I'm learning katakana these days and my book introduces the horizontal line which is use to lengthen a vowel sound as in internet inta-netto

My book says this line is called yoko bou which I can find in the dictionary.

Then my book mentions that when writing in vertical script it is called tabe bou. I cannot find this in the dictionary. I speak Chinese so I already know about 横 horizontal and 纵 vertical. 纵 turns out to be tate in my dictionary.

So is tabe a typo/mistake or are tate and tabe both variants ? Or maybe tate changes to tabe when followed by bou ?

  • 1
    It must be a typo for たて. It is written as 縦 in Japanese kanji.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 24, 2022 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


Bou is just the reading for 棒【ぼう】 "bar; pole". There are a few other names for this mark, as detailed in the JA Wikipedia article at 長音符, and also some in the EN Wikipedia article at Chōonpu:

  • 長音符【ちょうおんぷ】 -- "long sound mark"
  • 長音符号【ちょうおんふごう】 -- "long sound symbol"
  • 長音記号【ちょうおんきごう】 -- "long sound notation"
  • 音引き【おんびき】 -- "sound puller / lengthener"
  • 棒引き【ぼうびき】 -- "bar puller / lengthener"
  • 伸ばし【のばし】棒【ぼう】 -- "lengthener / stretcher bar"

As you noted, there are also:

  • 横【よこ】棒【ぼう】 -- "horizontal bar / pole"
  • 縦【たて】棒【ぼう】 -- "vertical bar / pole"

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