I've started to program for android recently and one of my side projects is to make a simple app for learning basic japanese vocabulary and I've been wondering what's the correct way to display furigana between these two.

1.enter image description here

2.enter image description here

Is one more standard than the other, or are both just as fine?

1 Answer 1


If this is a programming question, it belongs on Stack Overflow. I'm going to assume it's a linguistic question for now, however, based on the graphics.

Of the two examples, option 1 is preferred. The primary reason for this is that while most Japanese words written in kanji have readings that correspond to specific characters, there are several words for which this is not the case due to gikun. For example:

  • 大人【おとな】
  • 今日【きょう】
  • 今朝【けさ】
  • 山手線【やまのてせん】

The short of it is that breaking them apart for each character can suggest an association where it doesn't exist, and using one style consistently is generally preferable.

  • 1
    So I should just use the one that's more consistent? I guess that makes sense when there are words like 今日 that you can't break apart.
    – Louis Boux
    Apr 26, 2014 at 4:01
  • Exactly. It saves you from having to make artificial distinctions and also prevents confusion on the part of the users.
    – Kaji
    Apr 26, 2014 at 5:09
  • Updated to provide better examples and fix a minor error: ateji is when characters are used for their phonetic value; gikun is when they're used in spite of their phonetic value. Apologies for the initial error.
    – Kaji
    Apr 26, 2014 at 5:14
  • 1
    The specific example is neither ateji nor gikun, though.
    – Zhen Lin
    Apr 27, 2014 at 18:20
  • I wasn't saying anything about the specific example. He was asking about best practices, and I was pointing out that best practices should take things such as gikun into account, and offered the preferred way of doing so.
    – Kaji
    Apr 27, 2014 at 19:30

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