And kanji with manga
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Iteration Marks - ゝゞヽヾ々〻〱〲〃

In Japanese, iteration marks are symbols which can be used to repeat parts of a word. The most common mark, 々, is written instead of a repeated kanji. The marks ゝゞヽヾ are written instead of a repeated kana. Besides those, there's also a long く mark, this thing 〻, and the ditto mark 〃.

Usage Frequency

This article is mostly a reference in case you do find one of these characters in the wild. A few of them are widely used and known in modern Japanese (々〃), while the rest are either old-fashioned, obsolete, etc. (ゝゞヽヾ〻〱〲).

So don't go around writing them just because you've found out about them today.

Text Direction

Also, keep in mind that Japanese can be written horizontally or vertically. Some iteration marks are easier to type on a computer, so they are used online, and in horizontal text. By contrast, some iteration marks are either too hard to type, or require vertical writing, so basically nobody writes them online.

(note: this page contains a bit of vertical text, which your browser may or may not support.)

Names of Iteration Marks

Although the iteration marks do have official names, generally people don't really know those names, and in some cases don't even know what to call them. But, for reference:

Iteration marks are known by the names of:
  • kurikaeshi-fugou 繰り返し符号
    Iteration mark.
    "Repetition" mark.
  • odoriji 踊り字
    Dancing character.
  • kasaneji 重ね字
    Stacking character.
  • onaji 同じ

々 is specifically known by the names of:
  • noma ノマ
    (because of its appearance.)
  • dou-no-ji-ten 同の字点
    Character mark of "same."

ゝゞヽヾ are specifically known by the name of:
  • ichi-no-ji-ten 一の字点
    Character mark of "one."
    (because it looks like 一.)

〻 is specifically known by the name of:
  • ni-no-ji-ten 二の字点
  • Character mark of "two."
    (because it looks like 二, also it's two strokes.)
  • yusuri-ten 揺すり点
    Shaking mark.
    (because it looks like your hand is trembling as you wrote it.)

The long 〱〲 is specifically known by the name of:
  • ku-no-ji-ten くの字点
    Character mark of "ku."
    (because it looks like く.)

〃, the ditto mark, is known by the names of:
  • nono-ji-ten ノノ字点
    Character mark of "ノノ.")
    (because it looks like ノノ.)
    (I guess nono-no-ji-ten ノノの字点 had too many no's...)
  • nono-ten ノノ点
    ノノ mark.
  • onajiku kigou 同じく記号
    Ditto mark.
    "Same-thing" symbol.

How to Type

Iteration marks can be typed by typing following words and trying to convert. It should appear somewhere in the conversion list of the IME:
  • ku-ri-ka-e-shi くりかえし (繰り返し)
  • do-u どう (同)
  • o-na-ji おなじ (同じ)

How to type 々, 〃, ゝ, ゞ, ヽ, ヾ in Microsoft and Google IME

(personally I prefer typing kurikaeshi but ymmv)

In the case of 々, typing a word that contains it normally converts to it too. E.g.: hitobito converts to人々 normally, not to 人人.

About Accents

In Japanese, sometimes the first syllable of a suffix gets accented with a dakuten 濁点 diacritic. This is called rendaku 連濁, and may even happen in words that repeat themselves.

Like hitobito ひとと.

You'll notice that iteration marks in Japanese can handle such cases.

ゝヽ〱 have accented ゞヾ〲 counterparts. 々 does not, but it repeats the kanji characters which themselves can't have accents anyway.

Repeating Kana

The ichi-no-ji-ten ゝヽ repeats the previous hiragana and katakana respectively. And they have accented versions ゞヾ. (Hiragana & Katakana Iteration Marks.)

Diagram: Iteration marks for Katakan & Hiragana. ヽ(^∇^) ゝ.  Examples: susume すすめ, すゝめ; suzushii すずしい, すゞしい; banana バナナ, バナヽ; habanero ハバネロ, ハゞネロ.

They can also be used to repeat multiple kana at once.

Confusingly, sometimes this can be done by writing the same number of iteration marks as repeated kana, but other times a single mark is used to indicate the kana of a word repeats itself:
  • wakuwaku わくヽヽ
    wakuwaku わくヽ
  • tokidoki ときヾヽ
    tokidoki ときヾ
  • dokidoki ドキヾヽ
    dokidoki ドキヾ

Repeating Kanji

The most commonly used mark, dou-no-ji-ten 々, repeats the previous kanji. (々 Meaning)

Examples of 々 in Japanese words: dandan 段々 hibi 日々 hitobito 人々 tokidoki 時時 sanzan 散々 junjun 順々 komagoma 細々 samazama 様々

Sometimes you might see multiple 々 repeating multiple kanji at once. The post-war orthographic reforms deemed this invalid, but it can still be found around.

kojinkojin 個人々々 written with two 々 in the manga Azumanga Daioh あずまんが大王

The ni-no-ji-ten 〻 works in a way very similar to 々, in that it looks like it just repeats the kanji before it.

masumasu 益〻
= 益〻 vertically.

sorezore 夫〻
= 夫〻 vertically.

The difference between 々 and 〻 lies in the origin of the words, and, consequently, the readings of the kanji that represent those words. Words of Japanese origin, with kun'yomi readings, would get the 〻 iteration mark, while those with the Chinese on'yomi readings would get the 々 mark.

For example, iro 色, "color," is a Japanese word. So you can write it "various," as iroiro 色〻. Likewise: samazama 様〻, tokidoki 時〻, iyoiyo 愈〻, and so on.

Meanwhile, the repeated morpheme of dandan 段々 is an on'yomi reading. So you can't spell it with 〻 instead.

There are also a bunch of words that repeat themselves that can be read with either readings:
  • hibi 日〻
  • nichinichi 日々
  • toshidoshi 年〻
  • nen'nen 年々

Note that from the way it's written, trembling downwards, you can guess it makes more sense in vertical writing.

Nowadays it's normal to use 々 instead of 〻, and most IME's will convert the words above to 々 but not to 〻. You'd have to type the 〻 separately if you want to write that way. (to be honest, it won't even show in my IME no matter what I type, so I've been copy-pasting it.)

Also, since 々 can be used instead of 〻 now, there seems to be no real reason to use 〻 in typed text, rendering it effectively obsolete or shelving it into "informal" handwriting.

Long Ku

The long く character, ku-no-ji-ten くの字点, is an iteration mark that can repeat two or three characters before it. Because it repeats at least two characters, it's normally written twice as long as a normal character, and it looks like a stretched く.

Writing 〱

To have an idea of how this long ku く is written, here's someone actually writing it:

Although it looks like a ku く, it's technically not that kana, but a separate symbol. In Unicode, 〱〲 represent it, but those are pretty useless since they aren't twice as big than a normal character. For this reason, three characters exist for its halves:

〳 〴〵.

That is, vertically it would look like this:


A long ku く, ain't it?

Horizontally, it's rendered as a he へ. That's because, vertically, the top part, 〳. comes before the bottom part, 〵, so if you type them horizontally in the same order:


Sometimes /\, slashes, are written instead.

Ku-no-Ji-Ten Usage

The ku-no-ji-ten 〱〲 can repeat two or three characters at once. The simplest usage would be repeating the kana of words that repeat themselves, such as onomatopoeia or mimetic words:

Diagram of ku-no-ji-ten くの字点 iteration mark, showing examples wakuwaku わくわく, tokidoki ときどき, dokidoki ドキドキ, shoushou しょうしょう, and tokorodokoro ところどころ.

It may also repeat multiple kanji.

bakabakashii 馬鹿馬鹿しい
= 馬鹿〳〵しい vertically.

And it may also repeat mixed kanji and kana, that is, words that contain okurigana.

kawarigawari 代り代り
= 代り〴〵 vertically.

Also note that in the example above the word is kawari-gawari, not kawari-kawari. That is: the pronunciation of the repeated part is affected by rendaku, so it gets accented. Likewise, in this case, the accented 〲 is used instead of 〱.

This is even though the 〱-less version (代り代り) didn't have an accent. After all, you don't accent kanji characters like 代.

〃 Ditto Mark

The nono-ji-ten ノノ字点, the Japanese ditto mark, is used to repeat the text of a previous line. (〃 Ditto Mark)

This is a mark that many languages have, even English, so you may know how it works already.

Example of Japanese ditto mark. ousai gakuen seitokai kaisoku hito~tsu! himegoto wa... subete houkoku se yo! 桜才学園 生徒会会則 ひとーつ!秘め事は…全て報告せよ! Ousai Gakuen Student Council Rules O~ne! Your secrets... report all of them! (ditto) futa~tsu! fudeoroshi wa... shinchou ni 〃ふたーつ!筆下ろしは…慎重に ””””” Tw~o! The first time... be prudent. (ditto) mittsu! miraretara... misekaese! 〃三つ!見られたら…見せ返せ! ””””” Three! If you're seen... show back! Every episode of the anime Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共 has a segment where a new innuendo-filled "rule" is declared. The declarations all start the same way. Not pictured: Tsuda's retorts.

In vertical text, dou 仝, or doujou 同上, "same as above," are used instead as a ditto for the previous line (which would be to the right in this case, not above.)

Note that the ditto looks like double quotes used in Japanese, but is a different thing entirely.



Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

All comments are moderated and won't show up until approved. Spam, links to illegal websites, and inappropriate content won't be published.

  1. can u please make a article about english furigana in kanji ?
    this is very common in manga, anime episodes and movies's title.

    example :

    名探偵コナン から紅くれないの 恋歌 (ラブレター)

    the title is not Meitantei Conan : Kara Kurenai no Renka.
    the title is Meitantei Conan : Kara Kurenai no Rabu Retta (Love Letter)