I'm learning days of the week and things like that.

I've read that 曜日 means "day of the week" which includes Saturday and Sunday, when 曜 means "weekday" which is from Monday to Friday because related to work days in many countries.

But I've read that days of the week can be written with both forms, for example 日曜日 and 日曜 for Sunday (What is the difference between 日曜日【にちようび】and 日曜【にちよう】?).

It seems that in Chinese, 曜 means "day of the week", and 曜日 is an obsolete word meaning "shining, bright" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%9B%9C%E6%97%A5#Chinese), and writing days like 日曜日 is obsolete, archaic.

Can you confirm that 曜日 and 曜 are used as "day of the week" and "weekday" respectively, but makes no difference when prefixed with another kanji to say the name of a day?

Plus if you have more information about this topic, I'd be glad to read you.

  • 曜日と曜は特に意味の違いはありません。日本人より。どっちも同程度に同じように使います。曜だけで日を除く場合は繰り返しの予定の場合の時に多い、と言われればそうかもしれません。 Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


No, 曜 on its own does not mean weekday. Where did you read that it refers to weekdays? The Japanese word for weekday as opposed to weekend/holiday is 平日.

I don't speak Chinese, but both ~曜日 and ~曜 are very common in modern Japanese. There is another question with a good answer regarding the difference and the etymology of 曜: Difference between 月曜 and 月曜日

EDIT: Here's the definition of the kanji 曜 on Japanese Wiktionary:

  1. 光が目立って輝くこと。
    Shininess and distinctness of light.
  2. 光り輝く天体。
    A shining celestial body.
  3. 天体を、日時のある周期に当てはめたもの。特に七曜に関するもの。
    Celestial bodies assigned to a certain cycle of day and time, especially, the ones related to Seven Luminaries.

So 曜 doesn't mean weekday. The first two definitions are obsolete and all the words containing 曜 in these senses are far over JLPT N1 level. You can safely assume 曜 is a kanji related to the seven days of a week, but is not used alone.

  • 1
    I found it on Jisho: jisho.org/search/%E6%9B%9C%20%23kanji and on Wikipedia: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%9B%9C#Japanese
    – Destal
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 13:07
  • Your link is very interesting but is only about ~曜(日) in the words for days, not 曜(日) alone.
    – Destal
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 13:16
  • Er, here's link in support of naruto's answer: okjiten.jp/kanji371.html . 曜 by itself means "shining" if it means anything at all.
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 13:41
  • 4
    @SimonDéchamps 曜 is never used by itself in modern Japanese; it's always used with other kanji, as a compound. And your links say nothing about weekdays. Each kanji has a meaning, but it doesn't mean each kanji is usable as a standalone word.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 14:56
  • 2
    @SimonDéchamps Oops, sorry, my mistake. Both links actually say "weekday", but I would say that's plain wrong, or at least highly misleading. The Japanese version of the same entry definitely says nothing about "weekday".
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 11:47

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