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I am confused in determining the correct way to write furigana.

  1. Is a furigana only allowed to be attached to a single kanji character? In other words, can a furigana attached to more than one kanji character? If a furigana can only be attached to a single kanji, how to write furiganas for, e.g., 今日?

  2. Where should the  which is the small つ be positioned in furiganas for words, e.g., 一緒? Which one is the correct one? 一{い} 緒{っしょ} or 一{いっ} 緒{しょ}?

  3. Is it correct to write 居{い}所{どころ} instead of 居{い}所{ところ}?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you're taking care to write the readings over the characters they belong to (which people don't always do), then geminated consonants belong to the first kanji:

学{がく} + 校{こう} gaku + kō  =  学{がっ}校{こう} gak

As you can see, the consonant still belongs to the first kanji. Gak is a reduced form of gaku, having lost its final vowel u. Likewise, in your example you would split 緒 into いっ and しょ.

Sometimes readings are assigned to entire compounds rather than to individual kanji. Although 日 was historically compositional (ke + pu), these days it's treated as a 熟字訓 reading—a reading assigned to an entire compound, rather than made up of the individual readings normally associated with those characters. So in cases like these, it makes more sense not to try to split them up:

今日{きょう} kyō

In your last example, ころ dokoro is a rendaku'ed form of ころ tokoro. Just like with our earlier examples of がっ gak and いっ is, we'll write it the way it's pronounced, rather than trying to represent an "underlying" pronunciation with the /t/ intact:

居{い} + 所{ところ} i + tokoro  =  居{い}所{どころ} idokoro

Generally, you should write furigana with the standard pronunciation of the word you're writing, unless you're trying to specifically emphasize another pronunciation. Since Japanese spelling was reformed recently and is now relatively accurate, that makes things fairly simple.

You'll find that there are people who pronounce a few words differently than they're spelled. Normally, you would write:

女王{じょおう}・体育{たいいく}・雰囲気{ふんいき} rather than 女王{じょうおう}・体育{たいく}・雰囲気{ふいんき}

In these cases, I think it's better to write them like the left—unless you're trying to specifically indicate that you pronounce them like on the right.

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Is it common to use furigana in hand writing in addition to typing? – kiss my armpit Jul 21 '14 at 6:24
Splitting them up doesn't always work, even when one tries hard: 海鷂魚【えい】. – Earthliŋ Jul 21 '14 at 13:30
FWIW, I'm used to hearing たいいく (with four morae) and ふんいき (with the ん before the い). Not sure about 女王, but then that hasn't come up as often in conversation. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 22 '14 at 22:07
Sure, those are the standard pronunciations. But it's not hard to find people who pronounce them the other way. – snailboat Jul 23 '14 at 1:13

I'm just addressing #1, since snailboat covered the other ones very well.

Is a furigana only allowed to be attached to a single kanji character?

No. In fact, it's common to attach furigana to a kanji compound, as seen in

There are also some that attach furigana to single kanji

  • Hiragana Times. Here's a screenshot

    enter image description here

  • Asagaku (Asahi Shimbun's newspapers for students - PDF samples here)
  • Manga (not sure if this applies to all manga with furigana though). Here's a screenshot

    enter image description here

Some sites use both (furigana on single kanji and furigana on kanji compounds), like kids goo.ne.jp

I think which one is used ultimately depends on ratio of kanji font size to hiragana font size. If the ratio is large enough, then furigana is applied to single kanji.

p/s: Hmmm, screenshots might be too large...

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