I'm just a beginner in Japanese, but I know the difference between the use of katakana and hiragana in sentences. Katakana is used for transliteration of foreign words, onomatopoeia, technical or scientific terms, or from emphasizing words, but why is "Encouragement of Climb" written as ヤマノススメ and not やまのすすめ? It didn't pass any criteria for it to be written in katakana.

  • 2
    I really wish textbooks would stop oversimplifying things like this ... Think of it more like this. Those things are almost always katakana, but not the limit of it.
    – Angelos
    May 23, 2020 at 8:42
  • When I translate it in google translate using やまのすすめ, the katakana ヤマノススメ is recommended by the google translate so I can't figure out why is that. I know that these rules are not the only limits and some certain words are exempted, but why specifically that phrase? even though it appears that there is nothing special about that phrase? May 23, 2020 at 8:53
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    Try to avoid using Google Translate while learning a language. You’ll learn faster if you avoid it.
    – user1478
    May 23, 2020 at 15:21
  • When I'm translating sentences from Japanese to English, some of the translations are wrong and I know for a fact that it is wrong since google translates word per word, the same for my own language. But, how do I figure out the meaning of each words if I don't know the translation? For example, I wouldn't know that なつ also means summer, and can be written in kanji as 夏, if not for google. I am familiar with it only as a name. May 23, 2020 at 15:27
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    There's such a thing as dictionary, and Google Translate is not one. As for なつ, see for example https://jisho.org/search/なつ, which indeed mentions both the translation "summer" and the kanji 夏.
    – Ruslan
    May 23, 2020 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


There are a number of stylistic or aesthetic reasons to do so. Sometimes katakana is used for a native Japanese word because of the katakana's "international", "modern" or "high-tech" feeling:

However, katakana is also associated with oldness and tradition because it was the standard script in formal or academic documents in the Meiji era:

(This may seem contradictory, but in reality, other design choices such as fonts also matter.)

In this specific case, I think the latter image is more relevant. This book title is a parody of 学問のすすめ, a very famous book written 150 years ago, and one of the earlier copies was full of katakana, like this. By using katakana, the author is signaling that this ヤマノススメ is like a climbing version of the nationally famous classic.

Also related:

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