lovingly rendered pictures of furigana.

Where does the furigana split on the word 小路{こうじ}? Does the う belong to 小 or does it belong to 路? Or is the word considered to have a 熟字訓読み (i.e. no split)?

小 has the reading こ

路 has the reading じ

Where does the う fit in this?

小路{こうじ}、小{こ}・路{うじ}、 or 小{こう}・路{じ}?

  • As for etymology of 小路 it is a valid question, as for typesetting it is off-topic. Wikipedia for Furigana explains the problem in details.
    – macraf
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 0:51
  • @macraf But I need to know how the kana map to the kanji to typeset it correctly. For most words, the mapping is clear. If someone has a scan of how a professional publisher has typeset it, I'd consider that answer good enough to accept.
    – oals
    Commented Nov 14, 2015 at 12:04
  • 2
    I think questions about orthography should be on-topic in general.
    – user1478
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 2:27

2 Answers 2


If I had to say, ''う'' fits 路. But almost all people don't care, I think, and neither do I. It's general to be written like [小路]{こうじ}.
The original form of こうじ was こみち(小さい[路]{みち}) in hundreds years ago.
komiti -> komdi -> -> -> kouji

Japanese language has varied throughout history.
Vowel reduction and change from ''m'' to ''u'' brought out ''こうじ''.
As an example similar, [日向]{ひゅうが}, which is the old name of Miyazaki prefecture, was [日]{ひ}[向]{むか}.
It has changed like himuka -> himga -> hiuga(=hyuuga)

Meanwhile, 600-700 years ago, たちつてと used to be pronounced as ta, ti, tu, te, to, so the process of change I gave above doesn't include spelling mistakes.


小路 should most likely be split as 小 (こう) 路(じ). The vowel lengthing is probably emphatic and used to distinguish it from other homophones. Also to mention my IME puts 小路 at the bottom of the list for こうじ so I think it is not a common reading.

Goo 辞典 says it is a sound change from こみち, and it also links to 大路 (おおじ). While it makes no mention of the etymology, just how the sounds ぢ -> じ merged, I would say 小路 (こみち -> こうじ) changed to contrast with 大路 (おおじ), which has a long vowel from 大.

  • In Japan, students learn in old Japanese class that ぢ and じ were different phoneme in hundreds years ago. づdu->dzu and ずzu, (いi/ゐwi, えe/ゑwe, and おo/をwo) were also distinguished. <br/> 混じる is originally まじる, but 恥じる was はぢる. These distinctions can be seen in old dictionary, also in [日葡]{にっぽ}辞書 which was edited by Portuguese missionaries in 15th century. The pronounces being confused, people became unable to know which they had to use, except for words easy to guess from another form, 数(かず<-かぞえる), 端(はじ<-はし), 旅路(たびぢ<-たびみち), 気づく(<-気がつく)and so on.
    – Toshihiko
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 6:38
  • Then, some people wrote まづ, はぢめに, みずを, other people wrote まず, はじめに, みづを. In 1946, the principle of the way to write ひらがな was made, it provides that じ and ず should be used basically.
    – Toshihiko
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 6:46

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