I'm not sure how the search works, first of all. However, for instance let's say a beginner wants to ask about the word/verb "kakeru". Well more often than not, he will write it in romaji. If he's an advanced beginner, he might it in hiragana. Now let's say that I've already asked a question about "kakeru" but wrote it as: 掛ける. As far as I know, the beginner won't pick that up in his search. And may end up asking a question which is similar or the same as I mine. And if it is closed, the beginner is penalized as well (correct me if I'm wrong on this). So the point of this question is: If I ask a question should write out the kanji and hiragana or kanji and romaji or even hiragana and romaji, so that that another person can search or see that this question has already been asked?

  • 2
    I don't think you need to be an "advanced beginner" to be able to write in hiragana. Learning them is the very first thing you should do when learning Japanese. At least, there is no point in writing romaji in the title.
    – user458
    Mar 4, 2012 at 22:01
  • @sawa How you think people ought to learn Japanese and how people do actually learn Japanese are sometimes different. Mar 6, 2012 at 4:56
  • @AndrewGrimm I don't know what you have in mind about how "people ought to learn Japanese". The way "people do actually learn Japanese" is by learning hiragana. Students who stick to romanization have hard time going to the next step.
    – user458
    Mar 6, 2012 at 5:02
  • @sawa My class has been learning Japanese for one year, and is still using romaji. Mar 6, 2012 at 6:10
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm I don't want to offend you, but honestly, I think that is probably one of the reasons you have not shown progress comparable to the usual level for having studied one year.
    – user458
    Mar 6, 2012 at 14:32
  • @sawa classes are only two hours a week, less the tea break in the middle of it. There are three students in our class. One is an obaasan, and both of them acknowledge that I'm the strongest student in the class. That probably explains why I've progressed as little as I have. But I trust my teacher's judgement. If she decides to teach in romaji for now, that is her decision. Mar 6, 2012 at 22:01
  • @sawa: I'm a self-learner so I learned with romaji and transitioned to hiragana. Even the Genki I starts off the first three chapters with romaji and then chapter 4 on up is in kana. In any case, "advanced beginner" is a misnomer. I was just trying to differentiate beginner who know romaji and others who know hiragana.
    – dotnetN00b
    Mar 7, 2012 at 13:18
  • 2
    @dotnetN00b What you wrote is not accurate. Genki I starts with hiragana from the beginning. It is assisted with romaji for the first few chapters. It's intention is that the students get used to hiragana as early as possible.
    – user458
    Mar 7, 2012 at 15:19
  • @sawa: My apologizes. I guess I remembered that wrong.
    – dotnetN00b
    Mar 7, 2012 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


I think that question overlaps with two previously tackled on topics:

1) should romaji or kana be preferred


2) furigana

The general consensus is that, while it is perfectly fine to ask questions with romaji, there is an expectation that everybody on JLU can manage kana (if you are serious about learning Japanese, there's just no way around it).

Therefore, all it takes in your example is for you to ensure that you use both kanji and furigana, and it will pop up in any reasonable search (kana or kanji). If you absolutely must use romaji in a question/answer, I would heavily encourage the use of both kana and romaji (however redundant) to avoid your post not coming up for people searching with kana.

  • As a heads up, the use of both romaji and kana has been criticized by some. Mar 6, 2012 at 6:09

If someone asks a duplicate question because they didn't see the same question using a different script, chances are the new question will be closed as a duplicate of the original question with a link pointing to the original question to redirect future visitors. There's no penalty for asking a duplicate question like that (unless it's a bad question).

In fact, the duplicate system is how StackExchange points people who searched for different terms towards the same question.

  • +1: this is definitely a case where closing with redirect is a part of the way SE works...
    – Dave
    Mar 11, 2012 at 15:50

I asked a question about sake in romaji which had a similar question using kana or kanji (can't remember which). As far as I can tell, I wasn't penalized for it.

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