In English, "?" can end a sentence.
In Japanese, can "?" ever end a sentence?

With regard to the UNICODE standard character blocks:
"。" ---> CJK_SYMBOLS_AND_PUNCTUATION // as expected

Is the "?" character an official part of Japanese syntax?
What is "?" called in Japanese?
What is "?" called in Japanese?
What is "?" called in English?


2 Answers 2


「?」 全角疑問符/Fullwidth question mark

「?」 半角疑問符/Halfwidth question mark

Question marks are not a part of the traditional Japanese language. However, it is not uncommon to see it used informally or casually nowadays.


While not originally part of Japanese (the use of か helps distinguish between statements and questions), it is generally acceptable to use the question mark. This goes especially true with comics, novels and everyday conversation, where か is often omitted (for example: 「大丈夫?」).

The Ministry of Education has published guidelines of its usage in 1941. http://www.bunka.go.jp/kokugo_nihongo/bunkasingi/mondai_08/pdf/sanko.pdf

To summarize the guideline: 1) Normally, you do not use it. However, you can use when appropriate in order to indicate the doubting tone of a spoken line. example: 「えゝ? なんですつて?」 2) Can be used in questions and cross-questions. example 「さういたしますと、やがて龍宮へお著きになるでせう。」「龍宮へ?」 3) Can be used in comics to express wordless doubt.

Note though, that official documents and business correspondence do not use the question mark, but instead adhere to the traditional grammar rules.

user224579 has already posted the official name 疑問符, but it can also be referred to as クエッションマーク or はてなマーク.

edited to add a rough summary of the pdf.

  • Your answer will be even better if you summarize what 文化庁 says in the pdf.
    – Yosh
    Mar 6, 2015 at 2:34
  • Will do, though I'm no expert in grammar.
    – Jimmy
    Mar 6, 2015 at 19:19
  • 1
    Note that 1941 was before the post-WW2 language reforms, and those examples' spelling looks really weird to my eyes. (Just pointing out for future readers.)
    – oals
    Mar 14, 2015 at 15:39

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