Japanese punctuation

Japanese punctuation

Japanese punctuation (約物, "yakumono") includes various written marks (besides characters and numbers), which differ from those found in European languages, as well as some not used in formal Japanese writing but frequently found in more casual writing, such as exclamation and question marks.

Japanese can be written horizontally or vertically, and some punctuation marks adapt to this change in direction. Parentheses, curved brackets, square quotation marks, ellipses, dashes, and swung dashes are rotated clockwise 90° when used in vertical text (see diagram).

Japanese punctuation marks are usually full width (that is, occupying an area that is the same as the surrounding characters), whereas European punctuation marks are half width.

Japanese punctuation marks


:"Main Japanese article: 括弧"

Various types of brackets (括弧, "kakko") are used in Japanese. As in English, brackets are used in pairs to set apart or interject text within other text. When writing vertically, brackets are rotated clockwise ninety degrees. Each bracket occupies its own square when using "genkō yōshi".


:{ }

波括弧 "namikakko"


丸括弧 "marukakko"

:( )

quare brackets

:[ ]

角括弧 "kakukakko"



:"Main Japanese article 読点"


Ellipses (リーダー "rīdā" (leaders), 点線 "tensen" (dotted line), or てんてんてん "ten-ten-ten" ("dot dot dot")) indicate an intentional omission or abbreviation, or a pause in speech, an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis). Ellipsis was adopted into Japanese from European languages.

The ellipsis is often three dots or six dots (in two groups of three dots), however variations in number of dots exist. The dots can be either on the baseline or centred between the baseline and the ascender when horizontal; the dots are centred horizontally when vertical.

Other uses:

* As a substitute for dashes
* In manga, the ellipsis by itself often represents speechlessness or a "pregnant pause"

Full stop

:"Main Japanese article: 句点"


right|thumb|350px|">Use of spaces on "genkō yōshi"
1. 3 spaces before the title.
2. 1 space between the author's family name and given name; 1 space below.
3. Each new paragraph begins after a space.
4. Subheadings have 1 empty line before and after, and have 2 spaces above.
5. Punctuation marks normally occupy their own square, except when they occur at the bottom of a line, in which case they share a square with the last character of the line.

A space ( ) is any empty (non-written) zone between written sections. In Japanese, the space is referred to by the transliterated English name スペース (supēsu). An Ideographic Space is the same width as a CJK character.

In English, spaces are used for interword separation as well as separation between punctuation and words. In normal Japanese writing, no spaces are left between words, except if the writing is exclusively in hiragana or katakana (or with little or no kanji), in which case spaces may be required to avoid confusion.

In Japanese, a single space is often left before the first character in a new paragraph, especially when writing on "genkō yōshi", and a space is left after non-Japanese punctuation marks (such as exclamation points and question marks). A space may be left between the family and given names as well.

A fullwidth space may be used where a colon or comma would be used in English: 大和銀行 大阪支店 (Yamato Bank, Osaka Branch).

Wave dash

:"Main Japanese article: 波ダッシュ"

The wave dash (波ダッシュ "nami dasshu", wave dash) resembles a lengthened tilde.

Uses in Japanese include:

* To indicate ranges (5時〜6時, from 5 o'clock to 6 o'clock; 東京〜大阪 Tokyo to Osaka). In such cases it may be read as "...kara...made"' (...から...まで)
* To separate a title from a subtitle on the same line; in English a colon is used for this purpose.
* To mark subtitles: 〜概要〜
* In pairs, in place of dashes or brackets: 〜〜答え〜〜
* To indicate origin: フランス〜 (from France)
* In place of a chōon (ですよね〜 or あ〜〜〜), indicating a long vowel, usually for comic or cute effect
* To indicate or suggest that music is playing: ♬ 〜
* To suggest a ruled line: 〜〜〜〜〜 or 〜・〜・〜

Other punctuation marks in common use

When used in Japanese, these punctuation marks are fullwidth rather than halfwidth. A space is usually left after such marks when writing in Japanese.


:"Main Japanese article: [http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%EF%BC%9A コロン(記号)] "


The colon (コロン, "koron") consists of two equally sized dots centered on the same vertical line. As a rule, a colon informs the reader that what follows proves, clarifies, explains, or simply enumerates elements of what is referred to before. Although not a native Japanese punctuation mark, the colon is sometimes used, especially in academic writing.

As in English, the colon is commonly used in Japanese to indicate time (4:05, instead of 4時5分 or 4分5秒) or for lists (日時:3月3日 4時5分 Day/time: March 3, 4:05pm).

Exclamation mark

:"Main Japanese article: [http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%84%9F%E5%98%86%E7%AC%A6 感嘆符] ".


The exclamation point or mark (感嘆符 "kantanfu") is usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume, and generally marks the end of a sentence. A sentence ending in an exclamation mark is either an actual exclamation ("Wow!", "Boo!"), a command ("Stop!"), or is intended to be astonishing in some way ("They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!").

While there is no exclamation point in Japanese, it is very commonly used, especially in casual writing, fiction and manga.

Question mark

:"Main Japanese article: [http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%96%91%E5%95%8F%E7%AC%A6 疑問符] "


The question or interrogation mark (疑問符 "gimonfu") replaces the full stop at the end of an interrogative sentence. The question mark character is also often used in place of missing or unknown data. There is no question mark in Japanese, but it is very commonly used, especially in casual and creative writing and in manga.

ee also

* Iteration mark
* Japanese typographic symbols

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Japanese typographic symbols — This page lists Japanese typographic symbols which are not included in kana or kanji. The links in the Unicode column lead to the Unihan database. Contents 1 Repetition marks 2 Brackets and quotation marks 3 Phonetic marks …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese grammar — The Japanese language has a highly regular agglutinative verb morphology, with both productive and fixed elements. Typologically, its most prominent feature is topic creation: Japanese has prominent topics (although it is possible for topics and… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese braille — is a braille code for writing the Japanese language. It is based on the original braille system. In Japanese it is known as nihongo| tenji |点字|, literally dot characters . Below is a basic chart of Japanese braille with the Japanese hiragana… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese language — Japanese 日本語 Nihongo Nihongo (Japanese) in Japanese script Pronunciation …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese dialects — Japanese Geographic distribution: Japan Linguistic classification: Japonic Japanese Subdivisions: Hachijō Eastern Japanese Western Japanese Kyūshū Satsugū …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese input methods — are the methods used to input Japanese characters on a computer. There are two main methods of inputting Japanese on computers. One is via a romanized version of Japanese called rōmaji (literally Roman letters ), and the other is via keyboard… …   Wikipedia

  • punctuation — punctuational, punctuative, adj. /pungk chooh ay sheuhn/, n. 1. the practice or system of using certain conventional marks or characters in writing or printing in order to separate elements and make the meaning clear, as in ending a sentence or… …   Universalium

  • Japanese writing system — Infobox Writing system name=Japanese languages=Japanese language type = Alternative typedesc = utilizes both Logographic (Kanji) and Syllabic (Hiragana, Katakana) characters time = 4th century AD to present fam1=Chinese fam2=Oracle Bone Script… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese honorifics — This article is about titles and honorifics in Japan. For more on the implementation of honorifics in the Japanese language, see Honorific speech in Japanese. The Japanese language uses a broad array of honorific suffixes for addressing or… …   Wikipedia

  • Japanese adjectives — According to many analyses[citation needed], the Japanese language does not have words that function as adjectives in a syntactic sense, i.e. tree diagrams of Japanese sentences can be constructed without employing adjective phrases. However,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.