sci.lang.japan FAQ / 1. Writing / 1.3. Other questions on writing / 1.3.4. What are the systems of romanization of Japanese?

1.3.4.3. What is wāpuro rōmaji?

Wāpuro rōmaji on the side of a truck
Wāpuro rōmaji (ワープロローマ字) ("word processor romaji") is a form of romanized Japanese which resembles the format used to enter Japanese kanji and kana via an intermediate romanized form. The basic format for computer and word processor input is Nippon-shiki romanization, with the following changes:

What is usually described as waapuro romaji is not, in fact, what is input into computer systems, but merely the practice of indicating long vowels using "ou" or "uu" in romanization rather than a o or u with a circumflex or macron. This usage is very common on the internet.

Advantages of waapuro romaji

  • It is easier to type, since circumflexed or macroned versions of letters are not available on most people's keyboards and are difficult to input.
  • It can be mixed with encoded Japanese in formats such as ISO-2022-JP (see 14.2. Encodings of Japanese), which do not feature macroned vowels in their character sets. In old versions of the sci.lang.japan FAQ, encoded as EUC-JP, wāpuro rōmaji was used in order to be able to combine encoded Japanese with the rōmaji.

    Disadvantages of wāpuro rōmaji

    Unicode encodings of Japanese such as UTF-8 allow kanji, kana, and macroned or circumflexed vowels to coexist, and may make wāpuro romaji less common on the internet.


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