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Use in Music[edit]

I know that the kanji can encompass more than one syllable, so even in syllabic vocal music it's one kanji to many notes; so how are the corresponding furigana used in syllable alignment? The very few scores that I have seen on the Internet change the whole thing into hiragana. If there are furigana, then will the kanji simply continue with a large space or underscore while the furigana fit the music above? Are there any examples of this anywhere? Michael Ly (talk) 19:37, 3 June 2011 (UTC)


When using Furigana to represent Kanji, Katakana is used to represent the Chinese pronounciation of the word and Hiragana is used to represent the Japanese pronounciation in the word.

  • Only if you need to make such a distinction. In a dictionary that might be the case, but in ordinary prose, katakana would probably mean a kanji is being given a reading that it shouldn't have, like an English word or something. Bigpeteb

Japanese Kanji will have a Japanese pronounciation and one or more Chinese pronounciation, depending on the time period and localitiy of the Chinese character was introduced, e.g. Canton, Fujian, Beijin, etc. regions and pronounciations. Ocassionally, there may be regional dialectal pronounciation of a Kanji.

An example would be mountain, which can be pronounced as "San" as in Fuji-san or Mt. Fuji, or yama, which is the general usage of "mountains".

  • Why are you putting all this information here? Just put it in the page itself! Bigpeteb

Is it true that one can use furigana to indicate, not puns exactly, but sarcasm or euphemism? e.g. writing "So-and-so is tired", but using the furigana to indicate that "drunk" is meant in place of "tired". —Charles P. (Mirv) 23:40, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

You certainly can, but I don't think it's common, and it's not what furigana is really for. Remember, furigana is pretty rare outside of published works intended for kids. Gwalla | Talk 03:06, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
I would say that children's books contain more furigana, but it's perfectly normal to encounter some furigana in adult books.
--ToothingLummox 00:58, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
  • I looked in this article, but could find no section detailing the more common uses of furigana (for kids, textbooks, etc.), so that's now added. Hope it's okay! Kirin 5 July 2005 15:21 (UTC)

Another use is to write the kanji for something which had been previously referenced, but write furigana for "sore" (それ) or "are" (あれ), meaning "that", indicating that the characters simply refer to it with a pronoun, but clarifying for the reader what thing was meant.[clarification needed]

Would this be the equivalent of words written in square brackets, eg "That [the ball] was what I wanted."? Would that provide enough clarification for the tag? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes. But the usage is very, very rare, I should say. I cannot remember when was the last time I saw it. Oda Mari (talk) 13:47, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Loss of small kana[edit]

Would it be worth mentioning that furigana sometimes doesn't make the normal distinction between "big" and "small" forms of kana such as つ and so on? Or is that getting too far into the realm of trivia? I've known people be very confused by seeing things like (random example) きやつか as a gloss for 却下. Haeleth 16:44, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

That's a good point. Old fashioned hiragana actually didn't make the distinction either, so まって was written like まつて and so on. I've got a pre-war comic somewhere written in the old kana. Please do add it how you think best. --DannyWilde 14:15, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
I've tried. It seemed to me to fit best with the stuff at the beginning on the appearance and choice of scripts, but at the same time I didn't want to add too much more above the TOC. Anyone who can think of a better arrangement, please don't hesitate to arrange it.
In the article I've written "often" rather than "sometimes". This is based on a quick examination of the various texts I have to hand that I could find furigana in: of eight in modern orthography, only two distinguish between large and small characters. My sample may well be skewed - in particular, I don't have any books aimed at young children - so please change this if it's misleading. Haeleth 23:20, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I think it's more common on slightly older text. I suppose the basic reason for it is that they couldn't print the smaller characters very well. I added a note to the article to say that. Also I found some nice example pictures on DNP's web site, which I added. The article is a little messy at the moment, I think you had a good idea to tidy it up. --DannyWilde 02:53, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Why doesn't English...[edit]

We could do with something like this in English, e.g.

our software creates new paradigms in e-Solutions/ɪz ə ləʊd əv juːsləs dʒʌŋk/ 08:30, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I actually think that would confuse a lot more than help. Michiganotaku 23:09, 16 March 2007 (UTC)


What's the difference between furigana and ruby characters? —Tamfang 19:44, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

I would say a ruby character is *any* character intended to help with the reading of *any* script (including latin characters), whereas furigana has a more narrow meaning - i.e. that of *kana* used to help with the reading Chinese characters. In other words, any furigana is also a ruby character, but not all ruby characters are also furigana. TomorrowTime 22:26, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
There should be a prominent link to Ruby character. Many general questions (eg on how to mark them up in HTML) are answered there. (talk) 05:25, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I very not get it.[edit]

Could I put down the kanji for dog, write "cat" above it, and force people to pronounce it as cat, if I so chose? Or is there an unspoken rule that the words have to have some related meaning? Or is there more of a limitation than that for force-pronunciation?

You couldn't "force" people to do anything. At most, you could trick some people into saying the wrong thing. It's just a pronunciation hint for people who don't know the kanji. — Gwalla | Talk 23:06, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Possibly your confusion comes from the fact that, even though in general, furigana are used to help those who cannot pronounce a kanji they do not know, it is often used in advertising and manga to indicate that a word should be prounounced differently in their context than it usually is pronounced. For instance, you could write the character for "dog," write furigana for the pronunciation of "cat" above it, and people would know to pronounce it like that when in the context of what you have written. ... if that helps--Sotaru 23:56, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

In a word, YES, and it occurs in poetry and pop lyrics all the time, especially if wordplay or metaphors are involved.

For example, if you were singing about a dead dog, but wanted to cite the expression "curiosity killed the cat", you might stick the word dog above the last word. Effect would be like using "well, as they say, curiosity killed the cat (dog)" in English.

A very common example is to write "person" in kanji, and scribble "wife", "girl", "babe", "chick", etc in furigana. Or to write "capital" or "big city" in kanji, then add "Tokyo" "Edo" or "New York" in furigana. It's a bit of visual art, really.

Sometimes it's just to reinforce a metaphor -- if a politician refers to Communism as "a great wind sweeping the Earth", some newspapers will casually slap the word communism atop wind. Again, it's like a parenthetical in English. (talk) 06:06, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Software support[edit]

Are Furigana supported by major writing packages? -Thenickdude 03:56, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

They are supported at least by OpenOffice and the Japanese version of MS Office.
See the related thread in the forum: .
4l31st3r (talk) 21:51, 24 September 2010 (UTC)


Hi there! I'd like to add a link to a free (google ads are supposed to pay for the server) little web application that serves as a convenient reading aid for Japanese text.

Its merits are

  • beautiful, printable, and editable furigana for any Japanese text
  • when logged in, it remembers the kanji-readings you already know and omits them in the future
  • you can look up the meaning of a word comfortably in Jim Breen's edict

I'm new to Wikipedia; so, I'd like to ask whether it's ok to add a link with a short description. Thanks a million! --MegaWauWau (talk) 08:15, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. It's OK. Happy editing! Oda Mari (talk) 15:10, 3 September 2008 (UTC)
Um, not it's not okay, it's advertising that is not permissible under WP:SPAM or WP:EL. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 09:21, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Lead is hosed[edit]

The lead section of this article is competely useless to anyone who does not already understand Japanese and its quirks. No rationale is given at all. The average reader has no idea how these character could possibly aid in pronunciation of other characters, nor why anyone who knows Japanese already would need any such aid. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 09:21, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Text direction error[edit]

In the table at the beginning with the furigana printed over the horizontal text, the text is printed left to right. I think Japanese is written right to left! Is there a reason for this? LokiClock (talk) 17:23, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm afraid you are wrong. I am Japanese and we write left to right. Historically, there was a right to left writing though, but not today. Oda Mari (talk) 17:47, 6 February 2010 (UTC)


I came here hoping I would find my answer, but since it's not already on the page and it's probably worth noting, I'll ask here:

What, exactly, is the connotation when the furigana are simply dots, as in this image? [1]Loveはドコ? (talkcontribs) 07:24, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Way late, but no one's answered, so: the dots are kinda-sorta like the asterisks internet English puts around certain words. They denote something along the lines of a) a subtle but important (or legalistic) distinction being made between words (see example below) or b) that the speaker is talking about something or someone in purposefully vague terms (only pronouns, perhaps) of whose idenity the speaker and listener are fully aware, even though it's not explicitly named in the text ("But what about...*her*?" - there's a "you-know-who" sense in the usage).
In the example you've linked, the character is saying that "In the true sense of the word, this is the first time we've met *face to face.* But _I_ recognize you by your *scent!*" "Kao o awaseru," the first dotted term, is usually just used to denote encountering or meeting someone, but the character is using the expression in a very literal sense - she's apparently _encountered_ whoever she's addressing before, as she recognizes her/his *scent* (the second dotted term), but they never saw each other's faces. (talk) 11:31, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
there's no need for all the above, the answer is simply that furigana dots represents UNDERLINES in japanese, both yokogaki and tategaki. it's covered in most intro textbooks.
so, yes, it indicates emphasis here. (talk) 02:32, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

This article states that Furigana is one type of Ruby. The article on Ruby characters, however, does not seem to make any clear distinction between Ruby and Furigana. The Ruby article does contain certain technical aspects/uses of Ruby that are not covered here. Does it need to be made clear that this is the distinction between the two articles?Opaanderson (talk) 01:30, 3 December 2012 (UTC)


Are Furigana really helpful? Because in Chinese, knowing how something is pronounced doesn't mean that you understand the meaning. Since Japanese have merged many sounds from Chinese, it could be even more difficult in Japanese. The Chinese somehow don't need something like Furigana, they just look it up in a dictionary. Why is it like that? -- (talk) 19:03, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

People might know how to say a word, but they might not know the kanji characters if they are unusual. (talk) 20:51, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
The same kanji mignt be pronounced in several different ways, depending on in which period in time it was borrowed from Chinese, or if it's been imported for its meaning and implanted on a Japanese word, and thus pronounced in one or another Japanese way. In Chinese, I think a character regularly has one specific pronunciation... 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 10:08, 20 April 2016 (UTC)


"Prewar, youths would have been almost illiterate if it was not for furigana.[2]"

Which war, please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:49, 20 July 2015 (UTC)