I’m trying to read a book but I came across a sentence where there are small あs after はs and I’m not sure why. Do you know why that is and what it means?




The phrase 「鬼【おに】は外【そと】、福【ふく】は内【うち】」 is said during the 豆まき mamemaki performed as part of 節分 Setsubun.

It is often recited rhythmically


Just writing 「鬼は外、福は内」 just looks/reads very ordinary, so here the small ぁ is added to convey the (rhythmical) sound of the children singing/reciting the phrase.

(Rhythm can also change the pronunciation of the numbers when counting, for example during hide-and-seek.)

  • 1
    I'm not sure OP would have been so confused if he'd ever actually heard this phrase aloud.
    – Angelos
    Mar 1 '20 at 20:38
  • Correct. If I ever hear ghost children singing during a bean throwing festival, I'll make sure to remember this! Apr 28 '20 at 18:52

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