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Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai NA.png
U+306A, な



Stroke order
4 strokes


Etymology 1[edit]

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.


(romaji na)

  1. The hiragana syllable (na). Its equivalent in katakana is (na). It is the twenty-first syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (na-gyō a-dan, row na, section a).
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably derived from mild emphatic interjection and sentence-final particle , itself from Old Japanese, indicating a general sense of admiration or consideration, or hope that the preceding statement comes to pass.



  1. (masculine, informal, mild emphatic) Used to get someone's attention. Carries generally neutral or slightly positive connotations.
    Na, kiita kai.
    Hey, did you hear?



  1. (informal, mild emphatic) Indicates emotion or mild emphasis. Sentence-final.
    Sō ka na.
    Huh, is that so.
Usage notes[edit]
It is often used when you speak to yourself, and can be considered less formal than the agreement-asking particle .

Etymology 3[edit]

/ni aru//naru//na/

From Old Japanese. Originally an abbreviation of (ni, particle) + ある (aru, the attributive form of classical あり ari, “to be”).[1]



  1. The copula particle used after 形容動詞 (keiyōdōshi, literally “adjective verb”, often referred to in English teaching texts as -na adjective) to make them function as adjectives.
    hen na hito
    a strange person
Usage notes[edit]

The older なる (naru) form is still used to impart a more formal, archaic, or poetic sense.

shizuka naru den'en
the quiet countryside

Etymology 4[edit]

From Old Japanese. Probably the root na of the negative adjective ない (nai). An alternate theory is that this is the imperfective conjugation of negative auxiliary verb (zu).



  1. (masculine, informal, added after the dictionary form of a verb) Used to indicate prohibition: don't.
    Iku na!
    Don't go!
    Mudan de in'yō suru na.
    Don't quote it without permission.
Usage notes[edit]

Considered very informal and potentially brusque depending on tone of voice. This would never be used in polite conversation, where the construction ~ないで下さい (~naide kudasai) would be used instead, appended to the imperfective stem of the verb in question. Examples:

  • Addressing close friends, children, or possibly subordinates:
    Suru na.
    Don't do that.
  • Addressing anyone else:
    Shinaide kudasai.
    (Please) Don't do that.

Etymology 5[edit]

Abbreviation of polite imperative auxiliary verb form なさい (nasai).



  1. (informal, added after the stem form of a verb) An imperative or command: do.
    Atchi e ikina, bōya.
    Go over there, boy → Get out of the way, boy!
    Suwarina yo.
    SitHave a seat.
Usage notes[edit]

A casual way of issuing commands. Not as rough as the imperative conjugation of a verb. Usage restricted to addressing friends, children, or subordinates.


In spoken Japanese, the prohibitive na and the imperative na are also differentiated by pitch accent patterns. For prohibitive na, the pitch on the suffix follows the pitch on the verb stem. For imperative na, the pitch is higher than on the verb stem.


  • 書く (kaku na, “don't write”) → くな
  • 書き (kaki na, “write”) → か

Roughly in order of politeness:

Etymology 6[edit]

The hiragana rendering of various other words.



  1. : A name.
  2. : Fish as a food, particularly as a side dish.
  3. : Greens as a food, particularly as a side dish.
  4. : A side dish, be it meat or fish or greens.
  5. : A lack of something.
  6. : Driving away the gods of disease.



  1. : (obsolete) Seven.



  1. , : (obsolete) The first-person personal pronoun: I, me; the second-person personal pronoun: you.


  1. ^ 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan