I have created a geocache puzzle based on Japanese Morse Code (Wabun Code).

The final coordinates that I translated are: N 43° 09.725 W 077° 26.688

I broke this down as follows:

N    4      3   °     9  .     7         2     5  '
kita shijuu san jisuu ku chobo nanahyaku nijuu go fun

W     7       7      °     2     6    .     6        8       8     '
nishi nanajuu shichi jisuu nijuu roku chobo roppyaku kyuujuu hachi fun

I wasn't sure about the terms for: north, west, degree, decimal, or minutes; but I thought it was probably passable.

I broke these out into kana:

キタ / シジュウ / サン / ジスウ / ク / チョボ / ナナヒャク / ニジュウ / ゴ / フン
ki ta / shi ju u / sa n / ji su u / ku / cho bo / na na hya ku / ni ju u / go / fu n

ニシ / ナナジュウ / シチ / ジスウ / ニジュウ / ロコ / チョボ / ロッピャク / キュウジュウ / ハチ / フン
ni shi / na na ju u / shi chi / ji su u / ni ju u / ro ku / cho bo / ro long(p) pya ku / kyu u ju u / ha chi / fu n

And then mapped those kana to Wabun. I even updated the Wabun wikipedia page to combine the dakuten and handakuten diacritics and other digraphs. That was the toughest part for me to get in all my research.

You can see the page at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabun_code

This is where my real problem starts. My research showed, roppyaku should be written as ロッピャク, with the sokuon (small tsu) used to mark the double "p" consonant.

For example, Pocky (a Japanese snack food), is written in kana as ポッキー

From what I could find of Wabun, there are only diacritics for Dakuten (◌゛), Handakuten (◌゜), and Long vowel (◌̄). There doesn't appear to be any code in Wabun for double cosonant.

Unable to answer this question, and not wanting to use the "wrong" form of 600 like this...

ロ     ピャ              ク   
ro    pya             ku  
•-•-  --••- ••--• •-- •••-

I went with the incorrect, but "understandable to westerners" form of 600 like this...

ロ     ク     ヒャ        ク   
ro    ku    hya       ku  
•-•-  •••-  --••- •-- •••-

What would be the correct way to represent 688 in kana and translated to Wabun?

The only real Wabun information that I found was on Wikipedia. All other references seemed to be based off of the Wikipedia article. Is there a way in Wabun to represent the sokuon diacritic that isn't represented in the Wikipedia article?

  • 1
    Question seems thoroughly off-topic to me (writing in Kana is on-topic, Wabun definitely isn't), but I'll let community decide. As an aside, I would recommend looking into how certain older digital systems in Japan deal with the problem of "small" characters (ゃ in きゃ, っ etc). From memory, they tend to simply include the large version and let people guess.
    – Dave
    Feb 9, 2012 at 1:38
  • I realize that this probably isn't the typical question for this community, but if Kana (or Katakana or Hiragana) is on-topic, then I think Wabun should also be on-topic, although a lot more obscure. Any help is greatly appreciated.
    – GeoGriffin
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


The pattern is quite clear: digraphs are written as if the 'small' character were full-sized. Hence for example ギョ is written -•-•• •• --: キ + dakuten + ヨ.

Thus, write the ッ as ツ.

  • 1
    GeoGriffin says in the question that he was the one who edited the Wikipedia article to include those digraph combinations, and doesn't provide any statement of how he got that information, so I'm sceptical that it has a reliable source... yet still this is probably the right answer due to the way Japanese used to be written.
    – Hyperworm
    Feb 8, 2012 at 23:21
  • It is definitely the right answer, but apparently it is so obvious to Japanese speakers that most sources on Morse Code don't even bother to mention it! There are a few questions on Chiebukuro and so on but perhaps someone can find a more respectable source to quote.
    – Matt
    Feb 9, 2012 at 1:19
  • For the Wabun code Wikipedia page, I merged the existing Morse code table with the full Katakana symbol table from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katakana . The concepts of the diacritics (dakuten, handakuten, and chōonpu) were difficult for me to understand at first, but I tried to be analytical about it and match the patterns. It seemed odd to me that sokuon wasn't represented in the Wabun code. From my reading it seemed that there was a distinction between sokuon and tsu.
    – GeoGriffin
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:26
  • Is there a difference between "ro + tsu + pya + ku" and "ro + sokuon + pya + ku" or would a native speaker/reader understand that this is "600"?
    – GeoGriffin
    Feb 9, 2012 at 5:27
  • @GeoGriffin: as I said in my comment above, although there is a huge difference (they do not sound remotely similar when pronounced), the spelling using a regular-sized つ would probably be understood and is commonly found in some older systems (typically, many bank transfer systems seem unable to deal with small kana).
    – Dave
    Feb 9, 2012 at 6:11

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