7 Answers 7

Furigana Support

You can add furigana to your questions and answers! Just type this in:




The site should turn it into this:


Sometimes the furigana will end up over the wrong kanji. If that happens, you can use [] to tell it which kanji the furigana are for. Here's what you type in:


And it ends up looking like this:


You can enter it however you'd like, but using 【】 looks the nicest for people with the furigana system disabled. That matters, because furigana doesn't work in search results on Google, and because it doesn't show up on the mobile site. So make sure your answers are readable the way you type them in!

If a given word is not particularly common, or if the reading is ambiguous, please add furigana to it. As a rule of thumb, please add furigana if you yourself would need a dictionary to read a given word.

Also note: If you don't add furigana to your question or answer, other users may edit your work to add the furigana, particularly in the cases outlined above. Please do not take offense, as they are just trying to make the site more usable to lower level users.

Here's an example use:

Difference between 一緒​{いっしょ}に and 二人​{ふたり}で?
Difference between 一緒{いっしょ}に and 二人{ふたり}で?

And here's another example, this time with okurigana:

Difference between 交ざる/混ざる​{まざる} and 交じる/混じる​{まじる}?
Difference between 交ざる/混ざる{まざる} and 交じる/混じる{まじる}?

At the bottom of nearly every screen on the site, there should be an 'furigana options' button on the lower left that controls what the javascript-based furigana display system uses for syntax.

furigana options screen shot

If you choose the top-most option, you'll still be able to see the text people enter in curly braces. Instead of appearing as furigana, it'll appear the way they entered it.

You can also choose to hide furigana, instead showing it when you move your mouse over a kanji. If you do this, kanji which have readings available will be underlined with dotted lines. And you can even disable furigana entirely--but remember that furigana can be used for unusual or idiosyncratic readings, so even if you're literate in Japanese, you may not want to hide or disable ruby text.

For historical interest, originally we required a browser add-on for furigana support. That discussion started in this thread, and continued here.

(As a quick aside, if you're asking about the furigana inserter in a question on meta, you can bypass it to show your examples by inserting ​ between the ] and the {.)


Example Sentence Markup

There is a standard format used in Japanese textbooks for marking the acceptability of example sentences. Feel free to use these, or alternatively label unacceptable examples explicitly.

  • ○ (U+25CB): correct (converts with まる in Windows IME)
  • △ (U+25B3): sometimes correct (converts with さんかく in Windows IME)
  • ? (U+FF1F): questionable (full-width question mark)
  • × (U+00D7): incorrect (converts with ばつ in Windows IME)

These usually appear directly before the first word of the sentence, and are generally only used for sentence examples isolated from any larger contextual text.



Questions in Japanese

Questions can be in all-Japanese or all-English, or a mixture of both

If you have sufficient ability with Japanese to ask a question entirely in the language, feel free to do so. If you are able, an English translation would also be helpful to less advanced users of the site.

An all-Japanese question will probably be edited by other users to include an English translation, but the original should be left untouched unless there are errors in the Japanese (the same as any other question).

Answers will probably be given in both English and Japanese.



We've somewhat adopted markdown syntax to our purposes


We tend to use two different mechanisms for 'quoting' bits of Japanese in the middle of english text. The first is the backtick format for inline japanese.

For larger sections of example text, we prefer to use the block-quote syntax over the pre-formatted text. One reason for this is that text, unlike code, usually can line-wrap freely, and the formatting is not nearly as important as the content. It's also somewhat easier to work with. This entire section was block quoted by using a single '>'.

Linking to Japanese URLs

If you insert URLs directly into markdown, you may run into issues with the japanese characters being ignored by the auto-URL parser.

The easiest solution is to use the link button on the edit screen, as that will convert the URL to a properly encoded form.




Romaji is allowed, but we do prefer to work with kana/kanji.

It isn't against any rules to write questions or answers using only romaji, but most of us do prefer kana and kanji.

Part of the reason for this is the wide variety of romanization systems, which can introduce ambiguity into the question or answer.

If you ask your question in all romaji, please do not take offense if other users edit your work to convert it to kana and kanji.

Here's an early discussion on meta.


Our furigana system has been updated to show pitch accent! It's easy. Just type this in:


And it turns into this:


L stands for low, and H stands for high. Thanks to @cypher for implementing this idea!


IPA font support

If you enter IPA transcriptions in [[double brackets]] or //double slashes//, the system will render them like this:

[[single brackets]]
//single slashes//

When you do this, the system uses a special list of fonts which is hopefully more appropriate for IPA transcriptions. In particular, this should avoid problems with combining characters rendering incorrectly on some systems; see our earlier discussion.

For more information about the IPA, see International Phonetic Alphabet on Wikipedia.


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