Can all Japanese people read Romaji?

Q: I was wondering if all Japanese people know how to read romanji? – Gopina

A: Hi Gopina,  the short answer is that yes all Japanese people should know how to read romaji (no “n”!)

Everyone learnt it in school.  Unfortunately they learnt two systems, one in elementary school “romaji” lessons and one in junior high school English lessons.   Hence they often get confused as to weather つ is tu or tsu or づ is dzu or some other crazy romanisation.

Anyway,  if you’re writing names, place names or simple one word things then you should be fine.  But writing a whole letter or email in romaji is a real, real headache to read in Japanese (without the kanji it’s difficult to scan for meaning!) hence a lot of people take one look at roman letters and just go “横文字読めない!” - yokomoji yomenai – I can’t read horizontal writing i.e. romaji !

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