Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/Ryukyu debate

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Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū

The word Ryukyu should be specifically unmacronned, and WP:MOS-JP should specifically mention this. That's because the word "Ryukyu" has been naturarized into the English language without macrons.

Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary has a specific entry for the word "Ryukyuan". The word Ryukyuan (with the suffix an) does NOT exist in the Japanese language, and adding macrons to such words goes against the spirit of WP:MOS-JP. (ie: The suffix "an" is NOT Japanese). And the existence of the specific word "Ryukyuan" in the English language proves that the word "Ryukyu" has been naturalized into the English language as well.

Also, be sure to vote in Talk:Ryūkyū Islands for a poll that's going on there. We are trying to move the article back to Ryukyu Islands. Thank you.--Endroit 17:50, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree that "Ryukyuan" does not need macrons. However, that has no bearing on "Ryūkyū". Also note that most English dictionaries do not even contain an entry for "Ryukyu" but instead only "Ryukyu Islands". Conduct a street survey with native English speakers: "Do you know the word Ryukyu?" I really wonder how many people will understand the word. It is very different from words like "sushi" and"karate". I would do it, however I do not have access to English speakers where I live. Bendono 21:30, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Even if the man on the street writes without macrons, you want us to write with macrons. You reject the argument you use here as it applies to Tokyo or sumo, so it shouldn't be relevant if the man on the street knows anything about geography. Dekimasu 05:03, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
No, you are purposely trying to misunderstand. The street survey is to determine how well understood the term is and has nothing to do with their spelling preferences or geographical knowledge. If the term is well understood (such as Tokyo or sumo) then it passes as English and then the spelling is up for grabs. If it is not well understood, it is not English so we transliterate the Japanese, which may contain macrons. Bendono 06:00, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Ryukyu, Ryukyuan, and Ryukyu Islands are ALL listed in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary as shown below. They're ALL English words. Apparently, you cannot find a single English dictionary with the macronned spelling, because they've all naturalized into the English language with modified pronunciations.--Endroit 16:18, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I have moved Ryukyuan languages and Ryukyuans back to their original titles per this discussion. However, I don't have AWB and the macrons within the article are still there. Dekimasu 05:44, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Forget AutoWikiBrowser, Find and Replace rules! Macrons have already been removed. Jecowa 06:01, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
I have moved Ryukyuan religion back as well. Dekimasu 02:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I would like to note that one of the encyclopedia entries mentioned at Talk:Ryukyu Islands calls the islands "the Ryukyus" and that this would seem to lend support to moving the page to the unmacronned form, as per the other page moves above. Dekimasu 18:19, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I moved the discussion on the poll further down, in a new section, Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū : Planning for a poll.--Endroit 15:03, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Dictionary entry for Ryukyu

  • Below is the entry for Ryukyu, from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (subscription required).--Endroit 16:18, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Main Entry: ryu·kyu
Pronunciation: rēˈ(y)ü(ˌ)kyü, rɪˈ-
Function: noun
Usage: usually capitalized
Etymology: from the Ryukyu islands, southwest of Japan
: the language of the Ryukyuan people that is related to Japanese

Dictionary entry for Ryukyuan

  • Below is the entry for Ryukyuan, from Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (subscription required).--Endroit 16:18, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Main Entry: ryu·kyu·an
Pronunciation: -kyüən
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): -s
Usage: usually capitalized
Etymology: Ryukyu islands + English -an
1 : the people of the Ryukyu islands
2 : a member of the Ryukyuan people

Dictionary entry for Ryukyu Islands

  • Below is the entry for Ryukyu Islands, from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition / Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (subscription required).--Endroit 16:18, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Main Entry: Ryu·kyu Islands
Pronunciation: rē-ˈ(y)ü-(ˌ)kyü, -(ˌ)kü
Function: geographical name
islands W Pacific extending between Kyushu, Japan, & Taiwan; belonged to Japan 1895-1945; occupied by United States 1945; returned to Japan in 1953 (N islands) and 1972 (S islands) area about 850 square miles (2202 square kilometers), population 1,222,458 -- see AMAMI, OKINAWA, OSUMI ISLANDS, SAKISHIMA ISLANDS, TOKARA ISLANDS
- Ryu·kyu·an \-ˌkyü-ən, -ˌkü-\ adjective or noun

Before continuing the debate, I would like to clarify that we are discussing "Ryūkyū vs. Ryukyu", as the subject implies. "Ryukyuan" and "Ryūkyū Islands" are certainly related to the word Ryūkyū / Ryukyu though. I would like to emphasis this because I interpret "Ryūkyū Islands" / "Ryukyu Islands" as two words: (1) Ryūkyū / Ryukyu and (2) Islands. In other words, "the islands of Ryūkyū".

The word "Ryukyu" alone does not appear in several English dictionaries that I searched. Endroit found it in Websters (subscription needed) and is defined as: "the language of the Ryukyuan people that is related to Japanese". Thus, as per the English definition, Ryukyu should redirect to Ryukyuan languages. Unless anyone suggests that "Ryūkyū" is English (in which case there is no need for this debate), then in Japanese it is an old word for Okinawa and thus Ryūkyū should redirect to Okinawa. Ref: Daijirin: 琉球. Bendono 04:37, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

This continues to be a fascinating argument and most of the participants have been most civil. I'm chomping at the bit to comment on what's written close above, but I shan't rush to subject you to these comments because of my stronger conviction that all of this is getting out of hand. Arguments over macrons (and closely related issues) are more or less simultaneously proceeding on various fronts with a considerable degree of overlap (yes, the Ryūkyū/Ryukyu dilemma differs in one or two arguably significant ways from from, say, Ryū/Ryu, but it shares a lot), and I think there's a danger that they'll be won not by whichever side has the stronger arguments or is more persuasive but rather by whichever is most dogged (has the most stamina or is the most fanatically driven). That seems a great pity. Can we agree not to do any more name changes (or changes back) until people with more time on their hands than I do can integrate all these skirmishes into a single discussion forum? -- Hoary 05:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Hear, hear Mr. Hoary. I haven't the time or energy to battle in support of the macron on so many different pages, on so many different individual words. At the moment the arguments are getting all confused. Some people are campaigning for a change to the WP:MOS-JP, while others are just arguing about the interpretation of the current version. It would be great if somebody could somehow bring all of these discussions together, formulate a proposal and then for us all to vote on it, and then we could all abide by the new consensus. Bobo12345 05:14, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I certainly agree with Hoary. I think a summary of what happened needs to be here as well. In October the page was moved to the macronned form, and the vote was 9-7 to restore the page to the unmacronned form. The vote was closed as no consensus and then arguments began as to whether that was (a)no consensus for the original move or (b)no consensus for returning the page to its original location. Dekimasu 18:19, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh great, more discussion on the same topic being made at several different talk pages. One thing I would like to quickly clarify about my support for "Ryukyu Islands" over "Ryūkyū Islands" at Talk:Ryūkyū Islands: I am avoiding having an opinion on the more generalized debate of Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū, Ryukyuan vs. Ryūkyūan, etc. My current position only prefers "Ryukyu Islands" over "Ryūkyū Islands" as I believe there is less of a grey area in that debate (explanation given at Talk:Ryukyu Islands). I am not preferring a change in WP:MOS-JP policy, except maybe a little clarification here and there. Clarification can always help. —Tokek 05:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

"Island names should always include macrons"

In a debate about the title of a Japanese island group, it was brought to attention what WP:MOS-JP mentions (in the "Body text" section): "10. Island names should always include macrons." Maybe this came from the Hokkaido vs. Hokkaidō debate, i don't know. However, this line seems to asume that hepburn romanization (with macrons) should ALWAYS be used, which conflicts with the opener paragraph to this article that recommends English names over Japanese names where appropriate: "An English loan word or place name with a Japanese origin should be used in its most commonly used English form in the body of an article..."

If it really was the case that all Japanese island article titles should use hepburn romanization of Japanese place names, then the following moves would have to be made:

I am not for these moves and I don't think these moves are what Wikipedia editors want, so I think rule 10 could be clarified and reworded to avoid self contradiction within WP:MOS-JA. At least rule 10 was used in the Talk:Ryukyu Islands proposed move debate. —Tokek 09:15, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Most of the recent spate of macron angst has not raised any significant points beyond what has been discussed before, as 日本Joe has pointed out above; but, rule #10 is my fault, so I guess it is time to break my silence. Macrons have been the norm for awhile, but, interpreting the rule in regards to places/names which are commonly known is a very gray area. I sought to codify that gray area for geographic regions, cities, and islands. So, there was discussions about Kyoto, Kōchi, Kyūshū, Honshū, Osaka, etc. The net result was that neither Honshū or Kyūshū were judged to be well-enough entrenched in the common English vernacular to warrant an exclusion. Even within the discussion, Hokkaidō was borderline (5:7 I think), so for a form of consistency, the Island names rule was borne.
If there is an exception (resulting from a renewed discussion about Hokkaido, or Ryukyu Islands, or whatever), then it can be noted, like Kobe and others are noted as an exception to the rule for cities. While the MoS provides the broad strokes for us, it is not a static document. Quoting from WP:MOS This manual, along with the supplemental manuals linked from it, provides guidance for those seeking it, but does not prescribe rigid rules that must always be followed. Neier 11:43, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
We have inconsistent macronizations for Ryūkyū Islands vs. Ryukyuan, and everything is going haywire. I believe the only way to correct this is to create a specific rule for Ryukyu/Ryukyuan in WP:MOS-JP. Do we take Bendono's suggestion and use macrons for the word "Ryūkyū" but not for "Ryukyuan"? We had 9 to 7 AGAINST macrons for the WP:RM vote in Talk:Ryūkyū Islands. What do we do now?--Endroit 15:44, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I continue to believe that the Hokkaidō article should be at Hokkaidō Prefecture per the specific directions in the MOS and the fact that the article is about the prefecture and not the island. That is a separate question from whether the article should really have a macron, which was voted down but could just as easily be added. There should really be a separate article for the island and for the prefecture, since the island is only the largest part of the prefecture. See the comments at Talk:Hokkaidō and please help with input here or there. Dekimasu 17:18, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
So we need to clarify Hokkaidō in the prefecture category (item #9). And we need to clarify Ryukyu/Ryukyuan, Bonin Islands, and Iwo Jima in the island category (item #10) of the Romanisation rule. And we need to clarify Hokkaidō in the Place names section of the Names rule.--Endroit 15:16, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Dekimasu that the island and the prefecture are two separate topics and should have their own separate articles. Jecowa 20:01, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

A (hopefully noncontroversial) proposal not connected with the "Ryūkyū/Ryukyu and Ogasawara/Bonin" debates

The statement "Island names should always include macrons" has the same difficulty as the statement I noted in the topic "A (hopefully noncontroversial) proposal not connected with the "what the hell" debate" below. Namely, "always" requires more macrons than we've agreed to in body text. As an example, the statement requires that we refer to the island of Niijima as Nījima. There are probably examples with an "o" in one kanji followed by a "u" in a different kanji that we likewise don't write with macrons (although none comes to mind). Again, I don't believe we intended to require that, so I propose changing the sentence to "Island names should always include the macrons that are required for other text." Fg2 21:13, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely. You're obviously fully cognizant of what makes sense - it's just a matter of phrasing it clearly enough in the guidelines. I think we agree that macrons should only be used for おお、おう、and うう, never for いい、ええ、アー and the like. As for instances where "ou" come in separate kanji and are thus not macronned, well, it's not an island, but Shimousa Province seems to fit the bill nicely. LordAmeth 21:31, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Bonin vs. Ogasawara : Planning for a poll

In Ogasawara Islands, similar to Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū, we have a rule conflict. The article is at Ogasawara Islands, based on the Japanese name. But according to the English words of Japanese origin rule of WP:MOS-JP, it should rather be at Bonin Islands, because the dictionaries prefer Bonin Islands. If the article is voted to stay at Ogasawara Islands, we need to list it as an exception somewhere in WP:MOS-JP.

There will be 2 choices as follows:

  1. Ogasawara Islands (based on Japanese name) / list as exception in WP:MOS-JP
  2. Bonin Islands (based on English/dictionary name)

Highest percentage wins. The poll shall be for a period of 2 weeks, coinciding with the Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū poll below.--Endroit 16:31, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I suggest you take this up at Talk:Ogasawara Islands first and see if there is any desire to change it. Bendono 21:57, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
This issue deals with policy concerns in WP:MOS-JP, and it was brought up by Dekimasu and others in this discussion and in Talk:Ryūkyū Islands. So I believe this is the correct place to do the poll. Besides, we did similar polls here, for Tokyo, Osaka, etc. for the cities and prefectures.--Endroit 23:17, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Ryukyu vs. Ryūkyū : Planning for a poll

The poll at Talk:Ryūkyū Islands resulted in no consensus, with a tally of 9 vs. 7 AGAINST macrons. So I think another poll is in order, for all instances of the words Ryūkyū & Ryukyuan in general. There will be 3 choices as follows:

  1. Ryūkyū / Ryūkyūan (with macrons)
  2. Ryūkyū / Ryukyuan (mixed usage, per Bendono)
  3. Ryukyu / Ryukyuan (no macrons)

Highest percentage wins, even if below 50%. The poll shall be for a period of 2 weeks, starting 1 week from today. Comments?--Endroit 20:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Two notes:
  • We need a consensus. That means that we need to work out our differences and come to a general agreement. The highest percentage is not a consensus and will only invite future troubles at a later date. I do not think anything productive will be gained from another poll.
  • Personally, I write "Ryūkyūan", but will not object if it is "corrected". With the -an suffix, it is not only a Japanese word anymore, so I really do not feel very strongly how it is written. I offered it to be flexible with those who dislike macrons. If people want to use macrons for it, then by all means go ahead. I am fine with it either way. So if there is going to be another pole, then make it just be between Ryūkyū and Ryukyu. Bendono 07:00, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Based solely on the discussion here, there appears to be a defacto consensus around option 2, "Ryūkyū / Ryukyuan (mixed usage, per Bendono)". but I don't believe that's the actual consensus. I for one, believe option 3, "Ryukyu / Ryukyuan (no macrons)" is the way to go. In any case, we can throw out option 1, "Ryūkyū / Ryūkyūan (with macrons)" from the beginning, unless anybody objects.
The root of the problem here, are the 2 rules in WP:MOS-JP which seem to be in conflict with each other:
  1. The English words of Japanese origin rule.
  2. Section 10 in the Romanisation rule, which says "Island names should always include macrons."
The voting in Talk:Ryūkyū Islands largely depended on the interpretation of these 2 rules.
If we go strictly by the first (English words of Japanese origin) rule, we need to use "Ryukyu / Ryukyuan (no macrons)" based on the dictionaries.
However, the latter (Romanisation) rule says we need to use "Ryūkyū Islands" for the islands only.
Parts of the Romanisation rule are relatively recent, and were never thoroughly discussed. I think many people will agree that section 10 of the Romanisation rule needs to be changed. We need to discuss how to revise it to include an exception for Ryukyu-related articles. Also, if we happen to decide on using macrons all around, we need to also revise the English words of Japanese origin rule, to make an exception for "Ryūkyū / Ryūkyūan".--Endroit 15:02, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Ryūkyū in real books

The Internet is great. However, very few books are digitally available. So I went to the library. Below is an excerpt of some of the English books that I found using the spelling "Ryūkyū" in the titles. To be fair, I specifically filtered out books regarding linguistics.

  • Ryūkyū in world history, Josef Kreiner
  • Sources of Ryūkyūan history and culture in European collections, Josef Kreiner
  • Temporal and spatial variation in the culture history of the Ryūkyū Islands, Richard J Pearson
  • Ryūkyū studies to 1854 : western encounter, Patrick Beillevaire
  • Handbook and specialized catalogue of the postal issues of the Ryūkyū (Liu Chʻiu) Islands (issued under United States administrations), William C Lassister
  • Specialized catalogue of the postal issues of the Ryūkyū (Liu Chʻiu) islands (issued under United States administrations), by Arthur Lee-Francis Askins
  • Ryūkyū Islands (under United States administrations) : standard list of post offices, Melvin H Schoberlin
  • Okinawa or Ryūkyū: the Floating Dragon, Earl Rankin Bull
  • Catalog of the Ryūkyū research collection. A special collection of books, articles and manuscripts in relevant languages dealing with the Ryūkyū Islands, as of May 1, 1964, Douglas Gilbert Haring
  • China's quasi-war with Japan : the dispute over the Ryūkyū (Liu-ch'iu) Islands, 1871-1881, Pak-Wah Leung
  • Japan country map. area maps, Japan 1:2,000,000, Kansai district 1:200,000, Kantō area 1:750,000, Ryūkyū Islands 1:4,000,000 : city plans, central Tokyo 1:17,500, central Osaka 1:15,000, central Kyoto 1:15,000, Periplus Editions.
  • A list of books and articles on Ryūkyū, Douglas G. Haring
  • Ryūkyū survey 1960, Naoichi Kokubu
  • Geological map around Ryūkyū arc, Eiichi Honza
  • Scientific investigations in the Ryūkyū Islands (SIRI) report, by National Research Council (U.S.). Pacific Science Board
  • Ryūkyū lacquer, Harry Mason Garner

A few things to note:

  • Some of these were issued by the US administration and other official bodies.
  • Notice the expression "Ryūkyū Islands"
  • Notice the expression "Ryūkyūan"

I noticed one interesting thing while I was there. The US occupation was known as "United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands", or USCAR for short. This is called 琉球列島米国民政府 in Japanese. Notice the expression 琉球列島. Perhaps the previous conversation about Ryukyu Islands vs. 琉球諸島 vs. 南西諸島 was meaningless. Bendono 07:02, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

What percentage of the books had these macrons? ...I believe that the administration of the Ryukyus was separate from the administration of Okinawa, which makes the distinction in Japanese understandable. After Okinawa was returned to Japanese control, the US still had control over the "Ryūkyūs". I note this which indicates that the Ryūkyūs are now considered a part of the Nanseis. Dekimasu 00:48, 26 November 2006 (UTC)