The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Cyrillization of Japanese

Cyrillization of Japanese is the practice of expressing Japanese sounds using Cyrillic characters.

Below is a cyrillization system for the Japanese language known as the Polivanov system. It is officially accepted in Russia. It is called kiriji (киридзи) in Russian.

In Japan, the Cyrillic script is called kiriru moji (キリル文字) or roshiamoji (ロシア文字).


Main table

a - а i - и/й u - у e - э o - о
ka - ка ki - ки ku - ку ke - кэ ko - ко
ga - га gi - ги gu - гу ge - гэ go - го
sa - са si/shi - си su - су se - сэ so - со
za - дза zi/ji - дзи zu - дзу ze - дзэ zo - дзо
ta - та ti/chi - ти tu/tsu - цу te - тэ to - то
da - да di/ji - дзи du/zu - дзу de - дэ do - до
na - на ni - ни nu - ну ne - нэ no - но
ha - ха hi - хи hu/fu - фу he - хэ ho - хо
pa - па pi - пи pu - пу pe - пэ po - по
ba - ба bi - би bu - бу be - бэ bo - бо
ma - ма mi - ми mu - му me - мэ mo - мо
ya - я yu - ю yo - ё
ra - ра ri - ри ru - ру re - рэ ro - ро
wa - ва wo - о

Supplemental table

     kya - кя        kyu - кю        kyo - кё
     gya - гя        gyu - гю        gyo - гё

 sya/sha - ся    syu/shu - сю    syo/sho - сё
 zya/ja  - дзя   zyu/ju  - дзю   zyo/jo  - дзё

 tya/cha - тя    tyu/chu - тю    tyo/cho - тё
 dya/ja  - дзя   dyu/ju  - дзю   dyo/jo  - дзё

     nya - ня        nyu - ню        nyo - нё

     hya - хя        hyu - хю        hyo - хё
     pya - пя        pyu - пю        pyo - пё
     bya - бя        byu - бю        byo - бё

     mya - мя        myu - мю        myo - мё

     rya - ря        ryu - рю        ryo - рё

Double consonants

In kiriji consonants are doubled exactly as they do in romaji: e.g. -kk- > -кк-.

Vowel length

In kiriji vowel length is marked with either a colon after the vowel or with a macron over it: tennô > тэнно: or тэнно̄. However, in most non-linguistic texts the Japanese vowel length is not marked at all.

Syllabic -n

Before p, b, m the syllabic -n is transcribed as м according to pronunciation; before vowels and y it is transcribed as нъ in order to indicate syllable boundary; in all other cases it is transcribed as н.

Examples: shinbun > симбун, sanka > санка, kan'i > канъи, hon'ya > хонъя.

Common errors

Most often, Japanese names come to Russians not directly, but via English. In English texts, Japanese names are written with the Hepburn system. People then try to transcribe Japanese names as if they were English.

Very often people want to transcribe shi as ши and ji as джи. This is very poor, because in Russian ши is pronounced as шы and джи as джы. The Russian sound /ы/ is in fact closer to Japanese /u/ than to Japanese /i/. (It would be better to write щи.)

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.

Sometimes э is replaced with е (but not at the beginning of a word). This is tolerable, especially for the words that are in general use (e.g. kamikaze > камикадзе instead of камикадзэ). But you should never replace ё with е — it will change the Japanese word too much.


Some Japanese names, for historical reasons, do not follow the above rules. These are: Tokyo : Токио (instead of Токё), Kyoto : Киото (instead of Кёто), Yokohama : Иокогама (instead of Ёкохама), Yokosuka : Йокосука (instead of Ёкосука), Toyota : Тойота (instead of Тоёта), jujitsu : джиу-джитсу (instead of дзюдзицу). Also, many of the personal names beginning with "Yo" are written using "Йо" instead of "Ё" (e.g. Йоко for Yoko).

External links

  • Online romaji<->kiriji converter:
Last updated: 05-21-2005 10:59:03