12 Answers 12


Furigana support

You can add furigana to your questions and answers! If you want to get 感じる【かんじる】, you can type in any of the following:

 感じる​{かんじる}   感​{かん}じる
 感じる​【かんじる】  感​【かん】じる

Sometimes the furigana will end up over the wrong kanji. If that happens, you can use [] to tell it which kanji the furigana are for.

For instance, 飛び越える{とびこえる} renders as 飛び越える{とびこえる}. To get 飛【と】び越【こ】える, you can type any of the following:

 [飛び越える]​{とびこえる}   飛​{と}び越​{こ}える
 [飛び越える]​【とびこえる】  飛​【と】び越​【こ】える

Although they render the same way, the style on the left helps people find your posts on Google, because it avoids splitting the words up.

Note there's also basic support for "お" and "ご" honorific prefixes. For example, お父さん​{おとうさん} renders as お父さん{おとうさん}.

When should I use furigana?

If a given word is not particularly common, or if the reading is ambiguous, please add furigana to it. As a rule of thumb, please add furigana if you yourself would need a dictionary to read a given word.

Adding furigana to every word is appropriate when writing answers for beginners. If you use a word more than once, you don't need to add furigana every time―just the first will do.

Other users may edit your work to add furigana, particularly in the cases outlined above. Please don't take offense! These users are just trying to make the site more accessible for lower level users.

Japanese options

On the bottom of every page, you can find a 'Japanese options' link, which brings up this menu:

Japanese options

If you choose the top-most option, you'll still be able to see the text people enter in curly braces. Instead of appearing as furigana, it'll appear the way they entered it.

You can also choose to hide furigana, instead showing it when you move your mouse over a kanji. If you do this, kanji which have readings available will be underlined with dotted lines. And you can even disable furigana entirely―but remember that furigana can be used for unusual or idiosyncratic readings, so even if you're literate in Japanese, you may not want to hide or disable ruby text.

The font setting here applies everywhere, not just in furigana rendering. If you're having font troubles, try selecting a specific font from this menu.

Furigana padding

Normally, only lines with Furigana will be taller than others, as in the below example.


However, sometimes Japanese text may be easier to read if all lines have a consistent height. This can be achieved using {{​pad}} before the text you'd like to do this with. Note that the {{​pad}} will not be displayed on output, only while editing:

{{pad}} 徳田{とくだ}は、トレードマークの鷲鼻を指でさすりながら、佃{つくだ}にソファを勧めた。新しい会計年度がはじまって間もない、四月第三週のことである。

Preventing furigana rendering

If you need to prevent the system from rendering something as furigana, put a zero-width space before the furigana block. You can do this by writing ​. For example, if you type this:


It will render like this, with furigana disabled:


This is useful if you need to ask about the furigana system on meta.


Pitch Accent

Our furigana system has been updated to show pitch accent! It's easy. Just type this in:


And it turns into this:


L stands for low, and H stands for high. Thanks to @cypher for implementing this idea!


Basic translation tags

You can add # Japanese/# 日本語/# 和訳 and # English/# 英語/# 英訳 header tags at the start of lines to allow for tabbed English translations of Japanese posts.

This should be considered experimental, and may be removed at a later time if it proves not to be useful. However, the answers will be backwards reversible if it's decided this feature should be removed, as they're just standard headings.

For example, the following code:

# 日本語

# English
This will display for the English text.

Will be output as:




This will display for the English text.

  • I tried using this to edit this question but it seems to include everything after the header into the last tab. Is there a way to specify where to end the tabbed translations and return to the question? Commented Jan 5 at 19:14

Emphasizing Japanese text

You can use Markdown for bold and italics like on any Stack Exchange site, but italics aren't quite as common in Japanese as in English. There are a few alternatives for emphasizing Japanese text:

  • Dots: 文字を[強調]{﹅﹅}する       ← Type 文字を[強調]​{﹅﹅}する
  • Overline: 文字を[強調]{HH}する      ← Type 文字を[強調]​{HH}する
  • Underline: 文字を[強調]{LL}する       ← Type 文字を[強調]​{LL}する
  • Bold: 文字を強調する       ← Type 文字を**強調**する

As you can see, the dots and line syntax are special uses of the Furigana engine we have here.

If bold or italics ever seem to fail, you can use <b> and <i> tags as a workaround, but for now we believe the problems are fixed―if you find any bugs, please bring them up on Meta!


Displaying variant characters

{{(language code):(text)}} syntax allows outputting <span lang="(language code)">(text)</span> tags, which can be useful when the same Unicode codepoint has different glyphs depending on the language code selected.

For example:

{{​ja:直}} {{​zh-CN:直}} {{​zh-TW:直}} {{​zh-HK:直}}

Will be displayed as:

{{ja:直}} {{zh-CN:直}} {{zh-TW:直}} {{zh-HK:直}}

It may be a good idea to use images as fallback, as viewers will need to have fonts installed for the relevant language code in order for this to display as expected.


Symbols for Marking Example Sentences

There is a standard format used in Japanese textbooks for marking the acceptability of example sentences. Feel free to use these, or alternatively label unacceptable examples explicitly.

  • ○ (U+25CB): correct (converts with まる in Windows IME)
  • △ (U+25B3): sometimes correct (converts with さんかく in Windows IME)
  • ? (U+FF1F): questionable (full-width question mark)
  • × (U+00D7): incorrect (converts with ばつ in Windows IME)

These usually appear directly before the first word of the sentence, and are generally only used for sentence examples isolated from any larger contextual text.

Linguists use an alternate set of symbols, and you'll find these on Japanese.SE as well:

  • *  Ungrammatical
  • ?  Of questionable grammaticality
  • #  Infelicitous (semantically or pragmatically anomalous)
  • % Grammatical in some dialect(s) only
  • !   Non-standard

If you use symbols like these, it helps to explain in your post how you're using them so people don't get confused. Sometimes these symbols will be combined or repeated, such as in ?? "very questionable". Note that in historical linguistics, the * has another meaning: it indicates that a form is unattested (usually a hypothetical reconstruction), not ungrammatical.



Use-mention distinction

Linguists make a distinction between using and mentioning a word:

Use: Snails are cute.

Mention: Snails is the plural form of snail.

The first sentence is about snails, while the second sentence is about the word snail. In English, this is usually indicated with italics, but "quotes" are also possible.

Use-mention distinction in Japanese

In Japanese, mention is often indicated with quotes or katakana or both:


In this example, the author is clearly talking about the particles ガ and ヲ. They've made it clear that they're mentioning the particles rather than using them. If you're writing an answer in Japanese, you can do something similar.

Here on Japanese.SE, when mentioning Japanese words in the middle of English text, we sometimes indicate this distinction with the `backtick` Markdown syntax. (This is used for code on other Stack Exchange sites.) For example, when talking about the particle in English, we'll often write rather than just は. For longer inline quotes, using Japanese quotation marks 「」 is also possible.

See Quoting Japanese Text for more discussion.


Font support for IPA transcriptions

If you enter IPA transcriptions in [​[double brackets]] or /​/double slashes//, the system will render them using appropriate fonts.

For example:

  • [​[ko̥kóɾ̠ò]​] turns into [[ko̥kóɾ̠ò]]
  • /​/kokoꜜro/​/ turns into //kokoꜜro//

When you do this, the system uses a special list of fonts more appropriate for IPA transcriptions. In particular, this helps avoid problems with combining characters rendering incorrectly on some systems; see our earlier discussion.

If you'd like to use IPA fonts but you don't want to include brackets or slashes around your transcription, you can use [​/brackets and slashes/]. For example:

  • [​/ko̥kóɾ̠ò/] turns into [/ko̥kóɾ̠ò/]

For more information about the IPA, see International Phonetic Alphabet on Wikipedia.


Questions in Japanese

Questions can be in all-Japanese or all-English, or a mixture of both

If you have sufficient ability with Japanese to ask a question entirely in the language, feel free to do so. If you are able, an English translation would also be helpful to less advanced users of the site.

An all-Japanese question will probably be edited by other users to include an English translation, but the original should be left untouched unless there are errors in the Japanese (the same as any other question).

Answers will probably be given in both English and Japanese.



Linking to Japanese URLs

If you insert URLs with unescaped Japanese characters directly into your posts, you might end up with broken links. That's because Markdown doesn't understand Japanese characters.

The easiest solution is to use the link button on the edit screen:

Picture of link button

Using this button will automatically escape the Japanese characters, making your links work.




Rōmaji is allowed, but we do prefer to work with kana/kanji.

It isn't against any rules to write questions or answers using only rōmaji, but most of us do prefer kana and kanji. Part of the reason for this is the wide variety of romanization systems, which can introduce ambiguity into the question or answer.

If you ask your question in all rōmaji, please do not take offense if other users edit your work to convert it to kana and kanji. (In large part, this is because native speakers and more advanced learners find rōmaji more difficult to read than kanji and kana).

Here's an early discussion on meta.


Quoting Japanese Text

We tend to use two different mechanisms for 'quoting' bits of Japanese in the middle of English text. The first is the backtick format for inline Japanese.

For larger sections of example text, we prefer to use the block-quote syntax over the pre-formatted text. One reason for this is that text, unlike code, usually can line-wrap freely, and the formatting is not nearly as important as the content. It's also somewhat easier to work with. This entire section was block quoted by using a single '>'.

In general, using > blockquotes is preferred for English text, unless you have a specific reason to want things to line up vertically.

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