A guide to the Japanese Wikipedia

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This is a guide to the Japanese Wikipedia for non-native speakers of Japanese. Most of the contents can of course be applied to other Japanese projects.

Where to ask questions and get help[edit]

There are currently two places for someone to ask a question or help, or make an announcement.

  1. ja:Wikipedia:Help for Non-Japanese Speakers.
  2. ja:Wikipedia:井戸端 (Discussion page: A Japanese equivalent of en:Wikipedia:Village pump)

Understand that general questions should be raised in 井戸端, if possible. Old discussion is archived on BBS, but this site is now only for reading.

The mailing list WikiJA-l has been dormant, but many active Wikipedians subscribe to it.

Other pages are relevant for more specific communication.

Often, these pages have certain formatting and procedural requirements. So your request might be moved or re-formatted by others at times.

Who to talk to[edit]

Quite a few Japanese Wikipedians can understand English. Some Wikipedians who are mainly active on other language projects speak Japanese. Among them there are English-, French-, Italian-, Spanish-, and Korean-speaking Wikipedians.

See Embassy and Translation for the list of people who can understand Japanese and some other language(s).

The Babel system will also be able to help you. Its top category is ja:Category:言語別の利用者.


Japanese Wikipedia is the 13th largest Wikipedia in terms of number of articles, having 968,299 articles as of 28 May, 2015. It became active at the end of January 2003 when the Wired News covered English Wikipedia and the news was translated into Japanese.

For more details, see Wikipedia Statistics at: http://www.wikipedia.org/wikistats/EN/Sitemap.htm

It is still possible to get a list of the whole day's edits from recent changes. However, looking at all of one day's edits is virtually impossible.

Browser issues[edit]


Some browsers are known to cause problems because they cannot handle Japanese text properly. The error could happen because of the URL address or body text of the page.

Instructions on how to fix this have been provided in the English Wikipedia Help namespace.

Back button[edit]

Some navigational functions also do not work with the Japanese Wikipedia because of character encoding-related issues. For example, the "back" button may produce an error in some instances.

How to keep up with what's going on[edit]

Basic conventions[edit]


  • Pages with only interwiki links are not welcome at Japanese Wikipedia.
  • Pages with less than a definition of the subject may be candidates for a speedy deletion .

Page titles

  • In general, formal titles take precedence over less formal ones.
  • Except for some words written in Roman letters in Japanese, imported words written in katakana are preferred to those in romaji.


  • Generally, redirects in a foreign script including the Latin alphabet and romaji are not welcome. They may be deleted.


  • Virtually the same as in other language projects, including the English Wikipedia. Not all Wikipedians follow it; again, like in other projects.

User page

  • In general, we do not edit other users' "user pages".

Talk page

Logged-on users vs. anonymous users

  • Some Wikipedians recognize the IP addresses of excellent anonymous contributors.
  • Other Wikipedians regard "not logging on" as the sign of a lack of commitment or accountability.
  • Anonymous users are restricted in their right to deal with some community issues, including votes for deletion, votes for blocking and requests for adminship.



Some emoticons may be unfamiliar to English-speaking users.

  • (^^), (^_^), (n_n) - friendly and cheerful/happy smiles.
  • (^^;) - admission of embarrassment or mild surprise.
  • m(_ _)m, orz - deep apology, or asking of a big favor, pictorially representing a very formal bow on one's knees while putting one's hands on the ground.
  • (^O^) - making remarks in a cheerful, but louder voice.
  • (-_-) - annoyed.
  • (o_O), (o_o) - surprise (two big Os for eyes) or disbelief (with one eye larger than the other).
  • (<<), (<_<), (>>), (>_>) - Shifty eyes, or looking off to the side.

Some of the active users use traditional-style Japanese in writing, but they know and understand the more conventional, modern Japanese that most of you have learned.

Internet Jargon[edit]

  • 荒らし (Arashi) Vandals and sometimes trolls too.
  • 捨てハン (Sutehan) Accounts that are created and abandoned soon. Used mostly for vandalism, trolling, flaming, and other unwelcome behavior.
  • コテハン、固定ハンドル (Kotehan, kotei handoru) Usernames in longtime use. Old handles. In some contexts, this term is simply an antonym of "捨てハン."

Wikipedia Terms[edit]

Some Wikipedia terms are perhaps less intuitive for non-native speakers. See ja:Wikipedia:ウィキペディア用語集 for a list of terms.

Activity-specific tips[edit]

Interwiki linking[edit]

  • Interlang links to the Japanese Wikipedia are described as [[ja:XXX]].
  • Sometimes you may find you need to install Japanese fonts to display Japanese Wikipedia properly.
  • There are no strict rules about how and where to put interlanguage links, but most users put interlanguage links at the page bottom, following categories and sort them alphabetically by language code.


  • On Japanese Wikipedia, "foo (disambiguation)" style is rarely used. In many cases, "foo" is the disambiguation page with {{aimai}}. Aimai means ambiguity.
  • Some disambiguations e.g. ja:モモ (曖昧さ回避) are named "foo (曖昧さ回避)". 曖昧さ回避 (aimaisa kaihi) means disambiguation. In this case the article "foo" has a link to the disambiguation or a redirect to a particular page "foo (specification)".

Asking for opinions[edit]

  • Feel free to leave your comments on talk pages of articles, user talk pages, or communication-oriented pages. Almost all the interfaces are localized into Japanese as below:
  • Talk = ノート (which is read as "nōto", meaning "note"), thus [[ノート:article]]
  • User talk = 利用者‐会話, thus [[利用者‐会話:Username]]
  • Though most of the namespaces are localized, you can still use the names unlocalized too. For example, If you create a link as [[User:Username]], it will be automatically converted into a localized name like the above, when it is invoked.


  • Some auto-translations sites like Babel Fish will help your understanding (but please be careful when using them - we don't know if your local wiki will accept such contributions).
  • Feel free to contact our translators who will help you willingly. You can also contact active users via IRC channel #wikipedia-ja and ask about items on the Japanese Wikipedia that you're having trouble understanding. Please remember that the channel uses a different language code from UTF-8. You have to use the command /charset iso-2022-jp if you want to read Japanese messages on the channel #wikipedia-ja.
  • Another recommended way to clarify something is to put your question on the talk page you are interested in. The most commonly understood languages on the Japanese Wikipedia are Japanese and English, but some Japanese Wikipedians understand German, French, Spanish, Korean and so on.


  • Your contribution to the Japanese Wikipedia is always welcome. Many users will be willing to correct your Japanese. If you are afraid that your non-native Japanese might be seen as vandalism, put 校正お願いします (correction is requested) as a comment in the Summary or in the talk page of your contribution. See also Wikispelling for putting a comment in Japanese in Summary Box.

Related pages[edit]


Why do I see question marks all over the place. How can I fix this?

You don't have Japanese language support for the kanji/kana characters with your internet browser. Your browser probably has a language support download available at its website. If you are using Windows, you also need to install Japanese language support in Windows itself for some stuff to display correctly. Go to the Regional and Languages Control Panel and on the Language tab, check the box "Install Support for East Asian languages." This will usually require your Windows CD, around 250MB of disk space, and a restart when the operation is finished. This should correct this problem in all web browsers.