Romaji (ローマ字) is the roman alphabet, A-Z and a-z. Certainly learning a new character set can be difficult. We may find kana and kanji challenging, and the students may feel the same about romaji.

  • In elementary school 4th grade, student study romaji (Kunrei-shiki). Specifically, they study how to write Japanese in romaji. But they only spend a few hours on it, so after that they still need a lot of practice.
  • Most students learn big letters and the ABC song from TV programs or outside sources sometime around 1st-4th grade elementary school, but not very well.
  • Capitalizing the first letter of a sentence is a new idea.
  • Using spaces to separate words is a new idea.

Alphabet animations



There are three main styles of romanisation used in Japan, all of which are used from time to time, often mixed with each other.

  • Hepburn (ヘボン式ローマ字). This is most common for the names of places and people, and 1st grade JHS students often study it. See also this printable chart.
  • Kunrei-shiki (訓令式ローマ字). This is what kids are taught in elementary school. Japanese input on computers uses this style.
  • Nihon-shiki (日本式ローマ字).

See also