I have a newborn son from my Japanese wife. I try to sing to him. I sing the alphabet song (English). Japanese kana and their order is the same value for dictionaries. My wife says there isn't one but she isn't traditionally trained. Is there a kana syllabary song?

I found this- I don't think its based on Hakushū Kitahara song.

  • The video you link is based on the Kitahara poem, as it says in the title.
    – Earthliŋ
    Aug 4, 2015 at 18:13
  • When I first started learning Japanese (as a second language), my instructor had us listen to 日本語のおけいこ: youtube.com/watch?v=SXvITpB4j0c.
    – senshin
    Aug 4, 2015 at 22:27
  • On YouTube you can find lots of "あいうえおの歌" (≒ABC song) made for children and learners, but one I was familiar with in my childhood was not to be found there. I doubt there is a single, famous, traditional alphabet song everyone must know.
    – naruto
    Aug 5, 2015 at 2:00
  • I don't think we have common mnemonic devices other than reciting 五十音図. Well, there's traditional いろは歌 but it no longer makes sense in today's language... It's also good to see how Hawaiian people, whose language is no less syllabic than Japanese, teach their children the alphabet: youtu.be/eEYs9wOUxsE Aug 5, 2015 at 4:25
  • I don't need a mnemonic device- he's too young to really learn Japanese but it could be great if it was a song or it was a poem that included all the syllabary. Aug 5, 2015 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


Quite a bit more sophisticated than the "alphabet song", there is a wonderful poem by 北原白秋 (Hakushū Kitahara) called 五十音. It goes like this












According to Wikipedia it was first published in 1922 in a magazine called Taikan (大観)


so I haven't been able to find a primary source, although it seems to be reproduced in several "collected works" (e.g. in these two books (Amazon links), 北原白秋100選 and 白秋全集〈25〉童謡集 1).


Iroha uta is not exactly a baby song but I think it deserves a mention as it contains all shapes of the syllabary.

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