Pretty much every word I've seen so far that contain both kanji and hiragana, always starts with the kanji character(s) first Like 大きい, 見る, 乗り物 and 話す. The only exceptions I've seen so far are お金 and ある日, but one of them isn't even used in conversational Japanese. Do like 99% of the words have this same format to them?


  • 6
    I think ある日 is probably better treated as two words.
    – user1478
    Feb 5, 2018 at 9:13
  • I don't know any off the top of my head (non-native speaker) but one way they would come up is if the first character in a compound is not in the Joyo (here's a list of common non-Joyo: matome.naver.jp/odai/2131743796931665501 )
    – virmaior
    Feb 5, 2018 at 9:21

1 Answer 1


This occurs with prefixes that have no kana or are normally written in kana:

  • ど真ん中
  • ひん曲がる
  • ぶん回す
  • お握り

And in compound words of kana (mainly onomatopoeias) and kanji words:

  • きら星
  • つるっ禿げ
  • どんでん返し

When the first kanji is difficult enough, it can be safely written in kana:

  • ごう音 (轟音)
  • あ然 (唖然)
  • ぶどう糖 (葡萄糖)
  • けん責 (譴責)

Such words are relatively uncommon, but not rare.

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