Talk:List of Japanese-language poets

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Why is there a separate section for haiku poets in the list?[edit]

Why is there a separate section for haiku poets in the list? --Yumegusa (talk) 15:06, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't know why editors originally added it (here is an early version, [1] before I ever edited the article under my earlier "Reconsideration" user name). I never edited it out because it seemed to me it might be useful for those interested specifically in haiku poets. The "Haiku poets" section must be very incomplete, but I'm not sure the article would be improved if it were eliminated. Haiku is the best known type of Japanese poetry, by far, in the West, so it doesn't seem wrong to focus on it to the exclusion of other forms. I don't have any strong feelings about that section one way or the other, and all of the poets listed there are in the alphabetized sections above it. What do you think? -- JohnWBarber (talk) 01:56, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I should read more carefully before posting. I now see that despite what it says in the introductory paragraph, the separate section is for haiku masters (rather than 'haiku poets'), in which case I drop any objection in principle. However, the question then arises over who was a 'master'. Boncho, Kikaku and Soin were all haikai masters to be sure, and certainly they all wrote standalone hokku, but I don't think they are generally regarded as masters of haiku. Any dissent before I remove them from that sub-list? --Yumegusa (talk) 10:57, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Please feel free to do so. The best solution would be to limit the list to those poets that an authoritative, reliable source (or even more than one authoritative source) calls "masters" and then footnote each name on the list, but I won't object at all if you just remove names based on what you know. That would seem to be an improvement. -- JohnWBarber (talk) 16:40, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Recent reordering[edit]

Recent edits have moved a number of poets' listings from pen name to family name. I believe this is counter-intuitive and reduces the list's usability. Apart from the major poetic families, pre-20th century poets (certainly all haikai ones) are known universally by their pen names. Anyone looking for Boncho or Basho is going to look in B, not M or N. And who is going to look for Chiyo under K? I'm eager to hear other opinions. --Yumegusa (talk) 10:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

In that case, let's list them in both spots: one for family name and one for most well-known name. (This list is primarily to help readers navigate to other Wikipedia articles, with the descriptive information only there to help readers who may be trying to recognize a poet whose name they've forgotten, although the list might be used for other purposes as well, so there is no harm in listing poets twice or even more times.) I know nothing about Japanese poetry and I'll defer to any changes you make based on most well-known names, but we should have a line saying something like:
  • Bonchō (full name: Nozawa Bonchō) 野沢 凡兆 (c. 16401714), haikai poet (family name: Nozawa)
It could be done the other way around, too, but I'd rather have the "main" listing under the most popular name. This involves some added information in the main listing, to make it clear to the reader why the name is listed at that spot. My worry is that people who are unfamiliar with Japanese poetry, which I suspect are a large number of the readers of this page (for instance, there were 500 page views in February [2]), may be looking for this poet under "N". We should also have an "invisible" note at the end of the line for these poets to show editors that the name hasn't been put there by mistake (<!--Please do not delete or move. This is listed under the name most used as well as under the family name--> . Since I don't know the common names that may differ from family names, I can't make these decisions. If you know, please make the changes. I'd be happy to help with the editing, but I don't have the expertise to identify which popular names we should recognize. -- JohnWBarber (talk) 16:31, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Well I've no objection to multiple entries for a poet to cover all bases, but let me reiterate that —especially to someone unfamiliar with Japanese poetry— pre-modern poets will normally be known exclusively by their pen name. Thus, note (even allowing for it being a very rough measuring stick) Google hits count "Bonchō" 142,000, "Nozawa Bonchō" 8,430; "Bashō" 1,370,000, "Matsuo Bashō" 110,000. My point remains that those familiar with the poetry and those that are not, will equally know a poet primarily by their pen name. Rather than including that cumbersome invisible comment you suggest in every instance, a visible comment in the opening paragraph would better do the trick. Something like:

Poets' main entries will be found under the pen name when that is how they are generally known; a cross reference will be found under family name.

Thoughts? --Yumegusa (talk) 21:18, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
What we now have is:

Poets are listed alphabetically by surname (or by widely known name, such as a pen name, with multiple names for the same poet listed separately if both are notable).

I don't mind a rewrite, but if most of the poets are known by their regular name rather than pen name (I assume this is the case), I'd want the explanation to emphasize that (especially since the family name/individual's name order can be confusing to English readers and the sentence also touches on that, although "family name" would be more widely understood than "surname"). About the invisible comment: I worry about editors coming in and "fixing" the alphabetic order, but maybe I shouldn't. We're not so far apart, so why don't you rewrite the lead to whatever you think best, because I doubt very much I'll find very much wrong with it. I'm just glad someone with more knowledge about this is editing the article. -- JohnWBarber (talk) 21:38, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
On reflection, I think the lead is about right as it stands. There's no doubt that the situation is confusing, with pre-20th century Japanese names presented as in Japanese (family name then personal name/pen name), and names from 20th century onwards presented in English in our 'normal' order, despite remaining 'reversed' in Japanese. Couple that with the fact that poets are known generally by their pen name (contrary to your assumption above), and there is no hope of a list such as this being presented in any kind of smooth manner. What I have done is move the main entry for those poets I know about, to their pen name where that is the widely recognized name, and placed a cross-reference under family name. I think this should satisfy requirements. I'm happy this came up as a result of your edits, as it needed airing. Perhaps other editors would care to add? --Yumegusa (talk) 19:15, 23 March 2010 (UTC)