Romanization of Japanese

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The romanization of Japanese is the application of the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is known as rōmaji (ローマ字?) (About this sound listen ), less strictly romaji, literally "Roman letters", sometimes incorrectly transliterated as romanji or rōmanji. There are several different romanization systems. The three main ones are Hepburn romanization, Kunrei-shiki Rōmaji (ISO 3602), and Nihon-shiki Rōmaji (ISO 3602 Strict). Variants of the Hepburn system are the most widely used.

Japanese is normally written in logographic characters borrowed from Chinese (kanji) and syllabic scripts (kana) which also ultimately derive from Chinese characters. Rōmaji may be used in any context where Japanese text is targeted at non-Japanese speakers who cannot read kanji or kana, such as for names on street signs and passports, and in dictionaries and textbooks for foreign learners of the language. It is also used to transliterate Japanese terms in text written in English (or other language that uses the Roman alphabet) on Japanese topics such as linguistics, literature, history, and culture. Rōmaji is the most common way to input Japanese into word processors and computers, and may also be used to display Japanese on devices that do not support the display of Japanese characters.

All Japanese who have attended elementary school since World War II have been taught to read and write romanized Japanese. Therefore, almost all Japanese are able to read and write Japanese using rōmaji.







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