nihon

Nihon-shiki romanization

Nihon-shiki or Nippon-shiki Rōmaji (日本式ローマ字, "Japan-style"; romanized as Nihon-siki or Nippon-siki in Nippon-shiki itself) is a romanization system for transcribing the Japanese language into the Latin alphabet. In discussion about Rōmaji, it is abbreviated as Nihon-shiki or Nippon-shiki. Among the major romanization systems for Japanese, Nippon-shiki is the most regular, and has a one-to-one relation to the kana writing systems. In practice, Nippon-shiki has been largely supplanted by Hepburn romanization.

It was invented by physicist Aikitsu Tanakadate (田中館 愛橘 Tanakadate Aikitsu) in 1885, and postdates the Hepburn system of romanization. Tanakadate's intention was to completely replace the traditional kanji and kana system of writing Japanese with a romanized system, which he felt would make it easier for Japanese people to compete with Western countries. Since the system was intended for Japanese people to use to write their own language, it is much more regular than Hepburn romanization, and, unlike Hepburn's system, it makes no effort to make itself easier to pronounce for English speakers.

Nippon-shiki was followed by another, similar system, Kunrei-shiki. The difference between Nippon-shiki and Kunrei-shiki is the difference between the kana syllabary and modern pronunciation. In modern standard Japanese, the sounds of the pairs di/zi ぢ/じ, du/zu づ/ず, dya/zya ぢゃ/じゃ, dyu/zyu ぢゅ/じゅ, dyo/zyo ぢょ/じょ, wi/i ゐ/い, we/e ゑ/え, kwa/ka くゎ/か, gwa/ga ぐゎ/が have become identical. For example, the word kanadukai (Nippon-shiki) かなづかい is pronounced as kanazukai in modern Japanese.

Nippon-shiki is considered the most regular of the romanization systems for the Japanese language, because it maintains a strict "one kana, two letters" form. Because it has unique forms corresponding to each of the respective pairs of kana homophones listed above, it is the only system of romanization that allows lossless ("round trip") mapping; see the hiragana article for more details.

Nippon-shiki has been established by the International Organization for Standardization in the ISO 3602 strict form. The JSL system, which is intended for use instructing foreign students of Japanese, is also based on Nippon-shiki.

Nipponsiki—ISO 3602 Strict

gojūon yōon
あ/ア a い/イ i う/ウ u え/エ e お/オ o (ya) (yu) (yo)

か/カ ka き/キ ki く/ク ku け/ケ ke こ/コ ko きゃ/キャ kya きゅ/キュ kyu きょ/キョ kyo

さ/サ sa し/シ si す/ス su せ/セ se そ/ソ so しゃ/シャ sya しゅ/シュ syu しょ/ショ syo

た/タ ta ち/チ ti つ/ツ tu て/テ te と/ト to ちゃ/チャ tya ちゅ/チュ tyu ちょ/チョ tyo

な/ナ na に/ニ ni ぬ/ヌ nu ね/ネ ne の/ノ no にゃ/ニャ nya にゅ/ニュ nyu にょ/ニョ nyo

は/ハ ha ひ/ヒ hi ふ/フ hu へ/ヘ he ほ/ホ ho ひゃ/ヒャ hya ひゅ/ヒュ hyu ひょ/ヒョ hyo

ま/マ ma み/ミ mi む/ム mu め/メ me も/モ mo みゃ/ミャ mya みゅ/ミュ myu みょ/ミョ myo

や/ヤ ya ゆ/ユ yu よ/ヨ yo

ら/ラ ra り/リ ri る/ル ru れ/レ re ろ/ロ ro りゃ/リャ rya りゅ/リュ ryu りょ/リョ ryo

わ/ワ wa ゐ/ヰ wi ゑ/ヱ we を/ヲ wo

ん/ン n

voiced sounds (dakuten)

が/ガ ga ぎ/ギ gi ぐ/グ gu げ/ゲ ge ご/ゴ go ぎゃ/ギャ gya ぎゅ/ギュ gyu ぎょ/ギョ gyo

ざ/ザ za じ/ジ zi ず/ズ zu ぜ/ゼ ze ぞ/ゾ zo じゃ/ジャ zya じゅ/ジュ zyu じょ/ジョ zyo

だ/ダ da ぢ/ヂ di づ/ヅ du で/デ de ど/ド do ぢゃ/ヂャ dya ぢゅ/ヂュ dyu ぢょ/ヂョ dyo

ば/バ ba び/ビ bi ぶ/ブ bu べ/ベ be ぼ/ボ bo びゃ/ビャ bya びゅ/ビュ byu びょ/ビョ byo

ぱ/パ pa ぴ/ピ pi ぷ/プ pu ぺ/ペ pe ぽ/ポ po ぴゃ/ピャ pya ぴゅ/ピュ pyu ぴょ/ピョ pyo

くゎ kwa

ぐゎ gwa
Note:

  • Those in red are obsolete in modern Japanese.
  • When he へ is used as a particle it is written he not e (Kunrei-shiki/Hepburn).
  • When ha は is used as a particle it is written ha not wa.
  • When wo を is used as a particle it is written wo not o.
  • Long vowels are indicated by a circumflex, for example long o is written ô, unlike Hepburn, which uses a macron.
  • Syllabic n ん is written as n before consonants but as n' before vowels and y.
  • Geminate consonants are marked by doubling the consonant following the sokuon, っ, without exception.

References

  • Nihongo Daihakubutsukan (日本語大博物館), author: Kida, Jun'ichirō (紀田順一郎 Kida Jun'ichirō), publisher: Just System (ジャストシステム, Jasuto Shisutemu) ISBN 4-88309-046-9 (in Japanese), chapter 6.

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