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Encyclopedia > Romaji

Japanese writing The character 書 (sho/kaku -- writing) in kaisho style. ...


Japanese writing Nihongo in kanji This article describes the modern Japanese writing system and its history. ...

Kanji 漢字 The characters for Kanji, lit. ...


Kana 仮名 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 Kana is a general term for two types of syllabic Japanese script: hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ). ...

Uses 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 Hiragana (平仮名, literally smooth kana) are a Japanese syllabary, one of four Japanese writing systems (the others are katakana, kanji and rōmaji). ... 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 Katakana (片仮名, literally: partial kana) are a Japanese syllabary, one of four Japanese writing systems (the others are hiragana, kanji and rōmaji). ...

Romaji ローマ字 Furigana (ふりがな), also called yomigana, are kana printed next to a kanji or other character to indicate its pronunciation. ... 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 Okurigana (送り仮名, literally accompanying characters) are a special use of hiragana suffixes following kanji stems in Japanese written words. ...

Rōmaji (ローマ字 "Roman characters", sometimes misspelled romanji in English), is a Japanese term for the Latin alphabet. Rōmaji are often used in Japanese text for abbreviations, metric measurements, to put emphasis on a word or phrase and to clarify the spelling of foreign names. A diacritical mark or accent mark is an additional mark added to a basic letter. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world. ...


In English usage, rōmaji usually refers to the romanization of Japanese words that would usually be written in kanji or kana. Japanese may be written in rōmaji for many reasons: street signs for visiting foreigners; transcription of personal, company, or place names to be used in another language context; dictionaries and textbooks for learners of the language; or even simply for typographic emphasis. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A romanization or latinization is a system for representing a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, where the original word or language used a different writing system. ... The characters for Kanji, lit. ... 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 Kana is a general term for two types of syllabic Japanese script: hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ). ...


There are a number of different romanization systems in use; the three main ones are Hepburn, Kunrei-shiki (ISO 3602), and Nihon-shiki (ISO 3602 Strict). Hepburn (long-vowel omitted) is the most widely used. Modified Hepburn, which uses a macron to indicate some long vowels and an apostrophe to note the separation of easily confused phonemes (for example, the name じゅんいちろう is written with the characters ju-n-i-chi-ro-u, and romanized as Jun'ichirō in Modified Hepburn) is widely used in Japan and among foreign students and academics. 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 For other meanings, see Hepburn (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 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. ...

Contents

Development of rōmaji

The earliest Japanese romanization system was based on the Portuguese language and its alphabet. It was developed around 1548 by a Japanese Catholic named Yajiro. Jesuit presses used the system in a series of printed Catholic books so that missionaries could preach and teach their converts without learning to read Japanese. In general, the early Portuguese system was similar to Nihon-shiki in its treatment of vowels. Some consonants were transliterated differently: for instance, the /k/ consonant was rendered as "c", and the /h/ consonant as "f", so Nihon no kotoba ("The language of Japan") was spelled "Nifon no cotoba". The Jesuits also printed some secular books in rōmaji, including the first printed edition of the Japanese classic 'The Tale of the Heike', romanized as Feiqe no monogatari, and a collection of Aesop's Fables (romanized as Esopo no fabvlas). (The latter continued to printed and read after the suppression of Christianity.) (Chibbett, 1977) Portuguese (português) is a Romance language predominantly spoken in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Macau (China), Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tomé and Príncipe. ... The official Portuguese alphabet consists of the letters of the Latin alphabet minus K, W, and Y: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, X, Z Although not found in vernacular terms, the letters K, W... The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu), commonly known as the Jesuits, is a Roman Catholic religious order. ...


Following the expulsion of Christians from Japan in the early 1600s, rōmaji fell out of use, and were only used sporadically in foreign texts until the mid-1800s, when Japan opened up again. The systems used today all developed in the latter half of the 19th century. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In the Meiji era, some Japanese scholars advocated abolishing the Japanese writing system entirely and using rōmaji in its stead. Several Japanese texts were published entirely in rōmaji during this period, but failed to catch on because of the large number of homophones in Japanese, which are pronounced similarly but written in different characters. Later, in the early 20th century, some scholars devised syllabary systems with characters derived from Latin: these were even less popular because they were not based on any historical use of the Latin alphabet. 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 明治時代 ) (1868–1912... Homonyms (in Greek homoios = identical and onoma = name) are words which have the same form (orthographic/phonetic) but unrelated meaning. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate) syllables, which make up words. ...


Modern systems

  • Hepburn generally follows English phonology (with Romance vowels), and so gives the best indication to educated Anglophones of how a word is pronounced in Japanese. It was standardized as American National Standard System for the Romanization of Japanese (Modified Hepburn), but this status was abolished on October 6, 1994. Hepburn is the most common romanization system in use today, especially in the English-speaking world. Japanese school children now learn Hepburn when they first begin to learn the English alphabet in junior high school.
  • Nihon-shiki is the oldest and least used of the three main systems. It follows Japanese phonology and the syllabary order very strictly and is hence one of the few systems of romanization that allows lossless mapping to and from kana. It has also been known as ISO 3602 Strict form.
  • Kunrei-shiki is a slightly modified version of Nihon-shiki, which eliminates several relics of the differences between the kana syllabary and modern pronunciation. For example, if the words kana かな and tsukai つかい are combined, in kana the result is written かなづかい with a dakuten (voicing sign) ゛ atop to indicate that the tsu つ is now voiced. Kunrei-shiki (and Hepburn) ignore the underlying kana and represent the sounds as they are pronounced (kanazukai), but Nihon-shiki retains the difference and romanizes the word as kanadukai. Kunrei-shiki has been standardized by the Japanese Government and ISO (ISO 3602). Kunrei-shiki used to be taught to all Japanese elementary school students.

It is possible to elaborate these romanizations to enable non-native students to pronounce Japanese words more correctly. Typical additions include tone marks to note the Japanese pitch accent and diacritic marks to distinguish phonological changes, such as the assimilation of the moraic nasal /n/ (see Japanese phonology). 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 For other meanings, see Hepburn (disambiguation). ... The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages or New Latin Languages, are a subset of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Latin dialects spoken by the common people in what is known as Latin Europe (Italian/Portuguese/Spanish Europa latina, French Europe latine) and Romania as Vulgar Latin... An anglophone is someone who speaks English natively or by adoption. ... October 6 is the 279th day of the year (280th in Leap years). ... 1994 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International year of the Family. ... 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 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. ... Dakuten (濁点), colloquially ten-ten (dot dot), is a diacritic sign most often used in the Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced voiced. ... This article or section uses Ruby annotation. ... The several dialects of the Japanese language have a pitch accent, though the position of the accent for a given word varies among them. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...


Non-standard romanization

In addition to the standardized systems above, one can see many other romanizations. These are used by many people, either because they do not fully understand the particular system they are attempting to use, or for deliberate stylistic reasons. Macrons and other diacritical symbols are often omitted or substituted for, because of carelessness, difficulty in remembering or inputting them, or simply unavailability in one's character set (although this last reason is becoming less frequent with the widespread introduction of Unicode). A diacritical mark or accent mark is an additional mark added to a basic letter. ... In computing, Unicode is the international standard whose goal is to provide the means to encode the text of every document people want to store in computers. ...


Some romanization systems (Nippon-Shiki, Hepburn) use the macron diacritic to indicate long vowels (thus, for instance, Tokyo may actually be rendered Tōkyō). Most typewriters, and many word processors and other computerized systems cannot handle this diacritic, or make it difficult to input it. For this reason, the macron is often replaced by a circumflex accent (thus, Tôkyô) – all of â, î, û, ê, and ô are in the ISO-8859-1 character set, and may be easily input on a variety of systems. A macron (from Gr. ... This Smith Premier typewriter, purchased around the end of the 19th century, was found abandoned in the Bodie ghost town. ... A word processor (also more formally known as a document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of viewable or printed material. ... The circumflex ( ˆ ) is a diacritic mark used in written Greek, French, Esperanto, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Japanese romaji, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, and other languages. ... ISO 8859-1, more formally cited as ISO/IEC 8859-1 or less formally as Latin-1, is part 1 of ISO/IEC 8859, a standard character encoding defined by ISO. It encodes what it refers to as Latin alphabet no. ...


Also commonly seen are wāpuro rōmaji, referring to the various methods that IMEs use for converting keystrokes on a roman keyboard to kana. (Wāpuro derives from do purosessā [word processor].) Unlike the standard systems, wāpuro rōmaji requires no characters from outside the ASCII character set. Wāpuro rōmaji (ワープロ ローマ字), also known as kana spelling, is a style of Japanese romanization originally devised usable for entering Japanese into word processors (wādo purosessā, often abbreviated wāpuro) while using a Western QWERTY keyboard. ... An input method editor (IME) is a program or operating system component that allows computer users to enter complex characters and symbols (such as Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan and Korean characters), using a standard Western keyboard. ... There are 95 printable ASCII characters, numbered 32 to 126. ...


Romanizations that one is likely to come across "in the wild" include:

  • oh for おお or おう (Hepburn ō). This is sometimes known as "passport Hepburn", as the Japanese Foreign Ministry has authorized (but not required) this usage in passports [1] (http://www.seikatubunka.metro.tokyo.jp/hebon/)
  • ou for おう (also Hepburn ō). This is an example of wāpuro rōmaji, and is widely used among Western fans of anime and other Japanese popular culture.
  • ô for おお or おう (Hepburn ō). This is valid Kunrei-shiki, but occasionally occurs in otherwise Hepburn-romanized words due to confusion or substitution (since ô exists in ISO-8859-1 but ō does not).
  • jya for じゃ (Hepburn ja) and so on. This seems to be the result of confusion between the Hepburn and the other romanization systems.
  • dzu for づ (Hepburn zu). Another combination between multiple systems, in this case Hepburn and Nihon-shiki.
  • cchi for っち (Hepburn tchi) and so on. This is often used for stylistic reasons when rendering nicknames (for example, あきこ Akiko becoming あっちゃん Acchan rather than Atchan).
  • la for ら (Hepburn ra) and so on. Since the Japanese consonant /r/ has a sound (IPA [ɽ]) that is somewhat between an English "r" and an "l" (and to some listeners sounds somewhat like the alveolar flap), this is unsurprising.
  • a for ああ (Hepburn ā) and so on — in other words, merely failing to mark long vowels at all.
  • na for んあ (Hepburn n'a) and so on.
  • nn for ん (Hepburn n). This is also an example of wāpuro rōmaji, although many IMEs also accept the Hepburn n'. Since this leads to ambiguity with the more widespread Hepburn system (in, for example, the cluster nna, which unambiguously represents んな in Hepburn but would be んあ in this system), this form occurs only rarely.

While there may be arguments in favour of these romanizations in specific contexts, their use (especially if mixed) generally leads to even greater confusion, especially when Japanese words are romanized for indexing in a database. A scene from Cowboy Bebop (1998) Anime (アニメ) is Japanese animation, sometimes billed in the west under the portmanteau Japanimation. ... ISO 8859-1, more formally cited as ISO/IEC 8859-1 or less formally as Latin-1, is part 1 of ISO/IEC 8859, a standard character encoding defined by ISO. It encodes what it refers to as Latin alphabet no. ... The alveolar flap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... An input method editor (IME) is a program or operating system component that allows computer users to enter complex characters and symbols (such as Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan and Korean characters), using a standard Western keyboard. ...


Personal names can be subject to even more variation, with spellings depending on the individual's preference. For example, the manga artist Yasuhiro Nightow's family name would be more conventionally written in Hepburn as Naitō. Rurouni Kenshin manga, volume 1 (English version) Manga (漫画) is the Japanese word for comics; outside of Japan, it usually refers specifically to Japanese comics. ... Yasuhiro Nightow (Naitō Yasuhiro) is a mangaka who created the anime and manga Trigun. ...


In addition, Japanese words and names that have established English spellings, such as kudzu and jiu jitsu, are sometimes written as they are in English, without regard for the rules of romanization. Binomial name Pueraria lobata Kudzu, Pueraria lobata (syn. ... Jujutsu (also jujitsu, ju jitsu, ju jutsu, or jiu jitsu; from the Japanese 柔術 jūjutsu gentle/yielding/compliant Art) is a Japanese martial art. ...


Example words written in each romanization system

English Japanese Kana spelling Romanization
Modified Hepburn Kunrei-shiki Nihon-shiki
Roman characters ローマ字 ローマじ rōmaji rômazi rōmazi
Mount Fuji 富士山 ふじさん Fujisan Huzisan Huzisan
tea お茶 おちゃ ocha otya otya
governor 知事 ちじ chiji tizi tizi
shrink 縮む ちぢむ chijimu tizimu tidimu

Mount Fuji (富士山 Fuji-san, IPA: ) is the highest mountain on the island of Honshu and indeed in all of Japan. ... A cup of tea A tea bush. ... A governor is also a device that regulates the speed of a machine. ...

Chart of romanizations

This chart shows the significant differences between the major romanization systems.

Kana Modified Hepburn Kunrei-shiki Nihon-shiki
うう ū û ū
おう, おお ō ô ō
shi si si
しゃ sha sya sya
しゅ shu syu syu
しょ sho syo syo
ji zi zi
じゃ ja zya zya
じゅ ju zyu zyu
じょ jo zyo zyo
chi ti ti
tsu tu tu
ちゃ cha tya tya
ちゅ chu tyu tyu
ちょ cho tyo tyo
ji zi di
zu zu du
ぢゃ ja zya dya
ぢゅ ju zyu dyu
ぢょ jo zyo dyo
fu hu hu

Alphabet letter names in Japanese

The list below shows how to spell latin character words or acronyms in Japanese. For example NHK is spelled enuecchikē. NHK NHK (日本放送協会, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai), or Japan Broadcasting Corporation, is Japans public broadcaster. ...

  • A エー ē (or エイ ei)
  • B ビー bī
  • C シー shī
  • D ディー dī
  • E イー ī
  • F エフ efu
  • G ジー jī
  • H エッチ ecchi (or エイチ eichi)
  • I アイ ai
  • J ジェー jē (or ジェイ jei)
  • K ケー kē (or ケイ kei)
  • L エル eru
  • M エム emu
  • N エヌ enu
  • O オー ō
  • P ピー pī
  • Q キュー kyū
  • R アール āru
  • S エス esu
  • T ティー tī (or チー chī)
  • U ユー yū
  • V ヴイ vī (or ブイ bui)
  • W ダブリュー daburyū
  • X エックス ekkusu
  • Y ワイ wai
  • Z ゼット zetto

References

Chibbett, David (1977). The History of Japanese Printing and Book Illustration. Kodansha International Ltd.. 0-87011-288-0.


See also

Cyrillization of Japanese is converting Japanese sounds into Cyrillic characters. ... The Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary of 1603 (日葡辞書) was published in Nagasaki, Japan under the title Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam. ... The transcription of English to Japanese has been done since the earliest cultural contacts between English speakers and Japanese. ...

External links

  • All free Japanese romaji dictionaries (http://www.dicts.info/dictlist1.php?k1=108)
  • Romaji to Kana translator (http://spencer.blackmarket.net/japanese_helper.asp)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Romaji Flavor - Jeffrey's J<->E Dictionary (321 words)
In general Japanese is written without spaces, so in theory, romaji should have no spaces as well.
Often, romaji is used to map a Japanese word or name into another language (such as English), and in such cases the linguistic conventions of the target language would take hold.
Romaji is used in this server not to map Japanese to English (or any other language), but to merely map it to an encoding which most systems in the world can handle.
Total Quality Japanese: The Romaji Conundrum (1162 words)
These days, however, the party most concerned with Japan's romaji chaos is the International Standards Organization which has put Japan on notice to come up with a single, rational, unified system.
The first example, "romaji" is representative of the Hepburn system named after James C. Hepburn, the Philadelphia medical missionary who arrived in Japan in 1859 and compiled the first modern Japanese-English dictionary about a decade later.
Perhaps the biggest reason for romaji chaos is that no one single system satisfies all users.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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