Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Japan

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RfC: Flag of Ryukyu[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Discussion closed as per Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive881#Disruptive reverts by Sturmgewehr88 and Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 49#A "national flag" without secondary sources.

User:Nanshu has labeled File:Flag of Ryukyu.svg as a Wikipedia hoax, however he then provided three sources (from 1854, 1873, and one around the beginning of the Meiji period) that prove that the flag wasn't just made up by some random editor. He has now gone through multitudes of articles and a template with the sole edit summary of "DEL Wikipedia hoax". Even though this flag has been recorded 261 years ago as the "Ryukyu Kingdom flag", is it a "Wikipedia hoax" or should its use be restored where it was removed? ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 00:27, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Bankoku hakki zufu 萬國舶旗圖譜 by Matsui Nantai (1854),[1]
  • Naigai kishō chikyū kokumei 内外旗章地球國名 by Katayama Tsutomu (1873),[2] and
  • Naigai kishō binran 内外旗章便覧 by an unknown author (undated).[3]


  1. ^ Matsui Nantai 松居南岱 (1854). Bankoku hakki zufu 万国舶旗図譜 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Katayama Tsutomu 片山勤 (1873). Naigai kishō chikyū kokumei 内外旗章地球国名 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  3. ^ University of the Ryukyus Library. "Shin shūzō Okinawa kankei shiryō no shōkai 新収蔵沖縄関係資料の紹介" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  • Restore - per above. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 00:27, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
    • Are you doing this simply to demonstrate that you have no talent for historiography? Go to a bookstore, pick up a book on the history of the United Stats, and you cannot find the Stars and Stripes. That's what's happening here. You stick to George H. Kerr's Okinawa: The History of an Island People (1958) even though I warned that it was seriously outdated. Hey, which page is devoted to the phantom flag?
    • So, have you checked the catalogs I cited? They are all available online. You can find the 清道 flag listed as the flag of Korea (朝鮮國旗). Do you know what this means?
    • Although you ignore this, I explained at the Commons image description page why these catalogs were unreliable. Even if you don't trust me (I guess so), what do you think about Kina Daisaku, a part-time curator at Naha City Museum of History, who was aware of the undated Naigai kishō binran and still concluded that he was unable to find contemporary sources in which the phantom flag was used as a national flag? --Nanshu (talk) 01:59, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
      • Sorry for the late response. What's wrong exactly with Kerr other than his POV of Ryukyuan pacifism? Besides, I have other sources to compliment Kerr. And none that I'm aware of (my copy is missing a few pages anyhow).
      • Yes I have, they're very interesting. And I'm guessing that the Qing flag being shown as the flag of Korea is a political statement by the author? Or do you mean that they're just wrong/ignorant? Either way, just because they got one wrong doesn't mean all of them are wrong.
      • No, I read your argument fully. For one, I'm not surprised that there aren't Okinawan sources before 1945. Another thing is, what do the "many other illustrated catalogs of flags" say about Ryukyu? And if you take the 1854 source, how would the author get "access to firsthand knowledge" on any of the flags in the catalog?
      • The reason I opened this RfC was because you removed the flag as a "Wikipedia hoax", however you've provided sources that show otherwise. Even if it wasn't a "national flag" (maybe stylization of the Shō crest), you still prove that it was not made up on Wikipedia. Removing the flag as a "hoax" is the same as removing content and calling it "vandalism". ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 02:18, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
        • First of all, you mix up two different aspects of the problem. At the Commons image description pages, I created two separate sections, "As a Wikipedia hoax" and "In search for truth." That this is a Wikipedia hoax has nothing to do with the new sources I added (the latter). By calling it a Wikipedia hoax, I'm not talking about whether this flag should be shown at Ryūkyū-related articles but about whether this incident is worth mentioning at articles like List of Wikipedia controversies and Reliability of Wikipedia. It's not unrealistic because we now have an external source that criticizes Wikipedia for spreading misinformation.
        • Leaving aside the meta-discussion, I think my point is clear. A national flag is something we can easily find in the literature. If all we can salvage after serious research is obscure references, it is not what we consider the national flag. Even if we decide to mention it in articles, we must not give undue weight.
        • That said, I will answer minor questions.
          You can find illustrated catalogs of flags not showing the phantom flag at the National Diet Library Digital Collections (e.g. [1]).
          清道 means to clear the road. The 清道 flag was flown at the front of the procession of a diplomatic mission in order to get rid of people for passage (see [2]). In the catalogs I added, you can see this flag is referred to as 國旗, which we translate as "national flag" today. Apparently, the authors of these catalogs had considerably different notions of 國旗 from us.
          Kerr's book is seriously outdated. You may think that there is no significant progress in archaeology and historiography in the last half century. That's totally wrong. Major archaeological discoveries were triggered by the construction boom after Okinawa's return to Japan in 1972. Sai Taku's edition of the Chūzan Seifu was discovered in 1972. It is a missing link between the Chūzan Seikan and Sai On's edition of the Chūzan Seifu, and we now have a far deeper understanding on how Sai On rewrote history. Anyway, what I mean by mentioning Kerr's book is that it should have mentioned the phantom flag if it was what we consider the national flag.
        • --Nanshu (talk) 16:23, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
          • I didn't mix them up, the latter contradicts the former. How can the flag be a Wikipedia hoax if 1) the flag preexists Wikipedia (and the Internet) 2) there are at least three sources that explicitly say this was the national flag of Ryukyu.
          • And I wouldn't call these sources "obscure". Also, the catalog you just provided a link to has two major problems: it also uses the 清道 flag for the flag of Korea, and it doesn't use the "phantom" flag because there is no entry for Ryukyu. Please point out the Ryukyuan flag for me, because double checking failed me.
          • No, I know a lot came out in the 60s and 70s. But again, I don't only rely on Kerr. And yes, I suppose he'd at least mention a flag. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 02:09, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
If there are only vague historical references to the flag, I think we should stop using the image for WP:RYUKYU, regardless of its factuality. Images associated with a WikiProject should be a strongly associated symbol of that topic, such as the treble clef and note for WP:MUSICIAN or the extreme deep field for WP:COSMOLOGY. How can we say that flag represents the Ryukyus when barely anyone has heard of it? I suggest something like Shuri Castle (it's the image used for 'history of Okinawa' and the Chinese Ryukyu wiki project already) or a shisa design. --Prosperosity (talk) 03:00, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
This isn't about using the flag to represent the WikiProject, it's about its use as the national flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom on Wikipedia, which Nanshu claims was never the national flag is a Wikipedia hoax and therefore should be removed entirely. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 03:24, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
Have there been any attempts to ask for input from Japanese-speaking Wikipedians on the ja:Wikipedia:Chatsubo? Especially since this is a Commons-related issue too. WhisperToMe (talk) 05:06, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
There was some discussion on the talk page of ja:琉球王国 back in 2008 [3]. Apparently the flag was on the page at that time, but it was later removed. Michitaro (talk) 01:29, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
Hey, I have never claimed that the phantom flag was never the national flag. That's probatio diabolica. --Nanshu (talk) 16:23, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I rephrased it. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 22:52, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I call for third opinions. Expecting Sturmgewehr88 to use common sense is found to be fruitless.
  • Just for clarification, I have no opinion on the use of the phantom flag in the Ryukyu task force. I'm not a participant and probably will never be. I just feel that it ironically symbolizes the nature of the task force. --Nanshu (talk)
Common sense? Common sense says (after you provided sources) that the flag isn't a Wikipedia hoax, therefore it shouldn't be removed as a hoax.
I'm actually surprised that you only removed the flag from a couple dozen pages and not completely removed it from Wikipedia. But how does it symbolize "the nature" of the task force? ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 22:52, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I notified the Japanese Wikipedia that there needs to be input from editors who are able to read and interpret the sources. WhisperToMe (talk) 03:44, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Per WP:NOR, please avoid original research. I'm happy to consider other points of view and if you've actually read the "discussion on the talk page of ja:琉球王国", you'll notice that what i said is true. In fact, no treatises in refereed academic journals have reliable opinions about the Flag of Ryukyu, and these bibliographies should not be regarded as a reliable source that can check the information. --Infinite0694 (talk) 14:19, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Sturmgewehr88 (talk · contribs) conducted mass (~100) reverts to reinstate a flag after it became clear that his proposal to do so failed to gain support from other Wikipedians. I've reported the incident at ANI. --Nanshu (talk) 06:04, 11 April 2015 (UTC) @Nanshu: here is something you might find interesting. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 00:18, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Even though Nanshu is now forumshopping, I would like someone to answer this: if the flag was claimed to be the national flag before it was uploaded to Wikipedia (i.e. did not originate here), then can it be labeled as a Wikipedia hoax? ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 17:56, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Comment: We don't care if it "can be labelled" anything. Either we have reliable pre-WP sources or we don't; that's the end of it. Why is this even an RfC? Sounds like a user disciplinary issue for WP:ANI to me.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:18, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

I suggest we close this discussion. TheInfernoX (talk) 11:06, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Membership Roll?[edit]

Hi all. I just came to the realization that the project's front page doesn't have a list of signed up members. Wasn't there a section like this, transcluded from the subpage before? Or just a figment of my false memory.

Anyeays I realized that even though two userboxes are given for the project, they are vastly different in one respect.

If you pasted the first one {{User WikiProject Japan}}

Miyajima-Torii-Modified.jpg This user is a member of WikiProject Japan.

it doesn't assign you to any wikipedian categories.

Whereas if you use the {{User WP Japan}}

Flag of Japan.svg This user participates in
WikiProject Japan

You are placed in Category:WikiProject Japan participants (and Category:Wikipedians interested in Japan). I think it might be too much labor to ping everyone who used the first user box. Do you think it all right if I modified the first template so they too get filed under the WikiProject members category?--Kiyoweap (talk) 08:47, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

@Kiyoweap: You're looking for Wikipedia:WikiProject Japan/Participants. It's linked in the first paragraph of the main project page, but perhaps we could make it a little more prominent. As for adding the category to the first userbox, it's fine by me. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 11:07, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
@Mr. Stradivarius: Thanks for pointing out "participants" subpage. I couldn't locate it for some reason. Well, since I started I'm just going to finish the job alerting the rest of the people using the user box. Thanks again.--Kiyoweap (talk) 11:13, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Since the membership roster exists, I think it might be better to not tamper with the first user box. So to the 31 or so users I contacted, please make a conscious choice of whether to switch to or add the second type user box to populate your own user name into the Category:WikiProject Japan participants. Sorry for the disturbance. --Kiyoweap
It seems logical to put the userbox in the category, to be honest. Whoever made the userbox probably wasn't aware that there was a category, or maybe just forgot. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 11:59, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Right now, I prefer if the 30 or so members made their own individual decisions.
The "what links here" does make it already public knowledge they declare themselves members, but considering the existence of the "nocategory=true" switch, it's quite possible they don't want to be listed.
Also weeds out non-active users. The active ones I'm expecting would take notice and make the switch.
As to code change needed I created a post at Template talk:User WikiProject Japan#Category - WikiProject Japan participants. --Kiyoweap (talk) 09:44, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Geography: Mount Katsuragi[edit]

It translated the disambiguation page for Mount Katsuragi from the Japanese, and after making various changes meant to improve, the layout ended up looking pretty chaotic. I would like someone to clean it up who is resourceful regarding such geography dab pages.
My view is the "Mount Katuragi" in the ancient sense is most significant, since it would be linked in that sense from various history and culture pages.--Kiyoweap (talk) 10:14, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

I took a look at that page, and strictly speaking I don't think it should be a disambiguation page, because unlike Japanese we don't have articles yet for any of those mountains, and we are not supposed to list red links on disambiguation pages. What I would suggest is to convert that page into an article on "Mount Katuragi", perhaps based on the content in the Remarks section. You could use that article to explain that there are several mountains with that name. – Margin1522 (talk) 21:00, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, perhaps I failed to get this point across in my initial post, but geography articles aren't really my forte or field of interest, so I am not really receptive to your suggestion that I myself develop this into an article proper. It will have to be an open invitation to users at large, particularly those rooted in this area of Nara/Oska, or perhaps [task force] members.
There is a bit more to write, but I'm going to continue at the Talk:Mount Katsuragi page. --Kiyoweap (talk) 18:48, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I'll see what I can do. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 23:11, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I've made (some of it was translated) one article so far: Mount Yamato Katsuragi. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:27, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
For Mount Izumi Katsuragi, too. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 17:31, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Finished Mount Naka Katsuragi. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:22, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Working on Minami Katsuragi, but having trouble understanding part of it. If anyone else familiar with Japanese (especially if familiar with the Lotus Sutra, Shugendō, and Japanese Buddhism) wants to help, you can see my question here. Thanks! ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 18:35, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Finished Kongō Range. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 21:48, 22 April 2015 (UTC)


The geisha article has recently drawn the attention of some people (perhaps very young?) who don't seem to know what they're doing. It would help if some more experienced, level-headed editors kept an eye on it over the next few days. -- Hoary (talk) 14:43, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

RfC for Kenji Miyazawa[edit]

There is currently a RfC at Talk:Kenji Miyazawa#RfC: How should this be worded?. ミーラー強斗武 (StG88ぬ会話) 19:59, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

How strict should we be about the order of names?[edit]

So, we're supposed to have SURNAME-GIVEN NAME for those born before 1868, and GIVEN NAME-SURNAME for those born after. How strict are we to be with this? For example, I now have at Kanae Yamamoto (artist) that Hakutei Ishii (1882–1858) is the son of Ishii Teiko (1848–1897). Should I leave it like that? It follows the guidelines, but it sure looks like I simply screwed up. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 01:18, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

The 1868 cutoff date is an arbitrary Wikipedia invention. Nobody's name was reversed in 1868. There is no reason to be fastidious about it. Fernando Danger (talk) 02:01, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
It is not an arbitrary invention. This is commonly used in academic circles as well. And to answer the original question, yes, that is the way it should be, Curly Turkey. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:01, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
This should be good. What "academic circle" is that, pray tell? I find only one post-2000 hit for "Hakutei Ishii"[4] compared to 14 for "Ishii Hakutei."[5] If you look at other encyclopedias, they put everyone family name first.[6] That neatly avoids the need to pick some arbitrary switching date. Fernando Danger (talk) 05:32, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
I said "circles" (plural), and please don't give me attitude with "pray tell?" (that's never a polite question, as it assumes the person being asked the question is an idiot who obviously knows nothing about what they speak...if that's not what you intended, I apologize, but I have never, ever seen that used in a polite way). At the time the that part of the MOS was written, it was found that that was the cutoff date for when academic usage changed from SURNAME GIVENNAME to GIVENNAME SURNAME. You're welcome to search through the archives of the discussions, as they were many and some were very long. To change it again would require similar extensive discussions to arrive at a new consensus (if needed). ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 05:51, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
In other words, there aren't any academic circles that do this, or at least none you know of. Fernando Danger (talk) 05:59, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
No, and stop being a jerk. You can go look up the lengthy discussions in the archives of the MOS if you want to find them. Please don't assume you can come in here and make everything conform to how you want it when you've only had an account for a couple days. You are welcome to help, and you are welcome to start up a discussion if you want to change the MOS. Until the MOS is changed, however, we need to follow it. It is there to alleviate confusion on how things should be done. Here's the link: MOSJA talk. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:25, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
For the record, I wasn't asking if I should put Hakutei's GIVEN last, but rather if I should put Teiko's first (as most of the article takes place in the 20th century and thus most of the names would be GIVEN-SURNAME). I was not trying to challenge the MoS. Curly Turkey ¡gobble! 06:05, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we know. Fernando is the one poking the hornets nest (though, it's perfectly fine to bring it up for discussion if he wishes; just not here, as this sisn't the appropriate place for the discussion). Some of those discussions were hairy beasts. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 06:27, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

It seems to me that the overarching aim should be to avoid writing things which are batty, and this includes having "Hakutei Ishii" son of "Ishii Teiko". This is immensely confusing for a reader not familiar with the conflicting conventions of "history" and "modern Japan". Therefore, within a single article, there should be a uniform convention, or at least no chopping and changing -- I suppose a case in which a present-day researcher is being mentioned in the same breath as a pre-Meiji figure, they might have their names treated inconsistently, but in any event this should be explained to the reader in a headnote. Imaginatorium (talk) 06:46, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I see it's personal insult time again. Hey, stay classy. I take it that the 1868 cutoff date was created by this vote in 2006. I say we all squeeze into the time machine and take a gander as to how this problem originated! First, there was a proposal by Nihonjoe which cites "Monbusho policy," whatever that is, as a basis for the mysterious 1868 date. This phrase was later removed on the grounds that "Monbusho doesn't have any authority over any Wikipedia." It is also stated that across-the-board use of family name first is "consistent with academic books and articles." In short, it was never claimed that the 1868 cutoff was an academic convention, and in fact the participants chose to override academic convention, at least as far as they understood it. Also, I have to wonder about the Monbushō reference. Our article on Monbushō says this ministry was created in 1871. Fernando Danger (talk) 13:24, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
    • The passage about "from the Meiji period" that we quote in Japanese name is not only from the Mombushō. It's from this page, 2001, from the ja:国語審議会, which is the closest thing that Japan has to an official body entrusted with questions having to with the Japanese language. Ultimately it's derived from the way that Japanese people themselves want to have their names written in roman characters. There are objections, and academic publications that do it differently, but this is as about as official as it gets. – Margin1522 (talk) 14:01, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
      • I must confess that I still do not follow the Monbushō argument. But I do know that Merriam-Webster is a widely accepted standard in these matters, and that it is recommended by several of the style books listed in the MOS. They have a biographical names section that lists various Japanese names family name first. This includes both individuals born before 1868 and those born afterward. Fernando Danger (talk) 14:48, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
        • Merriam-Webster is not an authority on names. They publish a dictionary (actually several different dictionaries), and are therefore irrelevant here. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 20:37, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
          • "For names of well-known deceased persons, Chicago generally prefers the spellings in Merriam-Webster’s Biographical Dictionary or the biographical section of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary." CMOS, Section 8.3. Fernando Danger (talk) 23:04, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
      • But wiki policy actually goes against the recommendations of the linked 国語審議会 document, which says that it is "desirable" for traditional Japanese name order to be used even when names are romanized. --Cckerberos (talk) 20:11, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
        • That's just ultra-polite Japanese for "this is how it should be done". That's how they phrase things like that, in order to avoid confrontation. ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 20:37, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
          • Yes, I'm familiar. Indeed, that was kind of my point. Why introduce a document, calling it "about as official as it gets", in support of a wiki policy that that document rejects? I'm not saying that the findings of the 国語審議会 should be considered any kind of final word, but I just can't see the logic. --Cckerberos (talk) 21:51, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
            • As I read it, the entire document is about how to give the names of living Japanese. This is of course quite a different situation than a 19th artist who may or may not have had an English-language business card. Fernando Danger (talk) 23:35, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Isn't this something that clears itself up by looking at evidence on a case-by-case basis? If we're writing an article on 徳川家康, we can search whether scholarly articles refer to him as Ieyasu Tokugawa or Tokugawa Ieyasu, and act accordingly. If that person isn't referred to at all in English sources, we can look at more discussed people in the same field and time period and see which name order is typically used. The pre- post- Meiji Era works as a general guideline, since typically surnamed people from the far past are [last][given] in English and contemporary people are [given][last], but I don't see the Meiji Era cut-off as working as a definite rule. It does make sense, if there's no other information available. --Prosperosity (talk) 23:48, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
IMO, the guideline should not say anything about name order or 1868 directly. Instead, it should instruct editors to consult an authoritative reference work such as Kodansha, Britannica, or Merriam Webster. WP:COMMONNAME instructs us to follow "quality encyclopedias." So it is appropriate for the Japan MOS to elaborate on this by listing the ones relevant to Japan. Fernando Danger (talk) 00:26, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually, WP:COMMONNAME instructs us to follow "major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias..." or any of a number of other authorities. When there are alternative names, which is not really what we are discussing here. If you don't want to have a style guide rule, we can have that discussion. Generally I'm in favor or style guides and rules, like this one, from the [2015 NYT Style Guide]: "Japanese names. Use them in the customary Western fashion, with the surname after the given name." Having a rule like this one makes the writer's job easier and makes the publication appear more consistent and professional. But as I said, if you don't like rules we can have that discussion.
About the Shingikai and "desirable", yes, they did say that. It's like saying that it would be desirable for the US to adopt the metric system. I fully agree! But it hasn't happened. Before "desirable", the Shingikai called the Western order 定着したもの...広く行われており and 一般的. In other words, this is the general practice. So for modern names this is what we should observe. When faced with a choice between a commonly used form and a desirable one, at WP we're supposed to use the common one. – Margin1522 (talk) 02:43, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
I hope everyone is aware by now that journalists give Japanese names family name last, while academics, encyclopedias, and other references works use family name first. Recent events are more likely to be covered in journalistic sources, but of course neither group uses 1868 as a cutoff year. At this point, it looks to me like the cutoff idea arose due to a misunderstanding of the Mombushō document, which is about business cards and not encyclopedia writing. Fernando Danger (talk) 03:31, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we're aware that academics have a simpler rule. WP uses the journalistic rule that distinguishes between historical and modern figures. Since we distinguish, we need to define "modern". There have been complaints about 1868 in the past, and complaints about distinguishing. If you have a better definition of modern, you're welcome to suggest it. If you want to suggest that we use the academic rule, or both rules depending on the preferences of whoever edits the article or whatever sources happen to be cited in the article, you're welcome to suggest that well. – Margin1522 (talk) 06:17, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
You put forward the Shingikai report to show that the wiki standard was "derived from the way that Japanese people themselves want to have their names written in roman characters". But it does the opposite as the report recommends that the traditional Japanese name order be used in English. It also states that the preference of a (small) plurality of Japanese surveyed was to have their name written surname first in roman characters. The topic of the widespread adoption of Western name order by Japanese from the Meiji period on is discussed, but this is done in direct contrast to the recent state of things in Japan, which is not as clear cut. In any case, I don't think common usage by Japanese is very relevant to our MOS. --Cckerberos (talk) 03:37, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
The Shingikai report noted that 欧米の報道機関等では,日本人自身の慣習を反映して「名−姓」順で表記することが一般的である。That's why we use it. What exactly are you suggesting? – Margin1522 (talk) 06:17, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Isn't this reference obviously historical? I doubt if any media organization selects a style based on business cards in modern times. Fernando Danger (talk) 14:58, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
  • The style guides recommended in the Wikipedia's MOS are all of the academic type. There's CMOS and MLA for American English, plus similar guides for Britain and Australia. No journalistic style book is recommended: No AP style, no New York Times style, etc. No, I don't want to suggest a definition of "modern" to include in the MOS, thank you very much. I want the MOS to recommend a collection of references for editors to consult. As far as I know, all the major references do it surname first. If someone can come up with a "non-academic" reference work that does it surname last, we can include that as well. Fernando Danger (talk) 09:39, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
The Shingikai statement about what is "ippanteki" is dated from 2001--and even it acknowledges that the situation is changing. So it is not good evidence of what is the norm in 2015. Clearly a lot of journalistic media still use surname last, but a lot of academic media use surname first. It is perhaps time to rethink the MOS. The problem with us shifting to totally relying on WP:COMMONNAME is that it not only forces us to argue over what is more "common" (is it Google hits or "authoritative" sources? Journalism or academia?), but that it is hard to take into account different media with their different requirements (this was part of the problem over macrons in names). It can be like comparing apples and oranges. I always thought the 1868 cutoff was without foundation (I am in academia and know of no one who uses it), and it produced ridiculous results, such as a cultural figure born in 1867 having his name surname first even though he was wrote his famous works in 1910-1920, but then having another author born in 1869 having surname last even though he was famous in the 1890s. If you are going to make the distinction between modern and premodern names, it should be done by the years people were active, not by birthdate. I think in this kind of transitional period, where boundaries are becoming increasingly fuzzy, we just have to come up with a single rule and keep with it for both modern and premodern names. Michitaro (talk) 16:18, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
It's not my distinction. This was decided long before I got here. But sure, the active thing sounds sensible. It would agree with the principle in biographical dictionaries that people are included according to where or when they were active, as opposed to their birth dates or birthplaces. – Margin1522 (talk) 18:42, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Converting Japanese style dates to western dates?[edit]

In the history page of the Japanese Language Supplementary School of Houston I'm having trouble converting the following Japanese-style dates to English ones, because I'm not sure when one year "ends" and one year "begins":

  • "昭和46年度 (1972-73)[...]3月 4日 第1回授業開始。名称を「ヒューストン日本語補習教室」とする。幼稚園部、小学部、中学部までとし、6学級を設置。 児童数 50名、教員数 4名。所在地を South Main Baptist Church校舎とする。" and "昭和48年度 (1973-74) 1月 校舎を Tallowood Baptist Church へ移転" and "昭和58年度 (1983-84) 8月20日 Holy Spirit Episcopal Church へ分校開設。" and "昭和60年度 (1985-86)[...]4月10日[...] 3月25日 Westchester Education Center (以下WEC) へ校舎移転。" and "平成11年度 (1999-2000) 5月 25日 ストラットフォード高校に移転。 5月 29日 ストラットフォード高校にて授業開始。" and "平成12年度 (2000-2001)[...]8月12日 ウエストチェスター校に校舎移転"

The events I want to clarify:

  • 1972? - School opened
  • 1973? - School moved to Tallowood Baptist Church
  • 1983? - Holy Spirit Episcopal Church class opened
  • 1985? - Moved to Westchester Education Center
  • 1999? - School began holding classes at Stratford High School
  • 2000? - Moved back to Westchester

Thanks, WhisperToMe (talk) 15:08, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

The indication 昭和46年度 means "School year of Showa 46", and Showa 46 was 1971, so this is pretty mysterious. But in all the other cases (I think!) the Showa year given is the year in which the school year started. I would guess that the year at the beginning of the school year would be the one in which it opened, but don't know any more. Hope this helps... Imaginatorium (talk) 15:46, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
It looks like 昭和46年度 as 1972-73 is just a misprint on their page. All the other dates match. If they are following the Japanese school year, the "nendo" should start in April and continue until the next March. So 昭和48年度 (1973-74) 1月 should be January 1974. Michitaro (talk) 15:55, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, guys! I adjusted the dates and added internal comments about the Japanese school year going from April to March. WhisperToMe (talk) 18:01, 3 May 2015 (UTC)