We (kana)

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transliteratione, we
hiragana origin
katakana origin

, in hiragana, or in katakana, is a nearly obsolete Japanese kana.

It is presumed that ゑ represented [ɰe] (About this soundlisten) and that ゑ and え indicated different pronunciations until somewhere between the Kamakura period and the Taishō period when they both came to be pronounced as イェ [je] (About this soundlisten), later shifting to the modern エ [e][citation needed]. Along with the kana for wi (ゐ in hiragana, ヰ in katakana), this kana was deemed obsolete in Japanese in 1946, and replaced with え and エ. It is now rare in everyday usage; in onomatopoeia or foreign words, the katakana form ウェ (U-[small-e]) is preferred, as in "ウェスト" for "west".

The kana still sees some modern-day usage. Ebisu is usually written "えびす", but sometimes "ゑびす" like Kyōto Ebisu Shrine (京都ゑびす神社, Kyōto Ebisu Jinja),[1] and name of the beer Yebisu (ヱビス), which is actually pronounced "Ebisu". The Japanese title of the Rebuild of Evangelion series is Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition (ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版, Evangerion Shin Gekijōban). Katakana ヱ is sometimes written with a dakuten, ヹ, to represent a /ve/ sound in foreign words; however, most IMEs lack a convenient way to write this and the combination ヴェ is far more common.

Hiragana ゑ is still used in several Okinawan orthographies for the syllable /we/. In the Ryūkyū University system, ゑ is also combined with a small ぃ, ゑぃ/ヱィ, to represent the sound /wi/. Katakana ヱ is used in Ainu for /we/.

Stroke order[edit]

Stroke order in writing ゑ
Stroke order in writing ヱ

Other representations[edit]

Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 12433 U+3091 12529 U+30F1
UTF-8 227 130 145 E3 82 91 227 131 177 E3 83 B1
Numeric character reference ゑ ゑ ヱ ヱ
Shift JIS 130 239 82 EF 131 145 83 91
  • Braille
ゑ / ヱ in Japanese Braille
ゑ / ヱ

ゑい / ヱー
⠖ (braille pattern dots-235) ⠐ (braille pattern dots-5)⠖ (braille pattern dots-235) ⠖ (braille pattern dots-235)⠒ (braille pattern dots-25) ⠐ (braille pattern dots-5)⠖ (braille pattern dots-235)⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)

Japanese Semaphore Basic Stroke 9.svg Japanese Semaphore Basic Stroke 3.svg Japanese Semaphore Basic Stroke 1.svg


See also[edit]