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Lingua::JA::Moji - Handle many kinds of Japanese characters


Convert various types of Japanese characters into one another.

    use Lingua::JA::Moji qw/kana2romaji romaji2kana/;
    use utf8;
    my $romaji = kana2romaji ('あいうえお');
    # $romaji is now 'aiueo'.
    my $kana = romaji2kana ($romaji);
    # $kana is now 'アイウエオ'.


This module provides methods to convert different written forms of Japanese into one another. It enables conversion between romanized Japanese, hiragana, and katakana. It also includes a number of unusual encodings such as Japanese braille and morse code, as well as conversions between Japanese and Cyrillic and Hangul. It also handles conversion between the Chinese characters (kanji) used before and after the character reforms of 1949, as well as the various bracketed and circled forms of kana and kanji.

All the functions in this module assume the use of Unicode encoding. All input and output strings must be encoded using Perl's "UTF-8" format.

The module loads the various data format conversion files on demand, thus the various obscure conversions hopefully do not cause a memory burden.

This module does not handle the conversion of kanji words into kana, or kana into kanji.


These functions convert Japanese letters to and from romanized forms.

kana2romaji -- Convert kana to romaji

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2romaji';

    $romaji = kana2romaji ("うれしいこども");
    # Now $romaji = 'uresîkodomo'

Convert kana to a romanized form.

An optional second argument, a hash reference, controls the style of conversion.

    use utf8;
    $romaji = kana2romaji ("しんぶん", {style => "hepburn"});
    # $romaji = "shimbun"

The options are


The style of romanization. The default style of romanization is "Nippon-shiki". The user can set the conversion style to "hepburn" or "passport" or "kunrei" or "common". If Hepburn is selected, then the following option use_m is set to "true", and the ve_type is set to "macron". The "common" style is the same as the Hepburn style, but it does things like changing "ジェット" to "jetto" rather than ignoring the small vowel.

Possible styles are as follows:


Without a style, the Nippon-shiki romanization is used. See http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/nippon-shiki.html.


This gives Hepburn romanization. See http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/hepburn.html.


This is the form of romanization used in childrens' education. See http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/kunrei-shiki.html and http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/education.html.


This is a modification of the Hepburn system which also changes combinations of large kana + small vowel kana into the commonest romanized form. For example "ジェット" becomes "jetto" and "ウェ" becomes "we".


If this is true, syllabic ns (ん) which come before "b" or "p" sounds, such as the first "n" in "shinbun" (しんぶん, newspaper) will be converted into "m" rather than "n".


The ve_type option controls how long vowels are written. The default is to use circumflexes to represent long vowels.


A circumflex is used.


A macron is used.


"Oh" is used to write long "o" vowels, and other long vowels are ignored.


Long vowels are not indicated.


Chouon marks become hyphens, and おう becomes ou.

     kana2romaji ("ちりぬるを", { wo => 1 });

If "wo" is set to a true value, "を" becomes "wo", otherwise it becomes "o".

romaji2kana -- Convert romaji to kana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'romaji2kana';

    $kana = romaji2kana ('yamaguti');
    # Now $kana = 'ヤマグチ'

Convert romanized Japanese to katakana. The romanization is highly liberal and will attempt to convert any romanization it sees into katakana. The romanization is based on the behaviour of the Microsoft IME (input method editor). To convert romanized Japanese into hiragana, use "romaji2hiragana".

An optional second argument to the function contains options in the form of a hash reference,

     $kana = romaji2kana ($romaji, {wapuro => 1});

Use an option wapuro => 1 to convert long vowels into the equivalent kana rather than "chouon".

     $kana = romaji2kana ($romaji, {ime => 1});

Use the ime => 1 option to approximate the behaviour of an IME. For example, input "gumma" becomes グッマ and input "onnna" becomes オンナ. Passport romaji ("Ohshimizu") is disallowed if this option is switched on.

romaji2hiragana -- Convert romaji to hiragana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'romaji2hiragana';

    $hiragana = romaji2hiragana ('babubo');
    # Now $hiragana = 'ばぶぼ'

Convert romanized Japanese into hiragana. This takes the same options as "romaji2kana". It also switches on the "wapuro" option, which uses long vowels with a kana rather than a "chouon".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'romaji_styles';

    my @styles = romaji_styles ();
    # Returns a true value
    romaji_styles ("hepburn");
    # Returns the undefined value
    romaji_styles ("frogs");

Given an argument, this return a true value if it is a known style of romanization.

Without an argument, it returns a list of possible styles, as an array of hash references, with each hash reference containing the short name under the key "abbrev" and the full name under the key "full_name".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'is_voiced';

    if (is_voiced ('が')) {
         print "が is voiced.\n";

Given a kana or romaji input, is_voiced returns a true value if the sound is a voiced sound like a, za, ga, etc. and the undefined value if not.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'is_romaji';

    # The following line returns "undef"
    is_romaji ("abcdefg");
    # The following line returns a defined value
    is_romaji ('loyehye');
    # The following line returns a defined value
    is_romaji ("atarimae");

This detects whether a string of alphabetical characters, which may also include characters with macrons or circumflexes, "looks like" romanized Japanese. If the test is successful, it returns a true value, and if the test is unsuccessful, it returns a false value. If the string is empty, it returns a false value.

This works by converting the string to kana via "romaji2kana" and seeing if it converts cleanly or not.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'is_romaji_strict';

    # The following line returns "undef"
    is_romaji_strict ("abcdefg");
    # The following line returns "undef"
    is_romaji_strict ('loyehye');
    # The following line returns a defined value
    is_romaji_strict ("atarimae");

This detects whether a string of alphabetical characters, which may also include characters with macrons or circumflexes, "looks like" romanized Japanese. If the test is successful, it returns a true value, and if the test is unsuccessful, it returns a false value. If the string is empty, it returns a false value.

This test is much stricter than "is_romaji". It insists that the word does not contain constructions which may be valid as inputs to an IME, but which do not look like Japanese words.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'normalize_romaji';

    $normalized = normalize_romaji ('tsumuji');

normalize_romaji converts romanized Japanese to a canonical form, which is based on the Nippon-shiki romanization, but without representing long vowels using a circumflex. In the canonical form, sokuon (っ) characters are converted into the string "xtu". If there is kana in the input string, this will also be converted to romaji.

normalize_romaji is for comparing two Japanese words which may be represented in different ways, for example in different romanization systems, to see if they refer to the same word despite the difference in writing. It does not provide a standardized or officially-sanctioned form of romanization.


These functions convert one form of kana into another.

hira2kata -- Convert hiragana to katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'hira2kata';

    $katakana = hira2kata ('ひらがな');
    # Now $katakana = 'ヒラガナ'

hira2kata converts hiragana into katakana. The input may be a single string or a list of strings. If the input is a list, it converts each element of the list, and in list context it returns a list of the converted inputs. In scalar context it returns a concatenation of the strings.

    my @katakana = hira2kata (@hiragana);

This does not convert "chouon" signs.

kata2hira -- Convert katakana to hiragana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kata2hira';

    $hiragana = kata2hira ('カキクケコ');
    # Now $hiragana = 'かきくけこ'

kata2hira converts full-width katakana into hiragana. If the input is a list, it converts each element of the list, and in list context, returns a list of the converted inputs, otherwise it returns a concatenation of the strings.

    my @hiragana = hira2kata (@katakana);

This function does not convert "chouon" signs into long vowels. It also does not convert half-width katakana into hiragana.

kana2katakana -- Convert kana to katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2katakana';


This converts any of katakana, "halfwidth katakana", circled katakana and hiragana to full width katakana.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana_to_large';

    $large = kana_to_large ('ぁあぃい');
    # Now $large = 'ああいい'

Convert small-sized kana such as 「ぁ」 into full-sized kana such as 「あ」.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'InHankakuKatakana';

    use utf8;
    if ('ア' =~ /\p{InHankakuKatakana}/) {
        print "ア is half-width katakana\n";

InHankakuKatakana is a character class for use in regular expressions with \p which can validate "halfwidth katakana".

kana2hw -- Convert kana to halfwidth katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2hw';

    $half_width = kana2hw ('あいウカキぎょう。');
    # Now $half_width = 'アイウカキギョウ。'

kana2hw converts hiragana, katakana, and fullwidth Japanese punctuation to "halfwidth katakana" and halfwidth punctuation. Its function is similar to the Emacs command japanese-hankaku-region. For the opposite function, see hw2katakana. See also "katakana2hw" for a function which only converts katakana.

hw2katakana -- Convert halfwidth katakana to katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'hw2katakana';

    $full_width = hw2katakana ('アイウカキギョウ。');
    # Now $full_width = 'アイウカキギョウ。'

hw2katakana converts "halfwidth katakana" and halfwidth Japanese punctuation to fullwidth katakana and fullwidth punctuation. Its function is similar to the Emacs command japanese-zenkaku-region. For the opposite function, see kana2hw.

katakana2hw -- Convert katakana to halfwidth katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'katakana2hw';

    $hw = katakana2hw ("あいうえおアイウエオ");
    # Now $hw = 'あいうえおアイウエオ'

This converts katakana to "halfwidth katakana", leaving hiragana unchanged. See also "kana2hw".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'is_kana';


This function returns a true value if its argument is a string of kana, or an undefined value if not. The input cannot contain punctuation or "chouon".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'is_hiragana';


This function returns a true value if its argument is a string of hiragana, and an undefined value if not. The entire string from beginning to end must all be kana for this to return true. The kana cannot include punctuation marks or "chouon".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana_order';

    $kana_order = kana_order ();

Returns an array reference containing an ordering of the kana. This is useful for looping over the kana or sorting.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'katakana2syllable';

    $syllables = katakana2syllable ('ソーシャルブックマークサービス');

This breaks the given string into syllables. If the string is broken up character by character, it becomes 'ソ', 'ー', 'シ', 'ャ', 'ル'. This breaks the string up into meaningful syllables, so that $syllables becomes 'ソー', 'シャ', 'ル'.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'InKana';

    $is_kana = ('あいうえお' =~ /^\p{InKana}+$/);
    # Now $is_kana = '1'

A character class for use in regular expressions which matches all kana characters. This class catches meaningful combinations of hiragana, katakana, halfwidth katakana, circled katakana, and katakana combined words.

This is a combination of the existing Perl character classes Katakana, InKatakana, and InHiragana, minus unassigned characters, plus the "halfwidth katakana prolonged sound mark" (U+FF70) <ー> (chouon), the "halfwidth katakana voiced sound mark" (U+FF9E) <゙> (dakuten) and the "halfwidth katakana semivoiced sound mark" (U+FF9F) <゚> (handakuten), minus '・', Unicode 30FB, "KATAKANA MIDDLE DOT". It is somewhat like the following:


except that the unassigned points which are matched by \p{Katakana} are not matched and KATAKANA MIDDLE DOT is not matched.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'square2katakana';

    $kata = square2katakana ('㌆');
    # Now $kata = 'ウォン'

Convert a square katakana box into its components.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'katakana2square';

    $sq = katakana2square ('アイウエオウォン');
    # Now $sq = 'アイウエオ㌆'

Convert katakana into a square thing if possible.


Functions for handling "wide ASCII".


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'InWideAscii';

    use utf8;
    if ('A' =~ /\p{InWideAscii}/) {
        print "A is wide ascii\n";

This is a character class for use with \p which matches "wide ASCII"

wide2ascii -- Convert wide ASCII characters to printable ASCII characters

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'wide2ascii';

    $ascii = wide2ascii ('abCE019');
    # Now $ascii = 'abCE019'

Convert "wide ASCII" into ASCII.

ascii2wide -- Convert printable ASCII characters to wide ASCII characters

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'ascii2wide';

    $wide = ascii2wide ('abCE019');
    # Now $wide = 'abCE019'

Convert ASCII into "wide ASCII".


kana2morse -- Convert kana to Japanese morse code (wabun code)

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2morse';

    $morse = kana2morse ('しょっちゅう');
    # Now $morse = '--.-. -- .--. ..-. -..-- ..-'

Convert Japanese kana into Morse code. Japanese morse code does not have any way of representing small kana characters, so converting to and then from morse code will result in しょっちゅう becoming シヨツチユウ.

morse2kana -- Convert Japanese morse code (wabun code) to kana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'morse2kana';

    $kana = morse2kana ('--.-. -- .--. ..-. -..-- ..-');
    # Now $kana = 'シヨツチユウ'

Convert Japanese Morse code into kana. Each Morse code element must be separated by whitespace from the next one.


This has not been extensively tested.

kana2braille -- Convert kana to Japanese braille

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2braille';


This converts kana into the equivalent Japanese braille (tenji) forms.


This has not been extensively tested. This is not an adequate Japanese braille convertor. Creating Japanese braille requires breaking Japanese sentences up into individual words, but this does not attempt to do that. People who are interested in building a Perl braille convertor could start here.

braille2kana -- Convert Japanese braille to kana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'braille2kana';


Converts Japanese braille (tenji) into the equivalent katakana.

kana2circled -- Convert kana to circled katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2circled';

    $circled = kana2circled ('あいうえお');
    # Now $circled = '㋐㋑㋒㋓㋔'

This function converts kana into the "circled katakana" of Unicode, which have code points from 32D0 to 32FE. See also "circled2kana".

There is no circled form of the ン kana, so this is left untouched.

circled2kana -- Convert circled katakana to kana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'circled2kana';

    $kana = circled2kana ('㋐㋑㋒㋓㋔');
    # Now $kana = 'アイウエオ'

This function converts the "circled katakana" of Unicode into full-width katakana. See also "kana2circled".


new2old_kanji -- Convert Modern kanji to Pre-1949 kanji

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'new2old_kanji';

    $old = new2old_kanji ('三国 連太郎');
    # Now $old = '三國 連太郎'

Convert new-style (post-1949) kanji (Chinese characters) into old-style (pre-1949) kanji.


The list of characters in this convertor may not contain every pair of old/new kanji.

It will not correctly convert 弁 since this has three different equivalents in the old system.

old2new_kanji -- Convert Pre-1949 kanji to Modern kanji

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'old2new_kanji';

    $new = old2new_kanji ('櫻井');
    # Now $new = '桜井'

Convert old-style (pre-1949) kanji (Chinese characters) into new-style (post-1949) kanji.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'circled2kanji';

    $kanji = circled2kanji ('㊯');
    # Now $kanji = '協'

Convert the circled forms of kanji into their uncircled equivalents.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kanji2circled';

    $kanji = kanji2circled ('協嬉');
    # Now $kanji = '㊯嬉'

Convert the usual forms of kanji into circled equivalents, if they exist. Note that only a limited number of kanji have circled forms.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'bracketed2kanji';

    $kanji = bracketed2kanji ('㈱');
    # Now $kanji = '株'

Convert bracketed form of kanji into unbracketed form.


    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kanji2bracketed';

    $kanji = kanji2bracketed ('株');
    # Now $kanji = '㈱'

Convert unbracketed form of kanji into bracketed form, if it exists.


This is an experimental cyrillization of kana based on the information in a Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillization_of_Japanese. The module author does not know anything about cyrillization of kana, so any assistance in correcting this is very welcome.

kana2cyrillic -- Convert kana to the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2cyrillic';

    $cyril = kana2cyrillic ('シンブン');
    # Now $cyril = 'симбун'

cyrillic2katakana -- Convert the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet to katakana

    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'cyrillic2katakana';

    $kana = cyrillic2katakana ('симбун');
    # Now $kana = 'シンブン'



    use Lingua::JA::Moji 'kana2hangul';

    $hangul = kana2hangul ('すごわざ');
    # Now $hangul = '스고와자'


Doesn't deal with syllabic n
May be incorrect

This is based on a list found on the internet at http://kajiritate-no-hangul.com/kana.html. There is currently no proof of correctness.


Mailing list

There is a mailing list for this module and Convert::Moji at http://groups.google.com/group/perl-moji.

Other modules


Other Perl modules on CPAN include

Japanese kana/romanization


This contains four validators for kanji and kana, is_hiragana, corresponding to "is_hiragana" in this module, and three more, is_kanji, is_katakana, and is_h_katakana, for half-width katakana.


This contains convertors for hiragana, half width and full width katakana, and romaji. As of version 0.07 [Aug 06, 2012], the romaji conversion is less complete than this module.


Romanization of Japanese. The module also includes romanization of kanji via the kakasi kanji to romaji convertor, and other functions.


Validate romanized Japanese. This module does the same thing as "is_romaji" in Lingua::JA::Moji.


Passport romanization, which means converting long vowels into "OH". This corresponds to "kana2romaji" in the current module using the passport => 1 option, for example

    $romaji = kana2romaji ("かとう", {style => 'hepburn', passport => 1});

Full/half width conversion, collation of Japanese text.


Romaji to kana/kana to romaji conversion.


This includes hiragana to katakana, full width / half width, and wide ascii conversion. The strange name is due to its being an extension of Lingua::JA::Regular using Unicode-encoded strings.


A huge collection of normalization functions for Japanese text. If Lingua::JA::Moji does not have it, Lingua::JA::NormalizeText may do.


This is similar to the present module for Korean.

Kana/kanji conversion


Romanization of Japanese language with MeCab


Romanization of Japanese language via kakasi.


Parts of this module are covered in the book "Perl CPAN Module Guide" by Naoki Tomita (in Japanese), ISBN 978-4862671080, published by WEB+DB PRESS plus, April 2011.



The long vowel marker, "ー", or chōon, which is used in Japanese katakana to indicate a lengthened vowel.

wide ASCII

Wide ASCII, fullwidth ASCII, or zenkaku eisūji (全角英数字) are a legacy of bitmapped fonts which has survived into the present day. "Wide ascii" characters were originally special bitmapped font characters created to be the same size as one kanji or kana character. The name for normal ASCII characters in Japanese is hankaku eisūji (半角英数字), literally "half width English letters and numerals".

Halfwidth katakana

Halfwidth katakana, hankaku katakana (半角かたかな) is a legacy encoding of katakana based on an eight-bit encoding. See http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/half-width-katakana.html for full details.


This module exports its functions only on request. To export all the functions in the module,

    use Lingua::JA::Moji ':all';


Ben Bullock, <bkb@cpan.org>


Copyright 2008-2013 Ben Bullock, all rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Thanks to Naoki Tomita, David Steinbrunner, and Neil Bowers for fixes.