Why do we use Hiragana for UTAU?


Ruko's Ruffians
Defender of Defoko
So, I've wondered why this is since I was around 12-13 years old, when I was first introduced to VOCALOID and UTAU. There are alternate forms of writing in Japanese, such as Katakana or Kanji, and I have yet to see a bank encoded in that form. Well, I know of Soune Taya (? I think I spelled their name right??) was encoded in Katakana, if I recall correctly. Is it just a localization thing or is there something I'm missing? I'm still learning Japanese and only know Hiragana so far. I'd love to know why this is. I'm by no means fluent with understanding Japanese. I apologize in advance for my ignorance, but it's always been so mind boggling...


Local Guppie & UTAU Korean Advocate
Defender of Defoko
We do it because the japanese did it, they do it because it makes the most sense. Kanji is used for words only, not for the mora, and Katakana is mostly used for english words like when happy becomes ハッピー (happī), or as something similar to italics. Since japanese dont really use romaji, it makes the most sense, eh?


Ritsu's Renegades
Defender of Defoko
The default in Japanese is Hiragana. Its also what the majority of Japanese is written in. Like Sors said, katakana is only used for loanwords and sound effects (bang, crack, woof, etc). So you could encode a VB in katakana and it would work fine since there's still a 1:1 symbol to pronunciation correlation (eg カ is always "ka"), it simply doesn't happen because of convention and because Katakana isn't used for actual Japanese words.

Kanji almost always have multiple readings, thus it would be ineffective to use Kanji since the program wouldn't know which pronunciation to use. eg, if I input 抱, it could be read だ, いだ, かか, or ほう which the program has no way of distinguishing and they also differ in length.
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Precious Flower with Thorns
Defender of Defoko
Well, when recording an English bank, you wouldn't want to just record single words like "monkey" or "phenomenon" would you? Otherwise you'll be recording for a very long time. Same could be said for Japanese. Or any language. You can't just record full blown words or we'd never get anywhere. So kanji is out the window. Because for the most part, kanji represents full words and phrases.

UTAU vocals(and I'm sure other vocal synthesis programs) are recorded in syllables. ah, ee, oo, eh, mE, sA etc. You could record them separately or in a string, but they're just syllables nonetheless. The sounds that we use to make full words in any language. You record the syllables so that in the program you can move them around and put them together however you need to form the words you want.

And hiragana is just how the Japanese write their syllables. It's the first form of their writing system. They then combine it together with kanji and katakana to make full words, sentences, and meanings. They don't use romaji as often as we would or do because why should they, honestly. It's not needed.

In theory, you could actually alias a bank in katakana. In practice though, it's not necessary because most Japanese people just don't go about writing their sentences in katakana. It's used mostly for loan words or emphasis as has been said.

Which actually does bring me to aliasing. Often times us overseas users record our Japanese banks in romaji and then alias the sounds in hiragana for the best of both worlds. That way the bank works with both forms and most users can use the bank without a problem.


Ritsu's Renegades
Defender of Defoko
Looks like everyone's about covered everything. In short it just doesn't really make sense to use katakana and kanji; katakana is generally used for non-japanese words/names and onomatopoeia, kanji does not equate to single syllables/sounds, instead they have multiple readings/lengths, and sounds. Plus there's thousands of them. Usually there's only kanji for things like breaths but that's it as far as a bank goes, the normal sounds will generally be in hiragana. And romaji just isn't that practical/needed for Japanese

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