But this site... http://www.loveofanime.com/modules.php? ... age&pid=22
"A popular form of 'Americanized' Japanese called Romanized Japanese has been used in the U.S. in order to make it easier and faster to learn the spoken language. Romanized Japanese enables one to learn the spoken language without knowing the written format ( i.e. memorizing all of the written characters). This is the method that is utilized by this page, since a lot of people don't have the Asian fonts installed and active.
<sarcasm>Because, of course, the Roman alphabet and phoenetics wasn't invented by the ancient Europeans at all, it's a completely American thing. They only use it in America, and they use it all the time - because it's so much easier to converse with the Japanese and read Japanese manga and play Japanese import games by learning romaji.</sarcasm>
I think not.
The earliest Japanese romanization system was based on the orthography of Portuguese. It was developed around 1548 by a Japanese Catholic named Yajiro. Jesuit presses used the system in a series of printed Catholic books so that missionaries could preach and teach their converts without learning to read Japanese ideographs. The most useful of these books for the study of early modern Japanese pronunciation and early attempts at romanization was the Nippo jisho, a Japanese-Portuguese dictionary written in 1603.
I find it much, much easier to write kana - I often struggle communicating with a Japanese student I know ingame on World of Warcraft because unicode isn't supported. This is why they failed in converting Japanese to roman characters once (Meiji era), and failed again after WWII (I think) for the same reasons:
In the Meiji era, some Japanese scholars advocated abolishing the Japanese writing system entirely and using rōmaji in its stead. The Nihon shiki romanization was an outgrowth of this movement. Several Japanese texts were published entirely in rōmaji during this period, but it failed to catch on, perhaps because of the large number of homophones in Japanese, which are pronounced similarly but written in different characters.
The only reason I can see romaji in any way being useful is if you only ever intended to speak the language and never read or write it.