I assume that they would use normal roman letters, but is there a way that scientific names for plants and animals to be written other than the Latin script?

  • 1
    You mean like "Homo sapien" and "Quercus alba" right?
    – G-Cam
    Dec 18, 2017 at 21:07
  • Yes, like Homo sapiens sapiens Dec 19, 2017 at 2:39
  • As a note, Homo sapiens sapiens is ヒト属ホモ・サピエンス・サピエンス
    – a20
    Dec 19, 2017 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


For international understanding, Latin can be used, but in Japanese texts Japanese words are normally used either by itself or together with the Latin name (depends on context), regardless of whether or not the name has only been transliterated from other languages, or if actual Japanese words are used. From Kingdom down to Class Kanji are used, whereas from Order down to Species, katakana is used (there might be exceptions to this). Thus for the binomial nomenclature (Genus species) katakana is always used. The Latin names are referred to as 学名{がくめい} whereas the Japanese names are referred to as 和名{わめい}

界{かい} : Kingdom
門{もん} : Phylum
亜門{あもん} : Subphylum
綱{こう} : Class
目{もく} : Order
亜目{あもく} : Suborder
科{か} : Family
亜科{あか} : Subfamily
属{ぞく} : Genus
種{しゅ} : Species

  • Thank you, so would it be written, for Genus and species, would it be the actual japanese name of the animal written in katakana, or would it be the latin name transliterated into katakana? I am very unexperienced in how Japanese interacts with foreign langauges. Dec 19, 2017 at 2:45
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    For the 和名 it can either consist of actual Japanese words written in Katakana, or it can be a transliteration from Latin if there are no Japanese words to cover this species. The simplest method is to look it up on Wikipedia and then just translate the article to Japanese. E.g. Ursae arctos (brown bear) is クマ属ヒグマ or P. taeniolatus -> ウィーディ・シードラゴン which is transliterated from the English colloquial name. The Japanese names seem to be either transliterated OR translated from English colloquial,Latin scientific, or based on previous Japanese words already existing. idon't know if there are rules
    – a20
    Dec 19, 2017 at 7:34

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