Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/City naming

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Proposal for city naming

Let's back up a little for the bigger picture. Here are my points:

  • Wikipedia articles should be titled at their common names per WP:NC(CN).
  • The style "city name, prefecture name" is almost never used as the name of the city and is not suitable as an article name.
    • The combination as a whole is inappropriate as the name of the city and using it in Wikipedia propagates the use of the incorrect name because of mirroring by other websites.
  • Completely unambiguous city names should be titled at the simple name, i.e. "cityname" only.
  • Cities whose names are the same as a prefecture or town/village or any other thing that is not a city should be titled at "cityname City"
    • Most Japanese cities call themselves "cityname City" and the phrase is already used in infoboxes and the text of many city articles.
    • The usage of cityname City is not uncommon in both English and Japanese. (Certainly much more common than "cityname, prefecture name").
    • This automatically disambiguates the city and still use a common name.
    • For those who believe that "cityname City" is too uncommon, an alternative name is to apply standard disambiguation to the common name leading to titles of the form "cityname (city)".
  • Cities that still need disambiguation because they have the same name as another city (whether in Japan or outside) will use the "cityname, prefecture" style.

Let's argue the general points and try to come up with a reasonable outcome rather than get fixated on a single city. --Polaron | Talk 07:22, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Oppose — No need to overide the existing rule in WP:MOS-JA based on WP:NC(CN). It is purely a matter of style, which is also followed for cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The existing conventions for cities in Japan are systematic, logical, and appropriate. Japanese cities are easier to find in combination with prefecture names.--Endroit 07:29, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
MoSs should not be inconsistent with the "Use common names" policy. --Polaron | Talk 07:41, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
cityname City violates WP:NC(CN) to begin with, because it is uncommon. Bogus logic has been applied here.--Endroit 07:48, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Can you show that it is less common than "cityname, prefecture"? Plus, the city governments use them. A search of even Japanese language websites show quite a few hits so it is not uncommon. --Polaron | Talk 07:52, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I can show that "Fukuoka" is more common than "Fukuoka City", which defeats your argument based on WP:NC(CN). And my argument is not based on WP:NC(CN), only yours.--Endroit 08:00, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
That's not the preferred title of the MoS as written and that's not what I asked you to show. Also, if you want to use "Fukuoka" then the we should use "Fukuoka (city)" to disambiguate it. --Polaron | Talk 08:04, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
You're wrong about MoS. MoS defers such decisions to WP:MOS-JA. Don't make your own rules, Polaron.--Endroit 08:09, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
But don't the current MOS-JA rules specify "city, prefecture"? I don't get your point. Don't compare "Fukuoka" to "Fukuoka City" becase the current guideline calls for "Fukuoka, Fukuoka" so it is to that you should compare what relative "commoness" of the terms are. --Polaron | Talk 08:12, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
You're the only one insisting on WP:NC(CN). There are serious problems locating many Japanese cities, if the prefecture name is missing. It's NOT only a matter of common usage. The situation is similar to that of the United States. Of course "Las Vegas" is more common than Las Vegas, Nevada. That's not the only criteria. Maybe it is to you. But for editors of Japanese article, it has been determined that the prefecture name is important to Japanese cities.--Endroit 08:20, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Endroit, that argument only applied to ambiguous titles (like Fukuoka), and has no bearing on articles like Sapporo, Hokkaido or Takayama, Gifu (which I've generally heard people call hida takayama when not takayama). For non-ambiguous titles, there's no "bogus logic" being applied. Jun-Dai 07:59, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
When addressing letters to be mailed to places in Japan, never have I written "XXX City"; but, always "XXX, YYY" where YYY is the prefecture name; and if it happens to be the name of the city, then so be it. Neier 08:03, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Sure, but postal classifications don't constitute "common names" any more than genus/species scientific classifications constitute the common names of animals. I always address letters to New York to New York, New York, but that's neither the common name of the city, nor the name of the article on the city. Jun-Dai 08:14, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
The largest cities, such as New York and Tokyo are the exceptions. The rules don't apply to them. But the rules apply to the smaller cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada.--Endroit 08:30, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons I've stated in the past (they're now in the archives). We have a reasonable outcome. Fg2 07:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Using names that are almost never used is not reasonable. Also why are some cities exempted? What are the criteria? --Polaron | Talk 07:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
"City, Prefecture" is prescribed by WP:MOS-JA based on previous consensus. Try reading up on WP:Consensus--Endroit 07:44, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Can you point me to that consensus? I couldn't find it. There certainly isn't any on Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style for Japan-related articles/Cities, which seems like the most logical place to look. Jun-Dai 07:55, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
It was previously discussed and agreed upon in the following archive: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style for Japan-related articles/Cities --Endroit 08:43, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Like I said, I can see that it was discussed (quite heatedly), but I'm not seeing any consensus. Jun-Dai 15:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - No way you're going to get consensus on this, but it seems about as reasonable a set of criteria for determining the optimal article name as I can imagine. As for those opposing, you'd better expect this issue to be re-opened from time to time--the current solution isn't likely to satisfy each batch of newcomers, and pointing them to the archives is only going to show the lack of any consensus on this issue. Jun-Dai 07:42, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose per endroit and fg2. Neier 08:01, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
    • Adding my vote again, as Polaron's edit seems to have deleted it. Neier 08:12, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I agree with all most of Polaron's points. Jecowa 08:14, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I myself was trying to get a -City tacked onto the end of -shi's back about a year ago, but now I see there is little logic to it and not only do I disagree with Polaron's encyclopedia-compromising efforts I don't agree with his weak logic on any of his points all properly responded to by Endroit. By the way, I was in Kyoto last week, and it was great. I especially liked the outer expanses of Kyoto Prefecture. I think I'm going to go to Yokohama tomorrow, maybe check out Kamakura again, both of which are in Kanagawa Prefecture.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  08:52, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. (1) Adding "City" at the end, even if it is the proper translation of 市, and I do acknowledge that it's not uncommon, doesn't feel right to me. We don't have San Francisco City, Chicago City, London City, Paris City... so we shouldn't have Hiroshima City, Nagoya City, Nara City. (2) The current form (e.g. Takashima, Shiga) does not need to be seen as the name of the city. Of course no one calls it Takashima, Shiga in normal conversation. It's a disambiguation device. It's the same reason we have articles labeled as Boston, Lincolnshire, Boston, Massachusetts, Norway, Maine, etc. Take a look at Middletown or Ogawa, and you can clearly see the need for disambig in these situations. If any cities are going to be listed just by their names straight (e.g. Hiroshima instead of Hiroshima, Hiroshima), it should be only those cities which are largest and most well-known. LordAmeth 13:00, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per above. Also, when the name does need differentiation, take the example of Hiroshima; the city is Hiroshima and the prefecture is Hiroshima Prefecture. Simple enough. And it's the same in Japan; if someone says "I am from Hiroshima," the understanding is that the person means the city. Otherwise, they would say "I am from Hiroshima-ken." You rarely, if ever, hear "I am from Hiroshima-shi" (or any other -shi, except maybe Kitakyushu). Yes, -shi/City is often used in official capacities, but it's generally in reference to the municipal government or on a highway sign marking the city limits. It's the same thing as "City of ____" used in English speaking countries. Ytny 15:42, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We've been over this before, and I have yet to see a convincing argument against consistent use of "City, Prefecture". I can understand the argument for just "City" but I fail to see how "(City) City" improves the situation. "C,P" is a simple, accurate, and consistent convention ... with a few exceptions (mostly involving the largest cities in Japan) it is already in actual use. Why fix what ain't broken? CES 13:06, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • If there's more than one city of a given name, of relatively comparable importance, I can see using the prefecture as a disambiguator. When the city is named for the prefecture, I prefer the model of Hiroshima and Hiroshima Prefecture. In English, at least, the city name alone is rarely used to refer to a prefecture, just as we don't have Florence (city) or Seville (city) or what not. The argument against use of "City, Prefecture" generally is that we are using a name that is not commonly used, and frequently one has the awkwardness of titles like Fukuoka, Fukuoka, which is just stupid. john k 16:32, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
    • If people agree that the unqualified name usually refers to the city for cities with the same name as the prefecture, I have no problems with moving articles to the unqualified names. I think, at the very least, this should be done to the larger cities (maybe the designated cities and core cities?). --Polaron | Talk 16:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Everyone is advised to look at Talk:Seattle, Washington where such a move was defeated. Also, a similar move at Talk:New Orleans, Louisiana seems to be headed for a defeat also.--Endroit 17:32, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Unlike the United States, in Japan there is ample precedent for major, unambiguous cities to not be at the "City, Prefecture" location - see Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagasaki, Yokohama. john k 17:59, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Only the largest cities such as New York and Tokyo are exceptions. The cities just mentioned are all large cities in Japan.--Endroit 18:02, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • if people agree that the unqualified name usually refers to the city ... the problem is that sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. If someone says "Yamaguchi" it could refer to the city, prefecture, the yakuza group, or one of several million Japanese people with that surname. Personally I agree that in many individual cases, (City, Prefecture) is an unnecessary disambiguation (e.g. Nagoya) or less than pleasing to the eyes (Hiroshima, Hiroshima). But as a systemic rule this policy is better than any alternative I have yet seen. I would strongly oppose an exception to the policy that uses a phrase like "completely unambiguous city names" as a qualifier because "umambiguous" is probably the most ... well, ambiguous ... word in the English language. That being said, if a concrete rule for exceptions could be made I would not be fundamentally opposed (here's a hint: anyone notice that most of the "usual suspects" are designated cities?) CES 18:16, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • I think this is a very good idea. Designated cities being clearly major cities in Japan and even abroad, plus being functionally independent of the prefecture, they would be a well-defined set for using the unqualified city name. About 1/3 of those on the list are already at the unqualified names anyway as john k pointed out above. Might as well specify explicitly why they don't follow the current guideline. --Polaron | Talk 18:23, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Proposal on designated and core cities

I think if we add the following line to the Place names section, everything will be peachy:

For designated cities and core cities, use the form [[{city-name}]]; for example, Tokyo and Hiroshima.

This would be added directly above the line discussing regular cities. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:54, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Why have you chosen Tokyo as an example of a city name? As you know, no municipality in Japan has that name. Fg2 01:43, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
It just popped to mind when I was typing it up. So, to address that, how about this:
For designated cities, use the form [[{city-name}]]; for example, Sendai and Hiroshima.
That addresses Endroit's concern, and switches in Sendai instead.···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 03:40, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  1. Support Sounds good to me. Jecowa 19:06, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose (but support the effort) — I believe we should stick to specifying designated cities only, and not specify core cities. Also, the wording should be revised to accomodate individual exceptions such as Fukuoka, Fukuoka, where Fukuoka is a disambiguation page.--Endroit 19:14, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I actually think the city should be at Fukuoka and the disambiguation page should be at Fukuoka (disambiguation). The most common usage by far is the city itself. I'm curious, however, shy you don't want to include core cities. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 20:31, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Nihonjoe, my brain capacity is not great enough for so many core cities. I know this may sound stupid to you, but the result of this is that Okazaki, Aichi sounds too similar to Okayama, Okayama if the prefecture names are missing. Ditto with Toyohashi, Aichi vs. Toyonaka, Osaka, Takatsuki, Osaka vs. Takasaki, Gunma, and Tsu, Mie vs. Otsu, Shiga. Prefecture names really help here. If the Japanese city names sound like that to me, I'm sure many ordinary English speakers would fare worse.--Endroit 07:33, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I think we should be able to find a compromise with the wording and the scope. The designated cities seems like a reasonable list. Let's not vote on this now until we can come up with something that is acceptable to all. --Polaron | Talk 19:31, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Support This seems solid. john k 21:20, 31 August 2006 (UTC) ETA: I would also support just designated cities, although I think Nagasaki should also be excepted, as it already is. john k 11:17, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose All cities, towns, and villages should be in the consistent form Municipality, Prefecture (except for duplicates). Fg2 21:24, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
    So, for the record, you are in favor of Kyoto, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Osaka, Osaka, and so forth? john k 00:22, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, as I said the last time this issue arose, I am in favor of Kyoto, Kyoto; Hiroshima, Hiroshima; Osaka, Osaka. It's in the archives, of course. Fg2 01:15, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Support I believe this is consistent with common usage in Japan. Designated cities and core cities are prominent enough that they're easily identified without qualifiers or prefectures. When you say "Kobe", most people understand that you are referring to the city. But smaller municipalities and districts usually require the prefecture (i.e. to someone who doesn't live in the area, Fukuchiyama would be "Kyoto-fu Fukuchiyama-shi" and Fukuchiyama, Kyoto would be appropriate). Also, smaller cities are more likely to require disambiguation because of duplicate names, homonyms and surnames. Ytny 21:36, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Sorry! I'm somewhere between Endroit and Fg2. I will consider supporting it if it's changed to just designated cities, though I see where Fg2 is coming from seen as how this encyclopedia is written for international English speaking people.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:17, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand how including prefectures, that nobody outside Japan is familiar with, makes this more friendly for international English speaking people. john k 11:17, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
The redirects are there to make it friendly. Realize that we are only discussing where to draw the line here, i.e. which urban areas are big enough to deserve to be encyclopedically removed from their surrounding district by means of their article title. You just wish better for about 15 cities than I do.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  11:36, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose — I think we're approaching consensus, however, I have to oppose this for 2 reasons...(Endroit 08:29, 1 September 2006 (UTC)):
  1. Some pages are disambiguation pages: Kawasaki, Fukuoka, Saitama, Chiba, and Shizuoka. We need to have separate discussions for those cities, while giving precedence to WP:Disambig rules. In the meantime, while "cityname" is occupied by a disambiguation page, we need to specify that the title should be "cityname, prefecture-name" instead.
  2. The designated cities' list is still too big. I would like to see it limited to the 1980 list (Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Hiroshima), less the disambiguated pages.--Endroit 08:29, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
    Often there's currently a disambiguation page for no good reason. For Fukuoka, for instance, it is located at a disambiguation page to distinguish the main city from a) two very small towns, one of which apparently no longer exists; b) a dude named Fukuoka; and c) its own prefecture, which has not been considered necessary for Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and so forth. I don't think there needs to be a disambiguation page at Fukuoka, just a notice at the top. john k 11:21, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
    Kawasaki might be best left as a disambiguation page. But for Fukuoka, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Chiba, I believe the cities are more prominent than the prefecture or any other thing with the same name and should get the unqualified name. I sort of agree with Endroit about limiting the list since "Saitama" and "Shizuoka" by themselves are still somewhat used by people from Tokyo to refer to the prefecture and not the city. Also, Sakai might not be well-known (especially outside Japan). However, there is also the advantage of using the whole list since then there would be no argument about where to set the dividing line. --Polaron | Talk 16:23, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Proposal on designated cities only

While I can understand Endroit's concern about not have too large a list of "city-name"-only page titles, I don't think a list of less than 20 cities (including those listed as slated for the next several years) is too large. I agree with Polaron that it would be a very simple solution to use the list of designatedcities as the basis for which cities get the special treatment (and include Tokyo in with them as that's another special case). Therefore, I think the following would be the most simple and most clear way of updating the WP:MOS-JA:

For designated cities, use the form [[{city-name}]]; for example, Sendai and Hiroshima.

We need to keep it simple, and this is simple. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 17:46, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Oppose — see above for my reasons.--Endroit 17:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
You don't give any reasons. All you stated was, "I would like to see it limited to the 1980 list (Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Hiroshima), less the disambiguated pages." That's not a legitimate reason. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:26, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe the two reasons Endroit has given are "separate discussions for those cities" that share the same name are needed and the list of designated cities is too large to include them all. Jecowa 19:05, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, here's my reason. "Designated cities" is a Japanese government designation which keeps changing, and it has grown too much. I believe this list includes cities which are not so notable in the international sense. In the beginning, it made perfect sense, with only 5 on the list (Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama). They added 4 more by 1972 (Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Sapporo), which is fine because they have developed into major cities by now, and important regional cities (except Kawasaki). The addition of Hiroshima in 1980 makes sense because it is an important international city and a symbol of peace, as well as an important regional city. Now the rest of the list (Sendai, Chiba, Saitama, Shizuoka, and Sakai) is pushing the envelope too far. They are not notable internationally (in my opinion). Chiba, Saitama, Shizuoka, and Sakai are too close to Tokyo and Osaka and are not important regional cities either.--Endroit 19:09, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Counterproposal: Why don't we use a new list based on the "Designated cities"?
For the following cities, use the form [[{city-name}]]: Tokyo, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Sapporo, Hiroshima.
Fukuoka may be added if we agree.--Endroit 19:45, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I guess I just don't understand how less than 20 cities is somehow too large a list. Sure, teh list may grow some in the future, but based on the current list and likely additions in the future (only 3 (I believe) by 2010), I find it unlikely that the list will grow very quickly. There are literally thousands of cities, towns and villages in Japan, and having 20 or so listed by city name only is not that big a deal, IMHO. I agree the list should be kept limited, and using the designated cities list is the most effective and least confusing way of doing so. We just let the Japanese government do the work for us and update as necessary.
I also disagree that the five cities you list as being unimportant in their regions are really unimportant in their regions. Yokohama is really close to Tokyo, (right next door, in fact), but that doesn't disqualify it. And if a city is large enough to be made into a designated city by the national government, it's obviously large enough to have a significant impact locally, regionally, and even nationally, and given time, internationally. It's very likely they have a much larger impact in the local Asian region, an impact which we may not be able to perceive as easily as most of us don't live anywhere near there.···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 23:57, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
OK, Nihonjoe, you've convinced me. What you say makes perfect sense within the scope of WP:MOS-JA. Please also give a thought about my other concern, which is Kawasaki and other potentially disambiguated pages.--Endroit 00:33, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Why should those cities be different? Please note for reference that the article San Francisco, California is not at San Francisco; Los Angeles, California is not at Los Angeles; both short forms redirect to the City, State titles. These are first-rank US cities with worldwide name recognition. Kitakyushu, Chiba and Sakai are not in the same class as these. What is the reason for giving them special treatment? You said, "We need to keep it simple"; the simplest solution is that all municipalities follow the pattern Name, Prefecture. Kyoto and Nagoya are in the same ballpark as LA and SF and should have names that follow the pattern City, Prefecture. Kobe is much less important than Osaka, and has world name recognition primarily because it's one of the early and continuing ports, and because of the recency of the earthquake; it really does not merit an exception. Only Yokohama and Osaka have any claim to being of the stature of a Chicago. Note that an attempt to rename the article Chicago failed in January and a second attempt passed. Also note that a proposal to rename articles on Global cities failed. That proposal would have affected a hundred cities worldwide (note: I didn't count them) and only one (Osaka) in Japan (Tokyo not being a municipality). What are the reasons why Japan should have twenty exceptions when a proposal for a hundred cities on all continents failed? Fg2 00:45, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
That the US has a stupid convention is no reason for Japan to also have a stupid convention. But at least the US convention is sanctified by English usage. The Japan convention appears to be sanctified by translation of Japanese usage, which is not the same thing at all. john k 07:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I've not followed this at all, but I think that like last time I'm basically of the same opinion as john k - that all this is covered by the general place name rules, and strictly following a US-style-model is bonkers. --zippedmartin 22:19, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Arriving at consensus

The more I read this and previous arguments, the more I realize that this recurring debate reflects a failure in the current policy, which will cause this debate to be reopened over and over again. In part I think this is because exceptions like New York City simply beg more exceptions, and in part because it seems at odds with larger Wikipedia policy to prefer common names (instead of taxonomical names, which have built-in disambiguation). No change is likely to be effected by this round of discussion, but you can be sure that someone new is going to come along, rip off the sutures, and open the debate again. Frankly, nobody has made any attempt to build consensus here (myself included), which is only going to make it easier for the debate to get reopened. So: what can we do to build consensus? Simply stating that you like the policy as it is outlined now and see no reason for change isn't going to build any consensus; it will do quite the opposite. For those who do like the policy as it is outlined now, I'd like to hear what points you would consider more negotiable were the policy being constructed as a new one rather than a change being requested to an existing one. Jun-Dai 18:40, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

You seem to forget that this whole issue was yanked out of the ether by a single user who chose to disobey all wiki-sensibilities and had no intention of finding consensus in the first place. There are better ways to sculpt the rules around here.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:20, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I haven't forgotten that, but that's not really relevant, either. Nobody here has been trying to find consensus (nor can I find any record of consensus in the archives). More importantly, there's no consensus on the matter now. Jun-Dai 06:02, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Then again, I think consensus might be pretty much hopeless, which would explain why I can't find any in the archives. I feel that there are three driving motives here: consistency (through taxonomy), common-name usage (i.e., no mention of the prefecture), and translation (i.e., the ignoring or translating of the -市), and the more vocal people here strongly favor one or two of them over the other, and remain completely unable to persuade others to their view. Jun-Dai 23:39, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I think this is a useful distinction and may help structure the discussion. The first issue that I think needs to be discussed is whether common-name usage (no built-in disambiguation) is sufficient. Settling this as a binary yes/no question (without at the same time trying to settle what form of disambiguation should be used) might be helpful. I'll start a thread on this below. -- Rick Block (talk) 17:12, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Naming Cities (Obvious Solution?)

I don't have the time or energy to read all of the arguments above, but is there some reason why we don't simply follow the conventions that are already in place and accepted in Japanese for these place names?

Kyoto (the city) on Japanese Wiki is "Kyoto-shi" or "Kyoto City". Nagano (the city) on Japanese Wiki is "Nagano-shi" or "Nagano City". The first line of the article points out what prefecture the city is located in, and there is a disambiguation page for the word "Kyoto" or "Nagano" directing the reader to the city or the prefecture. The current solution is simply unworkable and has the distinct mark of having been created (and maintained) by people who have little to no familiarity with Japan and are simply trying to force the U.S.-style "city, state" convention in a context where it just doesn't work. "Nagano, Nagano" or "Hiroshima, Hiroshima" as an article title is just horrendously bad form. The convention followed on Japanese Wiki just seems like a painfully obvious solution to me.-Jefu 15:11, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

I disagree for a couple of reasons.
  1. English Wikipedia uses common English usage, and English speakers refer to "Kyoto" to refer to the city, not "Kyoto City". And cities are almost always more prominent than prefectures to non-Japanese people, and more often than not, prefectures are named after the prefectural capital anyway.
  2. The -shi suffix is more indicative of difference between Japanese than English than the city's proper name. In Japanese, it's fairly common to add qualifiers to places and people that an English person wouldn't. For example, Japanese Wikipedia refers to North Carolina as "North Carolina-shu", since that is the common usage.
  3. City, prefecture convention isn't that out of whack with local usage, if not with Japanese Wikipedia naming convention. As I mentioned above, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto is a reasonable equivalent to "Kyoto-fu Fukuchiyama-shi" in Japan.
Ytny 20:47, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Adding to what Ytny said, particularly points 2 and 3, first, "-shi" is the name of a government, whereas the article is about more than the government. Articles about cities in English-speaking countries do not have the word "city" in their names, even when the governments do (Boston, Massachusetts rather than its formal corporate name, "City of Boston," to give one example). Adding "-shi" is most appropriate when discussing the corporate body that includes the elected assembly and mayor, the administrative departments, the ability to levy taxes and borrow funds, hire employees and so forth. It's less appropriate when discussing the history, the old villages that merged into the present city, the transportation network (including private railways), the geography, and many other sections of information that we include in articles.
(While I was writing this, someone edited another article and referred to the statement "The map is not the territory." I was unaware of this phrase, but it seems to incorporate the essential concept I wrote about. Specifically, the corporation that governs and administers is not the same as the land, people, structures and other aspects of the city. The article is not only, and not primarily, about the corporation; it's about the other things that make up the city. 05:33, 2 September 2006 (UTC))
Second, "Nagano, Nagano" strikes me as just fine. There are parallels in English-speaking countries, especially "New York, New York," which is very common. Two songs using this form come to mind: Theme from New York, New York and New York, New York (On The Town). In fact, it's common and familiar enough that I would characterize "Nagano, Nagano" and "Hiroshima, Hiroshima" as natural and intuitive English.
In contrast, the word-for-word translation of X-shi as X-city strikes me as Japanese English. People from Denver don't say "I'm from the City of Denver" unless there's a special need to. You don't hear, "I live in the city of Ypsilanti" or "I was born in the city of Macon." The characteristic of adding -shi to the name of every city is Japanese; the literal translation of it is usually unnecessary and unnatural. Its consistent use as a suffix in Japanese leads to its use as a suffix in English, and makes it even more unnatural.
Third, the present system of City, Prefecture works just fine. It is, in fact, in close agreement with the Japanese postal system, apart from the reverse order. If it draws its inspiration from the US, that's not a problem, since it works so well. We have a tiny number of cases where a district name has to be added, and a tinier number of cases, like Kyoto, where editors have voted for a different system. I wish those, too, would be returned to the consistent, predictable, functional system that Wikipedia has been using. The obvious solution is to continue using the City, Prefecture system. Fg2 05:27, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

You need to distinguish between what you refer to as "common English usage" and "common spoken reference." People say "Reagan" or "President Reagan" when they speak, but the article is named "Ronald Reagan". And your logic is self-defeating in any event, because nobody refers to the city of Nagano as "Nagano, Nagano", either, in Japanese or English. Kyoto is a city and it is named Kyoto and the technical name of it is "Kyoto-shi" or "Kyoto City", precisely the kind of terminology that would be expected as the title of an encylopedia article. Your logic doesn't even apply in Japanese, because people in Japan don't typically refer to the city as "Kyoto-shi" but I think you would find little controversy among Japanese as to whether the encyclopedia article or dictionary entry should be titled "Kyoto-shi" or not.

And none of these comparisons to American cities means anything. If the use of "Kyoto City" as the title of an article were odd, it wouldn't be titled that in Japanese Wiki. Period. The fact that it is odd for people to refer to Boston as the City of Boston has no bearing on how Japanese city articles should be titled.

At the end of the day, I don't really care that much. But if titles like "Nagano, Nagano" aren't changed, people with any familiarity with Japan will continue strolling in and raising the issue, the old guard will continue beating them down with their misapplied logic, and inordinate amounts of time will go one being wasted over a problem with a painfully obvious solution that was discovered long ago over in Japanese Wikipedia.-Jefu 14:12, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Jefu, that "Kyoto City" is not odd in Japanese does not mean it is not odd in English. And it certainly is. It seems to me that, in English, prefectures and similar subnational entities that are named for the major city within them are generally considered to be secondary entities. This is true for, for instance, Russian oblasts, Spanish and Italian provinces, Irish counties, Indian districts, and so on and so forth. Kyoto for the city and Kyoto Prefecture for the prefecture is perfectly reasonable, and matches up to standard English usage for similar situations in other countries. We generally do not use "Kyoto City" or "Hiroshima City," and there's no need to, because the term "Name" on its own is generally taken to refer to the city, at least in English. Note similar situations with Waterford, Caserta, Tarragona, Nizhny Novgorod, Agra, and so on and so forth. No need for Kyoto City. Kyoto does perfectly well. john k 18:15, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

The use of "City" in a city name is not necessarily odd in English. It is not an uncommon way of disambiguation with a similarly named place containing the city even in the U.S. There are a few notable U.S. cities that do use that, e.g. New York City, Oklahoma City, Jersey City, Kansas City, Mexico City. The Philippines is also one country where (except for Manila) all its cities have the word "City" attached to it. And I think people agree that attaching "City" to Japanese city names in English is not uncommon practice. Admittedly it is somewhat odd for the more major cities like Kyoto. But, being not uncommon, it seems like a perfectly reasonable disambiguation method if the usage of the unqualified name is not clear like in the case of Saitama for example where Saitama City and Saitama Prefecture sound pefectly normal to me. One could also always use the standard encyclopedia style of parenthetical disambiguation such as Saitama (city) if appending "City" sounds too odd for many people.
Also, all the Japanese prefectures (except for Tokyo) have "Prefecture" attached to their name. Why does that not seem odd while attaching "City" does? All the U.S. states don't have "State" in their article name. Note that it is also not uncommon to hear "Washington State" and "New York State" since attaching the type of place is again a perfectly normal way of disambiguation. My point is attaching "City" as a disambiguation method for Japanese cities should not be dismissed outright since this method of attaching a place type for disambiguation is in significant use and actual usage of "Cityname City" for Japanese cities is not uncommon. I would agree that this should not be used for major cities but should be given consideration for lesser known cities particularly those that share thier name with their prefecture. I only suggested this because a lot of people seem to hate parentheses but that of course is also a viable option. Sorry for the long commentary. --Polaron | Talk 20:26, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Just to note - the official names of Oklahoma City, Jersey City, and Kansas City are Oklahoma City, Jersey City, and Kansas City. It is completely incorrect to refer to them as "Oklahoma," "Jersey," and "Kansas." That's a different case from the issue of cities that don't include "City" in their name but are often called it. In places like New York City, Panama City, Mexico City, Guatemala City, and Belize City (although "Belize City" may now be the official name, I'm not sure), the reason "City" is so commonly used in English is because the larger units that they share their name with are very often discussed in English - the latter four share their name with a country, and the first with a major United States state. Purely administrative subnational entities do not have the same issue. I'll admit that I don't really know how smaller Japanese cities are named, but, from my years of being a reasonably well-read English speaker, I think I'm on fairly solid ground in saying that this form is pretty much never used for major cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and so forth. I'd be interested to see if any usage by actual native anglophones (English language press, in particular) ever uses such forms. If not, then there's no reason for it. And, beyond that, it's simply not necessary for disambiguation's sake. With subnational divisions of minor, purely administrative importance like Japanese prefectures, treating the city as primary usage is completely standard. Again, take a look at Caserta, Nizhny Novgorod, Tarragona, Agra, and Waterford (and Irish counties, surely, are of more than "minor, purely administrative importance"). The point is, small subnational divisions are generally referred to including the name of the level of the division - "Agra District," "County Waterford," "Province of Caserta," "Province of Tarragona", "Nizhny Novgorod Oblast", hell, even "Arrondissement of Lyon". The mere existence of a subnational unit whose name is shared with a city within it is not sufficient reason to insist that the city cannot be located at the main name page on English wikipedia. Nor is the fact that this is standard practice in whatever the native language of the country in question is. What needs to be demonstrated is that "Osaka City" and "Kyoto City" are terms used in English. john k 22:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

As to the Philippines, I'm not familiar enough with the country to know if the current wikipedia usage is actually based on widespread English usage, or is an unnecessary wikipedism. Quezon City I have certainly heard of, but beyond that, I've always seen atlases, for instance, merely give the city name, but this is also true of places like Panama and Guatemala, that are certainly called "Panama City" and "Guatemala City." I see that Britannica has "Davao City," though, so I'll let that rest and assume it's based on substantial usage - the Philippines is, after all, a country with substantial English usage, unlike Japan. john k 22:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't know why people have such trouble distinguishing between what something is or should be called ordinarily when speaking English, and what the title of an encyclopedia article should be. There is absolutely nothing odd about having an article entitled "Kyoto City", with the first line saying, "Kyoto is a city in Japan...located in Kyoto Prefecture..." Nobody is advocating that Kyoto be referred to as Kyoto City in everyday speech or suggesting that it is, but the name of the city is "Kyoto-shi", and it is a moniker that is common enough that it serves uncontroversialy as the title of the article in Japanese. So there is nothing at all odd about naming an article "Kyoto City", as a means of distinguishing it from the Prefecture. And again, for those who say it is odd because nobody refers to it as "Kyoto City", I'm telling you it is far less odd than "Kyoto, Kyoto". We all understand that Wikipedia is written by amateurs and that people with a lot of agenda and not so much knowledge impose, or try to impose, strange policies here all the time. But if I were to pick up a published Encyclopedia that referred to the city as "Kyoto, Kyoto", I would laugh as I put it back on the shelf as a useless piece of junk written by someone without a clue and wonder how it ever made it onto paper.
I'm only advocating "Kyoto City" as an alternative that will appease the disambiguation hawks. Personally, I would prefer using just "Kyoto" for the city and "Kyoto Prefecture" for the prefecture. What should be changed is this absolutely silly rule that requires the use of "Kyoto, Kyoto" or "Nagano, Nagano" as titles, monikers that aren't used by ANYONE.-Jefu 12:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Don't offer unnecessary concessions that those you're offering them to don't care about. The very same people who like the current "City, Prefecture" convention are the ones who objected to Polaron's early moves of various articles to "Cityname City." I'm willing to accept that "Kyoto City" is less odd than "Kyoto, Kyoto." Given that the article is currently at "Kyoto," I don't see why I would want to settle for a new convention that makes some articles worse. john k 21:25, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Should <placename> only naming be used for any Japanese cities?

Let's focus on this one issue for the moment. Ignoring precisely what the naming might be if it's not just <placename>, should <placename> (e.g. Nagano or Kyoto or Yokohama) be used as the name for any articles about Japanese cities?

  • I believe it's true that nearly all Japanese place names are highly ambiguous and might refer to a city, town, village, prefecture, river, mountain, province, etc.
  • Naming an article X affects not just the "title" shown for the article, but makes links to X lead to this article.
  • IMO, nearly all Japanese place names are not commonly known to English language speakers.

I think these three things together mean that it is in general not appropriate to use <placename> as the name for articles about Japanese cities. I think the most important reason not to do this is it makes links to such names ambiguous. For example, from Masami Kikuchi, does [He] was born in Nagano mean he was born in the city or the prefecture? It's bad enough that we currently use redirects, but if the name of the article itself is simply Nagano how is someone who is not clued into the context supposed to know whether a link is intended to mean the city or the prefecture? In a printed copy, you can't follow the link to find out where it leads. Even online, here at Wikipedia, whether this was meant to be a link to the prefecture or a link to the city is extremely difficult to determine. As an American not completely unfamiliar with Japanese place names (I believe I've touched every article about every municipality and every prefecture in Japan at least once), I am amazed that anyone can talk to anyone about places in Japan without being confused.

In any event, my opinion in case it's not completely obvious yet, is that the answer has to be no. However common these names might be in some contexts, they are ambiguous in the context of "most English language speakers" and should therefore not be used as article names without some form of disambiguation. I mean for this to generate discussion, but please stay focused on the topic of whether disambiguated names are necessary (yes or no)? -- Rick Block (talk) 18:05, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

"Should "city" only naming be used for any Japanese cities?" I'd say no. When writing, people can write, "... was born in the city of Nagano" to make it clear and natural. Good writing solves the problem without the need to give articles the title. (We do have an article for the historical Tokyo City; I don't quite know how I feel about that.) Fg2 21:22, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
FG2 - I think I thoroughly confused you by using "city" to mean the bare name (with no suffix or disambiguation). I've reworded my post above. Just to reiterate - I do not mean including the word "City" as a suffix. I mean using the name with no suffix or any other disambiguation technique. -- Rick Block (talk) 21:51, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I looked at the incoming links of Nagano, Nagano ([1]) to see how the wikilinks actually appear in the articles that link to it. From this list, I picked every tenth entry to get a more or less random sampling. What you find is that 36/45 write the link as "Nagano", 5/45 write it as "Nagano, Japan", 1/45 as "Nagano (city)" (in a list of capitals of subnational entities), and none as "Nagano, Nagano". There were two links written as "Nagano" but intending to link to the prefecture and one was a redirect page. What this says to me is that, at least for well-known cities like Nagano, <placename> alone is a suitable title. --Polaron | Talk 22:19, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
It gets less clear cut as you go into slightly lesser known cities. Doing the same thing for Saitama, Saitama, we find 27/41 write the link as "Saitama", 8/41 as "Saitama City", 2/41 as "Saitama, Saitama", and 4/41 as "Saitama" but ambiguous as to which Saitama (e.g. "born in Saitama"). I suspect that as we go into lesser well-known cities, disambiguation of the displayed link becomes more and more common. So I think the proposal above to have unqualified names for at least the major cities is very reasonable while leaving the lesser known cities with a disambiguator of some kind in their title. --Polaron | Talk 23:07, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
I think you may be missing my point. Today, the article Saitama, Saitama or Nagano, Nagano is unquestionably not the prefecture. Piping links to these articles so the name displays in another form leaves the link unambiguously a link to the city. If the city articles were directly named Saitama and Nagano, non-piped links to these names may mean the city, but I believe the author's intent (city or prefecture) would in general not be clear (unless, as FG2 suggests, the text itself disambiguates in some fashion). I sampled links to the (in my mind ambiguous) redirect Nagano and believe 18 out of the 23 links I sampled mean the prefecture, not the city (most of them seem to be cut and paste articles about athletes from the Nagano Olympics — that's Nagano as in prefecture, right?). Since I sampled only 1 out of 10, this leads me to think there may be something like 180 articles with links to Nagano that mean the prefecture. Fortunately, since the city article has a different name we could relatively easily charter a project to find and fix all of these errant links. If the city article were "Nagano" these errant links would be much harder to find since they'd be interspersed with the several hundred legitimate links to the city. My point is that it's a good thing to have the article name NOT be "Nagano" because most English speaking people have little to no familiarity with Japanese geography and don't even realize this may be an ambiguous name. -- Rick Block (talk) 00:45, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
All the Olympics links refer to the city since a city is what is chosen to hold the Olympics and not a larger entity. The underlying principle at WP:TITLE says that: Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.. I would venture to say that major cities are more recognizable than prefectures and the unqualified name primarily refers to the city (for major cities only). Now if you really need to disambiguate, why not use Nagano (city) which makes it clear that "Nagano" is the name while disambiguating it from similarly named objects using the usual methods employed by many encyclopedias. --Polaron | Talk 00:52, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
OK, on a recount (with all Olympics references meaning the city) there are still 5 that are clearly the prefecture and several I can't tell what they mean to refer to. So instead of perhaps 180 there may perhaps be only 50-80 errant references. Like I said at the beginning of this thread, I'd like the discussion at the moment to be focused on whether there is a need for some form of disambiguation in the article name (and not assume any particular disambiguation technique). I understand the principle from WP:TITLE. The question I'd like us to answer first is, is "Nagano" (and other Japanese city names) a name the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize (for the city), with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity? With even only 25% of the references to Nagano (which redirects to the city) mistakenly meaning the prefecture instead of as well known a city as Nagano, I think the answer is pretty clearly no. By suggesting a disambiguation mechanism, are you agreeing with me? -- Rick Block (talk) 01:41, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
The particular case of Nagano is debateable. I agree with you that the vast majority of cities do need some kind of disambiguation. But some cities do not require disambiguation and we shouldn't pre-disambiguate if not needed. The proposal above to exempt either all or part of the designated cities from the current convention seems like a good one to me. --Polaron | Talk 01:49, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Hi Polaron, I'm not quite sure I understand. Several events of the Nagano Olympics took place outside the city of Nagano, all within Nagano Prefecture. Four sites outside the city of Nagano hosted events including majors like skiing and snowboarding. The locations were in Yamanouchi, Karuizawa, Hakuba, and Nozawa Onsen. Going back to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, none of the events were in the city of Tokyo, because the city of Tokyo had been abolished as a municipality in 1943. I think Olympic organizers choose a name to represent a collection of places that doesn't necessarily coincide with a city's municipal boundaries. So the name doesn't seem necessarily to represent a municipality.
Yes you are correct that all the event didn't take place within the city of Nagano. But that is true for most Olympics. Not all events in the 2006 Torino olympics were held within the city limits of Torino. But I suspect that all the Olympics related links was to identify the host city of the Olympics and not the specific venue. But yes you're right that an Olympic city name probably refers to the "city and its environs" (more like a metropolitan area probably). Whether we should use the unqualifed name for the city of Nagano as I said is debateable depending on what one's threshold is for being eligible for primary topic disambiguation. --Polaron | Talk 02:23, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Now, about major cities being more recognizable than prefectures, you've got a point worth noting. I recall laughing when, at the end of the film Fiddler on the Roof, the characters said they were going to New York, America and Chicago, America (and wondered if they'd be neighbors). Similarly, I've seen links to places like Yokohama, Japan. Still, I don't think there's any easy test for which cities to put in this category, and recognition is different in different places. I think I saw the city of Taira on a Wikipedia map of Japan (Taira merged to form Iwaki in 1966) and on an airliner once (in 2004?) I saw a display that showed a World War II-era name for a place in China (the name escapes me). Yahata, as the name of a city, crops up from time to time. So recognition is a slippery devil to determine and track. Also, I value consistency more. Why not develop a bot that looks for links needing disambiguation, and puts a note on the talk page of the user who wrote the link? It could print a message like "In your edit to the article X, you linked to the article Y, which is a disambiguation page (or a redirect or whatever). If you can make the link more precise, you will make it easier for readers to get to the right article." Or the bot can put a template in the article, something like {{japan-place-needing-disambiguation}}. That would call it to the attention of people who know something or do research as part of routine cleanup chores. Fg2 02:10, 3 September 2006 (UTC) (posting after edit conflict)
I understand what you mean about what makes one recognizable and not. Endroit's suggestion above to use 1980s and older designated cities seems obvious enough but there's also the advantage of simplicity if we just say all designated cities are exempt (no fuss no debate :) ). In any case, if we do use the unqualified name for the major cities, there should definitely be a disambiguation note at the top of the article. --Polaron | Talk 02:23, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
My problems with the general rule (designated cities) are Shizuoka, the aforementioned Saitama, Fukuoka, even Chiba, all of which share their name with a prefecture and none of which (I'd claim) are very well known to most English speaking people. "Major city" is a matter of familiarity. You said above the vast majority of cities do need some kind of disambiguation. This sounds like you're agreeing the general rule for naming Japanese city articles should include some disambiguation mechanism. Is it worth specifying a handful of exceptions? I'd be OK with except designated cities that do not share their name with a prefecture, but this is so few cities that I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. -- Rick Block (talk) 04:15, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
You can always use the parenthetical disambiguation if you think disambiguation is really necessary, e.g. Fukuoka (city). This allows one to also use the Pipe trick making linking easy. --Polaron | Talk 04:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Sigh. Caserta, Tarragona, Nizhny Novgorod, etc. etc. etc. Why are relatively little known Italian, Spanish, Russian, etc. etc. etc. cities that share a name with a subnational entity perfectly find to get the primary name space, but Japanese cities are not? john k 21:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Yet another proposal for using <Cityname> only as titles for major cities

Let's look at the designated city list and group them depending on whether they belong to a prefecture of the same name or not, and try and decide logically which should get <Cityname> only or which should be disambiguated somehow. Please don't decide yet whether to support or oppose. This is just for discussion. Please share your comments below.

Group 1: Designated cities with unique names

These are well-known cities in Japan with either unique names or clearly the primary usage of the unqualified name refers to the city. These already all redirect to the city article (or is the city article the case of Kobe and Yokohama). These cities can be renamed to use the unqualified name since there are no ambiguities and they are all major cities.

I concur. john k 21:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
"Group 1" should be in the form <cityname> as suggested. My previously suggested list included all these except Sendai. But I'd have to agree that Sendai is notable in its own right, and should be included as well.--Endroit 22:11, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I concur with the above list of cities. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe the city name alone is an acceptable article title for these cities. - Jecowa 05:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Group 2: Designated cities with the same name as their prefecture

Group 2A: World famous cities

The unqualified name is overwhelmingly used for the city (Note: I am just assuming this). In the case of Kyoto and Osaka, it is for their historical as well as current global importance. For the case of Hiroshima, it is because of the atomic bomb. All three are already at the unqualified name.

I concur on this as well. john k 21:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
"Group 2A" should be in the form <cityname> as suggested. My previously suggested list also included all of these cities.--Endroit 22:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I concur with these, as well. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe the city name alone is an acceptable article title for these cities. - Jecowa 05:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Group 2B: Not so famous cities

These all currently link to disambiguation pages. I did a random sampling of links to the unqualified name (as I described in the previous section above). Here are the percentages of those links that actually refer unambiguously to the city: Fukuoka - 64%, Chiba - 11%, Saitama - 50%, Shizuoka - 25%. Feel free to do your own sampling.

I would argue that Chiba, Saitama, and Shizuoka need to be disambiguation pages. The actual naming of the city articles we can discuss later (I prefer using "<Cityname> (city)"). Fukuoka could go either way but I am leaning towards moving the city article to the unqualified name since Fukuoka is the center of a major metropolitan area.

Fukuoka is quite a large city - think it can stand on its own. 64% is already pretty decent. I would also much prefer Chiba (city) to Chiba, Chiba, and so forth. john k 21:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I'm leaning towards using <cityname> for all of these because they are "designated cities". WP:MOS-JA can and should take precedence over WP:Disambig here, if we are only talking about comparing the "Cityname" vs. "Prefecture-name" here. Actually, I've changed my mind, based on my discussion with Nihonjoe above. Let me quote what Nihonjoe said above: "...if a city is large enough to be made into a designated city by the national government, it's obviously large enough to have a significant impact locally, regionally, and even nationally, and given time, internationally."--Endroit 23:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I concur with my previous statement on these. I think it would make our job much easier if we just go with what the government of Japan has decided is a significant city (or, as they call them, "designated cities"). The list is liekly to grow, but not very quickly, so it won't be a chore to keep up with it. Doing it this way also significantly reduces the chances of someone else making a mistake, since the guideline would leave nothing to the imagination. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I support Nihonjoe on this.--Endroit 15:09, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
With respect to Chiba, we should consult WP:Disambig on whether Sonny Chiba, Tetsuya Chiba and others are notable enough, just to make sure.--Endroit 23:15, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be better to just create Chiba (disambiguation) to point to all the other possibilities. Then put a disambig link at the top of each affected page. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, if George Washington is not notable enough to make Washington a disambiguation page, I think there has to be a very high standard for a person to be considered the primary reference for their surname. john k 23:33, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't think Sonny Chiba and Tetsuya Chiba are all that notable. So Chiba (the city) should be in the form <cityname> also.--Endroit 15:09, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion about these cities (though I do like the simplicity of using unqualified city name for all designated cities), it's worth noting that the city of Saitama didn't exist until 2001 and is a rare case where the city is named after the prefecture, not vice versa. Whether that matters to Wikipedia article naming, I don't really know. Ytny 22:15, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I would say that does make a difference, especially the fact of the city only existing for five years. john k 22:46, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Personally, whenever I hear "Saitama" or "Chiba", I think of the prefectures. I have plenty of friends who've said "I don't really live in Tokyo; I'm out in Saitama" or "I'm going out to Chiba for the weekend..." These statements do not refer to the cities. LordAmeth 13:16, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I do not believe the city name alone is an acceptable article title for these cities. - Jecowa 05:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Group 3: Designated cities with non-unique names

These lead to lengthy disambiguation pages. There are very few links to "Sakai" and only about 33% actually refer to the city. For "Kawasaki" only 17% of the links refer to the city. A majority of the links for "Kawasaki" actually refer to the company. I would even argue that Kawasaki be redirected to the company name. The titles for the city articles of these two should probably be similar to what will be decided for Group 2B.

There is one city and two towns (does this distinction have meaning in Japanese, or is it simply based on the fact that one Kawasaki is much bigger than the others?) I think for cases with more than one city of a name, the cities should be disambiguated parenthetically by prefecture - e.g. Kawasaki (Fukuoka Prefecture), rather than Kawasaki, Fukuoka. john k 21:33, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I suggest using <cityname, prefecture-name> for these 2 cities.
In the English language, the word "Kawasaki" is usally related to motorcycles. That means Kawasaki Heavy Industries is the most common usage in English, not the city. As for "Sakai", there are too many prominent people with that name. For example Hiroyuki Sakai is famous (at least in the United States) for his role in the syndicated TV series Iron Chef. Therefore the unqualified names for these 2 cities are disambiguated per WP:Disambig, and they fall outside the scope of WP:MOS-JA.--Endroit 22:29, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Kawasaki should surely not be for the city, which is not the principle usage of the word. I'm less sure of Sakai, but I'm willing to accept that this is the case there as well. john k 23:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I definitely think the existing Kawasaki page should stay the way it is given how well known the motorcycles are worldwide. Sakai, I'm less sure about. It's probably fine the way it is, however. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I wonder if there's any way to help disambiguate Sakai-shi from all the other Sakai municipalities. Sakai used to be a very major port in the Edo period, and likely before that (perhaps it still is now), but every time I go to look up more information about that historical port of Sakai, I'm never quite positive which one it is. I like "Sakai" and I'm not suggesting we move it to "Sakai-shi" or something like that. I just wanted to point out the difficulty. (And I guess that goes for pretty much any disambiguated city name. If you're looking for a town or city that holds a certain festival, for example, but you have no idea which prefecture it's in, and especially if you're not sure if it's a city or a town, it's going to be quite difficult to find. LordAmeth 13:22, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I do not believe the city name alone is an acceptable article title for these cities. - Jecowa 05:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

This conversation may have run its course, but I'd like to make it clear that the reason there are almost no links on the Sakai disambiguation page that should be aimed at Sakai, Osaka is that I routinely go through and fix all the links on the Sakai disambiguation page. Dekimasu 05:18, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Group 4: Special considerations

These two cities, while only core cities and not designated cities, have achieved some degree of world fame for the above-listed reasons. A majority of the incoming links to the unqualified name are for the city. I believe these deserve the use of the unqualified name as well.

In all cases, a disambiguation or other uses note should be at the top of any article using the unqualified name. --Polaron | Talk 20:46, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I think these articles are fine to be at unqualified name. Nagasaki already is. john k 21:34, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
These 2 cities may be in the form <cityname> as suggested; I have no preferences either way, although not in my previously suggested list. As for "Nagasaki", it has been notable as an "international city" for over 300 years, as the only port of entry into Japan during their Sakoku period.--Endroit 22:42, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, this is another special qualification of Nagasaki. john k 23:30, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I concur with these two. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:04, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe the city name alone is an acceptable article title for these cities. - Jecowa 05:52, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to go ahead and move the Group 1 cities (Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Kitakyushu) since there are no ambiguity issues and no objections from the discussion above. For the rest (Groups 2B, 3, 4), we still need to figure out if and to where they should be moved. --Polaron | Talk 18:39, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Done except for Sendai, which needs administrator action. --Polaron | Talk 18:51, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Sendai - Done. I have not, however, changed the links within the many many articles that link to one of the redirect pages. I wonder if a bot or something could do that? LordAmeth 20:31, 10 October 2006 (UTC)