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Encyclopedia > Japanese writing system
Japanese
Type Alternative —utilizes both Logographic (Kanji) and Syllabic (Hiragana, Katakana) characters
Languages Japanese language
Time period 4th century AD to present
Parent systems Man'yōgana
Japanese
Unicode range U+4E00–U+9FBF Kanji
U+3040–U+309F Hiragana
U+30A0–U+30FF Katakana
ISO 15924 Japan

Japanese novel using 漢字仮名交じり文 (text with both kanji and kana), most general orthography for modern Japanese. Ruby characters are also used for kanji words. Published in 1908.

Modern Japanese writing system uses three main scripts: Not to be confused with the Javanese language. ... A Chinese logogram A logogram, or logograph, is a single written character which represents a word or a morpheme (a meaningful unit of language). ... This article discusses the unit of speech. ... Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... Not to be confused with the Javanese language. ... It has been suggested that Shakukun be merged into this article or section. ... Unicode’s Universal Character Set potentially supports over 1 million code points (1,114,112 = 220 + 216 or 17 × 216, hexadecimal 110000) code points. ... ISO 15924, Codes for the representation of names of scripts, defines two sets of codes for a number of writing systems (scripts). ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 666 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2476 × 2228 pixel, file size: 685 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Please see the file description page for further information. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ... This article or section uses Ruby annotation. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ...

To a lesser extent, modern written Japanese also uses the Latin alphabet. Examples of such usage include abbreviations such as "CD" and "DVD". Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quoc Ngu: Han Tu: A Chinese character or Han character (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ...


It is also possible to represent spoken or written Japanese entirely in the Latin alphabet. There are several common systems for the romanization of Japanese. Romanized Japanese, called rōmaji is frequently used by foreign students of Japanese who have not yet mastered the three main scripts, and by native speakers for computer input. Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji The romanization of Japanese is the use of the Latin alphabet (called rōmaji )   in Japanese) to write the Japanese language, which is normally written in logographic characters borrowed from Chinese (kanji) and syllabic scripts... In relation to the Japanese language and computers many adaptation issues arise, some unique to Japanese and others common to languages which have a very large number of characters. ...


Here is an example of a newspaper headline that uses all four scripts (a headline from the Asahi Shimbun on 19 April 2004) (kanji red, hiragana blue, katakana green, Latin Alphabet and Arabic numerals black): Asahi-OSAKA office Asahi is a common name in Japan, for other uses see Asahi. ... is the 109th day of the year (110th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

ラドクリフマラソン五輪代表1m出場にも
RADOKURIFU, MARASON gorin daihyō ni ichi-man mētoru shutsujō ni mo fukumi
"Radcliffe to compete in Olympic marathon, also implied to appear in the 10,000 m"

Here are some examples of words written in Japanese: Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE (born December 17, 1973) is a British long-distance runner. ... The five Olympic rings were designed in 1913, adopted in 1914 and debuted at the Games at Antwerp, 1920. ... For other senses of this word, see Marathon (disambiguation). ... ...

Kanji Hiragana Katakana Rōmaji English
わたし ワタシ watashi I, me
金魚 きんぎょ キンギョ kingyo goldfish
煙草 or たばこ タバコ tabako tobacco, cigarette
東京 とうきょう トウキョウ tōkyō Tokyo (the capital of Japan)

Collation (word ordering) in Japanese is based on the kana, which express the pronunciation of the words, rather than the kanji. The kana may be ordered using two common orderings, the prevalent gojūon (fifty-sound) ordering, or the old-fashioned iroha ordering. Chinese character dictionaries are also collated using the radical system. Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ... The gojÅ«on (五十音) is a Japanese ordering of kana. ... The iroha (Japanese: , いろは) is a Japanese poem most likely written sometime during the Heian era (AD 794–1179). ... Japanese dictionaries have a history that began over 1300 years ago when Japanese Buddhist priests, who wanted to understand Chinese sutras, adapted Chinese character dictionaries. ... The left part of mā, a Chinese character meaning mother, is a radical that means woman A radical (from Latin radix, meaning root) is a basic identifiable component of every Chinese character. ...

Japanese writing Japanese writing

Kanji Image File history File links 書.svg‎ The Chinese character 書, in regular script. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ...


Kana Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ...

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Hentaigana
  • Man'yōgana

Uses Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 Hentaigana (変体仮名) are alternative kana letterforms equivalent to standard kana characters. ... It has been suggested that Shakukun be merged into this article or section. ...

Rōmaji

Contents

Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Furigana (Japanese: ふりがな), are a Japanese reading aid. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Okurigana (送り仮名, literally accompanying letters) are kana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese written words. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji The romanization of Japanese is the use of the Latin alphabet (called rōmaji )   in Japanese) to write the Japanese language, which is normally written in logographic characters borrowed from Chinese (kanji) and syllabic scripts...

Usage of scripts

Most simple Japanese sentences (like "the cat sat on the mat") will have both kanji and hiragana in them. Kanji is used for nouns (words like "cat" or "mat") and the stems of verbs (words like "sat"), hiragana for the endings of verbs and for grammatical particles (small, common words such as the Japanese equivalents to the English "on" and "the"). Non-Japanese words or new loan words (except those absorbed into the language long ago or those with original kanji expression) are spelled in katakana.


Kanji (漢字) are used for: Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ...

For more details on this topic, see kanji.

Hiragana (平仮名) are used to write:: In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ... In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... Yamada Tarō (), a typical Japanese name (male), equivalent to John Smith in English. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ...

  • inflectional endings for adjectives and verbs (okurigana 送り仮名)
  • grammatical particles (joshi 助詞)
  • Japanese words that have no kanji, or where the kanji are difficult to read, or where you do not know the kanji, or where you know the kanji but you think your reader is unlikely to know them
  • indications of how to read kanji (furigana 振り仮名).
For more details on this topic, see hiragana.

Katakana (片仮名) are used to write: Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Okurigana (送り仮名, literally accompanying letters) are kana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese written words. ... In linguistics, the term particle is often employed as a useful catch-all lacking a strict definition. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Furigana (Japanese: ふりがな), are a Japanese reading aid. ... Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ...

  • foreign words and names
  • commonly used animals, plants or objects whose kanji are uncommonly used, such as "tokage" (lizard), "bara" (rose), "rōsoku" (candle)
  • onomatopoeia
  • emphasized words, much like italicized words in English text
  • technical and scientific words, such as plant, animal, and mineral names.
For more details on this topic, see katakana.

Latin alphabet (ローマ字) are used to write: For the supervillain, see Onomatopoeia (comics). ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ...

  • acronyms and initialisms, for example NATO
  • Japanese names or other words intended for use outside of Japan (for example, Japanese names on business cards, in passports, etc.)
  • company names, brand names or product names, etc. used both inside and outside of Japan
  • foreign words and phrases that appear in an otherwise Japanese context, such as words that appear in advertising, on consumer goods intended for Japanese consumption, etc.
For more details on this topic, see rōmaji.

However, there are many exceptions to the above rules. For example, Japanese names may be written in kanji, hiragana or katakana. The name must be spelled as the bearer prefers, and it's usual in introductions to give at least a hint at how the name is spelled, and somebody can tell you that she is called "katakana no Maruko." For full details, see the respective articles. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Backronym and Apronym (Discuss) Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations, such as NATO, laser, and ABC, written as the initial letter or letters of words, and pronounced on the basis of this abbreviated written form. ... Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial letter or letters of words, such as NATO and XHTML, and are pronounced in a way that is distinct from the full pronunciation of what the letters stand for. ... This article is about the military alliance. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Rōmaji (ローマ字 Roman characters, sometimes misunderstood as romanji in English), is a Japanese term for the Latin alphabet. ... Yamada Tarō (), a typical Japanese name (male), equivalent to John Smith in English. ...


In addition, Arabic numerals are commonly used to write numbers in horizontal text. Arabic numerals (also called Hindu numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals) are by far the most common form of symbolism used to represent numbers. ... Nihongo (meaning Japanese language), written vertically in kanji Yokogaki (横書き, horizontal writing) and tategaki (縦書き, vertical writing) are two systems of Japanese writing. ...


Choice of script

All words in Japanese can be written in either katakana, hiragana, or rōmaji. Most words also have a kanji form. The choice of which type of writing to use depends on a number of factors, including standard conventions, readability, and stylistic choices.


Some Japanese words are written with different kanji depending on the specific usage of the word — for instance, the word "naosu" (to fix, or to cure) is written 治す when it refers to curing a person, and 直す when it refers to fixing something. In some cases (such as the preceding one) the distinction is simple, whereas in some cases the distinction in nuance is difficult enough that an author will write the word in hiragana to avoid the possible error of choosing the wrong kanji.


Direction of writing

Traditionally, Japanese is written in a format called tategaki. In this format, the characters are written in columns going from top to bottom, with columns ordered from right to left. After reaching the bottom of each column, the reader continues at the top of the column to the left of the current one. This copies the column order of Chinese. An excerpt from Cold Food Observance (寒食帖) by Song Dynasty scholar Su Shi (蘇軾). The calligraphy is read in columns from right to left. ...


Modern Japanese also uses another writing format, called yokogaki. This writing format is horizontal and read left to right.


Early writing system

The current Japanese writing system can be traced back to the 4th century AD, when the written Chinese language was introduced to Japan. No definitive evidence of any native Japanese writing system that predates the introduction of Chinese is known to exist. Chinese (written) language (pinyin: zhōngw n) written in Chinese characters The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: H nyǔ, Hu yǔ, or Zhōngw n) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ...


Although several kinds of supposedly earlier writing called jindai moji (also kamiyo moji, 神代文字, lit. "writing of the gods' age") have been found in modern times, some vaguely pictographic, some runic in appearance, and some very close to Korean Hangul, these are now considered hoaxes promoting Japanese nationalism that were perpetrated in the 1930s. Example can be found on the Internet.[citation needed] Jindai moji (Japanese: “script of the age of the gods”), also read as kamiyo moji, are characters (moji) comprising a fictional writing system promoted by Japanese nationalists in the 1930s as a native Japanese script predating Japans exposure to Chinese writing. ... Pictogram for public toilets A pictogram or pictograph is a symbol which represents an object or a concept by illustration. ... “Rune” redirects here. ... Jamo redirects here. ... Japanese nationalism, also known as Japanese imperialism or Japanese nationalist ideology is a generic title, referring to a complex series of patriotic and nationalist ideas held in Japan. ...


Initially, Chinese characters were not used for writing Japanese; to be literate meant the ability to read and write Classical Chinese. Eventually a system called kanbun (漢文) was developed, which used both Chinese characters (kanji) and something very similar to Chinese grammar, but often with diacritic marks placed alongside the Chinese text to give hints as to the Japanese equivalent. The earliest written history of Japan, the Kojiki (古事記), believed to have been compiled sometime before 712, was written in kanbun. Even today all Japanese high schools and some junior high schools teach kanbun as part of their Japanese language curriculum. Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Vietnamese name Quoc Ngu: Han Tu: A Chinese character or Han character (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a logogram used in writing Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean, and formerly Vietnamese. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... Example of Kaeriten Kanbun (漢文, literally Han writing) is Chinese written for a Japanese audience. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Kojiki or Furukotofumi (古事記), also known in English as the Records of Ancient Matters, is the oldest surviving historical book recounting events of ancient earth in the Japanese language. ...


There was still no system for rendering Japanese in written form until the development of man'yōgana (万葉仮名), which used Chinese characters for their phonetic value (derived from their Chinese readings) rather than their semantic value. Man'yōgana was initially used to record poetry, as in the Man'yōshū (万葉集), which was compiled sometime before 759, and from which the writing system derives its name. Hiragana and katakana were both outgrowths from man'yōgana. It has been suggested that Shakukun be merged into this article or section. ... ManyōshÅ« , Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) is the oldest existing, and most highly revered, collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime in the Nara or early Heian periods. ... Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... Katakana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji, and in some cases the Latin alphabet. ...


Due to the large number of words and concepts entering Japan from China which had no native equivalent, many words entered Japanese directly, with a pronunciation similar to the original Chinese. This Chinese-derived reading is known as on-yomi (音読み), and this vocabulary as a whole is referred to as Sino-Japanese. At the same time, native Japanese already had words corresponding to many borrowed kanji. Authors increasingly used kanji to represent these words. This Japanese-derived reading is known as kun-yomi (訓読み). A kanji may have none, one, or several on-yomi and kun-yomi. Okurigana are written after the initial kanji for verbs and adjectives to give inflection and to help disambiguate a particular kanji's reading. The same character may be read several different ways depending on the word. For example, the character is read i as the first syllable of iku (行く) 'to go', okona as the first three syllables of okonau (行う, "to carry out"), gyō in the compound word gyōretsu (行列, "line" or "procession"), in the word ginkō (銀行, "bank"), and an in the word andon (行灯, "lantern"). The characters for Kanji, lit. ... Sino-Japanese refers to that portion of the Japanese vocabulary that originated in the Chinese language or has been created from elements borrowed from Chinese. ... The characters for Kanji, lit. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Okurigana (送り仮名, literally accompanying letters) are kana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese written words. ...


Linguists have sometimes compared Japan's borrowing and adaptation of Chinese words into Japanese as similar to the effect that the Norman conquest of England had on the English language. Like English, Japanese has many synonyms of differing origin, with words from both Chinese and native Japanese. In another similarity, words of Chinese origin are often used in more formal or intellectual contexts by Japanese speakers, just as English speakers often use latinate words to mark a higher register. Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... Bayeux Tapestry depicting events leading to the Battle of Hastings The Norman Conquest of England was the conquest of the Kingdom of England by William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy), in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent Norman control of England. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Synonyms (in ancient Greek, συν (syn) = plus and όνομα (onoma) = name) are different words with similar or identical meanings. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, a register is a subset of a language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting. ...


Written language reforms

Meiji period

The significant reforms of the 19th century Meiji era did not initially impact on the Japanese writing system, however the language itself was changing due to the increase in literacy resulting from education reforms, the massive influx of new words; both borrowed from other languages or newly coined, and the ultimate success of movements such as the influential 言文一致 (genbun'itchi) which resulted in Japanese being written in the colloquial form of the language instead of the wide range of historical and classical styles used previously. The difficulty of written Japanese was a topic of debate, with several proposals in the late 1800s that the number of kanji in use be limited. In addition, exposure to non-Japanese texts led to (unsuccessful) proposals that Japanese be written entirely in kana or romaji. This period saw Western-style punctuation marks introduced into Japanese writing (Twine, 1991). History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei The Meiji period (Japanese: Meiji Jidai 明治&#26178... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Manyogana 万葉仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 For other meanings of Kana, see Kana (disambiguation). ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 The title given to this article lacks diacritics because of certain technical limitations. ...


In 1900, the Education Ministry introduced three reforms aimed at improving the education in Japanese writing:

  • standardization of the hiragana script, eliminating the range of hentaigana (変体仮名) then in use;
  • restriction of the number of kanji taught in elementary schools to about 1,200;
  • reform of the irregular kana representation of the Sino-Japanese readings of kanji to make them conform with the pronunciation.

The first two of these were generally accepted, but the third was hotly contested, particularly by conservatives, to the extent that it was withdrawn in 1908 (Seeley, 1991). Hiragana ) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system, along with katakana and kanji; the Latin alphabet is also used in some cases. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 Hentaigana (変体仮名) are alternative kana letterforms equivalent to standard kana characters. ...


Pre-WWII

The partial failure of the 1900 reforms combined with the rise of nationalism in Japan effectively prevented further significant reform of the writing system. The period before World War II saw numerous proposals to restrict the number of kanji in use, and several newspapers voluntarily restricted their kanji usage and increased usage of furigana; however, there was no official endorsement of these, and indeed much opposition. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Furigana (Japanese: ふりがな), are a Japanese reading aid. ...


Post-WWII

The period immediately following World War II saw a rapid and significant reform of the writing system. This was in part due to influence of the Occupation authorities, but to a significant extent was due to the removal of conservatives from control of the educational system, which meant that previously stalled revisions could proceed. The major reforms were: Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...

  • the alignment of all kana usage with modern pronunciation (現代仮名遣い gendaikanazukai), replacing the old historical kana usage (1946);
  • the promulgation of the tōyō kanji (当用漢字), which limited the number of kanji used in schools, textbooks, etc. to 1,850 (1946), and also simplified forms of kanji (see Shinjitai);
  • the promulgation of an approved set of forms of kanji to be used in schools (1949);
  • the promulgation of an additional jinmeiyō kanji (人名用漢字) which in combination with the tōyō kanji could be used in names (1951).

(At one stage there was a proposal from an advisor in the Occupation administration to change the writing system to rōmaji, however it was not supported by other specialists and did not proceed.) (Unger, 1996) Kana is a general term for two types of syllabic Japanese script: hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ). These were developed as an alternative and adjunct to ideograph based characters of Chinese origin, or Kanji (漢字). Hiragana and katakana (grouped vertically). ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category The tōyō kanji (当用漢字, kanji for general use) are the result of a reform of the characters of Chinese origin in the Japanese written language. ... Shinjitai (in Shinjitai: ; in KyÅ«jitai: æ–°å­—é«”; meaning new character form), are the forms of Kanji used in Japan since the promulgation of the Tōyō Kanji List in 1946. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


In addition, the practice of writing horizontally in a right-to-left direction was generally replaced by left-to-right writing. The right-to-left order was considered a special case of vertical writing, with columns one character high, rather than horizontal writing per se; it was used for single lines of text on signs, etc. (e.g. the station sign at Tokyo read 駅京東). This order is still seen on the right (or starboard) side of some commercial vehicles, ships, etc., where it is used so that the text runs from the front of the vehicle to the back (or from bow to stern) on both sides. Nihongo (meaning Japanese language), written vertically in kanji Yokogaki (横書き, horizontal writing) and tategaki (縦書き, vertical writing) are two systems of Japanese writing. ...


The post-war reforms have remained, although some of the restrictions have been relaxed. The replacement of the tōyō kanji in 1981 with the 1,945 jōyō kanji (常用漢字) was accompanied by a change from "restriction" to "recommendation", and in general the educational authorities have become less active in continued reform of the writing system (Gottlieb, 1996).


In 2004, a large increase was made in the number of kanji in the jinmeiyō kanji. This list is the responsibility of the Justice Ministry.


Nuances of the writing system

The Japanese writing system allows for transmitting information that is usually communicated in other languages by using different words or by adding extra descriptive words. For example, kanji watashi or watakushi "I" is often used in formal writing and by both sexes. Hiragana watashi わたし tends to be used by females in informal writing such as a diary or a letter to a friend. Katakana watashi ワタシ is used only rarely. Rōmaji watashi is never used, except perhaps in an all-rōmaji context.


Kanji compounds can also be given arbitrary readings for stylistic purposes. For example, in Natsume Sōseki's short story The Fifth Night, the author uses 接続って for tsunagatte, the gerundive -te form of the verb tsunagaru ('to connect'), which would usually be written 繋がって or つながって. Natsume Soseki on the former 1000 yen note. ... In linguistics, a gerund is a non-finite verb form that exists in many languages. ... The Japanese language has a highly regular agglutinative verb morphology, with both productive and fixed elements. ...

For more details on this topic, see furigana.

Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Rōmaji ローマ字 Category Furigana (Japanese: ふりがな), are a Japanese reading aid. ...

Romanization

Main article: Romaji

There are a number of methods of rendering Japanese in Roman letters. The Hepburn method of romanization, designed for English speakers, is a de facto standard widely used inside and outside Japan (and used in the English Wikipedia). The Kunrei-shiki system has a better correspondence with kana, making it easier for the Japanese themselves to learn; it is officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, and often used by non-native speakers who are learning Japanese as a second language. Other systems of romanization include Nihon-shiki, JSL, and Wāpuro. Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 The title given to this article lacks diacritics because of certain technical limitations. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji The Hepburn romanization system ) is named after James Curtis Hepburn, who used it to transcribe the sounds of the Japanese language into the Latin alphabet in the third edition of his Japanese–English dictionary, published... Languages can be romanized in a variety of ways, as shown here with Mandarin Chinese In linguistics, romanization (or Latinization, also spelled romanisation or Latinisation) is the representation of a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, or a system for doing so, where the original word or language... Wikipedia (IPA: , or ( ) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 Kunrei-shiki (訓令式, Cabinet-ordered system) is a romanization system, that is, a system for transcribing the Japanese language into the Roman alphabet. ... Nihon-shiki or Nippon-shiki (日本式 Japan-style; romanized as Nihon-siki or Nippon-siki in Nippon-shiki itself) is a romanization system for transcribing the Japanese language into the Roman alphabet. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji JSL is a romanization system for transcribing the Japanese language into the Roman alphabet. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 The title given to this article lacks diacritics because of certain technical limitations. ...


See also

The Chinese written language consists of a writing system stretching back nearly 4000 years. ... Iteration marks (Jp. ... This page lists Japanese typographic symbols which are not included in kana or kanji. ... Jindai moji (Japanese: “script of the age of the gods”), also read as kamiyo moji, are characters (moji) comprising a fictional writing system promoted by Japanese nationalists in the 1930s as a native Japanese script predating Japans exposure to Chinese writing. ...

Lettering styles

Shodō (書道 the way of writing) or Sho (書) is Japanese calligraphy. ... Edomoji (江戸文字) are Japanese lettering styles which were invented for advertising in the Edo period. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... Gothic Gothic typeface (ゴシック体, goshikku-tai) is the second most commonly used style of printed Japanese characters, after Mincho. ...

Variant writing systems

  • Gyaru moji
  • Hentaigana
  • Man'yōgana

Gyaru-moji (ギャル文字, gals alphabet) is a style of obfuscated Japanese writing popular amongst Japanese school girls. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 Hentaigana (変体仮名) are alternative kana letterforms equivalent to standard kana characters. ... It has been suggested that Shakukun be merged into this article or section. ...

References

  • Gottlieb, Nanette (1996). Kanji Politics — Language Policy and Japanese Script. Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-7103-0512-5. 
  • Twine, Nanette (1991). Language and the Modern State — The Reform of Written Japanese. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-00990-1. 
  • Seeley, Christopher (1984). "The Japanese Script since 1900". Visible Language XVIII 3: 267-302. 
  • Seeley, Christopher (1991). A History of Writing in Japan. University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2217-X. 
  • Habein, Yaeko Sato (1984). The History of the Japanese Written Language. University of Tokyo Press. ISBN 0-86008-347-0. 
  • Unger, J. Marshall (1996). Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan: Reading Between the Lines. OUP. ISBN 0-19-510166-9. 

External links

  • The Modern Japanese Writing System: an excerpt from Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan, by J. Marshall Unger.
  • The 20th Century Japanese Writing System: Reform and Change by Christopher Seeley


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