I noticed this coincidence and I couldn't help wondering since other parts are based off of Chinese(kanji)

  • Note that the Chinese sound written as yu is actually ü in German ([[y]]) and not a set of a consonant and a vowel like you in English and ゆ in Japanese. Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 11:18
  • Yeah, I know :P
    – David C.
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


No, it's a coincidence. ゆ is over a thousand years old and is thought to be derived from 由. You can find a chart of the kanji that hiragana developed from on Wikipedia.

Mandarin is more recent and corresponds to Japanese 魚 gyo, both of which developed from Middle Chinese ngyo (where the digraph ‹ng› represents the nasal velar sound [ŋ], as in English ring). At the time ゆ developed, the sound was too different from yu to make this kind of connection.



Hiragana ゆ developed from the kanji character 由 (see for example this).

Japanese on-yomi reading of kanji 魚 is ぎょ and there is no relation to the Chinese yu.

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