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Japan Studies: Japanese Language Rules

Romanization of Japanese (romaji)

Table of Modified Hepburn
(Romanaization system used in major databases)
*The letters highlighted in yellow are commonly mistaken.


a


i

u

e

o

ya

yu

yo
か 
ka
き 
ki
く 
ku
け 
ke
こ 
ko
きゃ 
kya
きゅ 
kyu
きょ 
kyo
さ 
sa
し 
shi
す 
su
せ 
se
そ 
so
しゃ 
sha
しゅ 
shu
しょ 
sho
た 
ta
ち 
chi
つ 
tsu
て 
te
と 
to
ちゃ 
cha
ちゅ 
chu
ちょ 
cho
な 
na
に 
ni
ぬ 
nu
ね 
ne
の 
no
にゃ 
nya
にゅ 
nyu
にょ   
nyo
は 
ha
ひ 
hi
 
fu
へ 
he
ほ 
ho
ひゃ 
hya
ひゅ 
hyu
ひょ
hyo
ま 
ma
み 
mi
む 
mu
め 
me
も 
mo
みゃ 
mya
みゅ 
myu
みょ
myo
ら 
ra
り 
ri
る 
ru
れ 
re
ろ 
ro
りゃ 
rya
りゅ 
ryu
りょ 
ryo

wa

n
("は")
wa

(" を")
o

("へ")
e
(ヴァ)
 va
(ヴィ)
vi
(ヴォ)
vo


ga


gi

gu

ge

go
ぎゃ
gya
ぎゅ
gyu
ぎょ
gyo
ざ 
za
じ 
ji

zu
ぜ 
ze

zo
じゃ 
ja
じゅ 
ju
じょ 
jo
だ 
da

ji

zu
で 
de

do
     
ば 
ba
び 
bi
ぶ 
bu
べ 
be
ぼ 
bo
びゃ 
bya
びゅ 
byu
びょ 
byo
ぱ 
pa

pi
ぷ 
pu
ぺ 
pe
ぽ 
po
ぴゃ 
pya
ぴゅ 
pyu
ぴょ 
pyo

Pay special attention to:

  • Long vowels: Omit them.
    • 大阪 (おおさか) Osaka: <wrong> Oosaka / {correct} Osaka 
    • 研究 (けんゅう) research: <wrong> kenkyuu / {correct} kenkyu 
  • Double consonants (small っ): Repeat the succeeding consonant.
    • 日本 (にぽん) Japan: Nippon
    • トドグ hotdog: hottodoggu
      • Exception: Double consonants "cc" are transcribed as "tc."
        • 一丁 (いょう) one piece: <wrong> iccho / {correct} itcho
        • 坊ちゃん (ぼちゃん) a boy: <wrong> bocchan / {correct} botcha
  • "" is always transcribed as "n," not "m."
    • 新聞 (し) newspaper: <wrong> shimbun / {correct} shinbun
    • 短編 (た) a short story: <wrong> tampen / {correct} tanpen
  • A continuous string of Japanese words must be divided into word units.
    • 日本の政治と社会 Japanese politics and society: Nihon no seiji to shakai
    • 日本史 Japanese history: Nihon shi

*To maximize your search results, input different romanized forms or word divisions. For example, "nihon shi" and "nihonshi" for 日本史.

*See this ALA-LC PDF guideline on Japanese romanization (American Library Association-Library Congress, revised March 2012) for more about the word division, capitalization and use of hyphens.