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I am reading the Japanese for Busy People book and I notice in the dictionary in the back some of the words ending in san use a hyphen:

okyaku-san

and some don't

okosan

Sometimes they use a hyphen after o-

o-kashi

and sometimes not

okyaku-san

Does anyone have any idea why they do this?

5

I don't think there is a "right way". There are many ways to use romaji and each with their own rules. In general, names like Takeda-san, Takahashi-san tend to use the hyphen while words like okasan, otosan, etc tend to not use them.

The hyphen after the o is probably used to indicate that the o is not part of the word itself but just a polite prefix. But to use it or not is also dependent on what kind of romaji rules you abide to.

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