Languages › Japanese Introductory Japanese Lessons (1) Share Flipboard Email Print Languages History & Culture Essential Japanese Vocabulary Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated March 17, 2017 Japanese Pronunciation The Japanese language has only 5 vowels: a, i, u, e, o. They are terse vowels, pronounced clearly and sharply. If one pronounces the vowels in the following sentence one will have their approximate sounds. Please note: the "u" is pronounced with no forward movement of the lips. Ah (a), we (i) soon (u) get (e) old (o). Listen to the audio files for the 46 basic Japanese sounds.