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In English written speech, we often refer to what we have said, using the phrase "as mentioned above"; or to something that is coming later on with "see below for further explanation", for example.

Is this used in written Japanese and what are the phrases that are used. Do these phrases change, if the writing is vertical and going from right to left?

The obvious way to avoid confusion would be to use something like "as mentioned before" instead, but it is interesting to find out :)

Thank you all for reading!

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Yes, there are "directional references":

  • 右記{うき} "written to the right (before)"
  • 左記{さき} "written to the left (later)", "following"

They originate from vertical writing, but can be used figuratively in a text written horizontally. Normally they cannot be used in speech.


  • 上記{じょうき} "written above" 上述{じょうじゅつ} "stated/mentioned above" or 以上{いじょう} for "above"
  • 下記{かき} "written below" or 以下{いか} for "below"

They are intuitive regardless of the text orientation (either in vertical or horizontal writing you fill the page from the top to the bottom). With the exception of 上記, 下記 they might be used also in speech.


There are of course universal references based on time or order like:

  • 前記{ぜんき} "written before" or 前述{ぜんじゅつ} and 先述{せんじゅつ} "mentioned before"
  • 後記{こうき} "written later" or 後述{こうじゅつ} "mentioned later"

Again, with 先述, 前述 and 後述 applicable to speech.

  • 1
    What about 以上 and 以下 – Darcinon Oct 6 '15 at 17:29
  • 1
    Another one that might be worth mentioning is 上述, although it seems rather an odd one out. – Darcinon Oct 7 '15 at 1:03

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