Ye is a hentaigana, a variant kana or Japanese syllable, no longer in standard use.[1]

japanese hiragana ye
japanese katakana ye
Man'yōgana曳 延 要 遥 叡 兄 江 吉 枝 衣


It is presumed that 𛀁 would have represented [je] ( listen)[citation needed]. Along with 𛀆 (yi) and 𛄟 (wu), the syllable ye has no officially recognized kana; however, during the Meiji period, linguists almost unanimously agreed on the kana for yi, ye, and wu. 𛀆 and 𛄢 are thought to have never occurred as syllables in Japanese, and 𛀁 was merged with え and エ.


Nara period–Heian periodEdit

Japanese people separated e and ye in Man'yōgana, early Hiragana and early Katakana.


  • e
    • 愛、哀、埃、衣、依、榎、荏、得
    • 可愛
  • ye
    • 延、曳、睿、叡、盈、要、縁、裔、兄、柄、枝、吉、江


  • e
    • (Undiscovered)
  • ye


  • e
    • 𛀀 etc.
  • ye
    • エ etc.

After that, e and ye merged into ye in the 10th century, before eventually evolving back to e.[5]

Edo period–Meiji periodEdit

In the Edo period and the Meiji period, some Japanese linguists tried to separate kana e and kana ye again. The shapes of characters differed with each linguist. 𛀁 and 𛄡 were just two of many shapes.

They were phonetic symbols to fill in the blanks of gojuon table. Japanese people didn't separate them in normal writing.

  • e
    • Traditional kana
      • [6] (Hiragana)
      •   (Hentaigana of え. Hiragana.)
      • エ (Katakana)
    • Constructed kana
  • ye
    • Traditional kana
      • え (平仮名)
      • 𛀁[17] (Hentaigana of え. Hiragana.)
      •  [18] (Hentaigana of え. Hiragana.)
      •  [19] (Hentaigana of え. Hiragana.)
      •  [20] (Hentaigana of え. Hiragana.)
      • [21] (Katakana)
    • Constructed kana

These suggestions weren't accepted.


The hiragana version is encoded as HIRAGANA LETTER ARCHAIC YE (with the normative alias of HENTAIGANA LETTER E-1) in the position U+1B001. The katakana version is encoded as KATAKANA LETTER ARCHAIC YE, in the position of U+1B121.


See alsoEdit