Opinions on Furigana

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Furigana (振り仮名) is a Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana, or syllabic characters, printed next to a kanji (ideographic character) or other character to indicate its pronunciation. It is one type of ruby text. Furigana is also known as yomigana (読み仮名) or rubi (ルビ) in Japanese. In modern Japanese, it is mostly used to gloss rare kanji, to clarify rare, nonstandard or ambiguous kanji readings, or in children's or learners' materials. Prior to the post-World War II script reforms, it was more widespread.

Furigana is most often written in hiragana, though katakana is used in certain special cases explained later in the article. In vertical text, tategaki, the furigana is placed to the right of the line of text, while in horizontal text, yokogaki, it is placed above the line of text, as illustrated below.

These examples spell the word kanji, which is made up of two kanji characters: 漢 (kan, written in hiragana as かん), and 字 (ji, written in hiragana as じ).


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Thanks to this graph, we can see the interest Furigana has and the evolution of its popularity.

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