There's something friendly and familiar about the names of the days of the week in English and other Western European languages. Each has its quirks (the Romance languages use Roman gods, the Germanic languages use Germanic gods, Spanish and Italian use 'Sabbath' instead of 'Saturday') but with a bit of background they fall into an interesting but reassuring pattern.

Not so Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese (CJV), which seem completely alien. Chinese and Vietnamese simply count the days of the week; Japanese uses a strange collection of elemental names reminiscent of primitive religion. Given that Chinese and Vietnamese can't even agree which day to count from, the three languages seem to have little to do with each other, let alone the languages of Europe.

But this appearance is deceptive. A little delving reveals a much more complex picture that is every bit as fascinating as the languages of the West. Ironically, Japanese and Vietnamese turn out to be more faithful to traditional Western concepts of the week than modern English is.

To read on, go straight to Days of the Week in the West. To go to a specific section, click on the site map below.

Detailed Site Map

Main Pages
Introduction and Site Map (You are here)  
Days of the Week in the West Note 1: Which is the First Day of the Week: Sunday or Monday?
Japanese Days of the Week:
The 'Seven Luminaries'
Note 2: Uranus and Neptune in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese
Note 3: The Country of Kang and the Manichaeans
Note 4: The Buddhist Route for Transmission of Days of the Week: Esoteric Buddhism and Astrology
Note 5: Kobo Daishi
Note 6: Fujiwara no Michinaga and his Diary
Note 7: The Crucial Step
Days of the Week in Chinese:
Three Different Words for 'Week'

Note 8: Christian Missionaries in China

Note 9: 'Xingqi' - A Modern Coinage
Days of the Week in Vietnamese:
The Liturgical Calendar of the Catholic Church
Note 10: The Origins of the 'Feria'
Note 11: Portuguese Missionaries and their Influence on Vietnamese
Note 12: 'Tuan' and 'Xun': faux amis in Chinese and Vietnamese
Days of the Week in Mongolian & Buryat:
Two Systems of Planetary Names and Three systems of Numbered Names
Note 13: The Seven Luminaries, Five Elements, and Planets in Mongolian
Summing Up  
List of Web Links and References  
Log of Updates  
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