sci.lang.japan FAQ / 1. Writing / 1.3. Other questions on writing

1.3.1. What is the small katakana ke in 霞ヶ丘 and 一ヶ月?

A Tepco sign: 竜ケ崎

The small character ヶ found in the names of places like Kasumigaoka and in words like ikkagetsu, "one month" looks like a small katakana ke character. It is actually an abbreviation for the kanji 箇 when it is used as a counter (see 12.3. What is the counter for ...?). It is pronounced ka or ga, not ke. This character is also often written with the full-sized katakana ke, ケ, or with a hiragana ga, が.

Used as a counter, it might be seen on price signs for fruit.

Acknowledgements

This answer was compiled referring to posts by Mike Wright, Bart Mathias, Lei Tanabe


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