Forum Rocket Japanese Japanese Culture and Travel Why are train station names sometimes in Katakana?

Why are train station names sometimes in Katakana?


I was riding the Tokaido line between Yokohama Station and Shinagawa Station.  I noticed the little scoreboard that indicated the next station said カワサキ and not かわさき.  Is Kawasaki a borrowed word? The sign may have had a Kanji version as well (I remember the Kanji 川) - not quite there on Kanji yet.



There could be multiple place names using that name and to avoid confusion they use katakana. It is not uncommon for them to use katakana for native Japanese words or names if the situation needs it or to emphasise a point. Normally there are people in Japan who cannot read kanji but can read hiragana and katakana. This is also true for school age children who have not developed all their kanji skills. It is probably in katakana to emphasise it is a station name and not a city or province name.


I think the explanation that there are people in Japan who cannot read Kanji but can read Hiragana and Katakana (myself included) makes the most sense to me.  I took the Sobu line and noticed all of the stops between Kinshicho Station and Yokohama Station were in both Katakana and Kanji. On the Minato Mirai Line I noticed Yokohama Station, Shin Takashima Station and Minato Mirai Station are all in Hiragana and Kanji.  Thanks for feedback. 



This topic reminded me of this recent news article:

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