Hepburn romanization

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Hepburn romanization (Japanese: ヘボン式ローマ字, Hepburn: Hebon-shiki rōmaji, lit. "Hepburn-style Roman letters") is the most widely-used system of romanization for the Japanese language. Published in 1886 by American missionary James Curtis Hepburn, it uses consonants that approximate those in English and vowels that approximate those in Italian. [1] The "modified Hepburn system" (修正ヘボン式, shūsei Hebon-shiki), also known as the "standard system" (標準式, Hyōjun-shiki), was published with revisions in 1908. [2]


Although Kunrei-shiki romanization is the style favored by the Japanese government, Hepburn remains the most widely-used method of Japanese romanization. [1] It is learned by most foreign students of Japanese, [3] and is used within Japan for romanizing personal names, locations, and other information such as train tables and road signs. [4] People who speak English or Romance languages will generally be more accurate in pronouncing unfamiliar Japanese words romanized in the Hepburn style compared to other systems. [5] [6]


In 1867, American missionary James Curtis Hepburn published the first modern Japanese–English dictionary. [7] In 1886, he published the dictionary's third edition, which popularized a version of his system with input from an international commission consisting of Japanese and foreign scientists. In 1908, the Society for the Propagation of Romanization (ローマ字ひろめ会, Rōmaji Hirome-kai), led by educator Kanō Jigorō, published a version of the Hepburn system with revisions, which is known today as the "modified Hepburn" (修正ヘボン式, shūsei Hebon-shiki) or "standard system" (標準式, Hyōjun-shiki). [8] [2]

Hepburn is based on English phonology and has competed with the alternative Nihon-shiki romanization, which was developed in Japan as a replacement of the Japanese script. [5] In 1930 a Special Romanization Study Commission was appointed to compare the two. [5] The Commission eventually decided in favor of a slightly-modified version of Nihon-shiki, which was proclaimed to be Japan's official romanization for all purposes by a September 21, 1937, cabinet ordinance; it is now known as the Kunrei-shiki romanization. The ordinance was temporarily overturned by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) during the Occupation of Japan, but it was reissued with slight revisions in 1954.

In 1972 a revised version of Hepburn was codified as ANSI standard Z39.11-1972. It was proposed in 1989 as a draft for ISO 3602 but rejected in favor of the Kunrei-shiki romanization. The ANSI Z39.11-1972 standard was deprecated on October 6, 1994.

As of 1978 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and many other official organizations used Hepburn instead of Kunrei-shiki. In addition The Japan Times , the Japan Travel Bureau, and many other private organizations used Hepburn instead of Kunrei-shiki. The National Diet Library used Kunrei-shiki. [9]

Although Hepburn is not a government standard, some government agencies mandate it. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires the use of Hepburn on passports, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport requires the use of Hepburn on transport signs, including road signs and railway station signs.[ citation needed ]

In many other areas that it lacks de jure status, Hepburn remains the de facto standard. Signs and notices in city offices and police stations and at shrines, temples and attractions also use it. English-language newspapers and media use the simplified form of Hepburn. Cities and prefectures use it in information for English-speaking residents and visitors, and English-language publications by the Japanese Foreign Ministry use simplified Hepburn as well. Official tourism information put out by the government uses it, as do guidebooks, both local and foreign, on Japan.

Many students of Japanese as a foreign language learn Hepburn.


Former Japan National Railways-style board of Toyooka Station. Between the two adjacent stations, "GEMBUDO" follows the Hepburn romanization system, but "KOKUHU" follows the Nihon-shiki/Kunrei-shiki romanization system. Toyooka Station Sign.jpg
Former Japan National Railways-style board of Toyooka Station. Between the two adjacent stations, "GEMBUDŌ" follows the Hepburn romanization system, but "KOKUHU" follows the Nihon-shiki/Kunrei-shiki romanization system.

There are many variants of the Hepburn romanization. The two most common styles are as follows:

In Japan itself, there are some variants officially mandated for various uses:

Details of the variants can be found below.

Obsolete variants

The romanizations set out in the first and second versions of Hepburn's dictionary are primarily of historical interest. Notable differences from the third and later versions include:

Second version

  • and were written as ye: Yedo
  • and were written as dzu: kudzu, tsudzuku
  • キャ, キョ, and キュ were written as kiya, kiyo and kiu
  • クヮ was written as kuwa [17]

First version

The following differences are in addition to those in the second version:

  • was written as sz.
  • was written as tsz.
  • and were written as du.


The main feature of Hepburn is that its orthography is based on English phonology. More technically, when syllables that are constructed systematically according to the Japanese syllabary and contain an "unstable" consonant in the modern spoken language, the orthography is changed to something that better matches the real sound as an English-speaker would pronounce it. For example, is written shi not si.

Some linguists such as Harold E. Palmer, Daniel Jones and Otto Jespersen object to Hepburn since the pronunciation-based spellings can obscure the systematic origins of Japanese phonetic structures, inflections, and conjugations. [18] Supporters of Hepburn[ who? ] argue that it is not intended as a linguistic tool.

Long vowels

The long vowels are generally indicated by macrons ( ¯ ). [19] [20] Since the macron is usually missing on typewriters and people may not know how to input it on computer keyboards, the circumflex accent ( ˆ ) is often used in its place. [21] [22]

The combinations of vowels are written as follows in traditional/modified Hepburn:

A + A

In traditional and modified:

The combination of a + a is written aa if they are in two adjacent syllables.
  • 邪悪(じゃあく): {ji + ya} + {a + ku} = jaaku – evil

In traditional Hepburn:

The long vowel a is written aa
  • お婆さん(おばあさん): {o} + {ba + a} + {sa + n} = obaa-san [19] – grandmother

In modified Hepburn:

The long vowel a is indicated by a macron:
  • お婆さん(おばあさん): {o} + {ba + a} + {sa + n} = obāsan [20] – grandmother

I + I

In traditional and modified:

The combination i + i is always written ii.
  • お兄さん(おにいさん): o + ni + i + sa + n = oniisan – older brother
  • お爺さん(おじいさん): o + ji + i + sa + n = ojiisan – grandfather
  • 美味しい(おいしい): o + i + shi + i = oishii – delicious
  • 新潟(にいがた): ni + i + ga + ta = Niigata
  • 灰色(はいいろ): ha + i + i + ro = haiiro – grey

U + U

In traditional and modified:

The combination u + u is written uu if they are in two adjacent syllables or it is the end part of terminal form of a verb:
  • 食う(くう): {ku} + {-u} = kuu – to eat
  • 縫う(ぬう): {nu} + {-u} = nuu – to sew
  • 湖(みずうみ): {mi + zu} + {u + mi} = mizuumi - lake
The long vowel u is indicated by a macron:
  • 数学(すうがく): {su + u} + {ga + ku} = sūgaku – mathematics
  • 注意(ちゅうい): {chu + u} + {i} = chūi – attention
  • ぐうたら: {gu + u + ta + ra} = gūtara – loafer
  • 憂鬱(ゆううつ): {yu + u} + {u + tsu} = yūutsu - depression

E + E

In traditional and modified:

The combination e + e is written ee if they are in two adjacent syllables:
  • 濡れ縁(ぬれえん): {nu + re} + {e + n} = nureen – open veranda

In traditional Hepburn:

The long vowel e is written ee:
  • お姉さん(おねえさん): {o} + {ne + e} + {sa + n} = oneesan [19] – older sister

In modified Hepburn:

The long vowel e is indicated by a macron:
  • お姉さん(おねえさん): {o} + {ne + e} + {sa + n} = onēsan [20] – older sister

O + O

In traditional and modified:

The combination o + o is written oo if they are in two adjacent syllables:
  • 小躍り(こおどり): {ko} + {o + do + ri} = koodori – dance
The long vowel o is indicated by a macron:
  • 氷(こおり): {ko + o + ri} = kōri – ice
  • 遠回り(とおまわり): {to + o} + {ma + wa + ri} = tōmawari – roundabout route
  • 大阪(おおさか): {o + o} + {sa + ka} = ŌsakaOsaka

O + U

In traditional and modified:

The combination o + u is written ou if they are in two adjacent syllables or it is the end part of terminal form of a verb:
  • 追う(おう): {o} + {-u} = ou – to chase
  • 迷う(まよう): {ma + yo} + {-u} = mayou – to get lost
  • 子馬(こうま): {ko} + {u + ma} = kouma – foal
  • 仔牛(こうし): {ko} + {u + shi} = koushi – calf

The long vowel o is indicated by a macron:
  • 学校(がっこう): {ga + (sokuon)} + {ko + u} = gakkō – school
  • 東京(とうきょう): {to + u} + {kyo + u} = TōkyōTokyo
  • 勉強(べんきょう): {be + n} + {kyo + u} = benkyō – study
  • 電報(でんぽう): {de + n} + {po + u} = dempō [19] or denpō [20] telegraphy
  • 金曜日(きんようび): {ki + n} + {yo + u} + {bi} = kinyōbi [19] or kin'yōbi [20] – Friday
  • 格子(こうし): {ko + u} + {shi} = kōshi – lattice

E + I

In traditional and modified:

The combination e + i is written ei.
  • 学生(がくせい): ga + ku + se + i = gakusei – student
  • 経験(けいけん): ke + i + ke + n = keiken – experience
  • 制服(せいふく): se + i + fu + ku = seifuku – uniform
  • 姪(めい): me + i = mei – niece
  • 招いて(まねいて): ma + ne + i + te = maneite – call/invite and then

Other combination of vowels

All other combinations of two different vowels are written separately:

  • 軽い(かるい): ka + ru + i = karui – light (for weight)
  • 鴬(うぐいす): u + gu + i + su = uguisu – bush warbler
  • 甥(おい): o + i = oi – nephew


The long vowels indicated by chōonpu (ー) within loanwords are written with macrons (ā, ī, ū, ē, ō) as follows:

  • セーラー: se + (chōonpu) + ra + (chōonpu) = sērā – sailor
  • パーティー: pa + (chōonpu) + ti + (chōonpu) = pātī – party
  • ヒーター: hi + (chōonpu) + ta + (chōonpu) = hītā – heater
  • タクシー: ta + ku + shi + (chōonpu) = takushī – taxi
  • スーパーマン: su + (chōonpu) + pa + (chōonpu) + ma + n = Sūpāman – Superman
  • バレーボール: ba + re + (chōonpu) + bo + (chōonpu) + ru = barēbōru – volleyball
  • ソール: so + (chōonpu) + ru = sōru – sole

The combinations of two vowels within loanwords are written separately:

  • バレエ: ba + re + e = baree – ballet
  • ソウル: so + u + ru = souru – soul, Seoul
  • ミイラ: mi + i + ra = miira – mummy


There are many variations on the Hepburn system for indicating the long vowels. For example, 東京(とうきょう) can be written as:

  • Tōkyō – indicated with macrons. That follows the rules of the traditional and modified Hepburn systems and is considered to be standard.
  • Tokyo – not indicated at all. That is common for Japanese words that have been adopted into English and is also the convention used in the de facto Hepburn used in signs and other English-language information around Japan, mentioned in the paragraph on legal status.
  • Tôkyô – indicated with circumflex accents, like the alternative Nihon-shiki and Kunrei-shiki romanizations. They are often used when macrons are unavailable or difficult to input, due to their visual similarity.
  • Tohkyoh – indicated with an h (only applies after o). It is sometimes known as "passport Hepburn" as the Japanese Foreign Ministry has authorized (but not required) it in passports. [23] [24] [25]
  • Toukyou – written using kana spelling: ō as ou or oo (depending on the kana) and ū as uu. That is sometimes called wāpuro style, as it is how text is entered into a Japanese word processor by using a keyboard with Roman characters. The method most accurately represents the way that vowels are written in kana by differentiating between おう (as in とうきょう(東京), written Toukyou in this system) and おお (as in とおい(遠い), written tooi in this system).
    • However, using this method makes the pronunciation of ou become ambiguous, either a long o or two different vowels: o and u. See Wāpuro rōmaji#Phonetic accuracy for details.
  • Tookyoo – written by doubling the long vowels. Some dictionaries such as Pocket Kenkyusha Japanese dictionary [26] and Basic English writers' Japanese-English wordbook follow this style, and it is also used in the JSL form of romanization. It is also used to write words without reference to any particular system. [27]


In traditional and modified:

In traditional Hepburn:

In modified Hepburn: [20]

Syllabic n

In traditional Hepburn: [19]

Syllabic n () is written as n before consonants, but as m before labial consonants: b, m, and p. It is sometimes written as n- (with a hyphen) before vowels and y (to avoid confusion between, for example, んあn + a and na, and んやn + ya and にゃnya), but its hyphen usage is not clear.

In modified Hepburn: [20]

The rendering m before labial consonants is not used and is replaced with n. It is written n' (with an apostrophe) before vowels and y.

Long consonants

Elongated (or "geminate") consonant sounds are marked by doubling the consonant following a sokuon, ; for consonants that are digraphs in Hepburn (sh, ch, ts), only the first consonant of the set is doubled, except for ch, which is replaced by tch. [19] [20]

Romanization charts

Gojūon Yōon
あ ア aい イ iう ウ uえ エ eお オ o
か カ kaき キ kiく ク kuけ ケ keこ コ koきゃ キャ kyaきゅ キュ kyuきょ キョ kyo
さ サ saし シ shiす ス suせ セ seそ ソ soしゃ シャ shaしゅ シュ shuしょ ショ sho
た タ taち チ chiつ ツ tsuて テ teと ト toちゃ チャ chaちゅ チュ chuちょ チョ cho
な ナ naに ニ niぬ ヌ nuね ネ neの ノ noにゃ ニャ nyaにゅ ニュ nyuにょ ニョ nyo
は ハ haひ ヒ hiふ フ fuへ ヘ heほ ホ hoひゃ ヒャ hyaひゅ ヒュ hyuひょ ヒョ hyo
ま マ maみ ミ miむ ム muめ メ meも モ moみゃ ミャ myaみゅ ミュ myuみょ ミョ myo
や ヤ yaゆ ユ yuよ ヨ yo
ら ラ raり リ riる ル ruれ レ reろ ロ roりゃ リャ ryaりゅ リュ ryuりょ リョ ryo
わ ワ waゐ ヰ i ゑ ヱ e を ヲ o 
ん ン n /n'
が ガ gaぎ ギ giぐ グ guげ ゲ geご ゴ goぎゃ ギャ gyaぎゅ ギュ gyuぎょ ギョ gyo
ざ ザ zaじ ジ jiず ズ zuぜ ゼ zeぞ ゾ zoじゃ ジャ jaじゅ ジュ juじょ ジョ jo
だ ダ daぢ ヂ jiづ ヅ zuで デ deど ド doぢゃ ヂャ jaぢゅ ヂュ juぢょ ヂョ jo
ば バ baび ビ biぶ ブ buべ ベ beぼ ボ boびゃ ビャ byaびゅ ビュ byuびょ ビョ byo
ぱ パ paぴ ピ piぷ プ puぺ ペ peぽ ポ poぴゃ ピャ pyaぴゅ ピュ pyuぴょ ピョ pyo

Extended katakana

These combinations are used mainly to represent the sounds in words in other languages.

Digraphs with orange backgrounds are the general ones used for loanwords or foreign places or names, and those with blue backgrounds are used for more accurate transliterations of foreign sounds, both suggested by the Cabinet of Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. [31] Katakana combinations with beige backgrounds are suggested by the American National Standards Institute [32] and the British Standards Institution as possible uses. [33] Ones with purple backgrounds appear on the 1974 version of the Hyōjun-shiki formatting. [28]

イィ yiイェ ye
ウァ wa*ウィ wiウゥ wu*ウェ weウォ wo
ウュ wyu
ヴァ vaヴィ vivuヴェ veヴォ vo
ヴャ vyaヴュ vyuヴィェ vyeヴョ vyo
キェ kye
ギェ gye
クァ kwaクィ kwiクェ kweクォ kwo
クヮ kwa
グァ gwaグィ gwiグェ gweグォ gwo
グヮ gwa
シェ she
ジェ je
スィ si
ズィ zi
チェ che
ツァ tsaツィ tsiツェ tseツォ tso
ツュ tsyu
ティ tiトゥ tu
テュ tyu
ディ diドゥ du
デュ dyu
ニェ nye
ヒェ hye
ビェ bye
ピェ pye
ファ faフィ fiフェ feフォ fo
フャ fyaフュ fyuフィェ fyeフョ fyo
ホゥ hu
ミェ mye
リェ rye
ラ゜ laリ゜ liル゜ luレ゜ leロ゜ lo
リ゜ャ lyaリ゜ュ lyuリ゜ェ lyeリ゜ョ lyo

See also


  1. 1 2 Hadamitzky, Wolfgang; Spahn, Mark (October 2005). "Romanization systems". Wolfgang Hadamitzky: Japan-related Textbooks, Dictionaries, and Reference Works. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  2. 1 2 Unger, J. Marshall (1996). Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan: Reading between the Lines. Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN   9780195356380.
  3. Backhaus, Peter (29 December 2014). "To shine or to die: the messy world of romanized Japanese". The Japan Times Online. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  4. "'Ti' or 'chi'? Educators call to unify romanization styles in Japan". Mainichi Daily News. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Carr, Denzel. The New Official Romanization of Japanese . Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Mar., 1939), pp. 99-102.
  6. Haruhiko Kindaichi, Takeshi Shibata, Naoki Hayashi (1988). 日本語百科大事典[Japanese encyclopedia]. Taishukan Shoten.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Li, Yu (2019). The Chinese Writing System in Asia: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-000-69906-7 . Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  8. Seeley, Christopher (2000). A History of Writing in Japan (Illustrated, reprint ed.). University of Hawaii Press. p. 140. ISBN   9780824822170.
  9. Kent, et al. "Oriental Literature and Bibliography." p. 155.
  10. 和英語林集成第三版 [Digital 'Japanese English Forest Collection']. Meiji Gakuin University Library (in Japanese). Meiji Gakuin University. March 2010 [2006]. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  11. "明治学院大学図書館 - 『和英語林集成』デジタルアーカイブス". Meijigakuin.ac.jp. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
  12. "Japanese" (PDF). Library of Congress . Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  13. "UHM Library : Japan Collection Online Resources". Hawaii.edu. 2005-10-06. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
  14. "鉄道掲示基準規程". Homepage1.nifty.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  15. 道路標識のローマ字(ヘボン式) の綴り方 [How to spell Roman letters (Hepburn style) of road signs]. Kictec (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  16. "パスポートセンター ヘボン式ローマ字表 : 神奈川県". Pref.kanagawa.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  17. James Curtis Hepburn (1872). A Japanese-English And English-Japanese Dictionary (2nd ed.). American Presbyterian mission press. pp. 286–290. Retrieved 2013-12-16.
  18. 松浦四郎 (October 1992). "104年かかった標準化". 標準化と品質菅理 -Standardization and Quality Control-. Japanese Standards Association. 45: 92–93.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 James Curtis Hepburn (1886). A Japanese-English And English-Japanese Dictionary. (Third Edition). Z. P Maruyama & Co. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary (Fourth Edition). Kenkyūsha. 1974.
  21. 1 2 Fujino Katsuji (1909). ローマ字手引き[RÔMAJI TEBIKI] (in Japanese). Rômaji-Hirome-kai.
  22. Cabinet of Japan (December 9, 1954). 昭和29年内閣告示第1号 ローマ字のつづり方 [Japanese Cabinet Order No.1 in 1954 - How to write Romanization] (in Japanese). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved 2011-05-19.
  23. Bureau of Citizens and Culture Affairs of Tokyo. "PASSPORT_ヘボン式ローマ字綴方表" [Table of Spelling in Hepburn Romanization] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  24. Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco. ヘボン式ローマ字綴方表 [Table of Spelling in Hepburn Romanization](PDF) (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  25. Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit. "Example of Application Form for Passport" (PDF) (in Japanese). Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  26. Pocket Kenkyusha Japanese Dictionary. "Pocket Kenkyusha Japanese Dictionary (9780198607489): Shigeru Takebayashi, Kazuhiko Nagai: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
  27. "ローマ字の長音のつづり方". Xembho.s59.xrea.com. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  28. 1 2 "標準式ローマ字つづり―引用" . Retrieved 2016-02-27.[ self-published source ]
  29. 1 2 Cabinet of Japan (November 16, 1946). 昭和21年内閣告示第33号 「現代かなづかい」 [Japanese Cabinet Order No.33 in 1946 - Modern kana usage] (in Japanese). Archived from the original on October 6, 2001. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  30. 1 2 Cabinet of Japan (July 1, 1986). 昭和61年内閣告示第1号 「現代仮名遣い」 [Japanese Cabinet Order No.1 in 1986 - Modern kana usage] (in Japanese). Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  31. Cabinet of Japan. "平成3年6月28日内閣告示第2号:外来語の表記" [Japanese cabinet order No.2 (June 28, 1991):The notation of loanword]. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  32. "米国規格(ANSI Z39.11-1972)―要約" . Retrieved 2016-02-27.[ self-published source ]
  33. "英国規格(BS 4812 : 1972)―要約" . Retrieved 2016-02-27.[ self-published source ]

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Japanese language and computers

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. The number of characters needed in order to write English is very small, and thus it is possible to use only one byte (28=256 possible values) to encode one English character. However, the number of characters in Japanese is much more than 256 and thus cannot be encoded using a single byte - Japanese is thus encoded using two or more bytes, in a so-called "double byte" or "multi-byte" encoding. Problems that arise relate to transliteration and romanization, character encoding, and input of Japanese text.

JSL is a romanization system for transcribing the Japanese language into the Latin script. It was devised by Eleanor Jorden for her 1987 book Japanese: The Spoken Language. The system is based on Kunrei-shiki romanization.

Nihon-shiki, or Nippon-shiki Rōmaji, is a romanization system for transliterating the Japanese language into the Latin alphabet. In discussion about romaji, it is abbreviated as Nihon-shiki or Nippon-shiki. Among the major romanization systems for Japanese, it is the most regular one and has a one-to-one relation to the kana writing system.

Polivanov system is a system of transliterating the Japanese language into Russian Cyrillic script, either to represent Japanese proper names or terms in Russian or as an aid to Japanese language learning in those languages. The system was developed by Yevgeny Polivanov in 1917.

In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may have arisen from one, such as in Australian English where postvocalic R is realised as a lengthened preceding vowel. Like consonants, the length of articulated vowels is an important phonemic factor in many of the world's languages and dialects, for instance in Arabic, Finnish, Fijian, Kannada, Japanese, Latin, Old English, Scottish Gaelic and Vietnamese. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, it plays a phonetic role in the majority of dialects of British English and is said to be phonemic in a few other dialects, such as Australian English, Lunenburg English, New Zealand English and South African English. It also plays a lesser phonetic role in Cantonese, unlike other varieties of Chinese.

Wāpuro rōmaji (ワープロローマ字), or kana spelling, is a style of romanization of Japanese originally devised for entering Japanese into word processors while using a Western QWERTY keyboard.

James Curtis Hepburn American Christian missionary to Japan known for the Hepburn writing system

James Curtis Hepburn was an American physician, translator, educator, and lay Christian missionary. He is known for the Hepburn romanization system for transliteration of the Japanese language into the Latin alphabet, which he popularized in his Japanese–English dictionary.

The Japanese language has two types of regular verbs that involve the stem, and can be referred to as Japanese consonant and vowel verbs.

The sokuon (促音) is a Japanese symbol in the form of a small hiragana or katakana tsu. In less formal language it is called chiisai tsu (小さいつ) or chiisana tsu (小さなつ), meaning "small tsu". It serves multiple purposes in Japanese writing.

Japanese input method Methods used to input Japanese characters on a computer

Japanese input methods are used to input Japanese characters on a computer.

The romanization of Japanese is the use of Latin script to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is sometimes referred to in Japanese as rōmaji. There are several different romanization systems. The three main ones are Hepburn romanization, Kunrei-shiki romanization, and Nihon-shiki romanization. Variants of the Hepburn system are the most widely used.

In contemporary Japanese writing, foreign-language loanwords and foreign names are normally written in the katakana script, which is one component of the Japanese writing system. As far as possible, sounds in the source language are matched to the nearest sounds in the Japanese language, and the result is transcribed using standard katakana characters, each of which represents one syllable. For example, America is written アメリカ (A-me-ri-ka). To accommodate various foreign-language sounds not present in Japanese, a system of extended katakana has also developed to augment standard katakana.

This article explains the transcription of the Japanese language in the Esperanto alphabet. Esperantists often use non-Esperanto transcriptions, such as Hepburn and Kunrei. However, the need for a transcription in the Esperanto alphabet is essential for non-Japanese speaking Esperantists to be able to pronounce words.