1

The 一 (one) kanji has two onyomi pronunciations: ICHI and ITSU. When do you use them?

2

I'll give you some examples.

ICHI

一月 【いちがつ】

Meaning: January

Example:

彼【かれ】の知事【ちじ】としての任期【にんき】は来年【らいねん】の一月【いちがつ】に切れる【きれる】。

His term of office as governor expires next January.

十一 【じゅういち】

Meaning: Eleven

Example:

ジェーンは十一歳【じゅういっさい】の時【とき】からずっと映画【えいが】に出演【しゅつえん】している。(See @psosuna's note on this reading)

Jane has been acting in movies since she was eleven.

一億 【いちおく】

Meaning: One hundred million

Example:

おまえはどうして、百匹【ひゃくひき】のねこ、千匹【せんひき】のねこ、百万匹 【ひゃくまんひき】、一億【いちおく】、一兆匹【いっちょうひき】のねこといっしょに、食べられて【たべられて】しまわなかったのだね。

How does it happen that you were not eaten up with all those hundreds and trillions of cats?

一連 【いちれん】

Meaning: series;  chain;  sequence

Example:

彼ら【かれら】は一連【いちれん】の音楽会【おんがくかい】を開催【かいさい】した。

They gave a series of concerts.

一位 【いちい】

Meaning: first place;  first rank;  unit's position

Example:

みんなが驚いた【おどろいた】ことに、マイクはスピーチコンテストで一位【いちい】を取った【とった】。

To everyone's astonishment, Mike won first prize in the speech contest.


ITSU

統一 【とういつ】

Meaning: unity;  consolidation;  uniformity;  unification;  compatible

Example:

建築【けんちく】のシンメトリーで、エメットは美的【びてき】統一【とういつ】性【せい】をもった幾何【きか】学【がく】的【てき】な対称【たいしょう】性【せい】を意味【いみ】している。

By architectural symmetry, Emmet means geometric symmetry combined with aesthetic uniformity.

不統一 【ふとういつ】

Meaning: disunity;  disharmony

Example:

委員会【いいんかい】は意見【いけん】が不統一【ふとういつ】である.

The committee are divided in their opinions.

択一 【たくいつ】

Meaning: choosing an alternative

Example:

彼【かれ】は二者択一【にしゃたくいつ】を選ぶ【えらぶ】ことでしょう。武術【ぶじゅつ】か死【し】か。

Which will he choose I wonder? Martial arts, or death?


Conclusion: 一 (one) can have many readings depending on if using onyomi or kunyomi (see my opinion here on that) Basically you should remember within context instead of trying to memorize readings, but that's my perspective.

  • 1
    Quick extra note: It is the いつ reading for 一 that leads to compound words such as 一ヶ月(いっかげつ), 一緒(いっしょ), and so on. Basically, all the words that use っ – psosuna Aug 10 '17 at 17:11

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