I try to read news in Japanese and sometimes I see equals sign used inside sentences. I tend to think text to the right side of "=" is kind of a consequence of the left part. It does not look like it has anything to do with any sort of equality. This Wikipedia article notes that it can be used as the separator for names, but this usage doesn't seem to fit my case. Here is an example taken from Jiji Press' site:


I hope somebody can clear this out for me.

  • I guess you're asking about the '=' symbol in news headlines (since '=' in article body does something different). Different news organizations use different symbols: Jiji uses "=" and '-', Yomiuri uses '…', Asahi uses space. I think a lot of news organizations use space. Jan 19, 2015 at 5:41
  • @3to5businessdays I got your point. I read news through websites, like yahoo.co.jp. As I understand when article for print is shown online it gets this separator. Does equals sign inside body works similar? I can across it too. Or do you think this question deserves a separate thread on site?
    – dimadesu
    Jan 19, 2015 at 16:44
  • If it's in the body, the text after '=' sign explains/defines the term before the '='. For example in this NHK article, you have things like 「IOC=国際オリンピック委員会」. It's quite different from when it's in the headlines. Jan 20, 2015 at 4:43

2 Answers 2


If you take a look at Japanese newspapers, you'll find that the headlines are often stratified in multiple levels. The biggest one is the eye-catcher, and the rest is some supplementary information to explain further situation.

Now, the questioned is mostly used to delimit the "main" and "sub" headlines in the one line environment. See this topic in a Japanese forum. I'm not familiar with English journalism at all, but if I had to name a closest equivalent, it could be semicolon, as I guess from this page.

  • That is a great answer. Thanks you so much! It pretty much covers it.
    – dimadesu
    Dec 17, 2017 at 2:02

Personally, I think it might function the same as a colon (:) does in English in a newspaper or magazine article.


If you saw this in a newspaper article, it would means Prime Minister Abe says "We wish mutual friendship whatever the outcome may be" = At the conversation with Jordan king about soccer.

I think it just makes a complement or something like that.

  • 3
    In English, we cannot use a colon in the way you are suggesting.
    – virmaior
    Jan 18, 2015 at 22:32
  • Oh, O.K. Thank you for that. However, I am not sure if there is any "standard" for following up supplementary or sub-titles in the world.
    – user7644
    Jan 19, 2015 at 10:40
  • @KentaroTomono I understand your point. It looks likes different headings in one line is a better theory though. Thanks for your try!
    – dimadesu
    Jan 19, 2015 at 16:50

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