Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/More macrons discussion

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Yet again on diacritics

I'm sure some of you are getting tired of the issue. Please bear with me. I am extremely dissatisfied with the current style guide. I started with a post on Talk:Japan. There are a few relevant responses.

I would like to advocate macrons in all context -- including names and places -- where appropriate. Thus, I would like to see Tōkyō, Ōsaka, Kōbe, Hokkaidō, Jōmon, Shinzō Abe, Jun'ichirō Koizumi, daimyō etc.

In my experience, texts written for the lay person often do not include macrons, while more professional texts do use macrons. You gain a level of credibility by applying diacritics where appropriate. I would hope that Wikipedia would strive to be as professional and detailed as possible.

It is easy for a reader to ignore a macron. However, it is much more difficult to infer a macron if it is not there altogether. This is information loss.

There are a few counter-arguments that I have heard and would like to reply to.

  • Argument: It is difficult or annoying to type diacritics.
Response: Every edit page includes the required diacritics. If that is still too difficult, then do not use them. Let others come alone later to fix the spelling as appropriate, just like all other misspelled words. No one is forcing you to use them. However, the current guidelines restrict my usage of them.
  • Diacritics in entry titles make it difficult for people to find the article.
Response: Wikipedia has a great redirect system. This can, and often is, used to help people find specific articles even if they do not get the spelling exactly right. Even if the entry title does not use diacritics, the main text should be allowed to use them when appropriate.

Wikipedia is Unicode-based. There should not be any technological reasons holding it back.

At present, pages use a mixture of macrons and no macrons. This seems inconsistent and only invites confusion and misunderstanding by readers.

There are so many exceptions. And what one person considers common English often others will not. A dictionary helps sometimes, but people and place names are just not possible. To me, Shinzo Abe and Tokyo are simply misspelled, period. It is extremely grating on the eyes and makes me think that Wikipedia is not a serious encyclopedia.

I would like to simply all of these exceptions by simply allowing diacritics where appropriate.

I really hope that something can be done to improve this situation. I see so much untapped potential for Wikipedia. Please do not let this continue to hold it back any more. Bendono 04:57, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Consistency would be nice. Macrons don't help out so much when they aren't consistently used on all articles because in a title without macrons you wouldn't know if all the vowels are all single-length vowels or if some are double-length and it was decided to not use macrons in that title for some reason. Bendono, I see you know lots of arguments for the cause of using macrons. I was wondering if you would happen to know why Wikipedia prefers to use it's own romanized version of a name as opposed to the officially romanized name or the most commonly used romanized names. Official names and commonly used names are usually used in articles not related to Japan. By the way, I finally figured out how to type in the macrons. I made a page to help others learn to. Articles in the Wikipedia namespace don't have to sound formal, do they? Wikipedia:Macron. Jecowa 07:27, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Why does there need to be a page explaining what's found below every edit box on Wikipedia? That's all you need to know in order to use macrons if you don't know the alt-code off the top of your head. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 07:53, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I was just thinking about the macrons. Using them in every page would help people pronounce those names correctly, but only if they understood the way that macrons are used in words from Japan and as long as they know that word is from Japan. Other people that were taught in grade school that "Ā" makes the sound of "a" as in "cake," that "Ī" makes the sound of "i" as in "time," that "Ū" makes the sound of "u" as in "lute," that "Ē" makes the sound of "e" as in "Pete," and that "Ō" makes the sound of "o" as in "tone" will have trouble pronouncing them. I used to have a hard time with macrons until I learned that they are pronounced completely different then what I was taught in school, except for "Ū" and "Ō," which are similar. Jecowa 09:10, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I am completely in support of Bendono's assertion. For the sake of consistency, accuracy, and professionalism, I would love to see macrons on everything. At first I was annoyed by the various diacritics in other languages that I don't understand, recognize, or know how to pronounce. I was annoyed that articles like Curaçao and any number of German and Scandinavian articles would use non-English letters, and that any number of articles would use accent marks. This is the English Wikipedia, and things should be rendered in English. But, you know what? There is no need to dumb things down for the English-language reader, to Anglo-centrize them. Even when I disapproved of accents, essets, and that C-with-a-curlyque thing, I knew that a word like "quinceanera" instead of "quinceañera" was just plain wrong; misspelled. The same goes here. "Kyoto" without the macron is truly just as much a misspelling as is Kioto or Kiouto. Sumo and daimyo, without macrons, are just as wrong as is "pinata" instead of "piñata". And Ono no Azumabito is not the same person as Ōno no Azumabito; they're not even in the same clan. In order to be more professional, academic, accurate, and sensitive to global multiculturalism, I think we truly need to move away from Anglocentric ideas of spelling. LordAmeth 11:40, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
The argument is superficial, because the romaji (and hence macrons) are not part of the Japanese language at all. (In Japanese, kanji and kana are what matters.) So in essence, we cannot look to any Japanese language sources. We can only look to English language sources, such as English dictionaries and/or any other official English spelling provided by the person/organization in question. Plus, if the un-macronned spelling is much more commmon in English, we honor it. At least that's what I believe it says in the WP:MOS-JA, based on what we decided before. Therefore, it's Kodansha (not Kōdansha), based on official spelling. It's Tokyo (not Tōkyō), based on common usage.--Endroit 18:34, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
The English spelling is most certainly based on the Japanese (kanji, kana). For example, in Japanese there is 東京 or とうきょう. In English, it is not given an arbitrary name such as Sarbaxia (choose anything that you like). Instead, the spelling is a close approximation: Tōkyō. Such a spelling is unambiguous and automatically round-trips between scripts. The spelling Tokyo, on the other hand, does not automatically round-trip. It is not possible to infer the long vowel in the non-macron version. Ride a train to Tōkyō station. The first thing you should notice upon arrival is the spelling, in big letters: Tōkyō.
Human beings are lazy. They will try to get away without writing macrons if they can. In the past, before Unicode, there were many competing character sets and encodings. This often limited what people could write or exchange. During the days of typewriters, while not impossible, it was more difficult to type diacritics. There are a lot of old policies that are not relevant any more. Bendono 01:29, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
While the macron spellings may be based on the Japanese characters, they are not actually the "Japanese spellings" because the Japanese language does not use Roman characters. WhisperToMe 01:36, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Actually, to a limited extent, Japanese does use the Latin script. Please refer to Japanese_writing_system. English as used in Japan (en-JP), such as Tōkyō Station, does use macrons. Tōkyō is not the "Japanese spelling"; it is the "English spelling". Bendono 01:58, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
If you are talking about numerals, those are Hindu-Arabic - The rare times Roman characters are seen are borrowed words/expressions/names from the west.
Usually, when Japanese people or groups uses Latin script for personal or company, they tend to be sans macrons (i.e. Junichiro Koizumi, Chieko Nohno or Noono, etc. JR uses macrons, but for the train station names. "Tōkyō Station" is used that way because JR uses macrons. WhisperToMe 02:04, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Not only JR. All of the train lines that I am aware of use macrons. It is simply the more correct, formal, spelling. All other forms are abbreviations, short-hand. Over my many years in Japan, I have noticed an increasing amount of signs switching to the macron version for English.
As for living people, people generally do not want diacritics in their name. Japanese names are officially recorded in a koseki (family registry). This can not contain a Latin spelling. Thus, there is no official Latin spelling. Japan does not issue passports with macrons. You may choose to ignore the length or insert an "h" in its place (ie, Ōno, not to be confused with Ono, becomes Ono or Ohno). If you base your decision on passports, then all names, past and present, as well as place names, should be stripped of macrons without exception. At the very least be consistent. Scholarly texts, as opposed to general newspaper articles, will often use the macron form, both for people and place names. We can debate people's names without end if you like, but without resolve. Therefore I am trying to focus on places. Both exhibit the exact same macron issue. Bendono 02:28, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
"Japanese names are officially recorded in a koseki (family registry). This can not contain a Latin spelling. Thus, there is no official Latin spelling." - That is not true. The "Shinzo Abe" seen on the Japanese Government website is, not in any way, unofficial. Authors choose how their names are romanized on Western editions of books. If the said individual has knowledge of English or Western languages, he or she can choose his or her own romanization. I.E. look at AQi Fzono - Also, do not worry about readers not understanding romanization/and or pronunciation; it will always be their fault on Wikipedia. Along with non-standard romanizations, standard romanizations always follow the nonstandard romanization. WhisperToMe 04:45, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
A website, even run by the Japanese Government, does not make it the English official. English usage in Japan is non-normative. Look at the situation with laws. There have been several English translations of Japanese laws available. The Japanese government recently announced that they would start providing English translations over the next few years. However, it has been clarified that these English translations are non-normative and that the courts will only rely upon the original Japanese. The English versions, even if produced by the Japanese government, are not official and are merely informative.
If Abe chooses to spell his name as Shinzo, fine, but that is a nickname. Daily, I go by a nickname as well (I shorten my first name and ignore my middle name). In Japanese, I write my name in kanji. However, as has been pointed out to me many times, none of that is my official name. Therefore I am forced to spell out my full name on many occasions, both in the US and in Japan. My official name is defined on my birth certificate. Abe's name is defined on his koseki, in Japanese.
As for author's choosing their romanized name, 大野晋 (Ōno Susumu) uses several forms in his published books. I know of at least Ohno and Ono. (I can give specific book information tonight.) Regardless, his name is still Susumu Ōno (in English order). Bendono 05:35, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
However, I believe that there's no choice of romanization method when it comes to obtaining a passport. A Japanese linguist friend of mine is probably not alone in detesting Hepburn but grudgingly using it as it's what appears in his passport: it's just too laborious to have to explain that "Nisikawa" is merely his preferred version of what the state dictates is written as "Nishikawa". I believe that the state disallows macrons in the required pseudo-Hepburn. -- Hoary 05:16, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't know what is required, but several years ago, I had a very long discussion with the passport people at the prefecture office when they tried to dictate the romaji spelling of my wife's new last name based on the katakana. After a few kachos and buchos were brought into the discussion, they finally relented. I don't think I would have been able to explain to the US immigration people why Naiya and Neier were equal. (People familiar with Japanese will also appreciate the strange looks I get whenever I respond to a request for my last name) ;-) Neier 06:27, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I read above, first: [a] The argument is superficial, because [b] the romaji (and hence macrons) are not part of the Japanese language at all (with my insertions of "[a]" and "[b]"). Putting aside [a] for a moment, [b] is certainly true (however, keep reading). And secondly: While [c] macron spellings may be based on the Japanese characters, they are not actually the "Japanese spellings" because [d] Japanese language does not use Roman characters (my insertions of "[c]" and "[d]"). Again, putting aside [c], [d] is right. And the Japanese language doesn't use kana, etc., either. Rather, it happens that L1 writers of Japanese usually do so with what is largely a mixture of kanji and kana. Now back to [a]. This matter has nothing to do with "what is part of the Japanese language" and instead has everything to do with what's informative and otherwise helpful for the reader of en:WP. Some people interpret the latter to mean what's less likely to cause initial confusion to the reader of en:WP who knows very little and has a short attention-span. However, since the justification for illustrations of human naughty bits in articles about sex is that they're informative and their viewer/readers can be presumed to be adult, articles using Japanese names can also assume maturity in their readers. Maturity implies, inter alia, the ability to tolerate initial unfamiliarity. Helpfulness is not limited to what will contribute to making the reader feel immediately at ease. And I don't see the teaching of idiosyncratic phonetic symbols in some grade schools (why the hell didn't they use IPA?) as a reason not to use Hepburn macrons. Ergo, let's use macrons. ¶ To my mind, the problem is that both existing approaches (Kunrei/Nippon, Hepburn) to the romanization of Japanese suck, but at least readers of en:WP can be presumed to be familiar with the oddities of English spelling, so I suppose that the heavily-English-influenced Hepburn isn't so bad here. -- Hoary 05:10, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
As above, I'm in favor of macronless Tokyo, Osaka, etc; but, I'm becoming less sure of the reasons why... LordAmeth's views of consistency and accuracy certainly raise good points. As far as relying on common dictionary spellings, though, what are we going to do when wikipedia starts embedding audio clips to pronounce each word? I think that the "popular" English pronunciation of karaoke, karate, geisha (maybe), and some other words are not correct. These words all have common pronunciations... and, don't say that we should rely on the dictionary: http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/karaoke does not list the correct pronunciation in any of the four options. When I consider that, then, I have a hard time endorsing dictionary references and common usage over "correctness". Neier 00:34, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Since, for example, the Tokyo article starts "Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō..." I think the bases are covered well enough. Shiroi Hane 00:41, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Bendono's argument about information loss. It's not difficult for a reader who doesn't understand what macrons mean for them to ignore them and read the word anyway. But for a reader who does understand the meaning, if only "Tokyo" is written then they are unable to infer correct pronunciation.
Also, can somebody summarise the argument for using the macronless versions for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, sumo etc? I'm slowly being convinced by LordAmeth's argument that using the macroned versions across the board would be a good idea. What we have right now is a bit of a mess. Bobo12345 04:13, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 1

Tangentially, as I sit here at this Japanese computer with a Japanese keyboard in Japan, I am utterly unable to find a way to type a macron on a Japanese keyboard, and I have been cutting and pasting throughout my participation in the discussion. By the way, of the three train lines I use, none uses macrons in the names of train stations. I think the argument above about JR should be put aside for now and we should concentrate on others. Dekimasu 06:58, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Unless you have modified your keyboard, macrons are not directly available. There are many ways to enter them. However, for Wikipedia, please notice that all edit screens have all of the diacritics available right below the "Save page" button. Scroll down just a little more and you should find it. That is probably the easiest way to enter them for most users. Bendono 07:35, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
You have to change your keyboard layout to enter macrons. There is a page explaining how to type macrons at Wikipedia:Macron. It's being deleted in about a week, so read it while it is still here. Jecowa 07:52, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

As for the others, I am looking over Neier's comment above, and the fact that none of the English pronunciations of karaoke is correct in Japanese seems to be a good indicator of why we shouldn't be using the macronned forms indiscriminately. Karate, for example, is now an English word with an English pronunciation that differs from the Japanese, and that is okay! English speakers don't seem to have any qualms about slaughtering Latin, French, and German stems on a regular basis. Conversely, Japanese itself doesn't have any qualms about calling the Hanshin Tigers the taigasu instead of the taigazu. Adding macrons will not stop English speakers from slaughtering Japanese, anyway. Unless we are going to get much more in-depth about naming articles after their pronunciation, no one will be able to tell the difference in pronunciation between, say, hashi (bridge) and hashi (chopsticks), ame (rain) and ame candy, etc. Dekimasu 06:58, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Macrons are not only for pronunciation. It is a matter of spelling. English has words with diacritics as well: café, cliché, communiqué, naïve, première, piñata, résumé, smörgåsbord, jalapeño, and many more. Of course, some people choose to not write the diacritics though. The diacritics do not help me pronounce the words in English. It is just part of the spelling and something to memorize, or at least understand when you come across such words. I note that I can read and understand the words, without special knowledge of the etymology, both with and without the diacritics. However, if the diacritics were not there in the first place, I would not be able to infer the correct diacritics from their absence (ie, data loss).
Words like karaoke and karate are now English words with their own pronunciation. That is not a problem. English has borrowed much from Latin, French and other languages, but of course pronounce them differently. However, we consistently spell "karaoke" as "karaoke", and not with "carry-okee" or other such spellings. Same with "karate". We do not spell it "kuraty" or "carraty". Spelling and pronunciation, especially true for English, are two different concepts. Spelling may be an initial hint at the pronunciation, but it can not replace IPA. Macrons, and diacritics in general, are just a matter of orthography (spelling). Bendono 07:35, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
"Macrons, and diacritics in general, are just a matter of orthography (spelling)." --This, I believe, is simply wrong. The correct spelling in English is Tokyo, not Tōkyō. What you are trying to do has some value, but it is not accepted English. And since it is not accepted English, if it was the case that this is simply a matter of spelling, there would be no reason to make the changes. Dekimasu 17:04, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Evidence? Is there an offically registered English spelling that you can refer me to? I am sure that you can find examples of Tokyo, but I can also find examples of Tōkyō, too. Neither Tokyo or Tōkyō may be officially "correct", but in the absence of an officially registered spelling, a close transcription of the source language is the best that can be done. Either be consistant and put macrons where they belong for all words, or remove them all in entirety, including Ōita and Kyūshū. Bendono 00:29, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Indiscriminate use of macrons and romaji would perhaps require you to do this:
Indiscriminate use of diacritics and local romanizations in city names would perhaps require you to do this:
It's excessive. It's not really English. You've got to draw the line somewhere. Let me know when you want to seriously discuss where to draw the line. Wikipedia is not a diacritic encyclopedia.--Endroit 08:21, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I think that some of the examples you mentioned are company names and therefore would not be changed to their macronised versions. However a company wishes to spell its own name in English is its own business. Toshiba would remain Toshiba. For this reason I did not rename Oita Asahi Broadcasting or Oita Trinita to the macronised versions. Also, all the city names you quoted look fine to me. As long as the non-diacritic versions redirect to the correct place, then I don't see the problem.* Anyway, we're just talking about the policy for Japanese articles so let's not expand this discussion any wider than it needs to be. Bobo12345 09:07, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
*I just rexamined the list of cities and realised most of them are not sensible. The key difference with the macronised version of Tōkyō instead of Tokyo compared to Moskva and Moscow is that macrons can be ignored completely by the lay reader and still get the spelling they were expecting. Not so with Moskva which looks like a completely different word. Comparisons of macronised Japanese with the romanisation systems of other languages doesn't seem very helpful to this debate to me. Bobo12345 09:26, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I am in complete agreement with Bobo12345 here. Bendono 09:25, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Really? So Tōshiba and other company names are not macronned? ALL company names? So you're NOT going to macron everything any more? How about personal names?
What about English words of Japanese origin?
So how exactly will you draw the line, Bendono & others? What is your criteria, and how do you propose to change the rules? I'm all ears.--Endroit 15:20, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Company names are officially registered and decided upon by the company. That includes English orthography. ソニー in English is Sony, not Sonī. These official registrations can be looked up at appropriate official locations (city hall, etc.). The English names do not even have to be remotely similar. A location, on the other hand, such as Tōkyō does not have an officially registered English name and no entity has the authority to decide one either. While 九州 recently became Kyūshū, Kyushu University did not change. The university decided upon that, and I can not change that. Japanese (people) names are officially registered in koseki (family register), in Japanese. You can confirm someone's koseki at their nearby city hall (区役所 etc). A person may go by a nickname, as I do, but that does not make it the official name. All of these things have been discussed already, so it should not be relavent to repeat all of the issues. If there is a possibility of confusion, pages can be redirected. Bendono 22:28, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Don't forget Mazda when you talk about companies. Despite what the page says about gods, no Japanese person will know what you're talking about unless you call it Matsuda. See Shigejiro Matsuda for an example of how a Japanese person writes a Mazda article (I know, I should fix it up instead of just complaining). And the fact that we would be changing Osaka to Ōsaka, but TV Osaka, Osaka Gas, and others would remain the same. Dekimasu 17:04, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

This is English Wikipedia. マツダ has officially registered their company name in Japan as マツダ, and as Mazda in other countries. That is their prerogative. One can confirm those registrations at appropriate institutions. Personal names are also officially registered. Names differing from that registration are nicknames or pseudonyms. I have a preferred spelling of my name (both in English and in Japanese). While I use it about 99.9% of the time, I can not use it for official documents. It is not my choice. Bendono 00:44, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely, and it's supposed to be gojira, not godzilla if you use romaji.--Endroit 17:11, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
It does not always come down to romanization. It is about officially registered names. For the US, it is defined in a birth certificate. For Japan, it is in a koseki (family registery). I can not speak for other countries. Company names are officially registered at appropriate government institutions. International businesses still need to re-register their company name in foriegn companies. These fillings are freely available for confirmation. As godzilla / gojira is not a location or person, I do not have any strong feelings on the issue either way. Bendono 22:44, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Maybe we could also move the Japan article to "Nippon." Jecowa 21:18, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Redirects already exist for both Nippon and Nihon. Bendono 22:44, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Orthographic merits and demerits aside, the fact remains that the current system is much cleaner. If a city is known as Tokyo in English, we write Tokyo. Since Ōita is unknown in English, we write Ōita. Your system, while verifiable, (a) is much more difficult to maintain than the current system, and (b) while systematic, will give the appearance of chaos because articles with associated names (like Osaka City and Osaka Gas above) will be shown differently in their respective articles. Edit: I see you have noted this above in the case of the current system, when you said that "At present, pages use a mixture of macrons and no macrons. This seems inconsistent and only invites confusion and misunderstanding by readers." However, I believe the current standard is straightforward. Readers are unlikely to be surprised to see an obscure article have a macronned title. Dekimasu 23:51, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Tōkyō is not known in English to me as Tokyo. Professionally edited, scholarly texts do often use the macron version. If you insist on Tokyo, then Ōita and Kyūshū should also become Oita and Kyushu, respectively. Be consistant and remove macrons from all Japanese words. It is not my preferance, but at least it is consistant. Many publishing houses have similar policies for no diacritics. Bendono 00:52, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/ - one WhisperToMe 00:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
What is it that you wish to say? Let me match your Tokyo with the one found at Tōkyō station. As already established, multiple forms exist. The official name is 東京. As English is non-normative in Japan, it's not even legally recognized, no individual, whether it is the state, JR or otherwise, has the authority to establish an official English rendering. Here is another link for thought: [1]
Why honor Tokyo, but then choose Ōita? That is inconsisant. Bendono 02:59, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Why not honor both Tokyo and Oita with sans macron titles? Jecowa 03:26, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I thought we were to title our articles with consideration of common usage and official names, not of scholarly texts. Jecowa 02:27, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
What is common for one person is not for another. To me, Tōkyō and Shinzō are both common and the only forms that I would expect to find. Bendono 02:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
You are conflating society's "common usage" with what is "common usage" to one person (yourself). The naming conventions are not asking you for your opinion. Dekimasu 06:35, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Just like you, I am also a part of society. Common usage is usage that is common to all members of that society. If there is variation, it is not common. I thought that we had covered this discussion earlier.
The history book I was just reading last weekend, with text written in English, used "Ōsaka", "Tōkyō", "daimyō, and other terms. As far as I noticed, it used macrons for all words where appropriate. I did not author or edit the book. They did not even ask me for my opinion. But I must say that I highly approve. Bendono 06:47, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
"official names"? Officially, the location is 東京, not Tōkyō or Tokyo. We can not expect the average reader to be able to read the official name, so we choose to transliterate it. The same issue is true for names. Note that there is a section in the linked article about not over doing it, too. There is also a Precise section. How are words such as Ōita, Kyūshū, and Kantō more "common" than Oita, Kyushu, or Kanto? Be consistent. If you will recognize macrons for some words (such as above), then accept them for all words. If you insist on removing the macrons, then remove them from all Japanese words, without exception. I do not desire non-macron versions, but I prefer consistency by remove them from all than the current mix. Be consistent. Bendono 02:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean to say that Ōita, Kyūshū, and Kantō are more "common" than Oita, Kyushu, or Kanto. I meant it the other way around, except for Kyūshū, which is a little more common that Kyushu, but Oita and Kanto are very much more common than Ōita and Kantō. Overall, however, I believe the macron forms are less common than the macron forms, and I think we could spell Kyūshū as Kyushu for consistency's sake. Jecowa 03:26, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I can accept that logic. May I take that a vote to remove macrons from all Japanese terms, without exception? Bendono 04:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Just because JR uses macrons for Tokyo Station doesn't mean macrons should be used for Tokyo. Bendono, Tokyo and Tokyo Station are two separate articles, two separate things, and therefore require two separate approaches to naming conventions. For the former, we choose Tokyo because it is official (the Metropolitan Government is as official as you can get) - We chose macrons for the latter becasue it is official (JR uses macrons) WhisperToMe 03:05, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
"Tōkyō is not known in English to me as Tokyo." This is the problem in a nutshell. "We can not expect the average reader to be able to read the official name, so we choose to transliterate it." Certainly not. The intention here is not to transliterate the source language. Despite the fact that the English word simply is Tokyo, pronounced as in TOKIO, it seems you will never accept it since no one is regulating the English name for the city. Dekimasu 04:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Tokyo is no more English than Tōkyō. Spelling and pronunciation are entirely separate issues. Bendono 04:26, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it is. What is the point of adding macrons at all if they are irrelevant to pronunciation? In that case, we may as well discard all macrons forever. Dekimasu 04:31, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
The intention of a macron is to convey pronunction. However, it will be lost upon many people. The same is true of other diacritics. Look at this very partial list: List of English words with diacritics. How many of these help you with pronunciation? It may help some people, but I doubt it would mean too much to the average reader.
Quote: "we may as well discard all macrons forever". Are you of an opinion to completely remove macrons from all Japanese words? Put simply, all or none. Bendono 04:50, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
We can use the macronned orthography for Ōita because the word is not established in English. However, it is undoubtably the case that if Ōita becomes famous, it will lose its macron and start to be pronounced differently. That is because the macron is simply not used in standard English orthography and, when included, will be glossed over by uninformed readers until Oita becomes standard usage. People who know Japanese will also know its Japanese pronunciation. Therefore, if you have to choose for complete consistency (and we don't!) I'd be forced to say that using no macrons at all is better. Dekimasu 04:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Both Ōita and Oita are established in English. Even the "official" Ōita webpage spells it as Oita, just like the "official" Tōkyō webpage spells it as Tokyo. Oita is probably more common. Preferrably, I would like macrons for all words. However, if that is not an option, then for consistency, I would prefer no macrons at all. May I interpret your statement ("I'd be forced to say that using no macrons at all is better") as support for this? Bendono 04:26, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
It's unavoidable that when words move between languages the spelling and pronunciation will change. Even if we're trying to prevent that from ever happening in the case of Japanese figures who are currently obscure in the Western world, the macron is not a solution. The "Sigezirou Matsuda" article is stuck at Shigejiro Matsuda now. If you're a defender of pronunciation, honestly, it would be better off ending up at Shigejirou than Shigejirō. Dekimasu 04:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Macrons are part of the spelling. Actually pronunciation is a separate issue. That is what IPA is for. I do not argue for macrons for phonological reasons. Bendono 04:29, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Again, it is not. English is non-normative in Japan. Japan can not dictate English spelling. I short my name for daily use. It is my body and mind and while I should be able to dictate official policy for myself, my name is in fact officially and legally defined on my birth certificate, in English. My webpage does not change that. I do not have a Japanese koseki and therefore my official name in Japan must be written in Latin script. Again, my preference and webpage does not change that. English is not an officially, legally recognized language (公用語) in Japan. Therefore, it can not define an official English spelling. Tōkyō / Tokyo is officially 東京. The English rendition is not theirs to decide.
A distinguishing between "Tokyo" and "Tōkyō Station" implies that they are not related to each other. It must be a fluke that "Tōkyō Station" just happens to be in "Tokyo". Actually, the English sign merely says "Tōkyō", not "Tōkyō Station". Bendono 04:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
"Japan can not dictate English spelling." This is precisely why the city page needs to be at Tokyo instead of Tōkyō. Romanization does not equal English. Established English should always take precedence. Do you think the Japanese Wikipedia should move the ピザ article to ピッツァ? Dekimasu 04:24, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Established English, including professionally published sources, has both forms: Tōkyō and Tokyo. This is the English version of Wikipedia. As such, it is not the appropriate forum to decide upon the Japanese Wikipedia. However, I will note that ピザ was borrowed from Italian, not English. And I should also note that there is already a redirect for ja:ピッツァ to ja:ピザ. Bendono 04:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Of course I don't actually want to make the change or dictate policy to the JA Wiki, and I meant to talk about borrowed words in general, not just those from English. I am simply making the parallel point that the Japanese page states "イタリア語: pizza、ピッツァ" and thus recognizes an alternate form but dismisses its use in the title as a foreign language. Dekimasu 04:57, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I realize I'm getting a bit testy and I don't mean to offend. I hope we're still in the realm of useful debate, but if I've left the arena, let me know. Dekimasu 04:26, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
This is a heated discussion. I do not take offense so easily. Bendono 04:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

"I do not argue for macrons for phonological reasons." All right. Maybe we're making progress. The American Heritage Dictionary says that a macron is "a diacritical mark placed above a vowel to indicate a long sound or phonetic value in pronunciation." Macrons are phonological and thus Tōkyō represents the Japanese pronunciation. But let's set that aside. Dekimasu 04:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I replied to this point in the previous comment. Please refer to that. Bendono 05:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 2

The other points raised sum up the argument for using the most common form: (a) English is non-normative in Japan, i.e., there are no words officially written with or without macrons in Japan; and (b) English is non-regulated in English-speaking countries, i.e., there are no words officially written in any form at all in English. Now all we have to do is think about what the most common form is. We can take this (1) case-by-case, or (2) as a whole for consistency. If (1), we have the situation as it is now. Tokyo is more common than Tōkyō (see the Google results higher on this page). Shigejirō Matsuda is just as well known as Shigejiro Matsuda in the English-speaking world, so take your pick. If (2), we are forced to discard all macrons because they are not common in English. Dekimasu 04:48, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for the mini summary. I think it generally reflects some of the points that I have tried to make.
(1) Case-by-case is nothing more than one person's opinion over another. The arguments will never end. I argue for Tōkyō and every other word; others argue for the non-macron version. So, that leaves option (2). It is not my preference, but given the two choices, at least it is consistent. I do not wish to re-hash the same argument as above, but there is also one more choice to consider: (3) Accept macrons. Even if this was initially accepted for only place names and / or people, it would be a great advancement. I still wish for consistency; however the issue could be re-evaluated for other cases at a later time. Bendono 05:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
To the comment a bit above, but also to this, my reply is that I am not ready to give up on (1) for the sake of consistency. "Simply put, all or none" is not a decision that we are forced to make. I agree that this has become a matter of opinion. You can disagree with the style guide, but it is not wrong. You think that "most common usage" creates inconsistency and reflects one person's opinion over another. I think that it reflects reality, in which the city is most commonly known as Tokyo and obscure topics about Japan are mostly known by professionals who use diacritics. Dekimasu 05:13, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
By that argument, common usage would require Kyushu, Oita, Kanto, Hokkaido, etc. While not as well known as Tōkyō, these places are hardly "obscure topics". Realistically, out of a random group of 10 people, how many do you think would know that the current prime minister is Shinzō Abe, or that the previous one was Jun'ichirō Koizumi? I can only speculate, but I would guess they are about as well known as Kyūshū or Hokkaidō.
It is not merely common usage that creates inconsistency. It is Tokyo lined up next to Kyūshū. The common usage would make both without macrons. This is what I find inconsistent.
I have tried to argue in favor for macrons because I think it is more professional, accurate, and consistent. By removing macrons in their entirety, we can at least be consistent, while losing professional and accurate. It is a compromise, but it at least has merits. Bendono 05:37, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Just to summarise the current position on place names. The WP:MOS-JP (which is the written on the basis of long-term consensus) currently states that:

  • 8. City names should include macrons in all cases, except for Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. These cities are well-known around the world already.
  • 9. Likewise, prefecture names should include macrons in all cases, except for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto. The capitals of these three prefectures are well-known around the world already.
  • 10. Island names should always include macrons.

...and in the "Prefectures and macrons" discussion above the consensus was reinforced that only Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are to be written on Wikipedia without macrons. All other place names are to use the macronised equivalent, if applicable. This is the current status quo.

I would argue that macrons should be used for all place names, including Tōkyō, Ōsaka and Kyōtō because these are the forms used in academic texts (which I believe Wikipedia should strive to be) and because readers who don't understand macrons can just ignore them and still get the spelling they were expecting. I would also like to see this extended to the names of people as well. But I realise that this is a contentious issue and one that is hard to achieve consensus on without pages and pages of circular arguments (see above!). So for now, I'm just going to go with the status quo. Bobo12345 07:03, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Just as a clarification; while points 8, 9, and 10 are new, and were updated by me a few days ago as a result of the discussions above (where consensus was reached on the cities in question), that particular discussion was framed in the context that "macrons are ok, except in special cases", which -is- a long standing policy here. (for better or worse). The new additions simply clarify the dividing point of the special cases. Neier 08:22, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Please vote on Kōbe above. Point 8 may need to be revised. (Kōbe was added recently. Please add other major/internationally renowned cities if there are any others.)--Endroit 17:01, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

In my own English articles aimed at general readers I prefer to use macrons sparingly only to emphasize Japanese pronunciation when that is relevant to the article's subject. Macrons reduce readability as a distraction to those unfamiliar with the notation and by being undisplayable on platforms without Unicode support. -- Meyer 07:36, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Ἀπόλω Антон Ohno

Japanese users know the words by kanji/kana, and macrons are unnecessary to them. Since this is the English Wikipedia, I believe macrons are added as a reading aid for the English users. This is fine as long as the word is not in any common usage in English. If, however, the word is in common usage in English, the common form should take precedence over the macronned form. I believe this is the point where many people disagree, and we should take a poll on this.
The use of an English dictionary is obvious, or else you end up adding macrons such as in the following words: tōfu, jūdō, head honchō, ginkgō, sūdoku, jūdōka, dōjō, zōri.
Also, we have a disagreement on the criteria to determine the more common form for personal names. I believe we should clarify why the following are NOT to be macronned: Apolo Anton Ohno (Apolo Anton Ōno), Yoko Ono (Yōko Ono), Ichiro Suzuki (Ichirō), Midori Ito (Midori Itō), Mitsuko Souma (Mitsuko Sōma), Hoshi Sato (Hoshi Satō), Mr. Osato (Mr. Ōsato), Ami Onuki (Ami "Jane" Ōnuki), Yuna Ito (Yuna Itō), Shinzo Abe (Shinzō Abe), Eisaku Sato (Eisaku Satō), Hideki Tojo (Hideki Tōjō)
--Endroit 16:43, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
There is no Japanese word to be romanized in the name of Apolo Anton Ohno. I don't care how you might japanize (whatever the term is), there is no place for then taking japanized version and romanizing it back into English. Gene Nygaard 22:31, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
You are wrong about that. See the article Ōno confirming that Ohno IS a Japanese surname. Apolo Anton Ohno is a Japanese-American, and his father Yuki Ohno ("correctly" romanized as Yuki Ōno) is Japanese. This is similar to Yuna Ito who is just as much Japanese-American as Apolo Anton Ohno. What it is, is you need to make a rule, specifically excluding Japanese-Americans from this Japanese romanization, macronization, and over-correctionizm.--Endroit 11:52, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
If you want to see the tide turn towards a consensus to outlaw macrons entirely on Wikipedia for romanizations from Japanese, keep up those specious arguments. After all, not only are the macron letters not part of the English alphabet, but there are legitimate Romanizations which do not use them at all. Why don't we spell his first name Ἀπόλω and his second name Антон while we're at it? Then reromanize his name from all three different languages--or maybe we should first put it in Thai or Swahili, then translate that to English. Did his mother have ancestors from some place where they use either the Greek alphabet or the Cyrillic alphabet? It doesn't matter any more than his father coming from some place where they speak Japanese. Apolo is an American-born, American-raised person whose name (speculation, but...) was likely recorded on his birth certificate in English only, and that's the spelling he has used since. Even if he were to start spelling his name differently, that would be a change of the English spelling, not something that needs romanization from Japanese.
Now, if Yuki Ohno were to become notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia article of his own, you would have the barest whiff of an argument. He, after all, was apparently born in Japan. Nonetheless, it is still no contest; the type of thing that would be given summary judgment in a court of law. Your warped notion of which romanization is the one and only "correct" romanization is of no relevance whatsover when it comes to Wikipedia:Naming conventions. Correctness isn't the criterion there. We go by how he is best known in English, and in most cases that is going to be the very same way the subject himself anglicizes (somewhat distinct from romanizing) his name. Gene Nygaard 12:36, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't think he was trying to say that we should actually change the spelling of the name. I think he was using it as an absurdist example of how the breadth of the macronning needs to have expressed limits. His example of macronning tofu was better. The previous guidelines dealt with that well by the "non-macronned form in use in a major English dialect" criterion, but some commenters wish to override that convention. I wouldn't be entirely unhappy to see the tide turn - the macronned form would be shown in all nihongo templates anyway. I still think there are 26 letters in English. Dekimasu 12:46, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Gene. My examples are meant to show that they are BAD candidates for macronizations.--Endroit 12:51, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
The thing is, it would be unnecessary instruction creep to state the obvious. No "exceptions" are needed here. When you don't have a romanization in the first place, there cannot be any argument about the best romanization for Wikipedia to use. That applies to tofu, as well as to Apolo Anton Ohno. Gene Nygaard 13:05, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
And Tokyo...? Dekimasu 13:10, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Gene Nygaard wrote: "not only are the macron letters not part of the English alphabet[...]". Sorry to nitpick, but we had this conversation earlier. What "English alphabet"? The Latin script, one of several scripts used to write the English language?
Now, for a change of pace. I actually agree with Gene about Apolo Anton Ohno. I do not know anything more about him than what I read in the Wikipedia article. But, if he was American-born (Seattle, WA), then he should have a birth certificate spelling out his name. Of course I have not seen it, though. But, it should be his official name. Etymologically, that name may, and probably does, trace back to a Japanese that can be written in Japanese. But that should not be relavent. I have consistantly pushed for (legally recognized) official names. In places where official names are written in a foreign script (such as kanji, kana, or even Cyrillic), a close transcription is necessary, which may or many not contain macrons. It should not be relavent to English Wikipedia, but Japanese Wikipedia writes his name entirely in katakana with no kanji. Bendono 13:00, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
If you agree on Apolo Anton Ohno, you must also agree on Yuna Ito and any other non-Japanese person with a Japanese name.--Endroit 13:04, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Correct. She was born in LA. She is American. The case seems clear to me. Go with whatever her official (passport) name is. I assume it is Yuna Ito. Bendono 13:14, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Everyone is agreeing here, so let's move on. Dekimasu 13:06, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

My response to Bendono's arguments (in italics here) from the top of this section:

  • Argument: It is difficult or annoying to type diacritics.
Response: Every edit page includes the required diacritics. If that is still too difficult, then do not use them. Let others come alone later to fix the spelling as appropriate, just like all other misspelled words. No one is forcing you to use them. However, the current guidelines restrict my usage of them.
  • I don't have an edit screen up when I want to type something into the Go/Search box. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
True. But that will not help you find Kyūshū, Ōita, or any of the other many places currently using macrons. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • I don't have macrons on my computer keyboard, and finding and distinguishing all those dinky little squiggles cluttering up the edit box is difficult and time-consuming. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
So is trying to second guess the inconsistent guidelines that currently exist. When a macron should be there, I expect to find it. Having to search a second time by special casing it without the macron is time consuming and not very useful. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes, the guidelines quite legitimately restrict your use of them. How much we should to do so is, of course, debatable; the fact that it is proper for us to do so is not.
  • It isn't necessarily "fixing" the spelling if someone comes along later and changes it. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Those can be reverted. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Diacritics in entry titles make it difficult for people to find the article.
Response: Wikipedia has a great redirect system. This can, and often is, used to help people find specific articles even if they do not get the spelling exactly right. Even if the entry title does not use diacritics, the main text should be allowed to use them when appropriate.
  • Redirects don't just happen. We have lots of them now, when people have moved articles without diacritics to articles with diacritics, because the software leaves a redirect behind when the move is made. Redirects are woefully lacking in articles that were new after going to Unicode. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is, and always will be, a work in progress. If you think a redirect is missing, then add one. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • The spelling without diacritics is right. The English alphabet has 26 letters. It is not incorrect to write in English using those 26 letters. We have every bit as much right to establish our own identity in the language we use as does anyone else. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
We will have to disagree on that. There is no "English alphabet". It is a script, one of several used to write the English language, as well as other languages. As for "26 letters", do not forget about upper and lower case, as well as punctuation. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Redirects are of little help in finding the article in a search on Yahoo or AltaVista or Google or whatever. You see the results above, where people are able to claim, though it really doesn't have the accuracy they claim for Google searches, which vary a lot depending on many different factors including the number of terms in the search and the type of search. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I do not know what you mean. When I search for Kyushu in Google, the first hit is [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyushu]. There is an automatic redirect to the real article: Kyūshū. How does this make finding the entry difficult? As you pointed out earlier, redirects are not automatic. Of course not. And misspelled words are not automatically corrected either. Fix a spelling or add a redirect as you see fit. That is the nature of Wikipedia. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Redirects are of no help whatsoever in finding anything other than the page they redirect to, unless they are used (rather than just sitting there after someone has gone and changed the spelling in all the articles which did use the redirect). They are also of no use if the search is for the article they redirect to. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
If you are dissatisfied with current redirect or even a lack of one, then fix it. If you have any specific examples in mind and would like to discuss them, raise the issues here or even on my user talk page. I want Wikipedia to be the best that it can be. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • In other words, using macrons needlessly hides information from English speakers doing search engine searches. More than 99.99% of the time, those searches are going to be done for the version without macrons. In many searches on many search engines, that means that at least some of the pages using only the version with macrons will not be found. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I have only experiemented a little so I may not be correct. But, it would seem that Google normalizes text and returns results both with and without macrons. Thus, entering a search term with macrons will also return results without the macron. The opposite does not seem to be true though. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Already disproved, about four hours before you posted this reply; you probably just hadn't gotten that far down the page yet. Gene Nygaard 14:29, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I read it. And tried an example to see if I could reproduce the same results. I could not. Below I will try both Ryūkyū and Ryukyu. Bendono 14:55, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
So, what results did you get, then? Did your (Ichijōdani chess) search actually find that .ja article? Or did it find nothing at all, not even the 16 my search found? Or merely a different number of hits? What did you mean, you were not able to "produce the same results"? What results did you actually get?
Which Google did you use? Was it http://www.google.fr/ or http://www.google.ca/ or something else other than http://www.google.com/? Did you use a Basic Search or an Advanced Search? Do you have it default to a particular language, or explicitly specify language? Include or exclude either the word "Wikipedia" or the site "wikipedia.com"? All those things point out other difficulties in basing decisions on "Google results", in addition to the fact that there are a zillion other search engines out there besides the entire Google family of search engines. Gene Nygaard 15:20, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
A Google search for all the words and including the macron: Ichijōdani chess. This gets 16 hits (only 2 of which are originally displayed, both going to [[Shoji], one directly and one from the redirect at Japanese chess). None of the 16 hits are even in the .ja domain; in particular it does not find https://www.city.fukui.lg.jp/lang/english/kankou/ichijo.html which does include both words, if you remove the macron.
A Google search for all the words (Ichijodani chess) does find that page.
You can also see it in the fact that an advanced search on Google for all of the words Ryūkyū but without the words Ryukyu gets 12,400 hits. If Google always treated Ryūkyū as including Ryukyu, that number would be exactly zero. Gene Nygaard 14:29, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I just tried it. A normal search for "Ryūkyū" returns Ryukyu_Islands as the very first hit. A search for "Ryukyu" returns Ryukyu_Islands as the very first hit. What is the problem? With or without the macrons, it finds the same article. A properly placed redirect redirects to Ryūkyū Islands. That is the expectation that I would have had. Bendono 14:55, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Look at Jecowa's comment below. The Google search returns the redirect from Ryukyu Islands as the first hit, but that's because the article was only moved to the macronned form yesterday. The question is what happens to the search results when Google recrawls. The answer is undoubtedly that the redirect will fall down the list. Dekimasu 15:04, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm speechless; all I can think of, Bendono, is "duuuhhh"! Note further that, until yesterday at least (and even so far today), and for over a year prior to that, the article itself had included, visibly on the page itself, both the Ryūkyū and the Ryukyu spellings. Gene Nygaard 16:00, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Ryūkyū / Ryukyu was your example that I tried. My observations are:
  • If a page includes macrons, whether it is title and or full text, Google will pick it up given enough time.
  • A non-macron search will still be successful as long as there is a redirect page. Yes, I know they do not always exist. Adding them where needed is part of our job. As always, Wikipedia is a work in progress. Bendono 17:39, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
A non-macron search will still be successful as long as there is a redirect page that Google can find. Many redirect pages on Wikipedia are like remote islands with no roads coming into them from the mainland. Unless Google is aware of the redirect pages, they will not show up in search results. In order for Google to be aware of the redirect pages, Google will need to have found a link to the page at some point in time. Some redirect pages, like the Hokkaido redirect page, are already known by Google because they were once the main article page and had many links to them. Redirect pages like these Google already knows about and can be found in a Google search. If you were to create the Ōsaka, Kyōto article and create a redirect page to it from Osaka, Kyoto, Google would not index the redirect page unless another page provided a link to the redirect page. Jecowa 18:13, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I think that Google will index from the What links here page. I don't know what kind of rating it would end up with; but the information goes into Google somehow (see my comment below). Neier 12:13, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh, good point. I didn't think of "What links here" link. That should get it into Google's index. Jecowa 14:14, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
No, that isn't plausible. It only indexes the page itself, else every article in Wikipedia would be a hit for "Toolbox", for example. In fact, it has already been proved wrong with my (Ichijodani chess) example. Google did find the Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins article. That had long had Shogi in its "What links here" page. Yet that search did not find the Shogi article.
The actual explanation is much more mundane. Let's assume Neier created a redirect from Goofyname to Gōofīernāme Google can easily get to the redirect page Neier created—for example, from Special:Allpages. But it doesn't stop at the redirect page unless it is a double redirect; normally, it follows the redirect, and then it indexes the page it gets to from the redirect. Guess what appears right on top of that page, right there in the visible text? It will say, right under the page name Gōofīernāme, "(Redirected from Goofyname)", will it not? That's what Google indexes, and gives great weight because it is the opening paragraph of the page. Gene Nygaard 20:13, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Here's something that should make my point perfectly clear. Do a Google search for (Kyōto Redirected)[2] 899 hits. Pretty obvious, isn't it. There aren't 899 articles that have both words from any other way. What is your secret word, anyway, Neier? Gene Nygaard 20:23, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
The macron'd word is MācrōnName. Searching Google without the macrons yields two hits. The original page I set up without any incoming links, and a second page in the mediation discussion where the results were mentioned. To be honest, I was a little surprised when google picked it up. I was careful when setting up the experiment. The only link from my user page was to the MācrōnName article. Neier 22:09, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Sure, and this is the page which Google indexed, the one you go to if you click on the Google results. What's that first sentence, right under the article's name? And this is likely how Google got there, from the link it contains. Special:List redirects is likely another page with a link Google could use to get there. Neither of them, of course, appears on the What links here list of the article you created, your redirect page, nor any other page. Gene Nygaard 23:20, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Right; so, Google found the redirected (with macrons) name from a non-macron search. I never claimed that Google was doing magic; but, that if the pages are set up correctly (with non-macron redirects, like the MoS states), then searches find the correct page. That can be surprising, counterintuitive, etc; but, it doesn't change the fact that a user can type in the un-macron name to google, click the first link, and end up on the page where they should be (with macrons) without ever being the wiser. I don't know if Google found the page from the Allpages links, or from What links here; but, in any case, the page was found, indexed, and reported in the search terms. I was on the fence considering macrons in titles for this very reason, until the google experiment concluded. Neier 00:17, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
No, Non sequitur. Your conclusion does not follow from the premises. Many Boolean searches which would never find the target of the redirect, searching without macrons, will also not find Wikipedia articles which would be relevant. Google finds only the article which is the target of the redirect, and it finds that article iff the redirect has been created, and iff other parts of the search do not exclude that article. Like I said before, "six months from today, a Google advanced search for all the words (Ichijodani chess) still will not find the Shogi article, even though that article links to Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins AND you have now created the redirect from Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins. Note also that it doesn't matter if your Boolean search in Google is for (Ichijodani AND chess) or for ((Ichijōdani AND chess), those searches will never find the Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins article as it stands now, because that article doesn't contain the word "chess". People do searches all the time. Much of the time when I search for something, I'm not looking for a Wikipedia article which has any or all of the words I'm using in its article name; I want to find what fits, according to the way I've broadened and narrowed my search with exact phrases, with and/or/not options, whatever. Being able to find the same wikipedia article by doing a one-word search for the article's name, with or without macrons provided that the redirects which don't just happen have in fact been made, doesn't show anything of any real relevance to real-world searches. Gene Nygaard 01:00, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
The strings "Ichijodani" and "Ichijōdani" are not canonically equivalent. Why would you expect a search for either words to return the same results? Just as a search for "color" and "colour" (even though they mean the same thing!) will yield different results, so will the case with diacritics. How do you propose fixing color / colour? Google doesn't help there either.Bendono 03:46, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh, for Pete's sake. Don't just make things up out of thin air. Did you do any testing at all? Google handles it. Try this advanced search for the word "color" in that spelling plus the exact phrase "given the number plate".[3] The first hit I get, right at the top of the four displayed out of 19 found, is the Wikipedia article at Queen's Colour Squadron. That article does not contain the spelling color in its name nor anywhere in the article, and it is highly unlikely that it ever has (if you want to wade through every difference, let us know what you find). Furthermore, it doesn't have any redirects leading to it which use the "color" spelling. Granted, if I get to the page and use my browser's Find search, I won't get any hits, but you've consistently dismissed that as of little importance. At least in this particular search, I have the title itself showing me the variant spelling. Gene Nygaard 11:36, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I am not Pete, but I have tested it. If Google treats "color" and "colour" the same, then the results should be the same. A search for "color" returns 864,000,000 hits. A search for "colour" returns 177,000,000 hits. That is a very big discrepancy. Thus, my conclusion. Bendono 11:44, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
I think there must be a page somewhere (not necessarily on Wikipedia) linking to the Queen's Colour Squadron article with the linking word(s) containing the term "color." term only appears in links pointing to this page Jecowa 13:31, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
No link from anywhere else is going to put the word "color" on the Wikipedia page, so that Google can index it, as it would when Wikipedia's software does put that word on the page if it gets there through a redirect. And there is no Wikipedia redirect to this article which contains the "color" spelling. This is just some synonym built into Google's complex algorithms. Gene Nygaard 13:45, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Furthermore, Google itself shows only four pages linking to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Colour_Squadron and of those three are on Wikipedia (none containing "color") and one outside Wikipedia (also not containing "color"). Gene Nygaard 13:55, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
If a search for "color" will also search similar words such as "colour," wouldn't a search for color yield the same number of results as a search for colour? A search for "color" will give more than 75 times the number of results as a search for "colour." Also, a Google search for incoming links will not necessarily show them all. Consider funnybunny.com. Google shows that no pages link to it, however this page cleary does link to it. Jecowa 21:30, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
As Wikipedia editors, we do the best that we can by providing redirects where possible. If you think Google could do a better job indexing, then perhaps you should take it up with them. A reader of the Shogi article can click on the provided Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins link. Searching for "Ichijodani" now redirects to Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins (thanks to a recent redirect by Jecowa). Give it a day or two for Google to process. Ichijodani Asakura Family Historic Ruins also redirects to Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins. What else do you want done? Surely you could have added these redirects yourself. Bendono 03:46, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Equivalence is less relevant than accessibility. Inputting the string that uses actual keyboard keys does not yield the desired search results. This means that the macron requirement is reducing the usefulness of the (general-use) encyclopedia, and therefore, that adding redirects is not "doing the best that we can." We know already that it won't be cleared up by creating redirects, for precisely the reasons stated in Gene Nygaards 1:00 comment. This is not color/colour. Mandating the macrons is a choice. Dekimasu 05:37, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Nevertheless, Wikipedia allows diacritics. How accessible are the articles that these redirects point to: Category:Redirects_from_title_without_diacritics ? (Internal link not working; please enter manually) There are a lot there. I looked at a few of them, and I can not type them directly from my keyboard. However, I can type in the non-diacritic version and be redirected automatically.
If diacritics truly did hurt Wikipedia accessibility, then I would expect Wikipedia to issue an official policy regarding them. Instead, they actually provide many common diacritics below the edit box. As a general-use encyclopedia, do you suggest removing them from every article? That surely goes beyond the scope of the Japan MoS. If you propose it elsewhere, please let me know so that I can be part of that conversation.
What about redirects do you not find sufficiently accessible? When I search for "Kyūshū" or "Kyushu", I end up at the same page. I think that is more than accessible. Bendono 06:21, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Searching for one term works fine in our model. But, as Gene pointed out above, searching for that same term in conjunction with another term may result in missed hits. Google does voodoo magic on their links and our redirects, (Search for "Oita takasakiyama site:wikipedia.org", and the article redirect to Ōita still comes up) so articles titled in macrons seem to be the least of our troubles... (and, ironically, the fuse which set off this whole discussion).
But, if you search without macrons for a (normally macron'd) word which is not in the title of an article, Google will not find it. Compare the google results of "Ōhira Oshika site:en.wikipedia.org" with "Ohira Oshika site:en.wikipedia.org" and, you'll see the problem that Gene was pointing out (Ōhira and Oshika are both mentioned in the Miyagi Prefecture article, but, if you search without the macron, you won't find this combination). This is more widespread than Japanese, and it is not something we can solve for Wikipedia by deciding whether our articles include macrons or not. As long as there is a Wikipedia policy supporting unicode characters, the use of them in titles doesn't seem to me to have drastic negative effects. The overall issue of whether that policy is good or not is one which may need to be reopened (but, not necessarily on this page). Neier 07:40, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Arbitrary division 2a

Okay, so just for the sake of argument, let's assume that sometime today you (either Bendono or Jecowa, I don't care which) wake up and smell the coffee, get off your duff, and get out there and create the missing redirect I have already pointed out in two previous posts (including a previous link that still appears red on the page as this one does when I post it): Ichijodani Asakura Family Historic Ruins Gene Nygaard 18:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Done. Feel free to add them yourself, too. It is easy and takes less than a minute. Bendono 22:49, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Half done. What's that other thing that doesn't just happen by itself?
This one was, of course, a test—to see if you had any real interest in making Wikipedia better. You failed.
I will be doing more of them myself. Of course, my preference is to do it the easy way, fixing both problems at once, just a click on the tab at the top of the page, replace a letter or two, save. Probably not five seconds. Redirect created automatically, and only need to tweak indexing if changing word order or dropping part of article name. Gene Nygaard 07:18, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Then, six months from today, a Google advanced search for all the words (Ichijodani chess) still will not find the Shogi article, even though that article links to Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins . Your redirect won't change anything, and wouldn't do so even if it were piped through your new redirect, as long as what is visibly displayed is the Ichijōdani with a macron. Gene Nygaard 18:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Use of macrons always hides that information from a browser's "find on this page" search if that search is done without macrons. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
True. However, the reverse is also true. When I go to find words with macrons and they are not there, I can not find them. The lack of macrons hides that information from me. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Two things, for now:
First, if you search for a word on a page with a macron and don't find it, you ought to have enough sense to next try to search for it without the macron. The converse, of course, is not true. The vast majority English speakers would never even suspect that the word could be written with macron so there is something else that could be tried. Furthermore, looking only at the small number who do suspect that, the vast majority of them wouldn't know which letters have macrons, which have some other diacritic or no diacritic at all, and hardly any would have the foggiest idea how to get letters with macrons into the search box. Gene Nygaard 20:15, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Assume that the page regularly uses macrons in the title and in the main text. As a reader, it should be clear, especially from the title, that the word is spelled with a macron and there would not be a need to search without the macron in the first place. Bendono 22:21, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Second, go back and look at my response to your complaints that "pages use a mixture of macrons and no macrons". I did point out, didn't I, that "Using a mixture greatly increases the chances of information being found on either a search-engine search or on a find-on-this-page search."? Gene Nygaard 20:15, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I recall you writing that. However, I do not think that is a good idea. Being inconsistent with multiple spellings of the same word suggests that the page is poorly edited and reflects poorly on Wikipedia. A reader my understand for common English words. However, for foreign transliterated words, multiple spellings on the same page will only result in confusion. "Why are they spelled differently?" "Are these two words the same thing?" "Maybe these are two different concepts..." How it may help search engines, the intended reader is human. Consistent spelling and style should be a given. Bendono 22:21, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Sometimes using the browser search function, I cannot find words spelled correctly in English without macrons, such as meter/metre </levity>. The find-on-this-page search is something to be concerned with; but, I think the google problem is much larger. Neier 12:21, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is Unicode-based. There should not be any technological reasons holding it back.

Arbitrary division 3

Being able to create the characters usually isn't the problem. To what extext it is proper to use non-English characters in English writing is the real issue. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Here is a very small list of "English" words using diacritics: List of English words with diacritics. What makes them "non-English characters"? They are being used to write words in English. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
At present, pages use a mixture of macrons and no macrons. This seems inconsistent and only invites confusion and misunderstanding by readers.
  • Using a mixture helps people understand that they have found what they wanted to find--it equates the version that they know (whether with or without macrons) to the other one. That factor ought be obvious to all the people who insist that changing a diacritic can change a word's meaning or pronunciation, but all too often it seems to be lost on them. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
There are better examples, but look at [Shinzo Abe]. In the same article, his name is spelled "Shinzo" 7 times, while "Shinzō" 11 times. That's not saying much for consistancy. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Using a mixture greatly increases the chances of information being found on either a search-engine search or on a find-on-this-page search.
  • Wikipedia is in the business of providing information. It makes gather up all this information, and then deliberately hide it from view, keep it from being found. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I have no idea what you are trying to say. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I would like to simply all of these exceptions by simply allowing diacritics where appropriate.
  • That's rather disingenuous, because you know that if it is put that way, you and others will simply say that it is always appropriate and go change every appearance you can find. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely. I think it is unprofessional, inconsistant, and plain wrong. These are topics that I care a lot about. And I want to make them better. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
To me, Shinzo Abe and Tokyo are simply misspelled, period. It is extremely grating on the eyes and makes me think that Wikipedia is not a serious encyclopedia.
  • Actually, to most readers of the English Wikipedia, anything other than those spellings are misspelled and grating on the eyes. There is no error in using the English alphabet to write in English. Many English publications, especially newspapers and magazines, though well aware of the existence of squiggles of various sorts in other languages, and quite capable of producing them when they desire to do so, quite legitimately and properly choose not to do so in the ordinary course of business. And if I run across something like that in a newspaper, a magazine, or on television, and go look for more information about it on Wikipedia and can't find it right away, I'll just assume it is something that isn't here. So all your hard work in prettying up all those letters will go for naught, because I won't see it. That's a pretty screwball way to go about things. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
"most readers"? Please, only speak for yourself. As for not finding the information, it works the other way as well. When the macron is missing when it should be there, I may assume that the information is merely not there. When in fact it may really be there, just "misspelled". Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Oh, and one major omission by Bodono. It isn't just redirects that don't just happen. Fixing the indexing sort keys so that people can find the information when they go look in a category also doesn't just happen, and most of the time it is simply not done. Gene Nygaard 05:17, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Nothing comes for free. Wikipedia is a work in progress. If you think that a redirect, sort key, or some other information is lacking, wrong, or missing, then add it. Bendono 10:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
The point on making Wikipedia articles invisible to Google searches is interesting, and, it seems to me, very important. Considering that Wikipedia directs users to find articles through search engines when normal searching fails to yield results, I think this is something that has to be considered. I don't know enough about how the search engines work to discuss it constructively, but it raises alarm bells and I'd like to hear what other people have to say. Dekimasu 05:46, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
The term used in the article's title and throughout the body of the article will have an advantage over the other terms in a Google search because that page will have more pages linking to it and have more instances of the term being used throughtout the article than an alternate term on its redirect page. The number of pages linking to an page is very important for Google pageranking. Links from higher-Google-ranking sites are more valuable than links from lower-Google-ranking sites. Other sites will be more likely to link to thee article as opposed to the redirect page. The importance of the terms use in the article is also important in page rank. More instances of the term in the article will help its page rank for that term. Jecowa 06:37, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, what I was asking is, if I type Hokkakido into Google, will the article Hokkaidō on Wikipedia turn up in the search results? Or will Google consider them different words? Will someone who only knows the name "Hokkaido" but nothing about macrons be able to find the article through a search engine? Dekimasu 06:57, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
As of writing a search for "Hokkaido" on Google will not yeild the Hokkaidō article on Wikipedia within the first 1000 hits, but the number one hit for "Hokkaido" is the former Hokkaido article which now redirects to the Hokkaidō article. Over time I believe that the Hokkaido redirect page will fall from its number one position for the "Hokkaido" query on Google once Google reindexes that pages and discovers it has become a redirect page. Also in time I believe that a Google search for "Hokkaido" will turn up the Hokkaidō article due to other pages linking to it using the term "Hokkaido," but this would probably take a while to occur naturally (naturally meaning without Google bombing). Google does indeed consider "Hokkaidō" and "Hokkaido" different words. Currently the Hokkaidō article can very easily be found with the query "Hokkaido" on Google as the redirect to it is the number one hit. I am curious to see if its position will after Google reindexes it. Jecowa 08:03, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

(edit conflict, not bothering to indent more)

So, try this.
  • Put "Ichijodani" (without the quotation marks) in the box on your Wikipedia page, and hit the "Search" button (or the "Go" button, for that matter, in this case).
Any hits? I sure don't get any.
  • Now, just try a Google search for the same word?
Any hits? I get 387 of them.
  • Now, try an advanced search on Google for that word, limiting it to site:en.wikipedia.org (Ichijodani site:en.wikipedia.org)
Any hits? Of course not, or I wouldn't be using this example.
Yet the English Wikipedia has, for six months, had an article at Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins
So all that article is, is foolishly, needlessly hidden information. Doing that search, I'd just assume Wikipedia doesn't have anything of interest to me.
Of course, this is one of those cases where a redirect didn't just happen. Maybe Google would have found this article if the redirect did exist.
However, even if the redirect did exist, the Google search would only find that article redirected to from the redirect page with the Ichijodani spelling. The search still would not find, even if the redirect did exist, the Asakura clan which visibly displays the word Ichijōdani in its piped link to that article.
Of course, this is one of the cases where the sort key hasn't been fixed either, though it is less likely to actually result in it being out of order when you have to get to the sixth letter before there will be any problems. Nonetheless, there are many cases, especially when things get into heavily populated categories, where things won't be found even when the indexing problem is that far into the word. Gene Nygaard 07:02, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Of course, most of our searches aren't for a single word. Let's assume further that I'd read about some place called Ichijodani where an archaelogical dig found some Japanese chess pieces, so I search for Ichijodani and chess on Google.
I get four hits (only two displayed without hitting display all of them, because three of them are the same thing). None of them are from any Wikipedia.
Notice the domain name? Good to see that some people in the .jp domain know how to write in English, even if English Wikipedia often has difficulty with that.
There is, of course, a Wikipedia article containing both Ichijōdani and chess, which Google will find only if you put the macron on the word. But that search doesn't find the .jp hits. Gene Nygaard 07:26, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of my personal views on the diacritics, this is a major issue. We need these articles to reach people through search engine hits. Is there any way to make a workaround? In his original post here, Bendono said that, "Even if the entry title does not use diacritics, the main text should be allowed to use them when appropriate." Should we go back to the drawing board and allow macrons in text but not in titles? Dekimasu 07:41, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes there is a work around. In order for the redirect pages to show up in Google, Google needs to be able to find them. Hyperlinks to the redirect pages need to be placed where Google can find and crawl them. This will allow the redirect pages to show up in Google, but for best visibility it would be more effective to use the more commonly-used term as the article title and to use it throughout the article as opposed to using it in the title of a redirect page pointing to the article. Jecowa 08:22, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Google, and many other search engines, only indexes the text in Wikipedia that is visible. Even if you were to use a piped link such as Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins on the Wikipedia page, that wouldn't make a Google search for Ichijodani find this article; that will only happen if people actually see Ichijodani when they go to the page. Gene Nygaard 13:49, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Google will apparently index pages from the What links here. A long time ago, I set up a uniquely named userpage, with macrons. I also created a redirect (without macrons) to that userpage. No pages linked to the non-macron name. After some time, typing in the macron-free name into google resulted in the page being found. This does not address all of the searchability issues, but, it is still something to consider. Neier 12:05, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

A lot of these issues were also considered at Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Japanese Macrons. The proposal that was accepted (written by Nihonjoe) was:

  • Macrons should be used in article body text.
  • If the word in question is in general or local use in any major English dialect in a non-macronned form, the non-macronned form should be used in the title and body text.
  • In all cases, redirects should be put in place for the form(s) not used in the title to make sure people can easily find (or link to) the article no matter which form of the word they use.
  • We should use generally-accepted print and online dictionaries to determine if a word is "generally accepted" in any of the major English dialects. List of English words of Japanese origin can be used as a secondary source, but should always be verified as above.

I realize that some of these points have been discusses ad nauseum in the interim, including the ones for cities that are most under discussion here, but it's obvious that a lot of thought went into those bullet points. Dekimasu 13:27, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

I do not think it would be a stretch to say that you can always find a non-macron version of a word, and it will most likely be used far more often than the macron version. It is just easier to type. And yet we are changing Kyushu to Kyūshū, to name but one example. How does Kyūshū and related changes fit into the above bullet points? "Kyushu" is listed in my Merriam-Webster dictionary. I definately prefer the macron version. However, I do not think that it properly reflects the given points. Bendono 13:49, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
I also favor non-macronned form over macronned form for all articles unless macronned form is more common than non-macronned form or non-macroned form creates ambiguity. Wikipedia:Naming conventions states "names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors; and for a general audience over specialists." I don't expect general audience to know much about Japanese romanization scheme. --Kusunose 07:47, 14 October 2006 (UTC)