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Some details first. I am building a clock and it will be all in Japanese. Getting the numbers isn't a problem.

I want there two be two lights that indicate if AM or PM. I don't want to just translate the letters, as I guess there is a Japanese term for AM and PM.

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The Japanese terms for AM/PM are

  • 午前 = AM
  • 午後 = PM

Some real clocks widely available in Japan use them:

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But what kind of clock are you building? What do you mean by "clock all in Japanese" and what do you mean by "just translate the letters?" Perhaps you are thinking of building a real "kanji clock"?

enter image description here

Then go ahead and use 午前/午後. While it does not suit Japanese people's taste at all, it probably makes sense as a souvenir for foreigners. Before doing it you may want to read this article carefully. Reproducing a single Japanese character can be a challenging task for those who do not understand the language.

Japanese people generally do not like to wear something with kanji on it, and even domestic Japanese clock/watch makers like CASIO mainly manufacture English-only products. Even small Japanese kids understand AM/PM, and you don't need to translate it, usually.

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    naruto, thank for that answer. The clock is a dial face clock like the ony you have shown, its going to be steam punk like and I want it to look odd. So kinda like the bad tatto's you link to in the link. I wanted to make sure i want making there mistake. I know noone Japanise will ever see it, but want to take a little pride on my craftmanship. – Ashley Kilgour Mar 13 '17 at 11:31
  • @AshleyKilgour Great, then you can go with 午前/午後, but be sure to choose the right kanji and font. In particular, be aware that 午 and 牛 are different characters. – naruto Mar 13 '17 at 16:46

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