Love the Saturn mnemonic

For those who aren’t there yet or need a refresher it’s this:

I really like this mnemonic precisely because it’s straight up wrong Saturn is a gas giant not a terrestrial planet like ours or Mars. But, exactly that is what makes it stand out so much to me, and as long as you remember it it’s a good mnemonic.


One thing I like about Saturn is the way that both Japanese and English share a link between Saturn and Saturday - both Saturn and Saturday have the same origin (the Roman god Saturn), and both 土星 and 土曜日 have the same origin (the element of earth, 土).


This is some fascinating fun fact! Love these!

1 Like

Same with Sunday and mo(o)nday too.

The rest of the week doesn’t match because English all Norse gods for those, which apparently didn’t make it to japan.

Anyone know whether the rest of the days match up with roman gods?

— Dave


I did not even peep that mnemonic. The rings on Saturn up close looks like they are made up of dirt specks, so i just think of it as “dirt star” which works for me at least lol.

I also find this stuff fascinating in fact I went on a whole research hole on this topic before. Actually the Chinese got their current 7 days through Christianity and so it’s not actually just a coincidence that both Saturday and Saturn and 土曜日 and 土星 have the same origin it’s just one more degree of separation. aka Greek → Roman → Christianity → up to Latin
But, for Japanese it’s Greek → Roman → Christianity → Chinese → Japanese. Anyways here’s a Discord message that I made after doing my research. There was more than just this but I did want to exceed a max length Discord message (no nitro so 2000 characters) the context was a meme showing an anime character’s face on different week days:

My message

Perfect opportunity to launch into how I now know that the days of the week in Japanese are based on the 5 traditional Chinese elements: Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and earth and then there are also sun and moon which are not elements. The reason the sun and moon are included are because the overall east Asian culture appears to have adopted the seven luminaries (originally a Latin system) style of naming the days of the week which is based on the seven luminaries which are the seven moving astrological objects visible to the human eye (where the sun (日 (ひ (hi (sun)))) is the first star, (they’re also called planets often on a lot of explanations in explaining texts which makes sense since 星 (ほし (hoshi (star))) can also be translated as planet (probably the same in Chinese.)) the moon (月 (つき (tsuki (moon)))) is the second star, Mars (火星 (か・せい (ka・sei (Mars)))) is the third star, Mercury (水星 (すい・せい (sui・sei (Mercury)))) is the fourth star, Jupiter (木星 (もく・せい (moku・sei (Jupiter)))) is the fifth star, Venus (金星 (きん・せい (kin・sei (Venus)))) is the sixth star, and Saturn (土星 (ど・せい (do・sei (Saturn)))) is the seventh star) which ultimately is why they start with Sunday like a lot of the world (which is not how I ordered the list below, I ordered that in the traditional Chinese Element order capped off by the two non elements).

火曜日 (か・よう・び (ka・you・bi (fire week-day)))
水曜日 (すい・よう・び (sui・you・bi (water week-day)))
木曜日 (もく・よう・び (moku・you・bi (wood week-day)))
金曜日 (きん・よう・び (kin・you・bi (gold week-day))) Note: I chose gold as the translation since the Japanese dictionary only shows a translation of gold and not metal even though that is the Chinese element it is based on. (attachment 2)
土曜日 (ど・よう・び (do・you・bi (soil week-day))) Note: I chose soil as the translation as it was the first definition in the dictionary for 土。(attachment 3)
日曜日 (にち・よう・び (nichi・you・bi (sun week-day)))
月曜日 (げつ・よう・び (getsu・you・bi (moon week-day)))

After this message was posted someone did the same thing but in Russian and I thought it was awesome so I’ll also post this here

The Russian side

So, the naming basis of the days for the week in Russian is not as cool as it is in Japanese but here goes. Sunday is considered to be the first of the week and that has to do with religion. After that follows Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday comes last. Воскресенье, (Voskresen'ye) = Sunday. It comes from the word воскресение, (voskresheniye) which is Russian for ‘resurrection’. It is a reference to the day Christ was resurrected, since according to Christian tradition, that happened on a Sunday. Понедельник, (Ponedel'nik) = Monday. It’s a compound word, comprised from the preposition по, (po) and the word неделя, (nedelya). По can mean a number of thing, depending on context, but here it can be translated as ‘in regards to/ on the subject of’ and неделя simple means ‘week’. Therefore, Monday in Russian simply means ‘on the subject of the week’. Things get a bit boring from here, since most other days simply refer to their position in the week. Вторник, (Vtornik) = Tuesday. It comes from the adverb that means ‘second’, второй/вторая/второе, (vtoroy/vtoraya/vtoroye) (there are three versions of it because Russian is a gendered language, the genders being: masculine, feminine and neuter). Среда, (Sreda) = Wednesday. This one is an exception since it comes from the word средний/средняя/среднее, (sredniy/srednyaya/sredneye) which means middle, since Wednesday is considered to be the middle of the week Четверг, (Chetverg) = Thursday. It comes from the adverb that means ‘fourth’, четвёртый/четвёртая/четвёртое, (chetvortyy/chetvortaya/chetvortoye). Пятница, (Pyatnitsa) = Friday. It comes from the adverb that means ‘fifth’, пятый/п́ятая/пятое, (pyátyy/pyátaya/pyátoye). And lastly, Суббота, (Subbota) = Saturday. It is named similarly to the Greek ‘Σάββατο’, both referring to the Jewish word ‘Shabat’ which means ‘to rest’ and it refers to the day that God rested after creating the world, according to the Bible.


Technically none of the Norse gods made it to Japan through planets or days, since it went through Chinese first which changed the seven luminaries system which they got through the Romans/Christianity to be based on the 5 elements instead.

I covered all the days in my other comment hope you enjoy reading :)

1 Like

Oops totally forgot about the lesson tab XD


Well, Tyr, like Mars, is the god of war, and he lends his name to Tuesday, which does continue the parallel in Japanese - both are 火. Jupiter equates to Odin, who is the origin of Wednesday (Woden’s day), which is where the neatness breaks down - Wednesday is 水 where as Jupiter is 木.

Meanwhile, Mercury’s nearest Norse equivalent is Hermod, while Venus corresponds to Freyja, neither of whom got a day named after them. And on the other side, Friday comes from Frigg, who corresponds to Minerva, which isn’t a planet, and Thursday comes from Thor, who doesn’t really have a Roman equivalent (maybe sorta Jupiter? That’d fix the Wednesday/Jupiter mismatch, I guess…). Also, Freyja and Frigg may have been the same goddess, which would neatly get you a Friday/Venus correspondence.


Well, in Spanish:

Monday - Lunes - Luna - Moon
Tuesday - Martes - Marte - Mars
Wednesday - Miércoles - Mercurio - Mercury
Thursday - Jueves - Jupiter - Jupiter
Friday - Viernes - Venus - Venus
Saturday - Sábado - Saturno - Saturn


They sat not on an urn? Because it’s a no-ground planet

And then somehow Chinese fallback to numbered weekdays (except Sunday) – 星期一 - 星期六. While Sunday is somehow 星期日 / 星期天.

Fake quote, I added the French names of the days :slight_smile:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.