Status of Japanese requests

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Sep 25 23:33:41 CEST 2009

Mark Crispin scripsit:

> Also, is the name to be written in Hepburn or kunrei-shiki?  If the 
> latter, it would be "kunrei-siki"...

"Kunreisiki" according to ISO 3602, which does not employ hyphenation.

> I also note that Hepburn, Nippon-shiki, and kunrei-shiki all require the 
> use of macrons for long o.  Hepburn and Nippon-shiki use U+0304; 
> kunrei-shiki uses U+0302.  AFAIK, the use of "ou" is so-called "word 
> processor romanization"; "oo" is Jorden.
> Supposedly, long a, u, and e also use macron forms, but I don't recall 
> ever seeing them (what does ISO 3602 say?).

Circumflexes only: â ê î ô û.

> I almost always see long e written as "ei", but of course Jorden uses
> "ee" to be different.

You obviously understand this better than I do, but FWIU the kind of
differences you are talking about can't cause errors in reading, unlike
the higher-level ones between kunrei, Nippon, and Hepburn.  You (or your
conversion software) just understands that ee = ei, and that's that.
There's nothing else it could possibly mean.

> The differences between Nippon-shiki and kunrei-shiki are subtle.  Other 
> than the macron difference (and I don't think that anyone who romanizes 
> Japanese with macrons pays attention to which one they use), AFAICT 
> the only difference is that Nippon-shiki preserves (as "di" and "du") the 
> kana ぢ and づ that are otherwise pronounced identically (as "zi"/"ji" and
> "zu") to じ and ず.  

According to the non-normative note in 3602, Nippon uses ha and never wa,
he and never e, wo and never o, and di, du, dya, dyu, and dyo.

John Cowan    cowan at
If a traveler were informed that such a man [as Lord John Russell] was
leader of the House of Commons, he may well begin to comprehend how the
Egyptians worshiped an insect.  --Benjamin Disraeli

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