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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Japanese Arabic Numerals

Japanese Arabic Numerals
Originally uploaded by timtak
Japanese Arabic Numerals

Japanese style roman numerals, or “Japanese Arabic Numerals” (hereafter JAN) are different to their US/European counterparts.

Native speakers of English should be especially careful when writing one, five, six, and seven, paying attention to the differences shown in the image.

1) JAN one should be written in a single stroke without the tick at the top, as in the above left, lest it be confused with JAN seven (also in the above diagram, far right).

5) JAN five should be written with the bottom part written first, followed by a bar to form. If it is written with the top bar first, and the top and bottom do not quite join then it could be confused with a JAN three. Having said tat, the JAN three is preferably written with a curved top. Incidentally JAN 5 is written in the same way as bottom of the character, “kangaeru”考, meaning “to think”.

6) JAN six should be written so that no part of the horizontal line sticks out to the left of the vertical as in the above diagram, lest it be confused with a sloppy JAN 4, which may be written with a single stroke, such that it ends up looking very much like a 6.

7) JAN seven should be written in the same way as the katakana, “wa” ヮ, with (compared to the US/UK character) an extra downward tick written first. Sevens written with a single stroke like this 7, and French style sevens are unacceptable.

0) While it has nothing to do with JAN, care should be taken to make sure that zeros meeting at the top since otherwise zeros with a line at the top may be mistaken for a “6”.

A word version of this explanation, with annotations can be downloaded here.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.