Ryakumoji (略文字), from Japanese 略 (ryaku),
abbreviation, and 文字 (moji), characters/letters, is a system
of writing the kana syllabic scripts of Japanese with fewer characters to r
emember. It was invented by deramoz out of his interest in the
Japanese scripts, with both of them as inspiration for the shape of each
There are a total of only 17 Ryakumoji: 5 vowels (aiueo), 8 consonants
(kstnhmyr), (w)o, hatsuon (ending n'/m/ng sound), sokuon (assimilated sound
っ/ッ), and chouon (long vowel mark ー). Also used are
the voiced marks, dakuten (゛) and handakuten (゜). It's a
syllabic alphabet written left to right horizontally, usually blending
one character into the next in a single line. A new line is started if
the next letter is "a", if the last letter was "n'" or a sokuon, or if
the letters "m", "y", "r" or "(w)o" are encountered. Ryakumoji can be
written by considering each character that needs to be represented.
Lone vowels (aiueo), "(w)o", hatsuon, sokuon and chouon
are written with their respective letters in Ryakumoji.
With consonants (kstnhmyr), its respective letter is used
along with its vowel sound written above it (ri -> r+i).
If it ends in a "u" sound, simply the consonant is sufficient
- no vowel needs to be written with it (fu/hu -> h).
The "w" row excluding "(w)o" is written "u" with a vowel sound
above it (wa -> u+a).
Dakuten/tenten (゛) and handakuten/maru (゜) are
written above the letter, or on the top-right of the vowel character
if there is one (ga -> k+a゛; pu -> h+゜). (゛
can be written above "u" with or without vowels for the uncommon "v" kana.)
For youon (diphthongs), instead of writing characters for "ya",
"yu" and "yo" above consonants, "ia", "iu" and "io" are used together
(kyaia; byo -> h+io゛).
A similar system can be used with rarer youon: kwa -> k+ua; tso ->
t+uo; dyu -> t+eiu゛; etc.
All kana and most possible youon represented in Ryakumoji
Standard Japanese version
Subete no ningen wa, umare nagara ni shite jiyū de ari, katsu, songen to kenri
to ni tsuite byōdō de aru. Ningen wa, risei to ryōshin o
sazukerareteari, tagai ni dōhō no seishin o motte
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)