Why is the word "romaji" so frequently (mis-)spelt by a fairly large number of people (including past-self) as "romanji"?

I tried searching for "misspelt "romanji"", but mainly got hits about things written in romaji being misspelt, not about the word "romaji" being misspelt.

3 Answers 3


From Wikipedia

The romanization of Japanese is the application of the Latin script to write the Japanese language. This method of writing is sometimes referred to in English as rōmaji

If you know this (I didn't), your mind will automatically think romanji instead of romaji

You have taught me a new word and how to misspell it in less than one minute flat!

  • Absolutely so!! Jan 24, 2016 at 1:40
  • 2
    They actually mention that the term is misspelled, but they don't say why. We're used to hearing and writing about the roman alphabet, we naturally assume the "roma" ends in "n"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 24, 2016 at 1:42
  • Maybe some people are also drawn to the "-anji" ending because of familiarity with Jumanji. After all, what other common words ends in "-ji"?
    – DyingIsFun
    Jan 24, 2016 at 3:24
  • @Silenus My basenji puppy and I walked up Mt. Fuji; later I studied kanji symbols in a quaint inn with lovely shoji screens. (Never heard of Jumnaji until your comment.)
    – ab2
    Jan 24, 2016 at 4:12
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    @DyingIsFun Jumanji? I think the people dealing with romaji are also dealing with Kanji (the complex japanese characters coming from chinese), so "romanji" would sound logical.
    – peter
    Mar 13, 2023 at 8:53

The way the Japanese people write a foreign word or a loan word is unique and it is done using Katakana.

The capital city of Italy, Rome, is "ローマ" and you pronounce it as Ro Ma with a long o sound.

The word ji in ローマ means a character. So, the word ローマ字 (Romaji) means the characters of Rome or Roman characters. That's why it is written that way.

The primary reason Romaji is misspelled as Romanji could be the adjectival form of Rome in Enlish is Roman, not Ro Ma and it could cause confusion.


  • I'd add the contextual closeness to Kanji which also ends in -anji.
    – peter
    Mar 13, 2023 at 8:55

The answer could come from the Roman + 字 (Character/Letter) However, one fact many non locals overlook is the eloquence of voicing an n before certain “j” and “g” phonemes. None the less, in romaji, it is spelled as I just did, even with a small r.

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