In English we have some common sounds that are used to fill spaces in songs like "ah" "la" "nah" "oh" "yea".

What do we use for Japanese songs?

So far I think I have only heard used.

  • You mean just short shouts, or the sound used for the full chorus?
    – user458
    Jan 6, 2012 at 11:03
  • Well if you can supply both then it'll be perfect.
    – Flaw
    Jan 6, 2012 at 11:37

1 Answer 1


As for the short shouts, Japanese popular songs are influenced by American culture, so you can hear almost anything that you would expect to be shouted in an American or other English songs.

As for the sound used for some length, I think is the most popular one:

A standard song sang in elementary school:

You can hear it throughout this song:

This one is made solely of this kind of sounds, and includes some variaties (, , , ):

I found one with :

Conclusion is that is the most popular (and sometimes even ), and my very rough guess is that this has connection to the fact that the epenthetic consonant in Japanese is usually a liquid (r) or a glide (y, w) as you can observe in the phonoloical rule applied to vowel ending verbs: mi-u → miru (見る), classically mi-u → miyu (見ゆ), mi-are-ta → mirareta (見られた)

  • 1
    I've been meaning to ask this for some time but what is epenthesis and what does it do?
    – Flaw
    Jan 6, 2012 at 12:37
  • Also, I think it can also be a repetition of any syllable that a word ends on.
    – Flaw
    Jan 6, 2012 at 14:15
  • 1
    @Flaw Epenthesis is a sound that is inserted in order to repair a sequence of sounds that is not allowed in that language, or for some other reason. For example, "tm" is not allowed in "kat-mas-u", so "i" is inserted in between, yielding "katimasu" (勝ちます). In this case, the vowel sequence "iu", although allowed, is called a hiatus and is broken by a consonant. In Japanese, that consonant is "r".
    – user458
    Jan 6, 2012 at 17:59
  • Where can I learn about phonotactic prohibitions? (I would prefer an English-based resource)
    – Flaw
    Jan 8, 2012 at 2:35
  • I think the wikipedia articles on "epenthesis" may be helpful. As for what consonant clusters are not allowed in Japanese, it is pretty much symple: besides the nasal coda (ん) and gemination (っ), Japanese does not allow consonants in coda position (i.e., after a vowel), and all possible onset (a consonant before a vowel) are those you can find in the hiragana list. As for hiatus (i.e., vowel sequence), if you cannot find the literature by yourself, probably it is difficult.
    – user458
    Jan 8, 2012 at 4:24

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