Furigana [振り仮名] are small hiragana letters that are on top or next to the kanji for easy reading. These small letters show the correct way to pronounce each kanji. In this article, we will talk a little about Furigana and explain how to add these small letters to your texts for easy reading.
The word furigana [振り仮名] comes from the verb furu [振る] + Ghana (kana) which indicates Japanese character or letters like katakana and hiragana. Other alternative names are ruby [ルビ] and also yomigana [読み仮名] which means reading kana.
The verb furu it means many things like stirring, merging, allocating, abandoning, adding, extracting, replacing and changing. This may well explain why furu indicates the addition of a kana or hiragana in the text.
Furikanji - The opposite also occurs. Foreign words or written in hiragana may have a small Kanji indicating its meaning just like furigana. It rarely happens, but it is an interesting fact to mention.
When does furigana appear in Japanese?
Some imagine that furigana is something extra that people add, but it usually appears naturally in texts, even for adults, depending on their need.
Furigana appears mainly when a text has a rare word, which not even a normal adult would be able to remember easily. The more childish the text, the more furigana you find, but the more mature the text, the less furigana it will have.
Of course, there are mature texts that sometimes share a technical word from a certain area that not everyone knows how to read. In these cases, you will find yes reading in furigana. Others even use it to indicate synonyms of a word.
Another occasion where furigana is present is when words are spelled ambiguously, words with different pronunciations, but written with kanji memos. Furigana is not always necessary, often the context makes reading these words clear.
Furigana can appear in kanji words with a foreign reading. Sometimes we find country names written in katakana as a furigana of a kanji word. Example: Brazil [伯剌西爾 (ブラジル)].
Consequences of using Furigana
Like Romaji, using furigana has several consequences for Japanese students. They can help you easily read any text, but this will slow your reading. When you know kanji, you quickly read the word instead of straining your eyes to see the tiny hiragana.
Some think that furigana can help a person learn readings of ideograms, but it is not even useful. It is easier to take the kanji and paste it in the program instead of an entire text, it all depends on the level you are in the Japanese language.
Many used Romaji to make it easier to read Japanese texts, but Romanization is a perdition for Japanese students who have already mastered hiragana. That's why we encourage you to always use furigana, and in moderation, to study Japanese and not Romaji (Roman letters).
How to add Furigana in kanji texts
Furigana is widely found in karaoke songs and in some books. Unfortunately there are many texts that do not have furi natively, but there are several programs and websites that allow you to transform your text in kanji into a text with furigana, making your learning a lot easier. Just click on the title to access the program's website.
One of the big problems with using these generators is that they do not always give the correct reading of a particular kanji. For example, I use an APP called furigana that always puts hou [方] in kanji, when its reading is hot. So be careful if you want to depend on these programs, but they always get it right when the word is usually accompanied by other ideograms.
Furigana Generator -This site converts any text into kanji, and takes you to a page with it in furigana, allowing you to save it to a file.odt and be open with open office.
Furiganizer - Like the previous site, in addition to converting, it still saves as .doc to open in the office.
Tatoeba - Another site with the same goal, in addition it also converts to romaji.
Convert to Android -With the application above, it is possible to convert kanji or text to [振り仮名] directly from your android phone.
Hiragana Megane - This site allows you to transform Japanese sites into sites with reading on top of the kanji.
IPA furigana -This plugin for Google Chrome, allows you to place text.
Furigana Inserter - This plugin for Firefox, allows to put kana in the texts in kanji. It automatically inserts in words from any website.
Okurigana - Unlike FuriGana or FuriKanji, Okurigana is part of the Japanese language and refers to hiraganas that are attached to a word with kanji, in this case they are verbs hiragana, or additions that inflect adjectives and others.
What do you think about Furigana?
These were some of the programs and sites that I recommend for you to use ... I hope you liked the tips, if you did, don't forget to share and leave your comments.
Furigana is very useful, especially when searching for Japanese song lyrics to sing. To make it easier, we recommend reading our article with tips for finding Japanese lyrics.