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Hepburn romanization

The Hepburn romanization system (Japanese: ヘボン式ローマ字 Hepburn: Hebon-shiki Rōmaji?) is named after James Curtis Hepburn, who used it to transcribe the sounds of the Japanese language into the Latin alphabet in the third edition of his Japanese–English dictionary, published in 1887. The system was originally proposed by the Romanization Club (羅馬字会 Rōmajikai?) in 1885. The revised edition by Romaji-Hirome-kai in 1908 is called "standard style romanization" (標準式ローマ字 Hyōjun-shiki Rōmaji?) and this system has been used as the Hepburn system in Japan traditionally.

Although not officially approved, the original and revised variants of Hepburn remain the most widely used methods of transcription of Japanese, and are regarded as the best to render Japanese pronunciation for Western speakers. As Hepburn is based on English and Italian phonology, an English or Latin-language speaker unfamiliar with Japanese will generally pronounce a word romanized in Hepburn more accurately than a word romanized in the competing Nihon-shiki romanization and Kunrei-shiki romanization, the official Cabinet-ordered romanization system.