What Is Furigana?

Charlotte Miller

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Are you curious to know what is furigana? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about furigana in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is furigana?

For those learning the Japanese language or reading texts in Japanese script, the concept of furigana can be a helpful and enlightening discovery. Furigana, also known as ruby characters, are small annotations placed above or beside Japanese kanji characters to indicate their pronunciation in kana (hiragana or katakana). In this blog, we will explore what furigana is, its purpose, how it is used, and its significance in Japanese language learning and literature.

What Is Furigana?

Furigana (振り仮名) is a type of annotation used in Japanese written materials. These annotations provide phonetic readings for difficult, less common, or complex kanji characters. Furigana typically consists of hiragana characters written above or beside the relevant kanji, allowing readers to understand the pronunciation of the words or characters.

The Purpose Of Furigana:

  1. Reading Assistance: Furigana serves as a reading aid, making it easier for readers to understand how to pronounce kanji characters, especially if they encounter unfamiliar or rarely used ones.
  2. Language Learning: Furigana is particularly valuable for Japanese language learners, as it helps them practice reading kanji while providing immediate assistance with pronunciation.
  3. Accessibility: Furigana enhances accessibility for a broader audience, including children and people with varying levels of Japanese proficiency.

How Furigana Is Used:

Furigana is commonly found in various types of written materials, including:

  1. Children’s Books: Furigana is frequently used in children’s books, enabling young readers to learn and understand kanji characters as they progress in their reading abilities.
  2. Manga and Comics: Manga, Japanese comics, often include furigana to help readers understand the readings of uncommon or specialized kanji used in the story.
  3. Language Learning Materials: Textbooks, dictionaries, and language learning resources incorporate furigana to assist learners in understanding and pronouncing kanji characters.
  4. Novels and Literature: Some novels, especially those targeted at younger or less advanced readers, may include furigana to make the text more accessible.
  5. Newspapers: Furigana is rarely used in newspapers, as they assume readers have a certain level of kanji proficiency. However, furigana may be employed for clarification in less common cases.

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The Significance Of Furigana:

  1. Learning Aid: Furigana is a valuable tool for learners of the Japanese language. It helps them build their kanji reading skills gradually, from recognizing basic characters to understanding more complex ones.
  2. Increased Literacy: Furigana can improve overall literacy rates and reading comprehension, as they assist readers in deciphering words or characters they might not have encountered before.
  3. Inclusivity: By providing furigana, written materials become more inclusive and accessible to a wider range of readers, regardless of their age or Japanese language proficiency.
  4. Cultural Exchange: Furigana can facilitate cultural exchange, making Japanese literature and media more approachable to a global audience.


Furigana is a powerful linguistic tool in the world of Japanese script and language learning. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner of Japanese or simply exploring Japanese literature and culture, furigana can significantly enhance your reading experience. Its ability to make the intricacies of kanji characters more accessible and comprehensible ensures that it continues to play a crucial role in the realm of Japanese language and literature.


What Is Furigana In Name?

Furigana ( 振 ふ り 仮名 がな , Japanese pronunciation: [ɸɯɾigaꜜna] or [ɸɯɾigana]) is a Japanese reading aid consisting of smaller kana (syllabic characters) printed either above or next to kanji (logographic characters) or other characters to indicate their pronunciation. It is one type of ruby text.

What Is The Furigana Used For?

Traditionally written in hiragana or katakana, furigana are annotations serving a metalingual function, and are primarily used to give the pronunciations of unknown or obscure kanji that the reader might not recognize.

How Do You Fill Furigana In Form?

The narrow furigana field is where you write the reading of your name in either hiragana or katakana. Here, you will see some small text saying “furigana”. If this text is written ふりがな, you should write the reading of your name in hiragana. If your template asks for フリガナ, use katakana.

What Is The Difference Between Furigana And Hiragana?

In some cases, syllabic hiragana characters are placed above kanji in order to indicate pronunciation. When used toward this purpose, hiragana is referred to as furigana.

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