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Japanese Hiragana kyokashotai RI.png
U+308A, り




Stroke order


Etymology 1Edit

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.


(romaji ri)

  1. The hiragana syllable (ri). Its equivalent in katakana is (ri). It is the fortieth syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (ra-gyō i-dan, row ra, section i).
See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit


(rōmaji ri)

  1. :
  2. : profit, advantage
  3. : ri (a unit of length)
  4. : reason, logic
  5. :

Etymology 3Edit

Originally the classical copula verb あり (ari, it is) following a verb in the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form).[1]

The -i ending of the preceding verb stem contracted with the initial a- in ari to form -eri, which was reanalyzed as the 已然形 (izenkei, realis form, corresponding to the modern hypothetical form) or 命令形 (meireikei, imperative form) of the verb stem for 四段活用 (yodan katsuyō, quadrigrade conjugation) verbs, or the 未然形 (mizenkei, irrealis or incomplete form) for サ変動詞 (sa-hen dōshi, sa-irregular verbs), all of which ended in -e, with the final -ri then viewed as a suffix.[1][2]

Research into 上代特殊仮名遣い (jōdai tokushu kanazukai, ancient special spellings) clarified the -e vowel value as ⟨e1, showing that the original form could not have been the 已然形 (izenkei, realis form) that ended in ⟨e2. Ancient ⟨e1 was also known to appear from fusion of -i and a-, and this revealed the much simpler original structure of a verb in the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, continuative or stem form) for either quadrigrade or sa-irregular verbs + あり (ari).[1]

Originally denoted ongoing state or action, or the resulting state of an action. The sense later shifted to indicate the completion of an action.[1][2]


(r-irregular conjugation, rōmaji -ri)

  1. (Classical Japanese, jodōshi) Used to form the stative of verbs.
    • 1952, 凡例 (usage guide) of the 修訂大日本国語辞典
      撥音 (はつおん)の「ん」は最終 (さいしゆう) ()
      hatsuon no “n” wa saishū ni okeri
      the moraic nasal “ん” has been placed at the end
      今回 (こんくわい)新裝版 (しんさうばん)には (これ)省略 (しやうりやく)
      konkai no shinsōban ni wa kore o shōryaku seri
      they have been omitted in this newly bound edition
See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan
  2. 2.0 2.1 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, →ISBN