In Spanish there is an entity, the Royal Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española) which states what is a valid spanish word or not. In Japanese, I've read the Japanese Ministry of Education has an official list for joyo Kanjis, which is the list of kanjis people has to know and that if a newspaper, or if someone wants to use a kanji outside that list, it has to write its hiragana over it so people can read it. How about loanwords written in katakana? Can any word be adapted on the fly from its original language and be valid for being used anywhere (newspaper, document, contract, whatever), or is there a list somewhere written by the JME or any other entity about what is an official valid loanword for japanese?

  • 1
    In Spanish there is an entity ... no expert but isn't this specifically for Spanish in Spain? Or do all Spanish-speaking countries adhere to it?
    – virmaior
    Sep 19, 2018 at 22:07
  • Other spanish speaking countries have dialects but, for example, in Argentina where people speaks the spanish rioplatense dialect, people still recognizes the RAE as the entity who regulates the language.. so we see our dialect as some sort of informal speaking I suppose. It isnt very different anyway, just a few words here and there kinda like american english and british english.
    – Pablo
    Sep 19, 2018 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


There is no such regulation. But there is a list of "suggestions" (not even a guideline) from researchers in a government agency that tries to replace difficult loanwords with kanji words. It has no legal binding force. And there are some style guidelines which try to standardize spellings of loanwords.

For details, please see:


The first appendix of "The Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar" is dedicated entirely on rules on how to convert English words to katakana. It shows 18 rules, from page 615 to page 625, all of them based on pronunciation.

The Ministry of Education has published the following recommendations: http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/hakusho/nc/k19910628002/k19910628002.html

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