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Here is yet another simple kanji that has a few tricks up its sleeve. The primary readings are U and ame. As easy as coming in out of the rain, you say? Well, read on.


First we have the word for “drizzle” or “light rain.” (This is a word that you are sure to have a use for during Japan’s rainy months.) When this compound is formed with the kun reading of   , an “s” sound is added, so that the hiragana character changes to a


霧雨 (きりさめ)drizzle; light rain


Moreover, some words that employ the kun reading use an alternative version of it. In the following examples, the ame reading becomes ama—so that the hiragana is changed to :


  • 雨戸 (あまど) storm door
  • 雨雲 (あまぐも) rain cloud
  • 雨靴 (あまぐつ) rain shoes; rubbers


In a few cases, either kun reading is correct. You can pronounce the following words with either ama or ame.


  • 雨模様(あめもよう・あまもよう)signs of rain
  • 雨続き(あめつづき・あまつづき)rainy spell


There are also some words that take either the kun reading or the on reading. For the following examples, both of the listed readings are valid:


  • 雨水 (あまみず・うすい)rainwater
  • 春雨 (はるさめ・しゅんう) spring rains