|Kanji in this term|
|か > が
Compound of 万葉 (man'yō, “ten thousand leaves”, from the title of the Old Japanese poetry anthology, Man'yōshū, “Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”) + 仮名 (kana, “phonetic character”, literally “borrowed characters” or “borrowed names”, from the way the characters were borrowed for their phonetic values). The kana changes to gana due to rendaku (連濁).
This kind of phonetic re-use of Chinese characters was broadly popularized by the the Man'yōshū. Chinese used phonetically to spell Japanese occurs even earlier in the historical record, such as on the Inariyama Sword, dated to 471 or 531.
- (Tokyo) ま [màń'yóógáná] (Heiban - )
- (Tokyo) ま うがな[màń'yóꜜògànà] (Nakadaka - )
- IPA(key): [ma̠n.jo̞ːɡ̃a̠na̠]
- the early Japanese syllabary using Chinese characters to represent Japanese sounds: the predecessor of hiragana and katakana