What are the major prescriptive style guides for writing regular Japanese prose (as opposed to e.g. technical writing)?

I suspect that this question will have a fairly short list as an answer - if you were to ask the same about American English, you'd get the Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press Stylebook, the MLA Style Manual, and maybe a couple others at most (e.g. some might suggest The Elements of Style or the APA's style guide).

(The Japanese Wikipedia article スタイルガイド is strangely silent on Japanese style guides aside from a couple external links, though I suspect there is information I could find elsewhere - if only I knew what the style guides were called!)

  • A question I've had many times. I've never found anything except some resources from the government on kanji usage and similar. I'm sure there must be something more in the lieu of the English style guides though! Jan 17, 2015 at 2:22
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    I'm not convinced there is something more ... even though I think there should be. If there is, I would love to read it.
    – virmaior
    Jan 17, 2015 at 2:24
  • @virmaior Well, that Wikipedia page does at least link to the 社会学評論スタイルガイド and JTF日本語標準スタイルガイド, which are somewhat similar to some of the English style guides, though pretty far from anything like Strunk & White (which gives hilariously ill advice sometimes, so maybe that's why :-). Jan 17, 2015 at 2:36
  • The first one is not a standard style guide. It's the style guidelines for submission to a journal... If that counts, the English language has millions of "style guides." The second one is closer but for translators so more a technical writing guide of sorts. S&W is a standard in style guides ... and presumably what the OP is asking for.
    – virmaior
    Jan 17, 2015 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


The most well known style guide for the media is 『記者ハンドブック 新聞用字用語集』(official, Amazon) by 共同通信社. 共同通信社 is a famous news agency, thus I think it's basically the Japanese equivalent of the AP Stylebook. I used it on a daily basis, because I was a magazine writer/editor. Others are 『日本語表記ルールブック』 by 日本エディタースクール, 『新しい国語表記ハンドブック』 by 三省堂, 『NHKことばのハンドブック』 by 日本放送協会, 『朝日新聞の用語の手引』by 朝日新聞 and so on.

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