Here on Japanese.SE, sometimes we see furigana like 司る【つかさどる】, where the characters beneath the furigana get pushed apart because the furigana doesn't quite fit. Sometimes when I'm writing answers I find myself avoiding furigana because I think it makes it harder to read having things pushed so far apart.

But I've noticed that even in professional published writing, sometimes furigana seem to push characters apart. For example, I took this picture of a page from 連環宇宙 (the Japanese translation of Vortex):

 furigana pushing kanji apart

On this page, 流暢【りゅうちょう】 and 上唇【うわくちびる】 each take up three squares instead of two because of how tall the furigana are.

I decided to search online to see what native speakers thought about this sort of thing, but I couldn't figure out what it might be called!

Is there a special term for this sort of thing?

  • 4
    You might find W3C's Japanese text layout document interesting. (日本語版)
    – oals
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 7:53
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it seems to be more about typography than the Japanese language itself.
    – istrasci
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 22:27
  • 4
    I disagree with the close vote since the question is about the search of the Japanese terms for particular phenomenon (even though the accepted answer says that there probably doesn't exist a particular term for this phenomenon). I understand the question not to be about Japanese typography (like "what method of dealing with long furigana is more common?").
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


There are several methods of adjustment when the ruby is longer than the parent text. Adobe InDesign has a set of options named ルビが親文字より長い時の調整. I don't know the specific term for such adjustments in general.

One strategy is to allow the ruby to overlap the main text surrounding the parent text, which is called 文字かけ(処理).

The style of ruby in this picture is achieved by InDesign's 文字かけ処理:なし and 親文字間の調整:両端揃え options (see ④ below). 文字かけなし means the ruby can never overlap the main text surrounding the parent text. 両端揃え means there is no space before and after the parent text, but the spaces between the characters of the parent text can be large.

One well-known method of inserting spaces in the main text is called 1-2-1ルール.

EDIT: Here are the examples of various ruby settings (created using InDesign CC 2014)

  • ① 文字かけ:無制限 (Gets less readable when the ruby is really long)
  • ② 文字かけ:なし、親文字間の調整:1-2-1ルール
  • ③ 文字かけ:ルビ1文字分、親文字間の調整:1-2-1ルール (This is my favorite)
  • ④ 文字かけ:なし、親文字間の調整:両端揃え (This is worst IMO)

enter image description here

  • 1
    Another reference : 日本語組版処理の要件 from w3c, which just states "ルビが親文字よりはみ出した場合".
    – Yosh
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 13:22
  • おお、W3Cにこんな記事があるとは(笑) よく見たらChromeも基本的なルビ掛け処理はしてるっぽいですね。
    – naruto
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 14:59
  • Furigana is typically condensed a bit (1/3 height instead of 1/2 height) for overlong cases, so your アンガージュマン example doesn't usually come up that ugly
    – oals
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 17:01
  • @oals Yes InDesign has such an option (example), but I think I rarely see this used except within balloons in manga. And I personally feel this is uglier than ③.
    – naruto
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 17:07

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