Romanization of Japanese

The romanization of Japanese is the use of Latin script to write the Japanese language.[1] This method of writing is sometimes referred to in Japanese as rōmaji (ローマ字, literally, "Roman letters", [ɾoːma(d)ʑi] (listen) or [ɾoːmaꜜ(d)ʑi]).

Japanese is normally written in a combination of logographic characters borrowed from Chinese (kanji) and syllabic scripts (kana) that also ultimately derive from Chinese characters.

There are several different romanization systems. The three main ones are Hepburn romanization, Kunrei-shiki romanization (ISO 3602) and Nihon-shiki romanization (ISO 3602 Strict). Variants of the Hepburn system are the most widely used.

Romanized Japanese may be used in any context where Japanese text is targeted at non-Japanese speakers who cannot read kanji or kana, such as for names on street signs and passports and in dictionaries and textbooks for foreign learners of the language. It is also used to transliterate Japanese terms in text written in English (or other languages that use the Latin script) on topics related to Japan, such as linguistics, literature, history, and culture.

All Japanese who have attended elementary school since World War II have been taught to read and write romanized Japanese. Therefore, almost all Japanese can read and write Japanese by using rōmaji. However, it is extremely rare in Japan to use it to write Japanese (except as an input tool on a computer or for special purposes like in some logo design), and most Japanese are more comfortable in reading kanji and kana.


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Romanization of Japanese, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.