Cyrillization of Japanese

Cyrillization of Japanese is the practice of transliterating the Japanese language into Cyrillic script, either to represent Japanese proper names or terms in Russian and the other languages written in Cyrillic, or as an aid to Japanese language learning in those languages.

The following cyrillization system for Japanese is known as the Yevgeny Polivanov system. Note that it has its own spelling conventions and does not necessarily constitute a direct phonetic transcription of the pronunciation into the standard Russian usage of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Main table

Hiragana and Katakana to Polivanov cyrillization correspondence table, for single/modified kana.

KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn
яya юyu ёyo
ваwaи/йi эeоo
KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn KanaCyrillicHepburn

Geminate consonants

Consonants are geminated exactly as they are in romaji: e.g. -kk- > -кк-.

Common errors

In English texts, Japanese names are written with the Hepburn system.[1] People then try to transcribe Japanese names as if they were English.

Very often people[1] want to transcribe shi as ши and ji as джи. This is incorrect, because in Russian ши is pronounced as шы and джи as джы. The Russian sound /ɨ/ is in fact closer to Japanese /u/ than to Japanese /i/. It would probably be closer to Japanese to write щи, but the system uses си and дзи. Actually, Russian щи is pronounced like Japanese sshi.[1]

Equally often people transcribe cha, chi, chu, cho as ча, чи, чу, чо. This is acceptable phonetically, but for reasons of consistency, it is better to follow the rules and write тя, ти, тю, тё.[1]

Sometimes э is replaced with е (but, ironically, not at the beginning of a word, even though there are Roman transliterations such as "yen" and "Yedo" which one might expect to be written as ен and Едо).[1] This is tolerable only for the words that are in general use (e.g. kamikaze > камикадзе instead of камикадзэ).[1] One should, however, never replace ё (yo) with е (ye) — it will change the Japanese word too much. The initial ё (yo) or after a vowel, is often written as йо (yo), which has the same pronunciation: Ёкосука -> Йокосука (Yokosuka), Тоёта -> Тойота (Toyota). Although, the spelling "йо" is not common in Russian words, these are more generally accepted for Japanese names than the transliterations using "ё".[1]


Some proper names, for historical reasons, do not follow the above rules. Those include but are not limited to:

English (Rōmaji) Russian spelling Cyrillization Japanese
Japan (Nihon, Nippon) Япония Нихон, Ниппон 日本 (にほん, にっぽん)
Tokyo (Tōkyō) Токио То:кё: 東京 (とうきょう)
Kyoto (Kyōto) Киото Кё:то 京都 (きょうと)
Yokohama Иокогама (also Йокохама) Ёкохама 横浜 (よこはま)
Yokosuka Йокосука Ёкосука 横須賀 (よこすか)
Toyota Тойота (Тоёта in older publications) Тоёта トヨタ (originally: 豊田)
jujitsu (jūjutsu) джиу-джитсу дзю:дзюцу 柔術 (じゅうじゅつ)
yen (en) иена эн 円 (えん)

Some personal names beginning with "Yo" (or used after a vowel) are written using "Йо" instead of "Ё" (e.g. Йоко for Yoko Ono, but Ёко for Yoko Kanno and all other Yokos). The letter "Ё" is not often used in Japanese Cyrillization due to its facultative use in the Russian language (and possible substitution with the letter "Е" which would affect the pronunciation), but professional translators use ё mandatory.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Смоленский, Вадим (21 March 1999). "Как гайдзин гайджынам. Последний раз о дилемме "СИ" и "ШИ"". Виртуальные суси. Retrieved 2011-03-13. External link in |publisher= (help)

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/5/2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.