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Furigana is extremely useful if not indispensable in site dedicated to studying Japanese, but unfortunately the Stack Exchange software doesn't seem to support it out of the box. I've already seen here some questions and answers which could use some Furigana for clarification. You could always add the pronunciation inside parentheses, but that makes the text much more cumbersome in most cases.

HTML already supports Furigana through ruby tags, such as the following:

<ruby><rb>日本語</rb><rp>(</rp><rt>にほんご</rt><rp>)</rp></ruby>

This syntax is obviously not part of the very limited HTML subset supported by Stack Exchange, but perhaps it could be made part of it, at least for this site. Alternatively, some kind of Markdown syntax can be created for it, for instance:

[日本語]{にほんご} could generate the verbose html code above.

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    That's a very verbose syntax for ruby - if there was some nice, simple markdown extension for it that would be ideal... – bdonlan Jun 3 '11 at 2:10
  • +1, this would be so great. – Amanda S Jun 3 '11 at 3:37
  • +1 it would be awesome – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 9:02
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    For a Markdown-like syntax, you need some way to specify the start of the parent of a ruby (the content of the rb element). Perhaps [日本語]{にほんご}? – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 3 '11 at 15:18
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    Do we have to do [日]{に}[本]{ほん}[語]{ご} if we want the furigana to go above each character? – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 15:21
  • @Tsuyoshi: You're right. I thought I could leave it for some reason, but obviously you can't. I'll fix my question. @Lukman: It depends what HTML output you want to generate, but from my experience with the way browsers tend to render these things, it's usually better to specify the furigana for compounds for all characters together. – Boaz Yaniv Jun 3 '11 at 16:03
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    You can add a link to YOU's topic as an example of what it might look like. – Troyen Jun 13 '11 at 6:34
  • Can't post bounties on this meta? Suppose it makes sense... – Troyen Jun 29 '11 at 16:25
  • @Troyen: Yeah, too bad. Then again, SE staff wouldn't need that rep. :) – Boaz Yaniv Jul 2 '11 at 16:08
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The user script is nice, but native support for this would be huge. If we could at least (for now) get SE to not strip the ruby tags (I don't see how this could be a difficult/breaking/exploitable change), I'd be happy. Specialized Markdown syntax would be better, but if all we can get are ruby tags, I'd still go back and add furigana on all my posts. Furigana are clearly crucial for people who haven't yet memorized enough kanji to read without a dictionary.

How do we go about lobbying for this change? Do we have to wait until we're out of beta? Or is there a minimum vote threshold?

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    I definitely hope that we get support from SE for that. The script is nice, but its biggest drawback is that probably only a few of us have it active and the number would only decline as the community grows. I believe SE staff have seen this thread, since they seem to actively monitor this child meta, so I'm pretty sure we've got their attention. They probably don't implement it yet since they don't want a temporary change (exposing the very complex ruby tags) that needs to be supported for perpetuity, and the other change needs some coding and a lot of testing. :( – Boaz Yaniv Jun 20 '11 at 21:13
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I don't know when this was done, but at some point in the past couple of years, YOU's userscript was built into the site. Please see the linked post for details and syntax.

  • Heh... whoops. This was done so long ago that I don't think any of us mods here remembered this post. – jkerian Aug 18 '13 at 4:25
  • I'd just like to say how grateful I am that this has been implemented, as a new learner this has made understanding the language less painful and easier. – Ambo100 Feb 8 '17 at 18:20
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For now, you can check out YOU's userscript for a temporary solution:
JL&U Hacks - Ruby Rendering

But before we put this syntax in real questions and answer, I think we should see that users are aware of this script and that the syntax is accepted for all and has no unwanted side effects.

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