The purpose of this guide is not actually about Japanese language and writing systems, but rather about how to use Japanese in this wiki in line with the rules. For this reason we ask you to read the full article even if you know everything about kanji, kana and romaji.
If you don't clearly know the difference and uses of Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana, we suggest you to read these pages from wikipedia for more information or clarifications:
Use of Kanji and Kana
If the official name of the musician is written in kanji, katakana or hiragana, you must write it as it is on the wiki. You also need to add a romanization in brackets:
- 狂華 (Aliene Ma'riage) must be written as "狂華 (Kyōka)", not just "Kyōka".
- ラメ (ヴィドール) must be written as ラメ (Rame). "Rame", "らめ" or, even worse, "RAME" are wrong.
- えみる (RIBBON) must be written as "えみる (Emiru)", not just "Emiru".
If the official name is written in romaji, please write the name exactly as it is, since Japanese often play with capital letters. For instance, "SHUN", "shun" and "Shun" are not the same name.
Bands usually play with kana and kanji when writing titles and lyrics.
Some examples are:
- Writing in katakana names, particles and declensions that are usually written in hiragana.
For example: "届カナイ愛ト知ッテイタノニ抑エキレズニ愛シ続ケタ…" (Gackt song), "
- A different reading is given to a kanji.
For example: 時 "toki" (time) is often read as "shunkan" (from 瞬間, moment).
- Using an obsolete kanji.
For example: "hana" (flower) is written as 華 instead of 花.
These are not errors and should not be corrected. When a kanji has a particular reading, please write it in the romanization. Hints about how the kanji should be read are usually written in the booklets in a clear way. For example: 時（しゅんかん）, 時～しゅんかん～, 時-しゅんかん-. The most common way of writing readings is furigana (adding small hiragana or katakana readings over the words). In this cases, the whole title should be romanized as just "Shunkan", not "Toki～Shunkan～" and the like.
All romanizations in this wiki must follow the Hepburn system. The Hepburn system is the most used romanization system outside Japan and most websites about visual kei and Japanese culture make extensive use of it. Here you can read important hints about this system. Please read them all even if you think you know how to use it.
Hepburn romanization tables
|あ a||い i||う u||え e||お o||(ya)||(yu)||(yo)|
|か ka||き ki||く ku||け ke||こ ko||きゃ kya||きゅ kyu||きょ kyo|
|さ sa||し shi||す su||せ se||そ so||しゃ sha||しゅ shu||しょ sho|
|た ta||ち chi||つ tsu||て te||と to||ちゃ cha||ちゅ chu||ちょ cho|
|な na||に ni||ぬ nu||ね ne||の no||にゃ nya||にゅ nyu||にょ nyo|
|は ha||ひ hi||ふ fu||へ he||ほ ho||ひゃ hya||ひゅ hyu||ひょ hyo|
|ま ma||み mi||む mu||め me||も mo||みゃ mya||みゅ myu||みょ myo|
|や ya||ゆ yu||よ yo|
|ら ra||り ri||る ru||れ re||ろ ro||りゃ rya||りゅ ryu||りょ ryo|
|わ wa||を wo|
|が ga||ぎ gi||ぐ gu||げ ge||ご go||ぎゃ gya||ぎゅ gyu||ぎょ gyo|
|ざ za||じ ji||ず zu||ぜ ze||ぞ zo||じゃ ja||じゅ ju||じょ jo|
|だ da||ぢ (ji)||づ (zu)||で de||ど do||ぢゃ (ja)||ぢゅ (ju)||ぢょ (jo)|
|ば ba||び bi||ぶ bu||べ be||ぼ bo||びゃ bya||びゅ byu||びょ byo|
|ぱ pa||ぴ pi||ぷ pu||ぺ pe||ぽ po||ぴゃ pya||ぴゅ pyu||ぴょ pyo|
|ア a||イ i||ウ u||エ e||オ o|
|カ ka||キ ki||ク ku||ケ ke||コ ko||キャ kya||キュ kyu||キョ kyo|
|サ sa||シ shi||ス su||セ se||ソ so||シャ sha||シュ shu||ショ sho|
|タ ta||チ chi||ツ tsu||テ te||ト to||チャ cha||チュ chu||チョ cho|
|ナ na||ニ ni||ヌ nu||ネ ne||ノ no||ニャ nya||ニュ nyu||ニョ nyo|
|ハ ha||ヒ hi||フ fu||ヘ he||ホ ho||ヒャ hya||ヒュ hyu||ヒョ hyo|
|マ ma||ミ mi||ム mu||メ me||モ mo||ミャ mya||ミュ myu||ミョ myo|
|ヤ ya||ユ yu||ヨ yo|
|ラ ra||リ ri||ル ru||レ re||ロ ro||リャ rya||リュ ryu||リョ ryo|
|ワ wa||ヲ wo|
|ガ ga||ギ gi||グ gu||ゲ ge||ゴ go||ギャ gya||ギュ gyu||ギョ gyo|
|ザ za||ジ ji||ズ zu||ゼ ze||ゾ zo||ジャ ja||ジュ ju||ジョ jo|
|ダ da||ヂ (ji)||ヅ (zu)||デ de||ド do||ヂャ (ja)||ヂュ (ju)||ヂョ (jo)|
|バ ba||ビ bi||ブ bu||ベ be||ボ bo||ビャ bya||ビュ byu||ビョ byo|
|パ pa||ピ pi||プ pu||ペ pe||ポ po||ピャ pya||ピュ pyu||ピョ pyo|
Do not use capital letters for romanizations from katakana, and do not translate the words of foreign origins.
Let's see an example with the word スピード:
- Supīdo is right
- SUPĪDO is wrong
- Supiido is acceptable (see "Long Vowels")
- SUPIIDO is wrong
- Speed is wrong
- SPEED is wrong
The ん sound should be written as n' if followed by a vowel or "y". However, writing it as n only is also acceptable.
- 禁煙 (きんえん): kin'en (suggested), kinen (acceptable)
- 銀色 (銀いろ): gin'iro (suggested), giniro (acceptable)
The traditional Hepburn rule of romanizing ん as "m" before labial consonants is not to be followed.
We suggest to use macrons when writing long vowels, as it's the official way to romanize them. However, uses of "ou" for "ō" and the like are also acceptable.
The main rules for using macrons are the following:
- Long "o" (often written as "ou" and "oo") is always written as "ō". For example: 大家 (おおや) "ōya", 公園 (こうえん) "kōen"
- Long "u" (often written as "uu") is always written as "ū". For example: 週 (しゅう) "shū"
- Long "e" is written as "ei". For example: 学生 (がくせい) "gakusei"
- Long "i" is written as "ii". For example: 新しい (あたらしい) "atarashii"
- In words of foreign origins all long vowels need a macron. For example: カレー "karē", コーヒー "kōhī", ハンバーガー "hanbāgā"
- When を and ヲ are used as particles, they must be romanized as "o"
- When へ is used as particle, it must be romanized as "e"
Many Japanese websites and bands tend to use a different system called Kunrei.
The main differences from the Hepburn systems are the following:
- し (Hepburn: shi) is romanized as si
- じ (Hepburn: ji) is romanized as zi
- ふ (Hepburn: fu) is romanized as hu
- ち (Hepburn: chi) is romanized as ti
- ちゃ, ちゅ, ちょ (Hepburn: cha, chu, cho) are romanized as tya, tyu, tyo
- しゃ, しゅ, しょ (Hepburn: sha, shu, sho) are romanized as sya, syu, syo
- じゃ, じゅ, じょ (Hepburn: ja, ju, jo) are romanized as zya, zyu, zyo
- づ (Hepburn: zu) is often romanized as du
The use of Kunrei for romanizing names and titles is forbidden in this wiki. However, there are exceptions where the band uses Kunrei romanizations as official names for members or releases (check the CD booklets or official homepages to learn about the official names and titles). In this cases the Kunrei romanization must be used.
- The name of SUICIDE ALI bassist KOZI is actually a Kunrei romanization of こうじ (Kōji). However, since the official stage name is written as KOZI, it must not be written as Kōji. The same goes from the MALICE MIZER guitarist Közi and similar cases.
- Many common names like Shinji, Shun or Jun are often written with ther Kunrei system as Sinzi, Syun and Zyun. If the official name in the CD booklets is written with the Kunrei system, leave it as it is and don't use Hepburn.
- Sometimes the official name is written both in kana and romaji using the Kunrei system. An example is 駿-syun- from XI. In this case, you can either leave the name as it is or use the Hepburn system writing the name as 駿 (Shun).
You are not supposed to romanize titles and names on your own if you don't know Japanese. Kanjis have many different readings and romanizing kanji compounds correctly can be very difficult if you don't know Japanese.
If you don't know Japanese and couldn't find a reliable romanization online, just write the Japanese characters. We prefer having no romanizations at all rather than wrong romanizations.
In addition, be careful when you romanize names. Many musician names were created by playing with kanjis and readings and the most common or correct romanizations might not be the right one. Websites like grass thread and Vkdb can be very helpful in this case as they usually write how to read most names in kana.