Are there uppercase or capital letters in Japanese?

Hello, are there capital letters in Nihongo? Or is that valid just for Western letters, when we read in a Wanikani lesson about oomoji / 大文字? At least I’ve never noticed difference between capital letters or not in Nihongo… (by the way, how could I say “no capital letters” in English? “minor letters”, something like that?)

I’m no expert so take my answer with a grain of salt, but I’m fairly sure there is no “Capital letters” in Japanese.

(Also, Lowercase letters are the small version of uppercase letters)


There are no uppercase or lowercase in japanese. Just some of the latin based languages :stuck_out_tongue:

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thank you! anyway then it’s curious that nihongo has a specific native word, 大文字, for capital letters then… (and also 小文字, as I could see in a sentence as example…) if they don’t have these kind of difference in the letters by their own!

(and thanks for telling me about the “lowercase letters”!

Well, other languages do so its useful to have the words in their language. We have the word hieroglyphs in english despite not using them, and so on.


Japanese people study English and other languages that use other alphabets…

You’ll hear these words in English class in Japan regularly.

Also, it’s not really accurate to say this is a “native word”. It’s a combination kunyomi and onyomi reading. They made this reading from the characters that were chosen; it didn’t exist in spoken Japanese (which didn’t have any writing at all until Chinese characters were imported) originally.

I heard that you can use katakana as upper case letters IF YOU WANT TO WRITE A DRAMATIC TEXT LIKE THIS for example but correct me if I’m wrong. That’s the only “uppercase” Japanese I’ve ever heard of.

Katakana has multiple uses, though even if it was used for the effect you’re describing, the characters wouldn’t be described as 大文字.

There are Japanese characters which are written smaller where they modify the sound of adjacent characters, such as the やin おちゃ(changes an i vowel to an a vowel) or the つinきって(doubles the length of the following consonant). But I honestly have no idea if these are referred to as 小文字 or not.

Maybe one of our wise 先輩 can help?

That’s a 促音 or 小さい文字. I’m pretty sure that 小文字 exclusively refers to lowercase letters in alphabets (e.g. Roman, Greek) which have those distinctions, not the small characters which are really pronunciation markers which modify the characters around them rather than “lowercase letters”.

Thank god for a language where people cant type ALL UPPER CASE COMMENTS ON YOUTUBE!!! :rofl:


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