■ The symbol ※, called 米印（こめじるし）, literally "rice symbol," is used in Japanese texts to introduce comments and remarks. Unlike the asterisk (*) in English, ※ is usually not used to link an item in the body of the text to a footnote. Rather, the purpose of ※ is to draw the reader's attention to an instruction or precaution or to indicate that some information is subsidiary or parenthetical to the main text. For this reason, it is usually not appropriate to replace ※ with an asterisk in texts translated from Japanese to English (and it is almost never appropriate to leave ※ intact in English texts).
When they do link body text to footnotes, ※s are often used with Arabic numerals, such as ※1, ※2, etc. In translations, these, too, should be replaced with suitable English footnote markers.
The name 米印 comes from the resemblance of ※ to the kanji 米（こめ）, "uncooked dried rice," and in fact ※ often appears on rice shop signs and rice products.
The asterisk is called アステリスク or 星印（ほしじるし）, literally "star symbol." While traditionally the asterisk was rare in Japanese text, the widespread use of computers has made it more common, and ※ and ＊ are now often used interchangeably.
(This note appeared at the top of a Web site offering free background patterns, including the one used behind this jeKai entry. The page is located here. June 2000.)
(This appeared beneath a table listing various rental fees. The entry for 更新料 in the table did not have a ※ to direct the reader to this note. Web, June 2000.)
※このほか、「全国障害児学校データベース」制作には各都道府県の先生方のご協力をいただいております。 (This appeared under a list of names. Again, the ※ indicates appended information, not a footnoted reference to a particular item listed above. Web, June 2000)
This entry was created by Tom Gally, with additional contributions by Benjamin Barrett.