by Kensatsukan Gaijin

Sometimeswedon’tnoticethelittledifferencesinlanguageunlesswestepbackforaminute.  Ever notice that in traditional Japanese, sentences don’t have any spaces between the words?  It was only in the 1980s when advertising copy writers began incorporating full stops in titles and other advertising. Then, in the 1990s, the group Morning Musume (モーニング娘) began using a full stop in its name, starting a fad for this usage.  Ever wonder what Japanese was like before English punctuation entered its lexicon?  After all, you don’t need a ? when the language already contains its own question mark (か)


Nowadays, although we often see western punctuation in advertising, manga, and other media, Japanese retains its own unique punctuation.  The Japanese equivalent of a period is "句点", commonly called "マル(a circle)," 

which is written as "。", just looking like a circle.  The Japanese equivalent of a comma is "読点," commonly called "テン(a point)," which is written as “、”  The Japanese comma, like the Japanese period, is used in much the same way as the English one. It’s put in the same place as the period (bottom right of the last word), and can either be the style you see to the left (line from top left to bottom right) or a regular period you see in English (like this: ,). Comma usage in Japanese is much more liberal compared to English.


For quotation marks, you will often see:  
Japanese use these to indicate quotes. Although these are called “single quotes” which would make you think they’d be like ‘this’. This is the most common quote style. The single quotes are the ones you will choose 90% of the time with some exception. 


There is also the interpunct・

The interpunct is a round circle that vertically aligns center with the words next to it. It’s usually used to break up words that go together, most often in katakana, for example - ザー・モンキー


You will also occasionally see ~, which is used in "to from" constructions in Japanese, such as 月〜金曜日 "from Monday to Friday". 


Of course, you always free to use Kaomoji (顔文字)(which basically translates to “Face Letters”) to add some spice to your Japanese; just don’t include them in a big report to your boss ^_~