The Info List - Japanese Braille

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JAPANESE BRAILLE is the braille script of the Japanese language
Japanese language
. It is based on the original braille script, though the connection is tenuous. In Japanese it is known as _tenji_ (点字), literally "dot characters". It transcribes Japanese more or less as it would be written in the _hiragana _ or _katakana _ syllabaries, without any provision for writing _kanji _ (Chinese characters).

Japanese Braille
is a vowel-based abugida . That is, the glyphs are syllabic, but unlike kana they contain separate symbols for consonant and vowel, and the vowel takes primacy. The vowels are written in the upper left corner (points 1, 2, 4) and may be used alone. The consonants are written in the lower right corner (points 3, 5, 6) and cannot occur alone. However, the semivowel _y_ is indicated by point 4, one of the vowel points, and the vowel combination is dropped to the bottom of the block. When this point is written in isolation, it indicates that the following syllable has a medial _y_, as in _mya_. Syllables beginning with _w_ are indicated by dropping the vowel points to the bottom of the cell without additional consonant points.


* 1 Main chart * 2 Other symbols * 3 Orthography * 4 Punctuation * 5 Formatting * 6 Kanji * 7 Notes and references * 8 External links


The chart below shows each braille character under the corresponding _hiragana _ and its romanization. In order to illustrate the derivation of each character from its component vowel and consonant, the vowel points are written in black, and the consonant points in green. There is no such distinction in braille as it is actually used.

The vowels are assigned the braille patterns that occupy the upper-left half of the cell (dots 1-2-4) in numerical order: ⠁⠃⠉⠋⠊. (These are the first five letters of Braille's alphabet, ⠁⠃⠉⠙⠑, rotated to fit the available space.) The consonantal diacritics, on the other hand, have no apparent connection to international values or numerical order, corresponding as they do to international punctuation and formatting marks.

あ a い i う u え e お o

⠁ ⠃ ⠉ ⠋ ⠊

k か ka き ki く ku け ke こ ko

⠡ ⠣ ⠩ ⠫ ⠪

s さ sa し shi す su せ se そ so

⠱ ⠳ ⠹ ⠻ ⠺

t た ta ち chi つ tsu て te と to

⠕ ⠗ ⠝ ⠟ ⠞

n な na に ni ぬ nu ね ne の no

⠅ ⠇ ⠍ ⠏ ⠎

h は ha ひ hi ふ fu へ he ほ ho

⠥ ⠧ ⠭ ⠯ ⠮

m ま ma み mi む mu め me も mo ん n

⠵ ⠷ ⠽ ⠿ ⠾ ⠴

y や ya

ゆ yu

よ yo -y-

⠜ ⠈

r ら ra り ri る ru れ re ろ ro

⠑ ⠓ ⠙ ⠛ ⠚

w わ wa ゐ (w)i

ゑ (w)e を (w)o -w-

⠄ ⠆

⠖ ⠔ ⠢


In kana, a small _tsu_ (っ), called _sokuon _, is used to indicate that the following consonant is geminate , and in interjections as a glottal stop . In katakana only, a long vowel is indicated with a horizontal stroke (ー) called a chōon . This also looks like a half dash in braille:

_sokuon_ _chōon_

⠂ ⠒

The placement of these blocks mirrors the equivalent kana: the _sokuon_ indicates that the following consonant is geminate, whereas the _chōon_ indicates that the preceding vowel is long.

In kana, the voiced consonants _g, z, d, b_ are derived from the voiceless consonants _k, s, t, h_ by adding a diacritic called _dakuten _ to the kana, as in ぎ _gi_; in foreign words, _vu_ is written by adding this to the vowel _u_. Similarly, _p_ is derived from _h_ by adding a small circle, _handakuten _. Two kana are fused into a single syllable by writing the second small, as in きゃ _kya_ from _ki + ya_; this is called _yōon _.

In Japanese Braille, the signs for these are prefixes. That is, the order is _dakuten_ + _ki_ for ぎ _gi_. When more than one occurs in a single syllable, they are combined in a single prefix block, as the _yōon-dakuten_ used for ぎゃ _gya_.

_dakuten_ (g-) _handakuten_ (p-) _yōon_ (-y-) yōon + dakuten yōon + handakuten

⠐ ⠠ ⠈ ⠘ ⠨

The _yōon_ prefix uses the point that represents _y_ in the blocks _ya',_ yu_,_ yo_. When placed before_ ka_,_ ku_,_ ko_, it produces_ kya_,_ kyu_,_ kyo_. Likewise, the_ yōon-dakuten _prefix before_ ka, ku, ko _creates_ gya, gyu, gyo. _And so on for the other consonants._

Unlike kana, which uses a subscript _e_, in braille the _-ye_ in foreign borrowings is written with _yōon_ and the kana from the _e_ row: that is, _kye_, _she_, _che_, _nye_, _hye_, _mye_, _rye_, voiced _gye_, _je_, _bye_, and plosive _pye_ are written with the _yōon_ prefixes plus _ke_, _se_, _te_, _ne_, _he_, _me_, _re_. The syllable _ye_ is written _yōon_ plus _e._

There is also a prefix for medial _-w-_ called _gōyōon_. When combined with _ka_, it produces the obsolete syllable _kwa_. It may also be fused with the voicing prefix for _gwa_. For foreign borrowings, this extends to _kwi_, _kwe_, _kwo_ and _gwa_, _gwi_, _gwe_, _gwo_. _Gōyōon_ may also be combined with the vowels _i_, _e_, _o_ for foreign _wi_, _we_, _wo_ (now that the _w_ in the original Japanese kana for _wi_, _we_, _wo_ is silent); with _ha_, _hi_, _he_, _ho_ for _fa_, _fi_, _fe_, _fo_ and (when voiced) for _va_, _vi_, _ve_, _vo_; and with _ta_, _chi_, _te_, _to_ for _tsa_, _tsi_, _tse_, _tso_. These two prefixes are identical to the question mark and full stop.

_gōyōon_ (-w-) gōyōon + dakuten

⠢ ⠲

These all parallel usage in kana. However, there are additional conventions which are unique to braille. _Yōon_ and _yōon-dakuten_ are also added to _chi_ and _shi_ to write _ti_, _di_ and _si_, _zi_ found in foreign borrowings; similarly _gōyōon_ and _gōyōon-dakuten_ are added to _tsu_ to write _tu_, _du_. This differs from the system used in kana, where the base syllables are _te_ and _to_ respectively, and a subscript vowel _i_ or _u_ is added.

In an assignment that is counter-intuitive in kana, _yōon + handakuten_ is prefixed to _tsu_, _yu_, _yo_ to produce _tyu_, _fyu_, _fyo_ in foreign words, and voiced for _dyu_, _vyu_, _vyo_. The latter—_yōon + dakuten + handakuten_, is impossible in kana:

yōon + dakuten + handakuten


Japanese Braille
is written as print Japanese would be written in kana. However, there are three discrepancies:

* In print, the ubiquitous grammatical particles _wa_ and _e_ have the historical spellings は _ha_ and へ _he_. In braille, they are written as they are pronounced, ⠄ _wa_ and ⠋ _e_. * The long _ō_ sound is written with ⠒ (_chōon_), as it would be romanized, regardless of whether it is _oo_ or _ou_ in print Japanese. Long _ū_ is also written with a _chōon_ rather than a _u_. (This is a common convention in _katakana_, but does not occur in _hiragana_.) Thus _Tōkyō_, sorted as _toukyou_ in dictionaries, is nonetheless written ⠞⠒⠈⠪⠒, and _sansū_ is written ⠱⠴⠹⠒. * Spaces are used to separate words (though not clauses or sentences, where punctuation performs that function). Thus 今日は朝からよく晴れている is spaced as in its romanization, though without separating _joshi _ from their nouns: _kyōwa asakara yoku harete iru_. Spaces are also placed between family and personal names, as in 石川倉次 _Ishikawa Kuraji_. When writing in _katakana_, an interpunct ⟨・⟩ is used for this function in print, as in ルイ・ブライユ _Rui Buraiyu_ (Louis Braille).


Besides the punctuation of Japanese, braille also has symbols to indicate that the following characters are Hindu numerals or the Latin alphabet .

。 、 ? ! 「・・・」 (・・・) hyphen — ・・・ space

⠲ ⠰ ⠢ ⠖ ⠤⠀⠤ ⠶⠀⠶ ⠤ ⠒⠒ ⠂⠂⠂ ⠀

As noted above, the space is used between words and also where an interpunct would be used when names are written in katakana. There are several additional punctuation marks.


At left, Japanese print and braille text. The embossed text includes non-braille lines, bullets, and an arrow. At right, an illustration of Western digits and letters.

Western letters and digits are indicated as follows:

Hindu digit(s) Latin letter(s) capital letter

⠼ ⠰ ⠠

An additional sign indicate that the following characters are specifically English words and not just in the Latin alphabet.

Words immediately follow numbers, unless they begin with a vowel or with _r-_. Because the syllables _a i u e o_ and _ra ri ru re ro_ are homographic with the digits 0–9, a hyphen is inserted to separate them. Thus 6人 "six people" (_6 nin_) is written without a hyphen, ⠼⠋⠇⠴ ⟨6nin⟩, but 6円 "six yen" (_6 en_) is written with a hyphen, ⠼⠋⠤⠋⠴ ⟨6-en⟩, because ⠼⠋⠋⠴ would be read as ⟨66n⟩.


An eight-dot extension of Japanese Braille, _kantenji _, has been devised to transcribe kanji .


* ^ An isolated _t_ would be read as _wo_, for example. The only exception to restriction is _m_, which when written alone is the syllabic nasal. This may be a design feature, as historically the syllabic nasal derives from _mu_. * ^ Except for the syllable _wa_, historic _w_ is silent in modern Japanese. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ "点字を読んでみよう (tenji o yonde miyō)". Braille
Authority of Japan. Retrieved 2012-05-10. * ^ This does not mean Japanese Braille
is completely phonetic. The grammatical particle を _wo_, which is pronounced _o_, is nonetheless written ⠔ _wo_.


* The Braille
Authority of Japan – the standard-setting body for braille notation in Japan * World Blind Union * "The Monument "Birthplace of Tokyo Moa Gakko and Japan Braille System" unveiled"

* v * t * e



* 1829 braille * International uniformity * ASCII braille * Unicode braille patterns


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