Writing Style

A) Content Summary

A.1) Original & Romaji

► What I mean hereinafter by “Japanese lyrics” or “original lyrics”, is the exact Kanji + Kana (+ English possibly included) written lyrics text on the pamphlet of an official release. This text could also be found online, including artist / band / studio official websites, as well as lyric-dedicated websites such as Uta Net, and in various formats.

Romanization of Japanese has various systems of standards. However, I use my own style which is handpicked to be the least decorated, and the most “verbatim et literatim” to what is pronounced in the source language. It is closest to Waapuro and traditional Hepburn. This page includes description of and reasoning behind my own Romaji style only, not Romaji in general.

A.2) English Translation

► My English writing style is purely my best effort at transforming spoken language to written form with as little as possible loss in terms of intonation, attitude and feeling; because word selection and accuracy are not the only factors in conveyance of meaning. A single emphasis on one of the words of a sentence can turn its meaning around entirely, and songs especially are full of emphasis and intonations.

A.3) Typographic Style

► Five colors are used:

  • Sky Blue → Headings
  • Default Gray → Body Text
  • White → Highlights
  • Gold → Links
  • Yellow Green → Japanese Text

► All names are in English order rather than Japanese: Given Name then Last Name.
► All posts done per request are marked with [Req] in the beginning of the title.

A.4) Post Format

What you will see in each post will, in order, include:

► Album/Single cover or most relevant image I could find in high quality
► Info surrounding the song in this format:

  • By: Artist / Group
  • Title: Name of the song + (English translation of the title, if needed)
  • From: Name of the single / album (Type of Original Release) + (English translation, if needed)
  • Anime: Name of the anime, if it’s an anime song + position of the song within it + (related episodes of the anime) + (time period in which it was used in the anime)
  • Lyricist: Name of the writer of the lyrics, if available 
  • Vocalist: Name of the singer, if available
  • Composer: Name of whomever composed the music, if available
  • Date of Release: [Month + day + year] of the release, if available

► Romanized lyrics : Romaji
► Translated lyrics : English
► A beamed quaver (), is used here to denote a musical interlude in between the lyrics lines that lasts 8 seconds or more. A quaver () above and below one or few lines means that the interlude includes audible words.
► Translation Notes : (T/N), if necessary


B) Style Outline

B.1) Romaji

B.1-0) Here is a table of most prominent cases of difference between my style of romanization with the likes of Nihon-shiki (uses circumflex -like â- to show elongation of vowels) and modern Hepburn (uses macron -like ā- to show elongation of vowels). The same rules apply to the Katakana counterparts for the Hiragana shown in this table, if used at all. Long vowels will always be romanized as double the vowel that’s been elongated. Don’t confuse them with their English way of pronouncing. For instance, no one familiar with Japanese reads the “oo” in ‘[ookami] as they would in [moon]. All long vowels are merely to be pronounced twice as long as the vowel being repeated.

– Example: my equivalents of long vowels in Hepburn’s macron, are:

  • ā ↔ aa
  • ē ↔ ee
  • ō ↔ oo , ou

Hiragana:

When used as:

Reads:

助詞 (joshi) Particle

wa

助詞 (joshi) Particle

wo

助詞 (joshi) Particle

e

ああ

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

aa

いい

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

ii

うう

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

uu

ええ

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

ee

おお

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

oo

えい

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

ei

おう

長音 (chouon) Long Vowels

ou

dzu

B.1-1) I write Romaji always in lowercase, and do not punctuate it.
B.1-2) I try to transliterate & translate all fully audible words of a song, even if not existing in Kanji lyrics source. To differentiate such insertions from the original lyrics text I use brackets: […].
B.1-3) Original lyrics often use parenthesis (…), and any phrase within them are part of original lyrics, as in contrast to content within brackets.
B.1-4) I romanize each word as individually and as separately as possible.
B.1-5) Original Japanese lyrics sometimes mark the refrain, usually with   (komejirushi = reference mark in Japanese, similar to * asterisk in English) and later instead of writing it again in whole, just write 繰り返し (kurikaeshi = repeat). I do not do that in my Romaji regardless of its existence in the source.
B.1-6) I use Italic font, for loanwords, in Romaji and also for their corresponding English words.

B.2) English

B.2-1) Any words written in FULL UPPERCASE indicate nothing but emphasis.
B.2-2) Song’s own English words start in uppercase and can get punctuated.
B.2-3) Song’s any “non-Japanese” words are all treated the same way as English words

B.2-4) On this blog, I use “.. ” (dot dot space) for ‘initial & medial caesura’, and “…” (dot dot dot) for ‘terminal caesura’.


C) Style Reasoning

C.1) Grammar: Case & Punctuation (covering B.1-1 / B.2-1 / B.2-2 / B.2-3 / B.2-4)

► Romanized lyrics will not be capitalized or punctuated here, as Romaji is merely a bridge between English and any other language that is typographically and / or orthographically different. In my opinion Romaji should never be written in uppercase or punctuated, as a matter of fact.

► The only punctuation symbol that as an exception must be used in Romaji is the apostrophe () . It will appear after the (“n” consonant), which is the only single-consonant syllable in Japanese phonology, when it is exceeded by a ‘y’-starting syllable (ya, yo, yu) or a syllable-starting vowel. Said consonant is called “moraic n” in such case. The apostrophe is needed to indicate that the ‘n’ is not merged with the next syllable forming a 拗音 (youon = diphthong) , but a plosive consonant belonging to the ending of the previous syllable, or an independent syllable of its own (opinions vary in different grammars).

– Example:

  • 訓読み ( kunyomi = Japanese reading of a Kanji) is syllabicated /kun + yo + mi/ and NOT /ku nyo mi/. Because the “n” is a consonant belonging to the first syllable, it will have be romanized as kun’yomi to indicate the pause on it and to prevent misreading.

► English words within the original lyrics however, are actual words from an actual language, namely English (same for any languages other than Japanese that might be used in the lyrics). Hence they will both get punctuated as necessary and written with uppercase first letter for better distinction (called capitalization) from the rest of the romanized Japanese text, in both Romaji and English translation sections of a post. There is no subtle way to distinguish “capitalized because English” from “capitalized because at sentence start” though, so I will not try to.

– Example:

  • Japanese: 私のために don’t cry
  • Romaji: watashi no tame ni Don’t Cry
  • English: Don’t Cry for my sake

► My goal is the highest retention and conveyance of meaning to the reader, during the inevitable conversion of spoken language of a song, to written form when transcribing here. This conversion makes a spoken phrase lose its prosodic effects (stress, intonation etc), and to avoid that as much as possible I use FULL UPPERCASE for words that have very clear stress in the singer’s voice, in which cases not using full uppercase would make a distinct lack in meaning conveyed.

► A small personal writing style detail used here, is that when facing pause or hesitation (caesura) anywhere within speech, there are two states. Either:

  1. the speech after it is the continuation to what was being said prior to the caesura (initial caesura, medial caesura, mostly, let’s call it Case 1)
  2. or it ends there, leaving what was being said behind and optionally, starting something new (terminal caesura, let’s call it Case 2).

For case 1, I use “.. “, two dots and a space to note that it still continues, regardless of its position within a sentence / line of the lyrics. What comes after it also will start with two dots and a space if it is in its own line, and will not be capitalized to clearly indicate continuation, rather than a new start. For case 2, I use “” as in full caesura. Again prosodic, and just an effort to better convey the speech, in written form.

– Example:

  • I.. didn’t know that, I’m sorry.
  • I never got to know her…
C.2) Content: Original vs. Added (covering B.1-2 / B.1-3)

► As mentioned, my goal is reader’s satisfaction, such as that of curiosity. Sometimes there are clear and audible lines of conversation or vocal harmony by backing vocalists, etc, that are not necessarily covered by the original lyrics. I will include and translate such phrases within brackets. Needless to say, this is based on hearing and can be prone to slight mistakes. I won’t add them in cases whose accuracy would be below acceptable. In contrast to this, any and all words within parenthesis are not my personal additions but 100% from the original lyrics.

C.3) Orthography: Merging vs Separating (covering B.1-4 / B.1-5 / B.1-6)

► I romanize every single word from every part of speech and almost every form of inflection as separately as I can. There will not be exceptions, even those particles (助詞), Gobi (語尾), various auxiliaries (補助動詞 and their family) etc, that merge themselves with the ending of other words (tte, kke, nda, cchau, ttsu-no and the many colloquial likes). Reason is mostly because they almost all carry a meaning on their own, so they can be recognized as a morpheme, and even though it’s hard to think of a proper and pronounceable word starting with gemination, that’s just how Japanese is, and Romanization’s whole point is to be as transparent as possible to its source language.

– Example:

  • 覚えられたくなかった  -> oboerare taku nakatta
  • 泣いてるんだ  -> naiterun da
  • 笑っちまった -> waracchimatta

借用語 (shakuyougo) in Japanese means loanword.  Loanwords from languages other than Chinese are called 外来語 (gairaigo) which are our main concern here. Gairaigo are by standard written in Katakana. However, this is not the only case that Katakana is used. In short, not every word in Katakana is a loanword, but loanwords are always written in Katakana. In my romanizations you will find “Only Loanwords Spelled in Katakana” and their matching English words to be romanized in Italics to easily distinguish and further ease the understanding of them.

– Example: The loadword for “door” (usu when talking about a Western type of door) in Japanese would be ドア /do a/. Therefore, if for instance, you see doa in italics in the Romaji and door in the English section of a song’s lyrics, you will know the loanword and its corresponding English term.