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Given the phone number in English:

(012) 345-6789

how do you write this in Japanese? Is it:




or somewhere in between? My personal research suggests the first one is the right way to do it, but I'm suspicious. Thanks!

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googling Japanese business cards doesn't show 012・345・6789 at all. (012)345-6789 was more common and some cases had it as 01 2345 6789 –  Olumide Feb 27 at 20:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

On my (and others') Japanese business cards, we use spaces or dashes, never dots. International formatting is appropriate, even if you don't expect to give your card outside of Japan. So these are all appropriate:

  • 03 XXXX YYYY
  • 08-XXXX-YYYY
  • 080 XXXX YYYY
  • 080-XXXX-YYYY
  • +81 3 XXXX YYYY
  • +81 90 XXXX YYYY

Out of my many business cards, I have none that use parentheses for the area code. A couple of times I've seen parentheses used for a small edge case of international dialing, like so:

  • +81 (0)80 XXXX YYYY
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I have never seen dots been used during my entire life; dashes are used.

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Should it be (012) 345-6789 or 012-345-6789? –  Panzercrisis Feb 27 at 23:48
Parenthesis are used to indicate that you can omit that part under some situations (like calling from within the city). So if it's the city code, you can use parenthesis (but using dashes all the way is ok, too) –  Enno Shioji Feb 28 at 8:51

I'd say that phone numbers, like addresses, should be written in the format of the country where they reside.

Periods (not middle dots) are used by a few countries, e.g. Belgium: 012/34.56.78.

If it's a UK phone number, (0123) 456-7890 seems to be the common format.

If it's a Japanese number, then (012) 3456-7890 works (except for the "free dial" numbers, which use format of 0120-345-678 or (0120)-345678).

If you're putting the number down on a business card which you may give out in different countries, then the most appropriate is probably the international format: +81 12 3456 7890 or +44 123 456 7890.

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That doesn't seem quite right to me. Postal addresses are written in the format of the country they reside because (apart from the country name) they're read in that country by its postal service. Telephone numbers are intended for consumption by the person who dials them, I think they should generally be written in the format of the rest of the document they appear in. Or as you say, in international format so that anyone can figure out how to dial them using their local dialling rules. –  Steve Jessop Feb 28 at 0:27
And FWIW, here in the UK numbers should be formatted like area-codes.org.uk/formatting.php. You don't often see hyphens in numbers except where the style guide is US-influenced for some reason. Although I don't rate the programming chops of whoever wrote - "The list needs to be parsed in the order shown to work properly; the last match in the list is the one to use for any given number". Then surely the list should be matched in reverse order so that you can exit early ;-) –  Steve Jessop Feb 28 at 0:29

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