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Search Guide for Japanese

The best way to search for Japanese-language materials in Voyager is to use romanization to form your search words. You can also search Voyager using Japanese script (kanji and kana), but this presents some other problems (see below).

UH Voyager (like the Library of Congress) uses modified Hepburn as the romanization system for Japanese.  For more detailed information, please see the LC romanization table for Japanese.

If you are interested in learning more, please read our history of romanization to understand more about rōmaji (ローマ字)!

The most important thing to remember when searching is: if you don't get any results, try it again a different way before giving up!

*note: Netscape and Firefox are the recommended browsers for Hawaii Voyager, so if you are having trouble viewing the Japanese records in Internet Explorer, please try switching browsers.  You can download Firefox here and Netscape here for free.*

Author Search

When you search for a Japanese name in the catalog, use the family name first, followed by a space, then the personal name.  This applies to both romanized and kanji versions; you cannot use kana to search for an author's name. 

    ex: Mishima Yukio
    ex: 三島 由紀夫
    ex: Yoshimoto Banana
    ex: 吉本 ばなな


Use the following chart to convert Japanese to romanized form.  Word readings should be based on standard Japanese dictionary forms. 

• Syllabic nasal: ん (n)

Since ん has been romanized differently throughout the years, it is best to check two ways of romanizing it:

(1) ん = n before m, b, and p
    ex: しんぶん = shinbun    ほんま = honma

(2) ん = n before p, and m before b
    ex: しんぶん = shimbun    ほんま = homma

You will probably find more records for type (1), but please be aware that some older records will use type (2) instead.

• Long vowels and Diacritics: おお, おう,  ええ, うう (oo, ou, ee, uu / ō, ō, ē, ū)

Double vowels (oo, ou, ee, uu) are not used in the catalog (with two exceptions, see below), but instead are represented by single vowels with long marks over them (ō, ō, ē, ū).  However, when you search the catalog, you can ignore these long marks, and simply type single vowels. 
    ex: きのう = kinō = kino
    ex: おおさか = ōsaka = osaka
    ex: きゅうしゅう = kyūshū = kyushu

    Exception 1: use the double ii for adjectival forms and other words.

    ex: おおきい = ōkii = okii
    ex: かなしい = kanashii
    ex: きいろい = kiiroi
    Exception 2: when う appears as a verb ending after another vowel, type both vowels.

    ex: おもう (思う) = omou
    ex: すう (吸う) = suu

• Double consonants (geminate consonants): using small つ (小さい「つ」)

Double consonants are marked by doubling the consonant following the つ, except in the case of  し, ち, and つ.
    ex: ちょっと = chotto
    ex: いっぴき = ippiki
    し → ssh    ex: まっしろい = masshiroi
    ち → tch    ex: あっち / こっち = atchi / kotchi
    つ → tts    ex: よっつ = yottsu

NOTE: In the case of 日本 as "Nihon" vs. "Nippon", try both if you are unsure of the reading.

• Particles: へ, は, を (e, wa, o)

When へ, は, and を are used as particles, they are romanized
    へ = e    は = wa    を = o

a i u e o (ya) (yu) (yo)
ka ki ku ke ko きゃ kya きゅ kyu きょ kyo
sa shi su se so しゃ sha しゅ shu しょ sho
ta chi tsu te to ちゃ cha ちゅ chu ちょ cho
na ni nu ne no にゃ nya にゅ nyu にょ nyo
ha hi fu he ho ひゃ hya ひゅ hyu ひょ hyo
ma mi mu me mo みゃ mya みゅ myu みょ myo
ra ri ru re ro りゃ rya りゅ ryu りょ ryo
わ wa ( ゐ wi )

( ゑ we )
を wo

ga gi gu ge go ぎゃ gya ぎゅ gyu ぎょ gyo
za ji zu ze zo じゃ ja じゅ ju じょ jo
da (ji) (zu) de do ぢゃ (ja) ぢゅ (ju) ぢょ (jo)
ba bi bu be bo びゃ bya びゅ byu びょ byo
pa pi pu pe po ぴゃ pya ぴゅ pyu ぴょ pyo

ア a イ i ウ u エ e オ o (ya) (yu) (yo)
カ ka キ ki ク ku ケ ke コ ko キャ kya キュ kyu キョ kyo
サ sa シ shi ス su セ se ソ so シャ sha シュ shu ショ sho
タ ta チ chi ツ tsu テ te ト to チャ cha チュ chu チョ cho
ナ na ニ ni ヌ nu ネ ne ノ no ニャ nya ニュ nyu ニョ nyo
ハ ha ヒ hi フ fu ヘ he ホ ho ヒャ hya ヒュ hyu ヒョ hyo
マ ma ミ mi ム mu メ me モ mo ミャ mya ミュ myu ミョ myo
ヤ ya
ユ yu
ヨ yo
ラ ra リ ri ル ru レ re ロ ro リャ rya リュ ryu リョ ryo
ワ wa ( ヰ wi )

( ヱ we )
ヲ wo

ン n
ガ ga ギ gi グ gu ゲ ge ゴ go ギャ gya ギュ gyu ギョ gyo
ザ za ジ ji ズ zu ゼ ze ゾ zo ジャ ja ジュ ju ジョ jo
ダ da ヂ (ji) ヅ (zu) デ de ド do ヂャ (ja) ヂュ (ju) ヂョ (jo)
バ ba ビ bi ブ bu ベ be ボ bo ビャ bya ビュ byu ビョ byo
パ pa ピ pi プ pu ペ pe ポ po ピャ pya ピュ pyu ピョ py

Kanji and Kana

If you use the Global IME to search in Japanese script in Voyager, please be aware of the following:

• Script vs. Romanization:

Not all records have Japanese script, but all records have romanization.  If you don't find the record you're looking for when searching in script, please try a romanized search too.

• Older Characters:

Search characters must match exactly as they are in the original text. That means if the title of the book contains older kanji, you must input that character to your query.

ex: versus
ex: { versus w

• Word Spacing:

Spacing between words differs because Voyager incorporates two kinds of records.  Some older records have spaces between words, while the newer ones do not.  Please try your search both ways to get maximal results.

    ex: 九州 と 日本 の 歴史 = title search, with spaces, 1 result
         九州と日本の歴史 = title search, without spaces, no results

    ex: 日本語 辞典 = title search, with spaces, no results
    ex: 日本語辞典 = title search, without spaces, 1 result

Title searches are very particular about spacing; keyword searches are more flexible, but still might have problems with spacing.

Finally, remember, if you do not get any results the first time, don't give up! Try again a different way, and ask the librarian if you need more help.

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This search guide originally created by Caitlin Nelson
Asia Collection Internship Project 2005

Contact: Tokiko Yamamoto Bazzell
Japan Specialist Librarian
e-mail: tokiko@hawaii.edu
Asia Collection, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library
2550 The Mall, Honolulu, HI 96822 U.S.A.