Why is the name 五右衛門 read as ごえもん?
How can the three kanji 五右衛 be read with only two syllables?
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Originally, these kanji were thought to be pronounced as:
But since Japanese u and consonant w have little difference, the actual pronunciation was like:
Later, undergone the phonological change that merged wi, we, wo into i, e, o:
So the truth is 右 and 衛 share a single syllable, but the fact has been obscured by the sound change.
Some people say that goemon (五右衛門) and iemon (伊右衛門) are pronounced like that since it's hard to pronounce 2 or 3 continuous vowel sounds, as are supposed to be read as gouemon (ごうゑもん) / iuemon (いうゑもん) per syllable.