1. Mora

ぼく(boku) consists of two moras, and わたし (watashi) consists of three moras. Combinations of a vowel such as あいうえお (a i u e o) and a consonant comprise a mora, such as かきくけこ(ka ki ku ke ko) A glide such as きゃ (kya) and びょ (byo) also constitute a mora although spelling requires two kanas, one of them being a “y”. A long vowel like こう (kou) is considered two moras. Thus, こうこう (koukou) has four moras while ここ (koko) has two. A double consonant, written with っ (known as small tsu) also constitute a mora although it represents a pause. Finally, a nasal sound ん(n) constitutes a mora.  

Look at the following words and see how many moras are in each word. 

1 mora

leaf, tooth

tree, spirit

2 mora

bridge, chopsticks, edge



3 mora

word, language



fishing industry

4 mora

Japanese language



90 degree angle


5 mora

Good afternoon

Thank you

bus stop

statue of a girl

distilled liquor

6 mora

mudslide damage

distilled water

 Each mora in Japanese receives roughly the same number of beats. When you pronounce words in Japanese, a four-mora word should be double a two-mora word. 


In the following exercise, you will be asked to spell words you hear by choosing a kana or kana combination that represents a mora. Through this exercise, you will develop listening skills and sound-letter association. You do not need to learn the definitions of these words used in these exercises.