What's the correct way to show a bulleted list of items in the Japanese language? Considering the fact that interpuncts are often used to separate and identify foreign words, I'm not sure of the correct way to do this. I want the English translation to be shown alongside the Japanese. Do the Japanese use a symbol other than a bullet point?


・Science Museum (London)

・Science Museum (Miami)

・Science Museum (Minnesota)


・サイエンス・ミュージアム (ロンドン) - Science Museum (London)

・サイエンス・ミュージアム (マイアミ) - Science Museum (Miami)

・サイエンス・ミュージアム (ミネソタ) - Belleville (Minnesota)

  • 1
    – macraf
    Dec 10, 2019 at 21:22
  • 1
    (1) Who said it was an answer? (2) When would you choose which bullet from the editor's library for French, Hungarian, or Bulgarian? And French Wikipedia has a pretty wide selection of bullets fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/… - are they language-related in any way?
    – macraf
    Dec 10, 2019 at 21:33

1 Answer 1


You may ignore the following paragraph. I wrote it because many users seem to be interested in the historical aspects of the language.

Most traditionally, the common way to make a bullet list was to use the kanji number one, which is 「一」, on top of each item of the list. It is not 「一、二、三、四, etc.」 but all 「一's」. For this usage, 「一」 is read 「ひとつ」 and not 「いち」. I said "on top of each item" because vertical writing is our original way of writing things.

For horizontal writing, we currently have more choices for forming bullet lists.

  • Use the same bullets as in English

  • Use Arabic numerals with periods -- 1. XXX 2. yyy

  • Use asterisks -- ★ xxx ★ yyy

  • Use katakana with periods -- ア. xxx イ. yyy

  • Use Roman alphabet letters in parentheses -- (a) xxx (b) yyy

The safer choices would be the first three IMHO.

  • 2
    Don't forget various other glyphs often encountered in business usage as bullet points, such as ▼, ▽, ▲, △, ◆, ◇, ■, □, ●, ◎, 〇. The enclosed numerics are also quite common, such as ①, ②, etc. The MS IME supports all of these: typing sankaku gets you triangles, sikaku gets you squares and diamonds, maru gets you circles, and maruichi, maruni, etc. get you the enclosed numerics. (I suspect the Mac OS IME does the same.) Dec 11, 2019 at 0:23
  • If using katakana with periods, how sensible is イロハ order over アイウ order? Dec 11, 2019 at 12:12
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi So would the Japanese be able to distinguish a bullet point from an interpunct? E.g. for the first item in my list, Did I write ・サイエンス・ミュージアム (ロンドン) - Science Museum (London) correctly?
    – wbk727
    Dec 11, 2019 at 18:51
  • 1
    @MacaronLover, if you plan to use the 中畔【なかぐろ】 / interpunct in your text to separate items within a single string, then presumably you'd want to use some other glyph as your bullet point, for better visual clarity. I have seen authors use the 中畔【なかぐろ】 as their bullet point, but I think it's bad style, due to the (slight) potential for ambiguity and the increased cognitive overhead needed for readers to parse different uses of the same ・ glyph, versus the increased clarity of using, say, ※ as your bullet and ・ as the interpunct.. Dec 11, 2019 at 18:56
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi Great. What about the English part? Can I use a hypen before it or would a different punctuation symbol be more suitable?
    – wbk727
    Dec 11, 2019 at 20:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .