Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles

Please follow these conventions when writing and editing articles related to Japan.

For more general guidance on editing conventions, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style. For standardized translations of some common Japanese terms, see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)/Translation note.


English words of Japanese origin

The English Wikipedia is an English-language encyclopedia. An English loan word or place name of Japanese origin should be used in its most common English form in the body of an article, even if it is pronounced or spelled differently from the properly romanized Japanese; that is, use Mount Fuji, Tokyo, jujutsu, and shogi, instead of Fuji-san, Tōkyō, jūjutsu, and shōgi. However, the romanized Japanese form should always be listed in the opening paragraph.


Some Japanese loan words are usually pluralized according to English grammar rules, although this usage may sound odd to Japanese speakers. A few examples are tsunami, tycoon, and futon, which take the plurals tsunamis, tycoons, and futons. In the case of more specialized Japanese words such as koi, sushi, haiku, anime, ronin, manga, or dojo, English-language speakers are often familiar with Japanese word usage, and the words usually lack distinct plural forms. For a few words, such as geisha and kamikaze, both forms of pluralization are acceptable. When in doubt, it is probably best to use a dictionary for reference. Helpful tools include the Merriam Webster website for American-English usage and the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary for British-English usage.

Capitalization of words in Roman script

Titles of songs, and the names of bands, companies and so forth are often capitalized when written in Roman script within a Japanese-language context or (in flyers, posters, etc.) for a Japanese audience, and the relevant publicity departments or fanbases may vehemently insist on the importance of the capitalization. However, these names and name elements are not excluded from the guidance provided by the main manuals of style for English-language Wikipedia, listed above. Words should not be written in all caps in the English Wikipedia. For example, although the title of the manga Bleach is always written as "BLEACH" in Japanese (e.g. in its article within Japanese-language Wikipedia), it should be written as Bleach within the English-language Wikipedia.

Using Japanese in the article body

Red Fuji southern wind clear morning.jpg
WikiProject Japan (Talk)

March 18, 2006
(5 years, 8 months and 2 days ago)


{{WikiProject Japan}}   {{nihongo}}   {{WPJ-Barnsensu}}   {{Needkanji}}   {{Needhiragana}}   {{Japan current era date}}

Project parentage
Countries, Geography

Generally, Japanese script for a word can be added to the text the first time it is introduced, provided that the word is not linked to another article on the English Wikipedia. In that case, the linked article should be edited to show the Japanese script in the opening line, if the text is not already there. Japanese script should only be added once per word in an article, and not added when it already exists in a separate linked article, with exceptions noted below.

If the word is linked to an article which includes the Japanese script, then, Japanese characters are unnecessary in the original article, unless they appear in the context of a list or glossary, such as Glossary of sumo terms, or Tōkaidō Main Line#Station_list. In those cases, having several Japanese words appear together in context may be beneficial to some readers, and the script should not be deleted.

Japanese text should be marked with the {{Nihongo}} or {{Nihongo2}} templates.

Linking to Japanese Wikipedia

Use interwiki links to link to the equivalent article on the Japanese Wikipedia. Additionally, there is generally no need to use inline links to the equivalent Japanese Wikipedia article for any words in an article. If a word is important enough to warrant a link, it will have an article here, in which case a standard link is sufficient.

When interwiki linking to the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia, omit spaces from the Japanese page name. For example a page beginning

Junichiro Koizumi (小泉 純一郎 Koizumi Jun'ichirō?, born January 8, 1942) …

must be linked as [[ja:小泉純一郎]] (no space between 小泉 and 純一郎).


Revised Hepburn romanization (as described below) should be used in all cases, excepting those cases where another romanization is determined to be in common usage in reliable sources (see next section). Wikipedia uses the version of Revised Hepburn described below because it is generally accepted by scholars and it gives a fair indication of Japanese pronunciation to the intended audience of English speakers. People who care about other romanization systems are knowledgeable enough to look after themselves.

It is generally helpful to include the Hepburn romanization of Japanese text on the English Wikipedia. However, some WikiProjects may have more specific guidelines concerning the usage of the romanization on articles in their subject area. Please defer to those guidelines when composing articles in that subject area.

Determining common usage

Japanese terms should be romanized according to common usage in English-language reliable sources as indicated by policy, including unconventional romanization of titles and names by licensees (e.g., Devil Hunter Yohko and Tenjho Tenge—see below)—words used frequently in English (such as sumo or judo), the official English name for companies and organizations (e.g., Kodansha rather than Kōdansha, Doshisha University rather than Dōshisha University), or location names (e.g., Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Kyushu, Honshu, Hokkaido, Ryukyu Islands, Bonin Islands, Iwo Jima). The list of examples given here is not exhaustive. Redirects for all likely romanizations should be created to make sure people will be able to find the articles easily regardless of which form they use in their search.

To determine if the non-macronned form is in common usage in English-language reliable sources, a review should be done of all the related reliable sources used for the article (as well as any which may not have been specifically used, but can still be considered reliable per WP:RS). This may be redetermined periodically (generally no more often than semiannually) as usage changes over time and as new additional reliable sources become available. If it can not be determined whether the non-macronned form is in common usage in English-language reliable sources, then the macronned form should be used until such time as it can be determined.

If an article uses English-language reliables source and those sources use a particular form of romanization to name a topic, give preference to that romanization in the article title and body text. If an article uses only Japanese-language reliable sources, use the romanization given in them. If no romanization is given by the reliable sources used in an article, use revised Hepburn romanization. In all cases, the same romanization should be used for the article title and the body text (within that article and within the body text of other articles).

Please note that scholarly reliable sources (e.g., encyclopedias, academic journals, documentaries, and textbooks) and mainstream media (e.g., newspapers, magazines, and television reports) reliable sources are equally acceptable, and neither should be considered more valid than the other. However, more recent reliable sources should generally be given preference over older reliable sources, especially in topics and areas where current understanding may be more complete than older understanding (e.g., in science and technology).

General guidelines

These guidelines apply to all romanized Japanese text, article titles, and to all subsections of this manual of style (MOS-JA). Please also note the additional information regarding article titles, below.

  1. For transliterations from kanji and kana, long o and u are written with macrons as ō and ū respectively. If you have difficulty typing these characters with your IME, you can click on the special characters below the Wikipedia edit box, or see Help:Macrons for instructions on setting up your computer to input them directly from the keyboard. You can also enter the HTML entity ō for ō, and ū for ū. All other long vowels should be written without macrons: ああ → aa, いい → ii, and ええ → ee.
  2. For transliterations from katakana, use the English spelling if available (i.e., Thunderbird (サンダーバード Sandābādo) instead of Sandābādo). If an English spelling is not available, but a spelling from another language of origin exists, use it (i.e., Homard (ja:オマール Omāru) rather than Omāru, and Zha cai (ja:ザーサイ Zāsai) rather than Zāsai). Otherwise, macrons should be used for all long vowels indicated with ー, including "a", "e", and "i".
  3. は, へ and を as particles are written wa, e, and o respectively.
  4. Syllabic n ん is generally written n (see below).
  5. Syllabic n ん is written as n before consonants, but as n' (with an apostrophe) before vowels and y.
  6. The sokuon っ is written as t before ch. (i.e., こっち kotchi, not kocchi) The spelling cch is considered nonstandard and is deprecated.
  7. Transliterated terms should be italicized in accordance with Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Foreign terms. Note that proper nouns (place/person names) should not be italicized.
  8. Do not capitalize suffixes in the titles of historical periods and events, such as Edo period, Tokugawa shogunate, and Recruit scandal.
  9. Do not capitalize honorific suffixes.
  10. Use standard English-language capitalization in transliterated titles per accepted guidelines. Particles such as (but not limited to) wa (?), e (?), o (?), ga (?), and yo (?) should not be capitalized (i.e., Otoko wa Tsurai yo, not Otoko wa tsurai yo).
  11. Use of apostrophes should be avoided except in the case of the syllabic n ん as noted below.

Syllabic "n"

The original version of Hepburn used m when syllabic n ん preceded b, m, or p. While generally deprecated, this is still allowed in titles for cases where the official anglicized name continues to use m (examples: Asahi Shimbun, Namba Station). In the modified Hepburn romanization system, unlike the standard system, the "n" is maintained even when followed by homorganic consonants (e.g., shinbun, not shimbun). Use Google to check popularity if in doubt, and create a redirect from the n version.

Article titles

When selecting the appropriate name for an article, be aware of the following:

  1. When one form (macronned, macronless, or some other variant Romanization) is used in the article title, appropriate redirects using the other possible Romanizations should also be created which point to the actual title (e.g., Tessho Genda and Tesshou Genda pointing to Tesshō Genda).
  2. For proper names, redirects should be created for the Japanese name order which point to the actual title of the article (e.g., Genda Tesshō, Genda Tessho, and Genda Tesshou pointing to Tesshō Genda). Please also note the Names section below for further clarification on which romanization of a name should be used in the title.
  3. Non-language characters (e.g., the star ★, the heart ♥, the wave dash 〜) should never be used in article titles per current policy.
    • For more information on usage of the wave dash as a punctuation mark, as well as other specialized punctuation marks, please see this section.

Please note that the Wikipedia:Naming conventions policy and the Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English) guideline are applicable here.

Proper names within titles

When determining the title of an article about a topic (i.e., a book, an award, etc.) which includes the proper name of an individual, do not rearrange the name of the individual within the title. For example, the Ina Nobuo Award should not be changed to Nobuo Ina Award even though Nobuo Ina is a modern figure as defined here. A redirect with the name rearranged should always be created in order to avoid any possible confusion (i.e., create a redirect from Nobuo Ina Award pointing to Ina Nobuo Award).

Category link sorting of names and macronned titles

In accordance with Wikipedia:Categorization, articles with macronned titles should use the non-macronned version of the title in category sorting. The DEFAULTSORT template should be placed directly above the category list:

{{DEFAULTSORT:Genda, Tessho}}
[[Category:Japanese voice actors]]

This will put the page in the correct order in every category of which it is a member. For articles about people, use a comma after the family name in order to ensure correct sorting with all names across Wikipedia. On the talk page, use the |listas= parameter in the project banner tag to make sure the page is sorted properly.

Alphabetical order

Lists of romanized words in the English Wikipedia should be ordered in alphabetical order, A–Z, instead of the common Japanese ordering system which is based on the kana characters. In the case of names, alphabetize by family name, not by given name. Words with macrons should be alphabetized as if the macron was one of the normal five vowels. In cases where two words are exactly the same except for a macron vowel in one word, the non-macron version should be listed first.

This rule also applies to lists of prefectures or other place names, and is in contrast to the Japanese standard of ordering from north to south. Exceptions to this rule can be made when the geographic location or arrangement is important to the overall context of the article, such as in the article Prefectures of Japan. Articles which fall under this exception should always explain the non-alphabetic sort order used within the article.

Words ending in 絵 (e) and 画 (ga)

For words ending in 絵 (e), place a hyphen directly before the "e" in the romanized word (e.g., yamato-e, ukiyo-e). Do not use a hyphen for words ending with 画 (ga) (e.g., manga, nanga). Do not use a hyphen for words beginning with 絵 or 画 (e.g. emakimono rather than "e-makimono").

Other languages that use the Japanese writing systems

Several other languages, such as (but not limited to) Ainu and Ryukyuan, use one or more of the Japanese writing systems (usually katakana) to transcribe the language. When writing about subjects in these languages, use the accepted standard transliteration for the language if one exists. If no standard transliteration method exists, use a direct kana to rōmaji transcription (use the standard revised Hepburn romanization scheme except when it comes to ou (オウ?), oo (オオ?), and uu (ウウ?), rather than ō (オウ?), ō (オオ?), and ū (ウウ?)) and doubling vowels extended by instead of using a macron over the vowel.

  • アィヌ・モシ is the name for the island of Hokkaido in Ainu. As described at Ainu language, a standard transliteration method exists, showing that the transliterated name should be Aynu Mosir and not Ainu Moshiri. Wikipedia has a list of Ainu terms for quick reference.
  • ウチナー is the name for Okinawa Prefecture, Island, and city in the Ryukyuan languages. No standard transliteration method exists for the Ryukyuan languages, so the name would be parsed as Uchinaa and not Uchinā.

Japanese terms

Give the romanization for any Japanese name or term written in kanji or kana by following the pattern:

English (Japanese characters rōmaji)

Then, you can use the English term in the rest of the article.

For example:

At 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) tall, Mount Fuji (富士山 Fuji-san?) is the highest mountain on the island of Honshū


There is a template (Template:Nihongo) to help standardize the entries for Japanese terms.

Usage example:

{{Nihongo|Japanese tea ceremony|茶道|sadō}}

appears as

Japanese tea ceremony (茶道 sadō?)

The first entry appears before the brackets, the second is the Japanese term in kanji and kana, the last is the reading in revised Hepburn romanization described here. The question mark ? is a link to Help:Installing Japanese character sets.

The template {{IPA-ja}} may be used to format Japanese in IPA transcription; it links the transcription to WP:IPA for Japanese.


Do not use the <ruby> tag to further annotate the kanji, as most browsers cannot display it properly.

Names and product titles

This section defines the proper way to write Japanese names on the English Wikipedia. If you are unsure of how to write a name after reading the information below, please post your question on the Talk page. Please note that in all cases, a redirect should be employed for any commonly used romanization other than that indicated here in order to cover alternate usages. Redirects for the opposite naming orders noted below should also be employed. That is, if an article is titled "given name + family name", a redirect from "family name + given name" is required; and, vice versa.

Names of historical figures

For a historical figure—a person born before the Meiji period (before 1868)—always use the traditional Japanese order of family name + given name in Latin script and family name + <space> + given name in Japanese script. Names from Japanese mythology and folklore fall into this category. For example:

Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康, January 30, 1543 – June 1, 1616) was the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate

Macron usage in the name of an historical figure should adhere to the following, in order of preference:

  1. Use name most commonly used in academic journals and texts;
  2. Use the form found in a dictionary entry from a generally accepted English dictionary;
  3. If none of the above is available, use the macronned form.

Names of modern figures

For a modern figure—a person born after the beginning of the Meiji period (January 1, 1868 onward for our purposes)—always use the Western order of given name + family name in Latin script, and Japanese style family name+<space>+given name in Japanese script. For example:

Junichiro Koizumi (小泉 純一郎 Koizumi Jun'ichirō, born January 8, 1942) is a Japanese politician

Spelling, including macron usage, of the name of a modern figure should adhere to the following, in order of preference:

  1. Use the form personally or professionally used by the person, if available in the English/Latin alphabet;
  2. Use the form found in an encyclopedia entry from a generally accepted English encyclopedia;
  3. Use the form publicly used on behalf of the person in the English-speaking world;
  4. Use the form publicly used on behalf of the person in any other popular Latin-alphabet-using language (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Dutch, or variations); or
  5. If none of the above is available, use the macronned form.


In the case of an actor, athlete, author, artist or other individual who is more well known under a pseudonym (including an art or stage name, nom de plume, or similar pseudonymic title, including if the pseudonym is in family name + given name format), whether hereditary or not, use the pseudonym as the article title, and note the additional names they may use (e.g., birth name, other pseudonyms), following the standards above.

If the individual is more well known by family name + given name, a redirect for that should be used as well, and the article should note the multiple ways the name is used.

Names of emperors

For Japanese emperors before Emperor Hirohito, including emperors from both the northern and southern courts during the Nanboku-chō period, use the form [[Emperor {name}]], which is a partial translation of their posthumous name. The word Emperor is an integral part of the name and not merely a title, so it should be capitalized and the article the should not appear before it. It is also acceptable to refer to a Japanese emperor without "Emperor", so long as the first appearance of the name uses the above format. Be sure to create appropriate redirects so that the version of the name without the title will bring the reader to the correct location.

Although posthumously named Emperor Shōwa, Hirohito can be called Emperor Hirohito (or simply Hirohito), as this continues to be the most widely known name for him in the West. Similarly, the current emperor may be referred to as Emperor Akihito, or just Akihito. It is incorrect to refer to him as Emperor Heisei, as he will not be renamed Heisei until after his death.

Place names

For prefectures, use the form [[{prefecture-name} Prefecture]] without ken, fu, or to, (e.g., Tochigi Prefecture). Exception: Use Hokkaido without "Prefecture" as this is common usage.

For cities, use the form [[{city-name}, {prefecture-name}]]; for example, Otaru, Hokkaidō. Exception: For designated cities, use [[{city-name}]] without appending the prefecture unless disambiguation from another city or prefecture is necessary.

For districts, use the form [[{district-name} District, {prefecture-name}]]; for example, Tosa District, Kōchi.

For towns and villages, use the form [[{town or village-name}, {prefecture-name}]]; for example, Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi.

For wards in cities, use the form [[{ward-name}-ku, {city-name}]]; for example, Naka-ku, Yokohama.

For the 23 special wards in Tokyo, use the form [[{ward-name}, Tokyo]]; for example, Shibuya, Tokyo.


Suffixes such as "City", "Town", "Village", and "Island" are generally superfluous in English and should be avoided. An exception is when differentiating between two municipalities of the same name (i.e. if a town is "promoted" to a city of the same name), or between a prefecture and city of the same name (e.g. Saga Prefecture and Saga, Saga). Even in that case, though, "city of {name}" (lowercase) is preferred. When referring to the city government, use "City of {name}" (uppercase).

A notable exception is Tokyo City, a historical city that existed in what is now Tokyo, in order to avoid possible confusion.

When suffixes are appropriate, capitalize them. For example, Tochigi Prefecture; Kashima District, Ibaraki; Ise Province; Himeji Castle; Tokyo Station; Satsuma Domain.

Temples and shrines

Use the Japanese name and insert a hyphen before (坊), (堂), in (院), ji (寺), (宮), sha (社), taisha (大社) and tera/dera (寺). However, write the English word "Shrine" in place of jinja (神社), jingū (神宮) and myōjin (明神). Use common name instead of formal name (Kinkaku-ji, not Rokuon-ji; Yama-dera, not Risshaku-ji). All words are capitalized and place/personal names should be offset with a space. Use redirects liberally.

Do not add the word "Temple" into the title. Do not write English translations of names in article titles (where appropriate, they are welcome within the article, e.g. "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"). Do not prefix -san names (山号) (e.g. do not write "Kinryūzan Sensōji"; simply write "Sensōji"), unless absolutely necessary to distinguish famous temples of the same name and provide a disambiguation page, for example, Kaikozan Hase-dera and Buzan Kagura-in Hase-dera.


Train and Subway stations

  • The default name is X Station.
  • When necessary, disambiguate by geographical location: Y StationY Station (Prefecture)Y Station (City)Y Station (City, Prefecture). The previous are examples only, and the title of the article should reflect WP:TITLE which states, "Name an article as precisely as is necessary to indicate accurately its topical scope; avoid over-precision."
  • Stations on private lines that have the same name as other train or subway stations in the same prefecture are disambiguated as Z Station (PrivateCo). For example, there are two stations named Asakusa Station both located in Asakusa, Tokyo. One is an interchange station for 3 different train companies and one is a smaller station for the Tsukuba Express. As a default, the major station would be Asakusa Station, while the Tsukuba Express station is Asakusa Station (Tsukuba Express).


Japanese addresses should be written "Western style", where the order of specificity is specific to general, e.g.

{building number} {neighborhood}, {ku, city / town, district}, {prefecture}

For example, 愛媛県西宇和郡伊方町湊浦123番地 should be

123 Minatoura, Ikata-chō, Nishiuwa-gun, Ehime-ken

This is the opposite of Japanese style. Other things to note:

  • Include, but do not translate, suffixes such as -ken, -shi, -chō, -gun.
  • Drop 丁目 (chōme), 番地 (banchi), etc. and include only the numbers, hyphenated. E.g. 1丁目2番地3号室 should be 1-2-3.
    • Note that when the neighborhood's name contains a number, the neighborhood should not be reduced to that number. E.g. 三番町 should be Sanban-chō, not 3.
  • Include 甲 (kō), 乙 (otsu), 耕地 (kōchi), etc. after the banchi numbers.
  • 大字 (ōaza) and 字 (aza) should be treated as prefixes to the neighborhood part of the address.
  • Linebreaks are not required between any address elements.

Names of companies, products, and organizations

Follow the general guidelines (above) to determine common usage. You should generally honor the current anglicization used officially by that party as it will often be the form in common usage in English-language reliable sources.

Titles of media

Note: WP:ALBUMCAPS delegates decisions on capitalization of album titles to the projects on individual languages. This section presents the Wikipedia convention for writing the titles of Japanese albums and other works.

The titles of Japanese books, CDs, and other media products may incorporate typographical effects, punctuation, or capitalization conventions generally not used in reliable native English language sources. In all cases, this original title stylization should be included in the lead of the article.

Avoid using all capital letters, all lower case letters (a technical restriction), or alternating upper and lower casing in article titles. For example, the Japanese Wikipedia has an article titled "LØVE (中島美嘉のアルバム)". On the English Wikipedia, this article is found at "Love (Mika Nakashima album)". Likewise, the article located at "i spy i spy" at the Japanese Wikipedia is located at "I Spy I Spy" on the English Wikipedia.

Avoid using decorative or unusual punctuation mark conventions in article titles, particularly if they do not affect the overall pronunciation of the name. For example, the article on the song located at "CHE.R.RY" on the Japanese Wikipedia is located at "Cherry (song)" here. "CHE.R.RY" and "Che.r.ry" are not suitable article titles, but are suitable redirects. Likewise, the song "m・a・z・e" is located at "Maze (Kumi Koda song)" rather than "m.a.z.e" or "m·a·z·e", and if there were an article on the television program located at "L×I×V×E" at the Japanese Wikipedia it would be at "Live (television series)" on the English Wikipedia.

Capitalization of the Hebpburn romanization

Always capitalize every word in the romanization of the title of any Japanese media (albums, songs, TV episodes, films), except for any of the sentence particles, such as wa, to, and ga.


The Japanese sometimes utilize straight dashes (-), wave dashes (), or tildes () around media titles or subtitles; this is deprecated on the English Wikipedia. Instead, change these subtitles to how they would appear in the titles of media released in English-speaking countries: a single colon (:) for albums, films, television series, and books, and a set of parentheses (( and )) for songs, television episodes, and other media. For example, the album known as "BEST〜first things〜" on the Japanese Wikipedia is located here at "Best: First Things", and the song called "I miss you 〜時を越えて〜" is located here at "I Miss You (Toki o Koete)".

Using Japanese characters on the English Wikipedia

Since the conversion of the English Wikipedia to the use of the UTF-8 character encoding, most characters used around the world can be directly used in Wikipedia articles. Since these characters are supported by the UTF-8 standard they are no longer converted to character references, with the exception of a few characters reserved for usage in HTML, such as the ampersand.

Fonts for Japanese come as standard for most modern commercial operating systems (such as Windows XP and Mac OS X). Please be aware, however, that some users may not have installed (or may have disabled) the Japanese fonts needed to display kanji and kana; therefore Japanese fonts should normally be accompanied by Latin transliterations, when used at all.

See also

  • Film credits glossary
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Japan
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Martial Arts

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