Oh man was it getsu or was it gatsu... Oh damn!When to Use Gatsu (がつ)vs Getsu (げつ)

So, through the past week while going through WaniKani, I’ve been totally screwing up the difference between these two pronunciation and when to use them. So I decided to go the extra mile and really figure out why my brain is totally not capturing these two in the ways they are being used (at my current level in WaniKani lvl 6).

It's possible to learn Japanese while watching your favorite anime

So here it is the best way that I can explain it after doing my research and learning why I keep getting them mixed up. Maybe this will help you as well?

The best way that I found to remember when to use GATSU vs GETSU is by looking at the word GATSU as a way of counting through the months of the year.


The months of the year in Japanese are pronounced by the numbers 1 through 12, so juugatsu is October, nigatsu is February etc. But if you want to go through a time frame/duration through months then it changes a bit and goes with GETSU. The counter is literally -ka getsu when using it for duration, you’ll add a -kka getsu for duration of 1, 6, 8 and 10 months.


1 month – ikkagetsu
2 months – nikagetsu -kka

5 months – gokagetsu
8 months – hakkagetsu -kka

3 months – sankagetsu
10 months – jukkagetsu -kka

This is expressing a duration of time remember that

A few more examples:

Last Month, This Month and Next Month and Every Month
Sengetsu, Kongetsu, Raigetsu, Maigetsu

It’s best to view these two as:

GETSU = ACTIVE: Movement of Time – Maigetsu/Ikkagetsu

GATSU = STATIC: No Movement / Statement – Nangatsu/Ichigatsu

as I keep coming across more of gatsu vs getsu I’ll keep refining this pattern.

I hope this helps you as it has helped me learn a bit more about which ones which.


    • I understand there are times I get it confused but the difference is nowadays it feels weird when I use the wrong one when speaking Japanese, so I at least know on a subconscious level now something isn’t right. 9/10 I get it right though. It just takes beating the differences into your head.

      If you were fluent in Japanese it wouldn’t be an issue obviously, but we are not, so yeah, we get to deal with the ridiculousness of the language at times!


  • Ha I’m on level 6 right now and after a fit of frustration, I told myself I was going to look for answers! This came up. Thank you, I hope it will help.

    • Glad this helped out! Keep with it. It takes around 60+ days to form a new habit, if you can keep with it… do even just one drill a day, you’ll form a habit to continue. Having gone through WaniKani all the way once before and now doing it much slower this time around (level 20 right now again) I can tell you it’s a marathon, there is no real way to speed through it and be able to really retain it all… maybe if you were living in Japan you’d be exposed much more often to it in daily life, but most people don’t have that option. Keep at it! Ganbatte kudasai ne!

  • I know it’s been a long time since you posted this but thank you!! This was the first thing that came up in Google when I looked it up haha. I’m going through the same thing as you (level 7) and I could not for the life of me figure out why I kept having trouble with these. Your rule of thumb has been very helpful!

    • Glad it helped, you’ll notice the trend continues in a similar way with GA and GE throughout the course.

      I actually really found this to be more and more helpful as time goes on with WaniKani, so like I said, very glad to hear that you also found it useful.

      Thanks for dropping a comment!

  • Thank you so much for posting this. I have been having the exact same problem. I’m also on level 6 Wanakani and it’s just killing me. I seem to have no real issues with other things but げつ and がつ
    are killing me.

    • Oh yeah, I can tell you it gets more and more important as time goes on to make sure you solidify these. When I first got these it seemed I didn’t have an issue but a few things changed and it just tore me apart for awhile until I made this post.

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