The punctuation of Japanese texts

know more about the punctuation of Japanese texts and its features!

The punctuation of Japanese texts

The importance of knowing the punctuation of texts in Japanese is that it can give precious tips for how we should read the texts. But the fact is, most of us learn a lot about punctuation just by reading and facing difficulties head on. That's why I decided to write this article, in an attempt to help and make sure others don't go through the same difficulty.

Characteristics of Japanese text punctuation

An interesting thing about punctuation of Japanese texts is that there is no rule of use or system that indicates a correct way to punctuate a text in Japanese.

Another curious factor is that, as Japanese symbols have appropriate sizes and proportions, Japanese punctuation also has the same format. Thus, a punctuation mark must occupy the same space as a kanji or kana.

This is easy to see in texts written with checkered sheets, also known as Genkou Youshi, where the japanese students practice their handwriting and the proportional writing of kanas and kanjis. Also, when there are successive punctuation marks, they usually occupy the same space. This is the case of Tensen (…).

Pay close attention to punctuation marks and the Japanese writing style, as they can also change position according to the writing style used in the text.

List of punctuation marks in Japanese texts

Below is a list of symbols used in punctuation of Japanese texts. Knowing these marks, the student of Japanese will be able to become more familiar with the texts and the reading will go more easily and naturally.

Maru or Kuten。

This tag is very similar to our full stop, marking the end of a sentence or period in Japanese. Another important observation on this subject is that in exclamatory or interrogative sentences, it is recommended to use the particles “か” or “よ” ending the sentence with “。” instead of using the marks “?” and “!”.

Has or Tooten、

This mark indicates a pause in the reading of a sentence. It is similar to our “,”, where its presence or absence can completely change the meaning of a sentence.

In addition, it is also used to separate successive numbers and divide large numbers and groups of three digits.

Nakaguro or Nakaten ・

It is generally used to separate words of the same type within a sentence; separate parts of a date in a quote (year ・ month ・ day) and highlight foreign words within the text, separating them from the other words in the sentence.

Nakasen -

It has the same function as the dash in Portuguese, indicating that the sentence is broken or incomplete or that there is explanatory information in the middle of the sentence (similar to our bet).

When used between spaces of time, quantities or distances, it can have a meaning similar to “from…to…”, “from…to…” or “between…and…”.

In addresses, this tag can be used to separate numbers.


It consists of the sequence of six centralized points. They are usually grouped in threes, three for each symbol spacing.

It has a similar function to our “…”, indicating a longer pause in the sentence or that it is incomplete. This is characterized by a period of silence on the part of those who speak or read the text.

Long strings of Tensens are used in book summaries, linking chapter titles to page numbers.

Kagikakko 「」

They are similar to our “[]” in Portuguese. They can be used to separate parts or entire sentences within Japanese text.

Futaekagi 『』

It serves the same purpose as Kagikakko, but is used as square brackets within square brackets. Like """".

In-yoofu 〝〟

They are like double quotes, having the same function as Kagikakko. It is usually used in the vertical Japanese writing style.

Kakko or Marukakko 〈 〉

It is used in the same way as parentheses in Portuguese.

Fataegakko 《 》

Like Futaekagi, it is used to indicate parentheses within parentheses. Like <" ">.

Yokogakko ( )

It is used to mark sessions, articles, paragraphs and others, within free texts or textbooks.

Namigata ~

It is used to indicate intervals, following the Nakasen line, that is, “from…to…”, “from…to…”, and so on.


There are several strokes, similar to our quotation marks, used alongside or on top of kanas and kanjis. Its main function is to highlight the words, like our italics.

Also, wakiten can be used to highlight words that, for some reason, have been written in hiragana instead of your traditional kanji, and to highlight slang, acronyms, dialects and any other type of unconventional words.

Wakisen _

Works the same as our underline or underline, drawing the reader's attention to words or parts of sentences.

The interesting thing about this punctuation mark is that in vertical style texts, it works as a vertical stroke on the right side of words, visually transforming into something very different from our underline.

Gimofu ?

Due to western influence, this symbol came to be used as an alternative to particle か in marking interrogative sentences. It usually replaces the “。”.

Kantanfu !

It is used to mark exclamatory sentences, as an alternative to the particle よ. It usually replaces the “。”. This symbol also came to be used because of western influence.

Piriodo .

Used predominantly in horizontal writing as a date delimiter, separating day, month and year, or as a full stop in sentences, replacing the “。”.


It is also predominantly used in horizontal writing. It is intended to optionally replace the Has "、".