Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/Fictional characters

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Anime and manga

Arbitrary division 1

For a fictional character (i.e., a character from a movie, a novel, manga or anime), adhere to the following, in order of preference:

  1. Use the romanization found in official English-language versions of the product.
  2. Use the romanization found in official Japanese-language versions of the product;
  3. If none of the above is available, use a direct Japanese-to-English transliteration of the name

This has several problems

  • If the English-language romanization of the product is outright erroneous, this requires perpetuating the error (i.e. "Tetsusaiga" in Tessaiga).
  • There may be more than one English-language version of the product, with different spellings.
By nature, conventionally there is only one official version. That's why it's called official.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  03:36, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, no; official doesn't actually imply anything like that. For example, as has been pointed out, Usagi Tsukino is "Serena" in the dubbed anime but "Bunny" in the translated manga — and both of those are "official", licensed translations. --Aponar Kestrel (talk) 04:51, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
It is not uncommon for there to be bleeding differences between the original manga and anime versions, never mind the official translations. I don't see why you're argueing this point.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  07:12, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
The anime and manga may be separate things, but we still have one article that covers them both, so we at least have to worry about the name used in the article title. And it would be silly to use "Bunny" in every paragraph that discusses the manga version and "Serena" in every paragraph that discusses the anime version.
There are also some cases that have two official translations even by your strict definition, such as Detective Conan, which calls him Conan in the subtitles and Jimmy Kudo in the dub. Ken Arromdee 18:48, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused by your explanation; I was under the impression his real name was Jimmy Kudo in both versions, and his alias was Conan Edogawa across the board. If there is a discrepancy like that, it's rather exceptional, and I think it makes sense just to put a small explanation about the discrepancy in the article. Two out of the three (the Japanese and one of the official English) versions are likely to have similar character names so it would make sense to ignore the odd one out unless one of the official versions wasn't widely distributed. It's useful to point out exceptions but you should make the basic rule based on the most common situation, which doesn't deal with multiple versions in the same language. That's just my opinion though.  freshgavinΓΛĿЌ  04:26, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, that's my mistake. I meant to refer to Shinichi Kudo. I believe (don't have the disks myself) that the subtitles keep him as Shinichi and the dub has him as Jimmy Kudo. At any rate, there are other examples where names are changed in the dub but not the subtitles; consider Ronin Warriors. Both the dub and subtitles are "official versions". Ken Arromdee 14:42, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
  • This guideline conflates the separate issues of romanization of a name, translation of a name with a meaning (Usagi is called Bunny in the English Sailor Moon manga), and intentionally changing the name to something different (Hikaru Ichigo->Rick Hunter).
  • The English version of the product may be little-known and/or unpopular. Angel's Egg has only been released in English as a bastardized version called In the Aftermath. Google shows 114000 occurrences of Angel's Egg; nobody's seen or heard of In the Aftermath. Unfortunately, "In the Aftermath" is impossible to Google, but Googling the phrase along with Colpaert, the name of the director, gives 109 hits.
  • The English version may be known, yet not used. Usagi Tsukino is used more than Serena. This is only less of an issue than it used to be because name changes are much less common.

Ken Arromdee 03:24, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

This appears to have been added without discussion after the Request for Moderation; it was suggested during the arbitration, but discussion was cut short because it was dragging on past the original topic. Personally, I agree with all points listed: in most cases, certainly, even a highly variant English-language adaptation will be the most recognized — I feel no need to move Speed Racer to Mach Go Go Go, for instance — but there will be times when the English-language adaptation is marginal even among Anglophones. --Aponar Kestrel (talk) 10:24, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
My take is that, if an official English name exists, use it, no matter how stupid or incorrect, but also state the original or 'correct' version. If two 'official' english translations exist (e.g. a 'bastardized' TV dub vs. an '100% authentic' manga translation or even a later translation from the same source - e.g. 'Kerpymon' in the Digimon movie credits and promo cards being corrected to Cherubimon for the Frontier dub) use the most accurate version by preference but also state the alternatives. Shiroi Hane 12:55, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
The rules mention romanization and say nothing about translation or adaption. i.e. Usagi to Bunny or Serena. I do think Ken has a point though. Those guidelines are lacking. --Kunzite 01:38, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Why not just follow the Wikipedia standard of common usage? Redirect "official" names and/or "original" names as necessary. This problem is not unique to anime/manga, nor to Japan-related issues ... I don't really see the need for separate guidelines as it is covered in the MoS: 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. CES 03:31, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree with CES. ˑˑˑ Talk to Nihonjoε 17:17, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Strongly support. The day "Knight of Skeleton" is listed on Characters of Berserk (instead of "Skull Knight" which is what damn-near every fan uses) will be a very cold day for this world... -Aknorals 11:56, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Concerning the guideline mentioned by CES, linking to articles with non-Roman characters is not easy and second nature, i.e. macrons. Jecowa 22:17, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 2

I've changed the entry now, but I need some better wording to deal with this case: The anime alters the name, and the manga keeps the original name. In this case, the original name can refer to either version, while the altered name can't. It would make more sense to use the original name here. But I'm not sure how to phrase it. Ken Arromdee 14:59, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

One more question... Are character names supposed to always be in western name order? or should the most popular form be used (which may be Japanese name order)? --Kunzite 15:41, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
It's impossible to write guidelines that address every conceivable possibility. It's best to keep the guidelines as general as possible so they will cover as wide a range of situations as possible. I think the version Ned Scott had before you reverted his edit was acceptable. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:00, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
To respond to Ken's edit summary of reverting my edit "(rv again. If you really want to revert this, why not participate in the discussion on the talk page first)": I did read the discussion, and you said "but I need some better wording". Considering no major consensus was made to back up the initial edit, I didn't think my edit was inappropriate. If Ken's major objection to my edit is that I supposedly haven't read the discussion, then I suggest that the edit be put back, or something similar.
When I said I needed better wording, I meant I needed better wording about the situation where the original name applies to multiple media and the new name doesn't.
Personally, I thought noting both ideas was more than acceptable. Not only that, but I have been under the same impression as Shiroi Hane, use the official English name even if it's stupid. These are guidelines, they're supposed to help the editors do things that make sense and are helpful.
I understand and mostly agree with what Ken is saying, but I don't see why the "merged" info version I made was a bad idea. It seems to give the editor two choices, both based on some type of logic. That's why these are guidelines, and not rules. What a character is most known by is extremely hard to cite a source for. I can imagine the edit wars of fans, citing this entry for their cause. -- Ned Scott 06:25, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
If your intent is to give the editor two, mutually inconsistent, choices, then the section should be removed entirely. If there's no general agreement on how to do names, then we shouldn't tell people how to do names at all.
And guidelines themselves can cause edit wars. They may not be rules, but there are always people who will be so unwilling to recognize exceptions to the guideline that they may as well be rules. Ken Arromdee 14:43, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
I'd have to disagree with your views on the two choices being a bad idea. In any case, "most used name" is going to cause problems with people being able to cite the most used name or not, or what constitutes "more" usage. Also, this is the guideline for all Japanese fictional characters, not just anime and manga. I'm reverting back to the "dual" version until a consensus can be reached, unless you rather it rv to the original way until consensus. -- Ned Scott 20:09, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
How is "most used name" any more or less citable for Japanese fictional characters than for any other topic? Why do they deserve any special treatment? Virtually all other topics from all other languages use the name most common in English; this is the guideline given by WP:UE, WP:NC, and (implicitly, given "Río de la Plata") WP:MOS. Given this, and the lack of established consensus for the original addition of this text, and the fact that (being self-contradictory) the current text is actually significantly worse than nothing at all, I am striking the whole section changing the section to something fairly minimal, at least until such time as consensus clearly emerges. (If not for my memories of one user arbitrarily deciding at one point that all pages should use the English manga version, back when this page said nothing on the subject, I would just cut it entirely and have done with it. But, alas, we do need something.)  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 07:34, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
† Or until someone else changes it, which is quite frankly far more likely.
I would like to indicate my support (and my plea) to include one thing that you mentioned in your edit in any adopted rule: consistency. I was trying to go through some articles in the "wikify" section of the Animanga todo list this weekend and I came across a Yu-Gi-Oh articles on Keith Howard and Maximillion Pegasus. Apparently Yu-Gi-Oh editors cannot decide on which version of the name to use, so they use both. This is mostly a problem on the more popular anime series with major name changes. Pick one for the entire series and stick with it. (Then make copious notes about the name variations on the page.) ---Kunzite 00:42, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
By the way, when there are multiple English naming sets of a said show, we should pick and cchoose versions. WhisperToMe 15:09, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
Using ... what criteria, pray tell?  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 07:34, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I still haven't heard a convincing argument against using common usage. In response to Ned, I'm not a huge fan of Google searches but they are a quick and dirty way to find out the most common usage. For a "modern" topic like anime and manga, it might actually be a very relevant technique. As Aponar hints at in his above reply to WTM, deciding on the "best official" name is probably much more problematic than finding the most common usage. Sometimes there are multiple "official" names. Sometimes the "official" names are not commonly used. Sometimes the "official" name is flat-out wrong. The "convention" currently on the J-MoS is arbitrary, unnecessarily confining, and contrary to the MoS, and although I'd have to check the edit history, I don't remember it ever being discussed or put to a vote. Personally, I still see nothing about this topic that indicates a need for an exception from the common usage rule. CES 20:07, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

I can see cases where doing something like a Google search or something could easily show a more common name, but I think the real issue is that it depends on the situation. I'm probably thinking of examples that differ from some examples that the others are thinking. I must apologies if I've been rude. I still think that "most used name" is something that can be to easily abused by fan-boys who simply want a way out of using the official name. Maybe we can make the guidelines a bit clearer per situation. For example, in a situation where there is only one official version, we can be pretty straight forward in it, and exclude all those articles from further complication. -- Ned Scott 06:26, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
The longer I've been involved in discussing policy issues on Wikipedia, the more I've come to appreciate the simplest, most elegant solution. I fear that making a more detailed, "situation by situation" guideline would cause more potential for "abuse" because people will argue about what "situation" a particular case falls under, or will argue that there is no applicable situation so they will invent new rules. Speaking practically, the more complicated the rule, the harder it is to enforce and the more it is ignored. I think the best resolution is to keep the MoS common use convention and should there be a debate about common use, even after Google searches, ask for help in arbitration here or on another forum on a case-by-case basis. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in the MoS that indicates that use of some kind of "official" version should trump common usage, as you and others seem to prefer. Your bias (towards using an "official" name) is clear when you say, I still think that "most used name" is something that can be to easily abused by fan-boys who simply want a way out of using the official name. What Wikipedia convention indicates that the official name is to be preferred? I still have yet to hear what makes anime/manga unique to the point that they deserve a separate set of rules. CES 12:12, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I do not support the "dual version" for the following reasons

  • I goes against general WP:MOS way of doing things.
  • It is confusing, and there really is no reason for it (why only for fictional characters in japan related articles???)
  • It seems to support the alleged rambo-edit that says to use "offical" versions by listing that rule "in order of preference, do this" first. Most users will probably ignore the second part (as it seems somewhat like a subnote to the "do this, first" 'rule'), destroying the "comprimise"
  • Provides more excuses for edit wars, because users will have to argue over which rule to use, insead of just using one or the other
  • The newer rule ("When possible, try to use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers. This is often the official English-language version, but in some cases other versions may be more widely known. If several versions are equally well known, consider using the version that is more widely applicable.") already includes the sensible part of the rambo edit
  • The old "rule" conflicts with the new rule, by not including "the most commonly recognised version by english users" as the first choice.

Now, can we get this "dispute" resolved? -Aknorals 18:46, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 3

Do we even need a "Names of fictional characters" section in the J-MoS? I'd be in favor of deleting it altogether and using the MoS common usage rule as default, or at the very least, revert the section back to something like the previous version:

"For a fictional character (i.e., a character from a movie, novel, manga, or anime), as for most other topics, use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers.

Occasionally there is no consensus as to which version is most commonly recognized. In this case it is best to treat the choice amongst equally popular names as an issue of optional style (although consistency should be kept within an article or group of articles; see WP:MOS for further details)."

... although I think that line about "treat the choice amongst equally popular names as an issue of optional style" should be clarified. CES 21:53, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Sadly (as I noted above), yes, we do need a "Names of fictional characters" entry. Otherwise people seem to invent their own rule and enforce it. I don't know why this happens, but it does.
"Optional style" is effectively a term of art referring to such things as use of the serial comma, Commonwealth versus American English, and other stylistic points from which endless revert wars would almost certainly be made if there weren't an official "hands-off" policy. Would the following be an acceptable clarification?
Occasionally there is no consensus as to which version is most commonly recognized. In this case it is best to treat the choice amongst equally popular names as an issue of optional style, similar to the choice between Commonwealth and American English. Notably, per WP:MOS: when either of two styles is acceptable, it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change. (Keeping usage consistent within an article or group of articles qualifies as "substantial reason", however. See the Manual of Style for further details on optional styles.)
It's a little wordier than I would really like, however. Any suggestions on how to pare it down? –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 04:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

I should make something clear, I'm not necessarily in favor of the "dual" version, but I am ageist the new statement alone. These are my concerns:

(Also, this talk about wikipedia not asking for official names is silly. This is an encyclopedia, OF COURSE the official name is preferred.

This is not true; for instance, Cat Stevens is not listed as Yusef Islam, even though he changed his name. Even if you wanted to implement it, it doesn't take into account some of the issues involved with using official names, already mentioned above. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

It's asked for in many other instances of other articles and other MOS issues. I'm not saying which is better, but it's silly to say that Wikipedia does not prefer official names.)

  • Anime and manga with multiple official names are the minority, and should be dealt with on a case by case basis.
  • Official versions are most likely to be known to future fans, so even if the fansubed or whatever names are "most known" (if anyone can prove that beyond Google, which is not an acceptable method), that still does not mean that's the best choice. This mostly applies to new animes that are currently going under/ or will be going under, English release.
If an official name becomes more widely known among future fans, you can use it then. Don't use it ahead of time in an attempt to predict the future. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia's strive for consistency. Many of instances of which is more known is borderline, and really doesn't make a huge impact either-way. In such cases, it would be best to go with the "status Que." of other wiki articles.
  • Many English names are clearly more used, but because it can be harder to cite what's most used, it's easier to cite what fans like to use. Fans make web sites, web sites get results on Google. This makes it harder for any pro-English version argument.
So? If a name has a bigger presence on the web as opposed to among the general public, then it probably has a bigger presence among Wikipedia users, too. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  • No one wants to do something that will hurt an article or a reader's ability to gain information from an article
  • If an article can cite and make it clear that a vast majority (not just a majority, but a vast majority) do know an anime or manga under a different name, and that using another name is a hinderance to the reader, then I doubt anyone would have a problem with those articles using the original names.
  • Some works are related, but only have partial English releases. If most of an anime was released in English, and is mostly known by English names, then releases an OVA that is never released in English, should the OVA article (or section) change it's name usage? Again, consistency.
There's a similar reason which leads to the opposite conclusion. Ambassador Magma can be used either to refer to the anime (which is named Ambassador Magma in both Japan and America), the live action (which is named Space Giants in America and Ambassador Magma in Japan), or the manga (named Ambassador Magma in Japan and not released in America). Space Giants refers only to the live action series. It wouldn't make sense for an article about all three to be called Space Giants. Even if the anime didn't exist, it wouldn't make sense for an article discussing the two to be named Space Giants. The Japanese name has the advantage that it can be applied to both the English version and the never-released-in-English version. The "official" name can't. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
  • With redirects and being able to mention both names, is this even a problem in many articles? For example, when you talk about one character, you could simply say "CharacterEng (JapName) was seen in season three and the movie".
That helps only for article titles. Characters get mentioned in article text all the time, and we can't use "name1 (name2)" for all the mentions. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 4

This is not about which version of two is better, but what direction we want to go in. There are many ways to be flexible and general, but also actually guide usage. My whole point in changing the section back was not that I wanted it to be written like that, but that I felt the discussion wasn't over and shouldn't just assume a direction based on a pre-mature edit. Clearly we all agree that this is not something to choose, but to develop. -- Ned Scott 04:51, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Regarding citing my own claims [1], 1: start clicking through some lists of anime articles and see how many times there are multiple official names. It's just been my own experience in editing anime related articles, I'm sorry if I forgot to include "I find that most multiple official name issues are the minority" along with my statements.
Multiple official names almost always happen when one version changes the Japanese names and another version doesn't. When there aren't multiple official names, there also aren't any name changes and the English and Japanese names are identical anyway.
If you look only at series where an American company changed the name, multiple official names are much more common. Ken Arromdee 13:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how the rest need citation, but I'll gladly give links and whatever to anything anyone questions. (why on earth would someone have to cite the statement "this concerns me", also, aren't we still waiting for a way to cite "most used name"??). I do not blame "fans". I AM a fan. I hate, HATE, most official names, official subs, and dubs. But I am putting my own preferences the back seat to these kinds of issues. (only one example in my last statement cited possible "fan" abuse, which I really shouldn't say "fan", I should just call it possible abuse. Heck, it might not even be abuse, but a misunderstanding. And don't assume I mean YOU if YOU happen to call yourself a fan.) I was hoping my last message would be received better, but I guess some people don't assume good faith. I was trying to be clear in that I am not in favor of the current guideline myself, but I do want us to discuss this further and not just stop where it was at. Please do not assume you know my motives.
This kind of immaturity is unacceptable. Wikipedians are supposed to be able to make suggestions and voice concerns without people jumping on your back for doing it. Knock it off now or leave the discussion. Most people involved in this actually have kept a cool head, but I do want to nip this in the bud. This is clearly not something to simply "wrap up quickly and be done with", nor is it one group vs another. I really hate getting off topic like this, so lets make this the last time and stop the personal attacks. I will also try my best to improve my tone when being involved in this discussion in the future. We don't need to be fighting when we all want the same thing, better articles. -- Ned Scott 07:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I think we have a fundamental problem of interpretation that is complicating the issue. Ned, I believe that you are misinterpreting Wikipedia naming conventions. Silly or not, common usage is the official Wikipedia policy. Please see Wikipedia:Naming conventions and Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) if you have not already. As such, in general I do not agree with forcing (or even necessarily favoring) official names if this goes against common usage, especially since redirects can cover all bases.
The next question is: does this specific situation warrant an exception to the official policies of Wikipedia? I am not very familiar with this subculture, so perhaps I am misunderstanding or underestimating the gap between "official" names and the names "fans" use ... and I'm a little unclear why this "fan" distinction is even being made (are there "non-fans" who would be regular readers of these pages?) ... but to me "fictional" characters should receive the same treatment as real people. If some of these disputes are as complex and idiosyncratic ("what if the X version is this and Y version is that and then there is a sub-version of Y that might be better called a Z, but A calls them B while the official name is actually C except for when it's D because of the translation mistake by E--and don't forget that the original Japanese title is F, which some people use ...") as they seem, I'd be hesitant to write concrete rules for a vague phenomenon because the "best" solution will probably need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. CES 13:54, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
And for exactly that reason I removed my comment and stepped away from the discussion; but, since you seem to have seen fit to reply to it anyway, I will clarify.
  • You have derided claims that Wikipedia does not prefer official names, and unlike those who have made the claims (including myself, hence my ill-chosen initial reaction), you have cited no references to back this up.
  • You implicitly push the burden of proof entirely on the opposing side(s); you set the bounds of proof to an unreasonably high level; and you reject, without stated reason, evidence you have previously indicated you would accept (namely, Google searches).
  • You make pleas for consistency after writing a completely inconsistent policy.
  • I am at a loss as to what your definition of a fan is, and why they seem to deserve exclusion when determining frequency-of-use. (Personally, I rarely use the term.)
  • Statements about what we "all want" are particularly grating, especially (as above) when they aren't actually true. E.g.: "Clearly we all agree that this is not something to choose, but to develop." As far as I can tell, everyone who has disagreed with the "dual version" on grounds of inconsistency appears to agree that some choices must be made, whether in their preferred direction or otherwise: whether I'm right in anyone else's case or not, neither "clearly" nor "all" are correct.
  • You say: "My whole point in changing the section back was not that I wanted it to be written like that, but that I felt the discussion wasn't over and shouldn't just assume a direction based on a pre-mature edit." However, if this was what you really meant, it would have been better to revert to the version prior to Ken Arromdee's until consensus was reached: your chosen actions (making your own version and guarding it against any changes) did not make this point very well.
    • Bonus points to Kunzite, for stepping in and doing the Right Thing here: adding a dispute tag.
 –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 14:04, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Again, you are missing the point and I feel you are just attacking me personally. You have decided to pick my words apart rather than try to understand what I was trying to bring up. I'm sitting here asking myself if I should even bother responding do your comments. You continue to ignore things I have already addressed. You also seem to assume that I am somehow perfect (and not someone with a full time job, working on additional wikipedia projects, having other activities to attend to, and so on). I'm sorry that I did not comb over my comments with a fine comb because I didn't anticipate people being a dick about this.
  • Wikipedia:Verifiability The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. I am not the one asking for an acceptable source for "most used". Wikipedia is. Verifiability is one of the most important policies on Wikipedia.
  • Wikipedia:Consensus Wikipedia works by building consensus. (Why am I having to cite such basics to you?)
  • These names are not just elements of fiction, but characters whom are products, owned by companies.
  • I agree that using names that more most familiar with readers is a good thing. This is not about "most used" vs "official" but rather how the two can coexist IF they differ.
  • AGAIN, my use of the word fan has been misinterpreted. I thought I made this clear with my last comment. A fan can be any number of readers and editors. I have never implied exclusion of anyone from this process
  • it has been my experience that a great many of these official names vs preferred names occur do to Fansubs being released before a licensed version. This may or may not be true, I am only asking that such an idea be explored to better understand the situation.
  • I did not write any policy, I placed both old and new police together because the issue was still being discussed. I believe that had I reverted it to the original version that would have simply angered some of you and started an edit war. I did ASK if anyone wanted to revert to the original for the time being, and no one said anything.
  • Saying things like "if this is what you really meant" does NOT Assume good faith.
  • Of course people disagree with the dual version, I disagree with it too, it was never meant to be the final guideline.
  • You seem to imply that I am on a "side" on this issue without even knowing what my intentions are
  • You continue to argue ageist me personally, which is completely irrelevant. Attacking me or what I've said does nothing, because we're discussing a guideline that is not about us. I feel as if you are trying to discredit me in-order to avoid my honest concerns. I hope this is not so and that both of us are just mistaken.
This is getting out of hand, and getting really off topic. When in such a discussion please do not take other people's suggestions or concerns as some sort of personal insult. (see Wikipedia:Be bold in updating pages which says "And, of course, others here will boldly and mercilessly edit what you write. Don't take it personally. They, like all of us, just want to make Wikipedia as good as it can possibly be.")
When reading my past comments I can see how I might have been misunderstood, and how I could have misunderstood others. It might be a good idea to start a new section where we can restate our ideas, and basically "start fresh", and assume good faith and not dwell on comments made in the old discussion. -- Ned Scott 19:57, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Replying only to your final paragraph: That might not be a bad idea. However, as Ken Arromdee and CES can make any points I would, and keep a cooler head than I seem to be able to, I'll stay out of it unless I can actually add something to the discussion, instead of whatever it is I have been doing. (And even then I will sit on the response for at least a day.) I myself agree I have not been contributing constructively for at least the last two posts. Please attempt to disregard my previous responses to you, and address whatever concerns they may have instead.  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 01:26, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 5

Let's get back on topic ... I think part of my problem is I'm not entirely sure what the "problem" is that needs to be solved, as I am not familiar with the apparent controversies that sparked this discussion to begin with. To me (and correct me if I'm wrong) I see two "problems" that are being raised:

  • "Fans" who use a name that is not in alignment with the "official name," raising doubt over what "common usage" is for a given subject. Different constituents would argue that their name is the "common name."
Typically this happens when the fans use the original name but the name has been changed for the American release.
  • A common subject may have different sources that give it different names. For example, a character X in a manga might be called Y in an anime.
There's also the issue of mistakes. "Tetsusaiga" is a mistaken American translation of the name of the Tessaiga, which happened because someone misread a small "tsu" as a large "tsu". If official usage takes precedence, then all articles are required to use the mistaken version of the name until someone fixes it in the official translation. Ken Arromdee 14:11, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
That is of course another potential issue ... although, I disagreed with the decision to put the article at Tessaiga. "Correct" or not, Tetsusaiga was both the commonly used and "official" version at the time. The question is, when does a word (e.g. gingko or hooch) stop being a "mistake" and start being a correct English word? It's an interesting question, but let's not lose focus on the main issue at hand. CES 02:13, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

If indeed these are essentially the two main problems, part of the reason that this discussion is going nowhere is the fact that the first part of the existing "rule" (1. use English romanization 2. use Japanese romaniztion 3. use transliteration) does not really address either issue.

The problem is that the existing rule says to use the romanization found *in official versions of the product*. Literally, you're correct--this doesn't say to use the official name, it just says that if you use the official name you must romanize it in a particular way--but I think the intent was that the official name is the only name allowed. Ken Arromdee 14:11, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
Right, my point was what you are saying--the 3 choices are between which official name to use, whereas the problem we are debating focuses on which version to favor: "official" or most commonly used. CES 02:13, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Both issues are potentially problematic, but for the first issue I still see no problem with common usage, as suggested by a Google search. I'm not sure why the usage of so-called "fans" should be ignored, as they are Wikipedia users as well. I would support a when in doubt, use the official English name type of clause, but as a general rule, common usage should have priority.

The second issue could be potentially more problematic, given multiple "official" and commonly used names. Again, a Google search might clarify which is more common, but I could see how problems could remain (although personally I'd be apt to say "flip a coin, pick one name and redirect to the others").

As for naming within other articles, consistency is the key as always. Which name is used is not terribly important as long as the same is used within an article. This would lead me to propose something like the following for "Fictional Characters":

"For a fictional character (i.e., a character from a movie, a novel, manga or anime), use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers. This is often the official English-language version, but in some cases other versions may be more widely known. If several versions are equally well known, consider using the version that is more widely applicable. Always redirect to all common forms of a name, and be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles." CES 02:05, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

"we can't find an answer without clearly stating the problem" - 42? Shiroi Hane 11:54, 19 May 2006 (UTC)
If only it was that easy! CES 02:23, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Still in the name of properly framing the question, where on earth did this guideline come from? I see that it was added on April 6 by Nihonjoe ... but I don't see any discussion on the talk page unless I'm missing something. I'm not trying to point fingers or anything, but understanding why this rule was added and where it came from would be helpful. CES 02:23, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

As I noted earlier, it appears to have been added after the Request for Moderation on the macrons-in-article-titles issue, where it was suggested during the arbitration; however, discussion there was cut short because it was dragging on past the original topic. I didn't see any discussion here either. (Incidentally, I've added subsection headers to make this section easier to edit: it was getting a little long.)  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 04:38, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
My thinking is that we should remove (not just protect) the policy for now. I glanced through the RoM log for macrons and found nothing about this issue unless you count this brief exchange:
Other comments #1
I would like to see some kind of a rule for modern manga, anime, and otaku usages in the English language. I understand that Nihonjoe and others are more familiar in that area.
Covered by WP:MOS-JA now ("fictional"). --日本穣 Nihonjoe 17:47, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I understand the importance of being bold when editing articles but it would be nice to discuss policy changes and additions first before edits to the MoS are made. CES 11:52, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
The only reason I changed it was because it really wasn't that big of a change. I'm fine with changing it back, though. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 19:53, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I removed the section for now. The rule as it stood seemed to only consider "official" romanizations, whereas many here are suggesting that the common usage rule should not be limited only to official versions. Does anyone have feedback on the version I proposed above?
"For a fictional character (i.e., a character from a movie, a novel, manga or anime), use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers. This is often the official English-language version, but in some cases other versions may be more widely known. If several versions are equally well known, consider using the version that is more widely applicable. Always redirect to all common forms of a name, and be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles."
CES 23:00, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
I like this. It further clarifies the normal conventions as they relate to transliterations (and translations) of character names while still allowing the editors of articles to make the final desision in certian cases. One thing: define "more widely applicable". When in doubt, shouldn't we use "most widely conistered correct" or "most correct" version? -Aknorals 08:57, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I like that "more widely applicable" sentence either ... I'd be tempted to take it out. All it really seems to say is "When it doubt, use the best version" without really giving hints as to what is "best". CES 11:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, if there is any way you can say that, then the guideline is gold IMO. -Aknorals 11:50, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it would be best to suggest the best process rather than prescribe a best version. That is, to suggest that when in doubt, discuss the issue on the article talk page and make a change only when there is a concensus to do so. By encouraging this type of procedure, edit wars and debates about which version is "best" might be avoided. CES 14:46, 24 May 2006 (UTC)


I put the "widely applicable" sentence in there. I was referring to situations like Ambassador Magma: the anime is "Ambassador Magma" in both countries, the live action is "Ambassador Magma" in Japan and "Space Giants" in the US. Both names are about equally well known. However, "Ambassador Magma" is a better name because it applies to all versions, while "Space Giants" doesn't. Ken Arromdee 15:40, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Requested change:
"Always redirect to all common forms of a name, and be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles."
"Always make redirects for all common forms of a name, be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles, and use the same naming scheme consistently throughout all articles related to the series." (i.e. Either "Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba" OR "Serena Tsukino and Darien Shields" NOT "Usagi Tsukino and Darien Shields".) --Kunzite 01:37, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Ken, I see your intent ... still, I worry a little bit about using the word "applicable" as I think it could run into problems of interpretation. It might be best to leave it on a case by case basis unless someone can think of good wording. Adding Kunzite's modification, and a little one of my own, how does this sound:

"For a fictional character (i.e., a character from a movie, a novel, manga or anime), use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers. This is often the official English-language version, but in some cases other versions may be more widely known. If several versions are equally well known, reach a consensus regarding the most appropriate name on the corresponding talk page. Always make redirects for all common forms of a name, be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles, and use the same naming scheme consistently throughout all articles related to the series."

CES 02:40, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Well, the issue really arises for fictional names, not fictional characters--object names and series names, for instance. You could change that to 'fictional name, but I don't like the idea of setting in stone the idea that we need to name an article "Tetsusaiga". Some consideration should be given to not perpetuating mistakes. Ken Arromdee 21:01, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Ok ... fictional names then. I'm not really sure that changes much. And again, I personally disagreed with the decision to put the page at "Tessaiga" when both common usage and the "official" English name said Tetsusaiga. If issues need to be clarified I think it should be done in the article body, not article title. As I said earlier, when do words like "hooch" and "tycoon" stop being Japanese mistakes and start being correct English? That's the whole point of the common use rule, to prevent disputes over what is the "correct" name. CES 21:09, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
At least mention that there is controversy over using the rule when one version is a mistake. We've pretty much got consensus about most of the rest, but not about that issue. Ken Arromdee 15:59, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, what would be the best policy? Personally I would favor something along the lines of "Use common usage even if it might be considered a mistake and/or differs from the original Japanese" but the Tessaiga example would suggest correcting for transliteration/romanization mistakes. I don't like the thought of a prescriptive rule for article titles, but that is the precedent set earlier. CES 18:13, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that we should only support the incorrect translation if the common usage is far more common than the correct one, or if the correct translation is virtualy unknown. Once again, *shivers at the thought of seeing Skull Knight listed as "Knight of Skeleton"* In general, the most accepable and/or correct translation/transliteration should be the tiebreaking factor. I really don't think it's a good idea to prepetuate bad translations. (on a sidenote, why didn't Vis go back and fix it's old volumes when they reprint like most other groups these days do?) -Aknorals 09:45, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I think the best policy would have "incorrect translation" skew the decision but not completely: if an incorrect translation is overwhelmingly more well-known, we should use it, but if it's just a little more well-known, we shouldn't. Ken Arromdee 20:58, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I have reservations about such a "correct clause" but how about something like this:
"For fictional characters and works of fiction (e.g. movies, novels, manga or anime), use the version of the name that is most commonly recognized by English speakers. This is often the official English-language version, but in some cases other versions may be more widely known. If several versions are approximately equally well known, reach a consensus regarding the most appropriate name on the corresponding talk page. In general, when several versions are equally well known, a translation or transliteration that corresponds with the existing policies of the Manual of Style (Japan-related articles) is suggested. Always make redirects for all common forms of a name, be consistant in usage when the name appears in other articles, and use the same naming scheme consistently throughout all articles related to the series."
Also, aren't the last two phrases a bit redundant? Could " It seems like just a more specific version of the previous "be consistant in usage ..." phrase. CES 13:45, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't like that version, precisely because of how it's handling the incorrect name situation. That version says to always use the more popular name regardless of whether it's correct.

Back when there was no rule at all on the subject, things were fine. Now that we're making a rule, the rule should only include areas where we have a reasonable consensus. Using incorrect names does *not* have a consensus behind it. I suggest using one of the shorter versions of the rule from above but adding a disclaimer that the rule isn't meant to apply when the English version is outright erroneous. Ken Arromdee 16:07, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

And I would simply disagree with a policy that essentially says "follow common usage except for when editors don't like it." It's not that I'm not sympathetic ... I personally wince every time I see a Japanese name in western order, see a transliteration that doesn't follow Hepburn (or any other system for that matter), or see a translation that's not quite in line with the original (all of which many would argue is not "correct"). But readers' common usage trumps editors' aesthetics. And it's not just my opinion, it's Wikipedia convention. A policy that (to paraphase your earlier posts) suggests common usage in most cases, common usage when an incorrect version is "overwhelmingly more well-known", and "correct" usage when an incorrect version is "just a little more well-known" with the big caveat that "correct" usage is suggested when the common usage is "outright erroneous" opens itself up to many problems of interpretation, not to mention that it goes against the very clear common usage policy of Wikipedia. This argument favoring a "correct" version is little better than the previous arguments for an "official" version. Common usage should trump both. In any case, is this even a significant problem? Other than that Tessaiga case, are there other "outright erroneous" translations or transliterations that you have in mind? CES 17:44, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, I didn't know of any. Someone mentioned "Knight of Skeleton", but one could argue that that's just a very poor choice of translation rather than an outright error, and "Knight of Skeleton" probably fails the well known test anyway. The names in Zone of the Enders were unarguably mistranslated because they are real places on Mars, but the Wikipedia article about the series doesn't have enough detail to even mention the place names.
But even if Tessaiga is the only article that'll be affected, I don't want to see a rule put into place that will force Tessaiga to be renamed. This was already discussed and we should not be trying to overturn a long discussion by adding a section that suddenly negates it. Ken Arromdee 20:23, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
The reason for my question is that if it's not a major (or even minor) concern, why even mention it in the policy? It sounds like most of the debates are over "official" versus unofficial names, which is covered by the version of the proposed policy before the last addition. The sentence regarding "If several versions are approximately equally well known, reach a consensus regarding the most appropriate name on the corresponding talk page" would possibly give justification to Tessaiga, as it was the consensus decision in that case. It allows for a little flexibility to incorporate some of the "correctness" and "applicability" arguments above without mentioning them explicitly. CES 20:42, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
The reason to mention it is that if you don't mention it, this policy can be interpreted as immediately overturning the Tessiaga decision by fiat, and I don't like the idea of a policy doing this. I suppose your comments here are enough to prevent it from being interpreted that way, so I'll withdraw my objection, as long as nobody uses the section as an excuse to rename the article. Ken Arromdee 15:49, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think this policy will stir up old flames ... but the "correct vs. common" debate will probably need to be revisited at some point in the future. Personally I think the Tessaiga case will be a moot point in time ... a Google search shows that usage of Tessaiga is steadily gaining on Tetsusaiga (although it would be interesting to know if the decision here on Wikipedia influenced that at all!). But I don't think this is the place for that debate and it would be nice to put this naming issue to rest for now. Changing the subject, does anyone have any thoughts on whether that last phrase ("and use the same naming scheme consistently throughout all articles related to the series") can or should be removed? CES 17:49, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I have a query for people.. if high-speed internet access and digisubbing had been as prevalent 10 years ago as it is now, would we be arguing over renaming Ash Ketchum to Satoshi (Pokémon)? Shiroi Hane 16:25, 3 June 2006 (UTC)