Japanese writing styles

Meet the japanese writing styles and the most used!

Japanese writing styles

Many students of Japanese find it difficult to read a text in real Japanese. The big problem is not just know the kanji of the text, but also know the style of Japanese writing and the indications of where a text in Japanese begins and ends.

How Japanese Writing Works

As many readers may already know, Japanese texts can be found in two styles: vertical style and horizontal style.

The vertical Japanese writing style

This is the most traditional form of Japanese writing, also known as 縦書き. In it, texts are written in columns, read from top to bottom and from right to left.

Japanese vertical writing styles tategaki

Despite being a traditional writing style, it has gradually fallen into disuse in the day-to-day life of the Japanese world. This fact is due to the western influence and the advent of technology, with computers, cell phones and so on.

Nowadays, it is more common to see this style of writing in a few books, poetry, thoughts and more literary works.

The horizontal Japanese writing style

Also known as Western writing mode, the horizontal writing style is based on lines. So we need to read this kind of text from left to right and top to bottom.

horizontal japanese writing

Due to technology and Western influence, the Japanese Ministry of Education has adopted this writing style as a standard in technical books or books more geared towards the educational field.

Some difficulties in reading a text in Japanese

The main difficulties of reading a text in Japanese range from the necessary knowledge of kanji and Japanese alphabets, from the Japanese writing style to knowledge of the punctuation used in Japanese texts, which can give tips on the correct way to read texts.

In advertising materials, where more and more space for content is sought, the Japanese ended up adopting both styles of Japanese writing. Because of this, it has become common to find the two styles of writing together in the same text, on websites, newspapers, television and a multitude of places.

In addition, in japanese writing, there are no uppercase and lowercase letters, let alone our character capitalization. That capital letter that determines the beginning of a paragraph.

Therefore, the beginning of a paragraph in Japanese can be marked by a space (indentation or text indentation), taking the column or line a little further into the text, or by blank lines and columns, in the same way as Westerners do in many books and printed texts.