In this manga I'm reading, the word 死神界 appears. I would have read it has しにがみかい but there was furigana indicating the reading to be ここ.

If there was no furigana, how could I know the correct way to read it?


1 Answer 1


That kind of furigana is not for telling the reader the reading of the kanji, but what the character actually said. The kanji tell the reader what they meant.
It would be incorrect to read it ここ every time it appears without furigana.

That kind of usage is common in manga and, depending on the genre, in novels.

As for why this is done, I think the most encompassing answer would be to eliminate ambiguity and uncertainty for the reader.

In the OP, the author is making sure the reader knows where "here" is by including both the word spoken and what was meant. I think it is easy to see why this would be necessary if you imagine a story in which teleportation is used a lot.

Here is a different kind of example from Appleseed. The reader may not know that まと is being used as slang for 目標 (whether in this story only or in reality too is irrelevant), so it is written like this to aid the reader with what was said and meant without having to use footnotes.


  • Can you expand on WHY it might be indicated this way? Jan 7, 2019 at 16:43
  • 2
    @feelinferrety To indicate to the reader that 'here' is the reaper world - perhaps the setting hasn't been explicitly stated yet.
    – Angelos
    Jan 7, 2019 at 16:50
  • 1
    He did: "The kanji tell the reader what they meant." Jan 7, 2019 at 16:51
  • @JATerroba That answers WHAT its purpose is. I didn't grasp WHY some other thing would be meant than what was written. Their followup comment did help me understand the concept. Jan 7, 2019 at 17:02
  • Strictly speaking, not all 振り仮名 are ルビ, but not all ルビ are 振り仮名, either. ルビ is "a small character typeset beside the main text" (it does not have to be a reading aid), and 振り仮名 is "kana for reading aid" (it may be handwritten).
    – naruto
    Jan 7, 2019 at 18:01

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