If I look in Google Ngrams, I see that the transliteration "honbu", meaning HQ, basically didn't exist until 1964. But it didn't surpass "hombu" until 1976. I believe Modified Hepburn was introduced in the 1950s, but I am wondering when the Library of Congress adopted it as an ALA standard--in maybe the early 1970s? I can't find any dates for this information, though I have looked on the LOC website.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about romanisation instead of being about the Japanese language. It's also not really about romanisation, but about the history of the change.
    – Flaw
    Sep 7, 2015 at 15:08
  • 4
    I think questions about writing Japanese down should be considered on-topic.
    – user1478
    Sep 7, 2015 at 17:50
  • I have forwarded your question to a librarian at the LOC. If I receive an answer, I will gladly post it here :-)
    – Robert
    May 19, 2017 at 6:01

1 Answer 1



In the deepest corners of the Library of Congress website, you can find the Spring 1983 issue of the Cataloging Service Bulletin. On page 51, you can see the specification calling for the modified Hepburn system for romanization.

An excerpt of the paragraph:

The modified Hepburn system of romanization as employed in Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary (3rd and later editions) is used. For the syllabic nasal, "n" is always used preceding "b," "m," and "p." Romanization for words of foreign origin follows the American National Standard system for the romanization of Japanese, e.g., ベトナム Betonamu; ヴェトナム Vetonamu.

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