There are four ways to write names in Japanese, however, only a phonetic translation to katakana is standard. This is how non-Japanese names appear in Japanese newspapers, wikipedia, and in magazines.
And katakana has been significantly extended to better accomodate non-Japanese sounds — the others have not. So if you want to be strictly correct, use a phonetic translation to katakana.
With that said, there are reasons one may want to use one of the other three translation methods. One common reason is simply aesthetics. Katakana click the following article naturally angular with straight lines and so it is very limited calligraphically speaking.
For example, katakana has no cursive fonts. Because of this I am often asked by women to use hiragana which has naturally flowing and curved lines.
And, hiragana is much more suitable for Japanese Calligraphy as all the fonts are available. Note that in Japan, katakana and hiragana are used by males and females.
Though kanji is by far the most commonly used for given names. Katherine link katakana from StockKanji. And there are a variety of reasons why one might want to use kanji.
If you want a seal design, neither of How To Write Names In Japanese Language modern kana has seal script fonts. With kanji the full range of scripts can be used.
For more about issues with seal designs see Name Translations click at this page Japanese Seals. Another reason to use kanji to write names in Japanese is that kanji have meanings. Phonetic Translation — katakana 2. Phonetic Translation — hiragana 3.
Phonetic Translation — kanji 4. Literal Translation — kanji. For the phonetic translations, the pronunciation of the name is used to translate the name — not the spelling. On the other hand, a name that is spelled the same but pronounced differently will be written differently in Japanese.
Again, for phonetic translations, How To Write Names In Japanese Language pronunciation of the name is translated, never the spelling. So if you see a website that does translations of names in Japanese, but does not give the pronunciation of the name, do not trust it.
As an example, the name Angel has several variations, but the pronunciations are not given. Someone using the site will have no idea which translation to use for how they pronounce their name. Unfortunately, most names in Japanese translation sites have this fundamental flaw.
A good site to use for name translations is StockKanji. For example, the name Angel has four different translations because Angel can have very different pronunciations.
As a specific example, the entry Angel ahn-hel, anheru has the pronunciation ahn-hel and the translation anheru.
What is better, if a name is not on the site, they are happy to add it at no cost. How To Write Names In Japanese Language let them know how you pronounce it! While the phonetic translations use how the name is pronounced, the literal translation uses the meaning of the name. Literal translations are most often used when a name is a word such as AngelCraneJoyLibertyVioletand so on. As mentioned in the introduction, the standard way to write non-Japanese names in Japanese is to use katakana.
After the end of World War II, as a part of a process to simplify the Japanese language, it was established that all non-Japanese words and names were to be written using katakana. Each katakana character is a simplified form or a part of a kanji Chinese character. Initially, it was used as a pronunciation aid for Buddhist scriptures.
Later katakana was used to write grammatical and inflectional elements just as hiragana is now used. Today katakana is used to write non-Japanese words, names, and technical terms in Japanese. Along with the basic characters, there are also a few modifiers commonly used with both of the kana. Katakana has many combinations that do not exist within hiragana and kanji. It has the broadest rules as it has been modified to more accurately write non-Japanese words into Japanese.
In this article, we discuss the four different ways to translate names in Japanese. We cover translations to katakana, hiragana, and kanji. Japanese (日本語, Nihongo, or (listen)) is an East Asian language spoken by about million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. The modern Japanese writing system is a combination of two character types: each different sound in the Japanese language Japanese personal names. Japanese Name Converter. Your name in Japanese katakana. For other names, especially with a language as orthographically challenged as English. Japanese has a writing system consisting of two ways of writing, kanji and two forms of kana, hiragana and katakana. Japanese people usually write their names using.
This corresponds to the dash written in romaji. An example of the enchou fugou is the last character in the name Kelly, written in the sample below. Note that the enchou fugou orientation changes depending on whether the name is being written horizontally 1 and 2or vertically 3 and 4.
The enchou fugou is the only symbol that changes orientation depending on whether it is being written horizontally or vertically. Kelly written in katakana 12and 3 horizontally from left to right 34and 5 vertically from top to bottom.
Arthur is written in romaji as a-sa. These are replaced with shi. As a final example, Brian is buraian which may be seem counter-intuitive.
Names are written in Japanese by how they are pronounced, not by how they are spelled. Recently katakana has been further modified to better render non-Japanese pronunciations.
One problem with katakana is also its strength: This makes katakana easy to write, but the simple and angular lines do not have a cursive or even most semi-cursive fonts. Requiring that katakana be used for all non-Japanese names present problems. This script is complex and curving which makes it more difficult to forge. Because of this feature, seals have been written using Seal Scripts for thousands of years.
The problem is that Seal Scripts predate the creation of katakana by several thousand years and is only defined for use with kanji. This contradiction means that a rule is going to have to be broken.
And once we begin breaking rules, the best we can do is look to precedent on how to proceed. This is where things get interesting. To avoid confusion with what I have just stated, I would like to clarify one point about seals.
In Japan, there are two types of seals. One is called inkan, this is used for everyday purposes. The other is called tenkoku lit. If my name were Yamada, I could go down the street to a stationary store and buy a pre-made inkan for Yamada. This seal, this inkancould be used for all daily purposes as the Japanese equivalent of a signature. How To Write Names In Japanese Language, for legal purposes, such as for opening a bank link, this seal could not be used.
One would need to have a unique and complex seal that is registered with the government and for this purpose, the tenkoku seal must be used.
To illustrate this point I compare the styles below. These are different seals for Sairei which is my professional name in Japan. Figure 1 is how the seal would look using katakana2 is a regular font that would be suitable for an inkan seal, and 3 is a Seal Script design which would be common design for a tenkoku seal.
Seal designs for go here. As Japanese is a language of syllables, it is awkward to translate initials. The method used is to translate how the letters are pronounced. Today hiragana is used to write grammatical elements, adjective and verb inflection, and native words for which kanji either does not exist or is not commonly used.
In Japan, male and female given names can be written in hiragana so there is not a hard gender distinction. For non-Japanese names where the norm is to use herehowever, it becomes an aesthetic choice.
Translating names in Japanese
As hiragana can be much more feminine, women will sometimes prefer hiragana to write their given name. But do keep in mind that katakana has been modified so that it is particularly well-suited to write non-Japanese names and words. Standard hiragana does not have the same modifications.
For example, the enchou fugou is not supposed to be used with hiragana though one does see it. With Kathy kyashii this is not an issue as many Japanese words treat the duplicate vowel as a vowel extension. And while this convention always works for Japanese words, it often falls apart for non-Japanese words. In hiragana it would be ambiguous and, in fact, one does not see it written in hiragana. This should not be used and has its own issues. Names that used the enchou fugou character in katakana would double the vowel in this web page. Kelly written in hiragana 78and 9 horizontally from left to right 1011and 12 vertically from top to bottom.
As with katakanahiragana also has sound changes called dakuten which looks like a double quotation mark and handakuten which looks like degree symbol — a small circle in the upper right corner. There is a long tradition of using phonetic translations to kanji that goes all the way back to when Chinese was first adapted to write Japanese.
Notice with kanji we can use all of the calligraphy fonts. Here we show block, semi-cursive and cursive samples. A Phonetic translation maintains the pronunciation of the name but assigns a new meaning to the name.
In general, phonetic translations work best when the name has one to three syllables. Note that the vowel elongation symbol enchou fugou is never used with kanji.
So the common solution is to simply omit elongated vowels.