The word for sun in Japanese is taiyou (太陽), with a pronunciation of ta-i-yo. Taiyou can be written in kanji as 太陽, or in hiragana as たいよう. This word is used in both the singular and plural forms, and can refer to the sun itself, or to the sun’s rays. In Japanese culture, the sun is considered to be a symbol of power and vitality, and is often associated with masculinity. Many proverbs and idioms in Japanese contain references to the sun, such as “the early bird catches the worm” (朝鳥は虫を捕る), which means that the early bird will enjoy the best of what is on offer. Another common Japanese proverb says “the sun has risen” (太陽が昇った), meaning that people are starting to get back into things, or can say “the sun has set” (太陽が落ちた) when they want to indicate the end of something.
Taiyou can also be used in many compounds and terms, such as taikyoku (大極 – literally ‘big pole’), which means the Arctic Circle; taiyaku (太極 – same pronunciation), which is an ancient philosophical concept referring to a state where all opposites coexist in harmony; taio (タイオ), meaning ‘sunshine’; and taiyoushin (太陽神), which is a name for the sun god in Japanese mythology. The word for moon in Japanese is tsuki (月), with a pronunciation of tsu-ki. Tsuki can be written in kanji as 月, or in hiragana as つき.