The Japanese verb conjugation chart to END conjugation charts!

Yes, I really meant the title.

This is a verb conjugation chart that is simple enough to keep in your head. It covers all the main conjugations (except -te/-ta form) and it simplifies the Japanese verb conjugation system to the point where you’ll never have to worry about it again.

Too good to be true?

How could one small android do all that?

The answer is, I didn’t do it. The Japanese language did it. Japanese “conjugation” (so-called) really is amazingly simple, logical and easy to understand – if you look at it the way it really is.

Japanese is language done right. Until you start to apply Western models like “conjugation” to it. Then it becomes the confusing mess you find in the Western “Japanese grammar” textbooks.

So let’s just strip away the confusing ideas and show you the real Japanese verb conjugation chart.

It takes me a quarter of an hour to explain it (mostly because I walk you through showing how the same principle applies to all “conjugations”). Once you understand it in all its brilliant simplicity you will never need a Japanese verb conjugation chart again.

Please enjoy this video.

If you want to ask questions, please go direct to the YouTube page and use the comments section. I will answer as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the KawaJapa Cure Dolly Channel while you’re there!

Mini Q&A

Why is the は ひ ふ へ ほ (ha hi hu[fu] he ho) column written as ば び ぶ べ ぼ (ba bi bu be bo)?

Because there are no verbs ending in hu (fu) or pu. Also, I thought it too obvious to mention, but for completeness, please note that where there is a ten-ten on the last kana of a word we use the same ten-ten on its transitions. So およぐ (oyogu, swim)  becomes およが、およぎ (oyoga, oyogi) etc.

Why do you have -そう (-sou) among the helper-words on the i-row chart but don’t talk about it?

Because for the sake of simplicity I am covering only the main so-called Japanese conjugations. However, since the -そう (-sou, “seems like”) helper also attaches to the i-stem  in the same regular manner as everything else, I included it in the chart for completeness.

2 thoughts on “The Japanese verb conjugation chart to END conjugation charts!

  1. キュアドリー先生,
    おかえりなさい !
    Definitely missed your English-speaking presence – the videos you gave us while you were away were great, and massive thank you for your effort to respond in English while immersed in 日本.
    This was another great video, very clear – it seems a pity English texts on Japanese language don’t simply refer to this process as affixation or suffixation rather than conjugation, but since that latter term (& verb inflection) is used as an umbrella across a whole raft of grammatical categories, no doubt they thought it too convenient to pass up?

    The wikipedia entry for “agglutination” seems logical both as an abstraction away from the unhelpful term of ‘conjugation’, and as a more accurate term in and of itself,
    “Japanese is also an agglutinating language, adding information such as negation, passive voice, past tense, honorific degree and causality in the verb form. ”
    although it is more generally descriptive of linguistic application of morphemes, not necessarily specific to conversion of verbs to noun, adjective, or applying tense, etc.


    1. こちらこそありがとうございます。

      I am sorry not to have approved your comment earlier. You should be auto-approved as you are a regular contributor but I think you must have used a different email.

      As Japanese is famous for being an agglutinative language it would make sense to say “agglutination” but I suspect that the teaching establishment feels that learners will be more comfortable with terms they are familiar with like “conjugation”.

      Unfortunately calling things what they aren’t doesn’t really make life any easier. It sets up a lot of false assumptions that just have to be unlearned.

      And the scary thing is it doesn’t just create false assumptions in learners but in teachers too (including textbook writers). They tend to treat the so-called “conjugations” as if they really were European-style conjugations, which, among other things, means teaching each one as a separate and individual case that has to be “learned”, rather than showing how all of them form part of a larger logical pattern that can be applied across the board.

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