A Proposal for Romanization of Japanese
extending Hepburn System


This document describes how to spell Japanese language with Roman Letters. This is written as a reference to revise ISO 3602.

Syllabary 1

Syllabary 1 is used to spell ordinary Japanese documents.

Syllabary 1 for native words
a e i o u a e i o u
a e i o u
b ba be bi bo bu bybyaビャ byoビョbyuビュ
chchaチャ chichoチョchuチュ
d da de do
f fu
g ga ge gi go gu gygyaギャ gyoギョgyuギュ
h ha he hi ho hyhyaヒャ hyoヒョhyuヒュh(*1)
j ja ジャ ji jo ジョju ジュ
k ka ke ki ko ku kykyaキャ kyoキョkyuキュ
m ma me mi mo mu mymyaミャ myoミョmyuミュ
n na ne ni no nu nynyaニャ nyoニョnyuニュn(*2)
p pa pe pi po pu pypyaピャ pyoピョpyuピュ
q q(*3)
r ra re ri ro ru ryryaリャ ryoリョryuリュ
s sa se so su
shshaシャ shishoショshuシュ
t ta te to
ts tsu
w wa y ya yo yu
z za ze zo zu
(*1) Prolonged Vowels
The letter "h" is used to spell prolonged vowels. It is usually replaced with the circumflex or the macron. They are omitted in the Japanese passport guideline. Prolonged vowels are sometimes spelled as double vowels or follow Japanese orthography of Kana script.
(*2) The Nasal Syllable
The letter "n" is used to spell the nasal syllable. It may be replaced with the letter "m" before the letters "b", "m", and "p".
(*3) The Glottal Stop
The leter "q" is used to spell the glottal stop. When the glottal stop is located before a consonant, it usually changes to a prolonged consonant. The letter "q" before a consonant may be replaced with the first letter of double consonants such as "kk", "pp", "ss" and "tt". Exceptionally, it may be replaced with "t" before the consonant "ch". When a vowel or a semivowel needs to start a new syllable at the middle of a word, the glottal stop letter "q" may be inserted to avoid ambiguity. Vowels is "a", "e", "i", "o", and "u". Semivowels are "w" and "y". The letter "q" is usually replaced with the apostrophe. It is omitted in the Japanese passport guideline. When the following exceptional sequences appear, the letter "q" is literally used as the glottal stop.

Syllabary 2

Syllabary 2 is used to spell Japanese documents including loanwords. This syllabary complements most of the blank cells of Syllabary 1.

Syllabary 2 for loanwords
a e i o u a e i o u
ch+ cheチェ+ + +
d + + di ディ+ du ドゥdy dyuデュ
f fa ファfe フェfi フィfo フォ+ fy fyoフョfyuフュ
h + + + + hy+ hyeヒェ + +
j + je ジェ+ + +
k + + + + + ky+ kyeキェ + +
n + + + + + ny+ nyeニェ + +
s + + si スィ+ +
sh+ sheシェ+ + +
t + + ti ティ+ tu トゥty tyuテュ
v va ヴァve ヴェvi ヴィvo ヴォvu vy vyoヴョvyuヴュ
w + we ウェwi ウィwo ウォ y + ye イェ + +
z + + zi ズィ+ +

Syllabary 3

Syllabary 3 may be used to spell classic Japanese documents and grammatical documents. This syllabary represents the real sound of the Kana script when it was invented.

Syllabary 3 for classic words
a e i o u a e i o u
d + + * di + * du dydyaヂャ dyoヂョ* dyuヂュ(*1)
gw* gwaグヮ* * * (*2)
h + + + + hu hy+ * + +
kw* kwaクヮ* * * (*2)
s + + * si + + sysyaシャ syoショ syuシュ(*3)
t + + * ti + * tu tytyaチャ tyoチョ* tyuチュ(*3)
w + * we * wi * wo y + * + + (*2)
z + + * zi + + zyzyaジャ zyoジョ zyuジュ(*3)


palatalvelar glottal
plosive p b t d k g q
affricate ts ch
fricative f v s z shj h
nasal m n
tap and flap r
approximant w y
VL: voiceless, V: voiced.
high i u
middlee o
low a
Kana Syllabary and the Order
a i u e o kakikukekosashisusesotachitsutetonaninuneno
hahifuhehomamimumemoya yu yorari ru rerowawi wewon