In Japanese, what is the difference between the two "o" kana (the お at the top of the list and the other "o" usually listed at the bottom rightmost entry of the hiragana our katakana chart. I can't seem to find a way to enter this (using Android Swype Japanese keyboard). Is there a standard way to enter this character at a keyboard?

I tried entering the custom sentence:

Anata wa nani o kaimashita ka.

using romaji to see if the characters would come out. However, it seems I have to type ha instead of wa, if I type wa then the は character is not suggested, and I cannot seem to find a way to enter the latter "o" character which is the way I want, using the romaji keyboard.

I general, how do Japanese romaji keyboards solve this issue, and how can I solve it?

あなたは なにお 買いました か。

Are these two "o" pronounced the same?

katakana diagram

  • Had this question when using the konnichiha keyboard in google translate as well!
    – ngood97
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


を is actually inputted as "wo", and should technically be pronounced as such as well, but that kana is almost completely unused except for the particle for verbs. And for a complicated reason, the pronunciation for particles is slightly different that the way to write it and becomes "o".

  • Regarding the sound shifts that caused historical を //wo// to become modern を //o//, please see this post. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 17:36
  • 1
    I find this answer very confusing. What do you mean that it technically should be produced as "wo"? Aside from very few exceptions, that seem to be due to individual nonconforming habits, it is pronounced "o". It is not used in any words. It sounds as if you are claiming that it is normally pronounced "o" because it is only used as a particle, and that this would be a general rule for particles. This is only true for は and へ. Before standardization in 1945, を was used in several words, such as 香{かをり} but it was already then consistently pronounced "o".
    – a20
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 18:50

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