There are a couple of cases I can think of where one might want to ask about features of Japanese that are affected by 縦書き【たてがき】 in particular. Such examples include:

  • Phrase repetition marks (e.g. 〳〵)
  • Signs at shrines (e.g. is 院多喜 written backwards or in columns of one character?)

Is there a way we can work this in without breaking the formatting of the rest of the post?

  • It might be possible to add support for vertical text in the Furigana engine, but I'll have to think about how to do it. Support for vertical text (as opposed to rotated text) is basically only supported in IE 5.5+ and some webkit browsers, however it's probably possible to emulate it using CJK Compatibility Forms for wider browser support. Another major problem is how to make Furigana in vertical text work...
    – cypher
    Mar 26, 2014 at 23:03
  • @cypher When you say "probably possible", it sounds like you might not have seen any of the existing implementations: taketori.org/js.html tategaki.info etc. I'm sure it would take some work, of course, but I think it's possible with the current state of technology.
    – user1478
    Mar 27, 2014 at 12:42
  • @snailplane Wow, those are impressive scripts! When I said "probably possible" I wasn't sure whether the compatibility characters would work on all fonts etc. The first script uses another approach, using char-by-char CSS rotated text based on character type, and the second uses compatibility forms similar to what I suggested, but both are fairly complicated have a fair number of special cases they've worked around, so I think it might be worth considering adopting one of these scripts (as-is or modified) rather than rolling our own. I might play with these a bit when I have some free time.
    – cypher
    Mar 27, 2014 at 18:20
  • 4
    Note: If anyone supports this proposal, please upvote this question. If there's general agreement that we want this functionality, it'll greatly increase the chances of it getting implemented/added to the site. Thanks :)
    – cypher
    Mar 31, 2014 at 0:45
  • 4
    Have we had any questions to date where 縦書き would have been useful?
    – user1478
    Apr 2, 2014 at 2:39
  • Offhand, the accepted answer on japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/710/… attempts to demonstrate the logic behind certain formatting choices in a 縦書き environment.
    – Kaji
    Apr 2, 2014 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


It's possible to do this in HTML, but at the moment the SE engine doesn't support it.

For the time being, you might be better off using an image of text if you need it laid out vertically. (If you do use an image, make sure to put the actual text in the image description for accessibility purposes!)

  • We are part of the SE community. SE devs have helped implement special things for certain sites. Also some things can be done in JavaScript and added to the site, much like we got the current horizontal ruby stuff added some time ago. If we have an idea we can certainly engage the SE devs rather than assume they won't help implement some feature. Mar 27, 2014 at 12:02
  • 2
    I didn't imply any such assumption...
    – user1478
    Mar 27, 2014 at 12:03
  • Sorry I didn't mean to imply that you did. I worried about that wording as I was typing it but failed to come up with something better. Apologies again. Mar 27, 2014 at 12:07

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