I am new to this site so my apologizes if this question is a bit ridiculous.

However, I was informed that the kanji for 9 () is pronounced differently than the hiragana (きゅう) based on use.

The kanji is pronounced 'tuu' and the hiragana as 'kyuu'

What is the difference between the two and when do you use either or?

1 Answer 1


This is not 100% wrong, but is close to wrong.

九 has in fact three pronunciations: く, きゅう and ここの.

ここの is the 訓読み, and is used in very few situations. Outside of intentionally archaic speech, I can only think of two uses off the top of my head: [九]{ここの}つ 'nine things' (the generic counter) and [九]{ここの}[日]{か} 'the 9th (day)'.

く and きゅう are used with all other counters, on a counter-by-counter basis (if there's a pattern, let me know, I'll edit). A good example is with months - 'September' (the ninth month) is [九]{く}[月]{がつ}, while 'nine months' (a time period) is [九]{きゅう}[ヶ]{か}[月]{げつ}.

When simply counting in sequence (1! 2! 3!), it's mostly read as きゅう.

So it can be under certain circumstances pronounced 'differently from く or きゅう', much of the time it is pronounced as one of the two. It is never, ever つう.


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