Rare・obsolete kana: ゐ、 ゑ、 を・ are they present in any native words?

uh well the title is pretty straightforward :3. the kana ゑ and ゐ (we and wi), now pronounced closely to “e” and “i” have been denounced obsolete but the wording in the articles is very frustratingly evasive, saying they’re “seldom used”. same goes for を which is uhm still used but to my knowledge only as a particle. SOUU… ARE THESE 3 USED IN ANY MODERN NATIVE WORDS?22


They’re basically not used, no. If you’re just writing/reading normal, standard Japanese, there would never be a reason to use them.

They do get used from time to time in other situations, usually in the names of things, like the Evangelion Rebuild movies spell Evangelion with ヱ and ヲ, the katakana equivalents of ゑ and を. But it’s just for style.

There’s a comedy duo called すゑひろがりず.

Outside of stuff like that, I guess you still could see obsolete spellings relatively frequently if you look at monolingual dictionary entries, because they will include the classical spellings for words.


ヲ can also be used to write “ヲタク” (otaku). Some say that it is more insulting than “オタク”.

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Yebisu beer (ヱビスビール) is another example of stylistic use of old kana in a product name. In that case it goes along with the “born in 1890, Tokyo” catchphrase to suggest an image of a traditional, long-standing product that hasn’t been messed about with. (In fact the brand was dormant for a long time until Sapporo Breweries revived it in 1972.)


The anime Sora no Oto was spelt ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト for purely stylistic reasons.

I gotta rewatch that. I wonder where I put it…


im going to cry now theres 3 more katakana i need to get used to☹


Nah, these examples we’re all giving are just freaky exceptions. Like @Leebo said in the first reply, you’ll never encounter these in normal usage, only when someone is trying to be clever. Or ordering beer.


You will see katakana ヲ for the particle を occasionally in contexts where text is purely katakana, like telegrams, or manga where it’s used to indicate a foreigner speaking or someone talking in an odd unnatural way. This panel from Genshiken has it in the speech bubble on the left of the panel (空ヲ飛ブ == 空を飛ぶ):


But you can ignore this also for the moment and leave it until you actually run into it in the future.


I absolutely understand why :heart_eyes:

Also If we talk about obsolete kana. There was a lot more of them.
Before Meiji reform there were multiple ways to write the same sound in kana.
For example “ka” could be written as


It can be still found in some places like on hanafuda cards:





How obscene. You can’t just post hentaigana on a public forum like this.

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