ふじ山 (ふじさん) - Mount Fuji :mountain_snow:

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You mean there is no word starting with ふ in Japanese?

不法 ふほう
不便 ふべん
負担 ふたん
縁 ふち

There are a lot.

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I have a Japanese friend who pronounces the English word “who” as Japanese ふ and it’s really cute.


Hi polv,

No, that’s not what I meant. I just noticed there are no words ‘sounding like f’ in the hiragana chart from WaniKani. There ふ is hu.

Thanks to all this useful answers! They help me a lot.

This may be relevant.

And I don’t think IPA is perfect either.

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