Longer passages should use block quotes. This is about when you need to use Japanese words or phrases such as 日本語 within an English paragraph.

Should we use quotes for Kanji and Hiragana/Katakana? I noticed that some members prefer quotes, while others do not. An example:

1. What is the difference between 「新{しん}規{き}」 and 「新{あたら}しい」?
2. What is the difference between 新{しん}規{き} and 新{あたら}しい?

I think the first example is better, and the sentence looks grammatically correct this way.

We can use 「quotes」 or "quotes" or backticks etc. to mark that we're only mentioning a Japanese word or phrase instead of using it. Backticks have already been suggested here, but with no votes.

Maybe it would be better to create some rule/standard here, so all members would follow them?

  • You could post your opinion (using 「」) as an answer as well, so that the voting may begin.
    – blutorange
    Mar 18, 2015 at 9:47
  • @blutorange Your answer is very good indeed. I will try to use such format for a while as experiment. Mar 18, 2015 at 9:52
  • This is just my opinion, I think we should wait until other people had a chance to vote etc ;)
    – blutorange
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


Unless there's a special need, do not mark it at all.

First of all, should we mark it all? Most importantly, a text should be easy to read. There's no need to add superfluous noise or punctuation if there's no practical chance of confusion.

  • 漢字 and かな already stand out in an otherwise English text.
  • A paragraph in English almost never actually uses a Japanese word, so there won't be any 誤解.
  • It's also easier to type.

It's a good idea to mark English text because it doesn't stand out:

enter image description here

Why not use...

  • Japanese 「quotes」: These look a bit strange because that's applying Japanese typography to an English text. Would be like ending with a Japanese period。
  • English "quotes": These on the other hand look rather strange with Japanese as well. Combining Japanese+English isn't easy.
  • backticks: looks alright for one or two words, but it can get distracting quickly, see below.
  • bold: Bad typesetting practice. Should be preserved for emphasis.
  • italic: Good for phonetic transcriptions such as romaji, but looks ugly with Japanese: 凸凹.

enter image description here

In "The Handbook of Japanese Linguistics", edited by Natsuko Tsujimura, this style is being used as well:

enter image description here

English words that are mentioned get marked, the Japanese script is not marked.

  • 2
    And now that I think about, backticks should be used sparingly for English words as well, or it can get distracting rather quickly too. Often, "quotes" are sufficient; and imo, well-written plain text with paragraphs is easy to read.
    – blutorange
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:25
  • 日本人は深く考えずに何らかの引用符を使ってしまいそう。英語だと違う、と最近知りました。気をつけます。
    – naruto
    Mar 18, 2015 at 10:28
  • @naruto 外見より質とも言えるし、これはあえて投稿したポストを編集したらどうすべきか、何が一番いいかという質問についての意気投合のようなものです。気にしすぎない程度でよろしいかと。
    – blutorange
    Mar 18, 2015 at 11:02
  • Now I think this approach is very good and should be used - "English words that are mentioned get marked, the Japanese script is not marked." - as mentioned by @blutorange. Mar 30, 2015 at 9:47

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