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This page is designed to answer questions regarding Japanese and its use on Wikipedia and Wikias. If you have trouble viewing Japanese, please see the Help:Installing Japanese character sets page for assistance for your particular operating system.

In the FanonLand Wiki, we require to use Japanese texts on most pages that are part of Japanese-related fanfics.

Japanese orthography

Main article: Japanese writing system

Japanese text is written with a mixture of kanji (漢字), katakana (カタカナ) and hiragana (ひらがな) syllabaries. Almost all kanji originated in China, and may have more than one meaning and pronunciation. Kanji compounds generally derive their meaning from the combined kanji. For example, Tokyo (東京) is written with two kanji: "east" () + "capital" (). The kanji, however, are pronounced differently from their Chinese relatives. For example, in modern mandarin Chinese, these two kanji would be "Dongjing." The name was chosen because Tokyo was to be the eastern capital of Japan, relative to its previous capital city, Kyoto (京都). (Some other kanji compounds use characters chosen primarily for their pronunciations. Such characters are called ateji.) In addition to native words and placenames, kanji are used to write Japanese family names and most Japanese given names.

Centuries ago, hiragana and katakana, the two kana syllabaries, derived their shapes from particular kanji pronounced in the same way. However, unlike kanji, kana have no meaning, and are used only to represent sounds. Hiragana are generally used to write some Japanese words and given names and grammatical aspects of Japanese. For example, the Japanese word for "to do" (する suru) is written with two hiragana: (su) + (ru). Katakana are generally used to write loanwords, foreign names and onomatopoeia. For example, retasu was borrowed from the English "lettuce", and is written with three katakana: (re) + (ta) + (su). The onomatopoeia for the sound of typing is kata kata, and is written with 4 katakana: (ka) + (ta) + (ka) + (ta). It is common nowadays to see many businesses using katakana in place of hiragana and kanji in advertising. Additionally, people may use katakana when writing their names or informal documents for aesthetic reasons.

Roman characters have also recently become popular for certain purposes in Japanese. (see rōmaji)

Japanese pronunciation

Main article: Japanese phonology

Throughout Wikipedia and certain Wikias, a modified version of the widely accepted Hepburn romanization is used to represent Japanese sounds in Roman characters. The following are some basic rules for using Hepburn to pronounce Japanese words accurately.


  • The vowels a, e, i, o, and u are generally pronounced somewhat similarly to those in Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Slavic languages and Turkic languages.
  • The vowel u is similar to that of the oo in moon, although shorter and without lip-rounding. In certain contexts, such as after "s" at the end of a word, the vowel is devoiced, so desu may sound like dess.
  • Japanese vowels can either be long (bimoraic) or short (monomoraic). The Wikipedia:macron denotes a long vowel.
    • Long a, o and u sounds are usually written with macrons as ā, ō and ū. The notation "ou" or "oo" is sometimes used for a long "ō", following kana spelling practices.
    • Long e and i sounds are usually written ei /ee and ii, but in neologisms are instead written with macrons as ē and ī.
    • Circumflexes (âêîôû) occasionally appear as a typographical alternative to macrons, especially in older texts.

Japanese vowels can be approximated in English as follows:

vowel a i u e o
British Received Pronunciation between cap and cup as in feet as in boot as in vet as in dog
General American as in father as in feet as in boot as in hey as in know

Moraic n

  • An n before a consonant is moraic (its own mora).
  • A moraic n followed by a vowel or y is written n' to distinguish it from mora that begin with the consonant n.
  • The moraic n has various phonetic realizations:
    • Before an n, t, d or r, it is pronounced [n].
    • Before a k or g, it is pronounced [ŋ].
    • Before an m, b or p, it is pronounced as [m]. It is written as m in some versions of Hepburn, but as n in Wikipedia’s modified Hepburn.
    • It is otherwise pronounced as [ɴ] or [ɯ̃].


  • Consonants other than f and r are generally pronounced as in English.
  • The consonant f is bilabial: the teeth are not used, and the sound is much softer than the "f" of English.
  • The consonant r is similar to Korean r. To an English speaker's ears, its pronunciation lies somewhere between a flapped t (as in American and Australian English better and ladder), an l and a d.
  • Double consonants (kk, tt, etc.) basically indicate a slight, sharp pause before and stronger emphasis of the following sound, more similar to Italian than English. Spelling anomalies:
    • double ch is written as tch (sometimes cch),
    • double sh is written as ssh and
    • double ts is written as tts.

When a consonant is followed by another of the same letter, the first consonant is written with a chiisai (made-smaller) tsu (つ/ツ). Exception: Double n. In this case, being as n (ん/ン) is a single consonant, it can be written by itself. (Ex: Woman: Onna-おんな)

Japanese names

Main article: Japanese name

In Japan the given name always comes after the family name:

  • Example: 福田 康夫 (Fukuda Yasuo). 福田 ("Fukuda") is the family name.

A similar, reverse name ordering is used in Chinese and Hungarian.

However, to reflect the Western convention of listing the given name first and the family name last, some Japanese people born since the establishment of the Meiji era (1868-09-08) conform to the "given name, family name" order in western texts. So 福田 康夫 (Fukuda Yasuo) is listed as "Yasuo Fukuda". On Wikipedia and Wikia, normally Western order is used for people born from the first year of Meiji (1868) onward.

How to insert Japanese text on pages

Most of the pages beginning with the {{Nihongo}} template. The template's syntax as follows:

{{nihongo|English spelling|Japanese spelling|Romanization|Note1|Note2}}

Note: If planning to put the exact page title in the English spelling parameter, it is recommended to put {{subst:PAGENAME}} in the Source Editor, as using templates/magic words inside of a templates conflicts with the Visual Editor.


The {{infobox}} template now has the kanji parameter, which is usually appears on the infobox's title below its English spelling.

Here's an example of putting a kanji name for Kagami Hiiragi:

| kanji = 柊 かがみ}}

Note: If a kanji has an irregular reading or an English name differ from the Japanese original name, please insert {{ruby}} template on any kanji for the furigana readings (see § Furigana for further information).


Furigana (振り仮名?) is a Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana, or syllabic characters, printed next to a kanji (ideographic character) or other character to indicate its pronunciation. It is one type of ruby text. Furigana is also known as yomigana (読み仮名?) or rubi (ルビ?) in Japanese. In modern Japanese, it is mostly used to gloss rare kanji, to clarify rare, nonstandard or ambiguous kanji readings, or in children's or learners' materials. Prior to the post-World War II script reforms, it was more widespread.

Furigana is most often written in hiragana, though katakana is used in certain special cases such as imperfect pronunciation of foreign words, irregular kanji readings based on a foreign word (e.g. 硝子ガラス, garasu), and Japanese text that are wholly written in katakana with kanji on it.

To insert a furigana, {{ruby}} is a main template for putting furigana by the syntax as follows:

{{ruby|Kanji spelling|Kana spelling}}

Here's an example of Funako Asakumo's Japanese spelling with furigana:

{{ruby|朝蜘|あさくも}} {{ruby|鮒子|ふなこ}}

Results in...

朝蜘(あさくも) 鮒子(ふなこ)

Note: The example above misaligned the furigana spelling in-between with the kanjis. To resolve this, simply separate kanjis with multiple {{ruby}} templates for the exact kanji readings, like this:

{{ruby|朝|あさ}}{{ruby|蜘|くも}} {{ruby|鮒|ふな}}{{ruby|子|こ}}

Results in...

(あさ)(くも) (ふな)()