Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/Archive 2

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Capitalization of names

It would be helpful to people who are not familiar with Japanese names, or who are uncertain about names that are commonly westernized, to capitalize family names so as to distinguish between family and given names.

At least some note should be made to distinguish between family and familiar names of notable figures. (post made by anon)

There is a debate over "naming order" - you may wanna look at that. WhisperToMe 06:30, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I have three objections to using all capitals for signifying last names. First of all, although it is fairly common in academic literature (for example, the first mention of a Chinese author's name in a scientific article), and it is used occasionally elsewhere (it's used in some of the public CIA reports for politician's names), the use of all caps for last names is very rare in English. That means that it would requre some sort of explanation (footnotes, linking to an explanation article, etc.), just as any other method of explaining name order for cultures that do not use the European Given Name-Surname order (China, Japan, Korea, Arabic contries, Hungary, etc.).
My second objection is that using all caps for last names is just plain UGLY!
Finally, there are many cases where a person is primarily known by their first name (such as the haiku poet Bashō. I think that it is wrong to place such an undue emphasis on their last name in those cases (e.g. MATSUO Bashō). In most cases, we really don't even need to know which name is the surname or family name, and which is name is the given name, although it is nice to know. [[User:GK|gK ¿?]] 08:33, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Wards of Cities

I propose a standard for titles of articles on wards of cities and ask for comments. My proposal is this: XXX Ward, YYY (XXX is the name of the ward, the word "Ward" begins with a capital letter because it's part of a proper name, and YYY is the name of the city).

Presently, various styles of article titles are in use. Fushimi, Kyoto is one. This is misleading because it follows the pattern City, Prefecture and makes Fushimi seem like a city in Kyoto Prefecture. (Actually, I started the article...)

Ukyo-ku, Kyoto includes the Japanese word "ku." I don't see that as a bad thing, but it might make finding articles difficult for those who do not know this word.

A third style is Tennoji, to which Tennoji-ku, Osaka redirects.

Check Yokohama, Kanagawa for additional examples. Adopting a standard now can save lots of work as people create articles. Fg2 06:33, Feb 17, 2005 (UTC)

Note that the 23 special wards (mostly) follow the WARD, PREFECTURE style, although one could argue that these are, well, special. The 5 NY boroughs are simply the borough name (e.g. Brooklyn), which I think is a bad example. Whichever one we standardize on, we should create redirects for the "-ku" form (probably both "WARD-ku" and "WARD-ku, CITY"). I think I like WARD, CITY (without the word "Ward"). -- Rick Block 15:11, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Be aware that the 23 wards of Tokyo are starting to call themselves "city" in English. I know that Koto-ku calls itself Koto City in the logo and pamphlets. And notice that all the official Web sites of the 23 wards uses the word "city" as the subdomain. So I'm queasy about using "Ward," but I think it's okay to call it a ward (instead of a city) in the descriptions. I prefer with or without the -ku. We can create all three renderings: XXX Ward, XXX-ku, and XXX. The question is, which one will be the "real one" to which the other two will be redirect to? Right now, it seems that most articles are using XXX only. I prefer adding the -ku (also -gun to Districts). 16:18, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Personally I think the original proposal (XXX Ward, YYY) sounds good. After all, the article titles for the prefectures are under Z Prefecture, not Z-ken. Saying "Ward" seems to be the common standard in English and would probably be easier to understand for those not as familiar with Japanese. But, looking at the Wards of Japan page, it looks like there's a lot of pages that will need to be retitled. As for the "special wards" of Tokyo, I would call the wards of Tokyo "Ward" as well ... even if they call themselves "cities" in English they're still "ku" in Japanese, and calling them XXX City (like Shinjuku City) would confuse people (especially people who don't know that Tokyo is technically not a "city" itself, but a "to") CES 04:30, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I should clarify that I'm only proposing the change for wards of cities. Tokyo is not a city, so my proposal does not cover the 23 special wards since being like cities they should remain as they are, e.g. Shinagawa, Tokyo (in my opinion). How many articles on ordinary wards are there? A lot, yes, but not so very many. Twenty-seven, by my count. I counted the ones in blue in Wards of Japan. Blue means that their article already exists. I omitted the ones in Tokyo, For comparison, see Arrondissements of Paris, which names the wards in French, and numbers them in French. For example, instead of "First arrondissement" the article title is "Ier arrondissement." This, in the English Wikipedia. The word "ku" must seem as odd to those who don't speak Japanese as "Ier" does to people who don't speak French. (And "arrondissement" is also not English...) Fg2 07:39, Feb 18, 2005 (UTC)
All I can say is thank goodness for redirect pages, otherwise I for one don't think I could look up an arrondissement without one, given the naming system they're using. I'd never heard of "special wards" until reading this discussion, and after reading up on them on the Japanese wiki page, I agree that the special wards of Tokyo should be left alone. Only in Japan could you have wards that are not wards! It conforms with common English usage too, I rarely hear people refer to Shibuya Ward or Shibuya City--just "Shibuya". CES 13:38, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

A few statistics from google, restricted to English language hits (and, BTW, I had no idea how this would come out):

Abeno, Osaka 460 hits Abeno Ward, Osaka 22 hits Abeno-ku, Osaka 9,360
Aki, Hiroshima 77 Aki Ward, Hiroshima 3 Aki-ku, Hiroshima 267
Adachi, Tokyo 2,170 Adachi Ward, Tokyo 311 Adachi-ku, Tokyo 913
Aoba, Sendai 7,450 Aoba Ward, Sendai 99 Aoba-ku, Senda 47,700
Chikusa, Nagoya 8,900 Chikusa Ward, Nagoya 22 Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 33,700

It would seem, at least outside of Tokyo, the more common form (by far) on the web is WARD-ku, CITY, with WARD, CITY a not very close second, and WARD Ward, CITY comparatively non-existent. If anyone wants to we could collect more data, but this much is enough to convince me it should be WARD-ku, CITY (outside of Tokyo). -- Rick Block 00:12, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Re: Google results - I think it's because that's how most people write Japanese addreses in English. I've never really seen anyone write the word "Ward" in English addresses on postal mail and meishi. Writing -ku is just shorter and simpler. It also tells us that it's not a -shi or -gun. In the case of Tokyo though, the 23 wards are so well-known that we don't need to write -ku as long as we write "Tokyo" after it. So people may tend to leave out -ku. 01:59, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I just want to show my view, as I am the one who started to use ward-ku standard. The rationale was that a ward name without -ku suffix sometimes makes no sense as a place name, like minato (lit. port), chuo (lit. center), and such. Hence in Japan, we usually put -ku at the end of a name. 23 special wards are completely different species. Though they have a word ward, they have nothing in common with wards in other cities. To avoid confusion in future, I will put a quick note about this kind of convention at the main page. Furthermore, we really should go to create Japanese place name like Japanese name. Not mention to names of rivers, mountains, temples, .... -- Taku 03:31, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
Nice new article! Fg2 12:22, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)

Naming order redux

Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse, but the great vote on naming order was largely inconclusive with no real sign of compromise on the horizon. Should we just agree to disagree on this subject for now? It's too bad we can't come up with something we can all agree on ... maybe we should wait until we can.

Also, should we archive this discussion page? It's getting pretty long. I'd do it myself but I'm not sure how. CES 13:50, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)

If we want to be optimistic about this, at least we now know more precisely about people's preference. As Fg2 pointed out, we seem to agree on names for historical figures. Though I am basically fed up with this long long time ago :) We need new blood. -- Taku 03:47, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
The French Wikipedia made a footnote for Japanese names ( - Maybe we should try one for EN. The French link the footnote like this: ({{nom japonais inversé|純一郎 小泉}} WhisperToMe 23:06, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
See Junichiro Koizumi - Here's the first footnote. WhisperToMe 01:22, 15 August 2005 (UTC)


I recently came across a page called Nipponized English terms (corresponds to the Japanese wikipedia page 日本語における外来語の事例集) ... I found the article title to be pretty bizarre and potentially offensive (in the US at least, I thought we stopped referring to Japan-related issues/people as Nip~ after World War II for the sake of political correctness). I wanted to see what people here think before bringing the issue up further on that page. CES 14:33, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I do not think "Nipponized" should be offensive, since "Nippon" is one way to pronounce the word for Japan in Japanese (although it is not the official English term; see Japan->Names of Japan). However, according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, "Japanize" is a word, while "Nipponize" is not. Therefore, we should use "Japanized" instead. Josh 21:27, Apr 13, 2005 (UTC)
I renamed it. At the very least, it doesn't follow naming conventions. Lists should be titled "List of...". --Paul Richter 08:57, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)


There seem to be a few articles floating around on individual kanji. Since these generally have the sort of information found in a kanji dictionary (stroke count, radical, etc.), it would seem that these would be more appropriate for the Wiktionary. Also, since en.wikipedia doesn't allow Unicode in titles, they all end up under gibberish titles here, or else with titles like ku (kanji) that assume there is only one kanji with a given reading (actually a pretty rare occurrance); Wiktionary, on the other hand, allows Unicode in titles. Gwalla | Talk 06:30, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

  • Yes, I'm not sure these can be justified in WP. Kappa 06:37, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree; this would, however, be a valuable project for Wiktionary or perhaps even a full-fledged Kanji guide on Wikibooks. --Golbez 07:05, May 17, 2005 (UTC)
  • On Kanji making up names, these names use the "Revised Hepburn" format of naming. WhisperToMe 22:14, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
    • And? I'm not sure what relevance that comment has to this. We're not talking about romanization here. Gwalla | Talk 23:55, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
    • Well, since special characters are not allowed, the only choice for naming an article on a specific kanji on Wikipedia is a romanization of a reading. The only problem is that most kanji are not notable enough to be included in an encyclopedia. WhisperToMe 00:13, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
      • I think it's a far bigger problem that the vast majority of kanji have several different readings, and many readings (especially on-yomi) are shared between several kanji, making any title based on pronunciation inherently ambiguous. Take ku (kanji), which is about the kanji for "nine": it's also pronounced kyū (on-yomi) or kokono (kun-yomi); my kanji dictionary lists about 27 different kanji that can be pronounced ku, and it's just a learner's dictionary and not comprehensive. But the real issue is whether they belong on Wikipedia at all rather than Wiktionary. Gwalla | Talk 01:04, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Wiktionary already has a bunch of kanji dictionary type articles (see for example Wiktionary:火) so it's definitely redundant. DopefishJustin (・∀・) 18:51, May 19, 2005 (UTC)

A few open questions:

  • What should we do with the existing kanji articles? List them for deletion?
  • What about linked kanji in articles? I assume we should relink them to the Wiktionary entries, but what about the ones that redirect to articles on the kanji's meaning (like 川, which links to island), or the counters that redirect to Japanese counter word? Should we go into the Wiktionary entries and make sure they link to the relevant Wikipedia articles?
  • What do we do with the redirects? List them on Redirects for Deletion? Make them into soft redirects? Gwalla | Talk 22:16, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Okay, here's the plan. Existing kanji articles (like ichi (kanji)) will be listed on VfD. Mangled-encoding redirects (like ĸƒ) will be turned into soft redirects to Wiktionary, except for those that link to Japanese counter word. The lists of links in toyo kanji, joyo kanji, and kyoiku kanji will be relinked to Wiktionary kanji articles. List of kanji by group, List of kanji by stroke count, and List of kanji by concept will be transwiki'd. How does that sound? Gwalla | Talk 23:46, 25 May 2005 (UTC) Gwalla | Talk 23:46, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Commons user M4RCO has put several diagrams on Commons illustrating the writing of kanji (stroke order). The article is Commons:Kanji Stroke Order. This information is not normally part of a dictionary, although it would certainly make a dictionary stronger. But I wonder if it brings us past the point of a dictionary and into an encyclopedia. Also, because kanji share a history with China, and have additional history in Japan (and other countries), they could benefit from narrative discussions of an encyclopedia rather than the terse entries that characterize most dictionaries (narrative discussions are also possible in Wiktionary, which like Wikipedia, "is not paper"). So the information could go on either wiki... but I lean toward having it on Wikipedia, with articles like "list of kanji by XXX" providing the way to access the information --- not many people will spontaneously type "Getsu (kanji)" into the search window. Fg2 01:15, May 26, 2005 (UTC) revised Fg2 01:44, May 26, 2005 (UTC)
Thatj ust ties unto my suggestion of creating a Kanji Wikibook, avoiding both Wikipedia and Wiktionary. However, an article on how to properly draw Kanji could be done in Wikipedia, with some of the stroke order pictures. --Golbez 01:29, May 26, 2005 (UTC)
It's a good idea. Personally, I don't know how much activity there is on wikibooks (or wiktionary). Wikipedia has a lot of activity. Fg2 01:44, May 26, 2005 (UTC)
Since a guide to writing kanji is a sort of howto, Wikibooks is probably the best place for it. Level of activity doesn't really have any bearing on what project a given contribution is appropriate for. Gwalla | Talk 21:52, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
You could make a case that kanji could have articles like the ones on individual letters of the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets (like A)detailing the derivation of the written forms (the development of the morphemes, however, is etymology and is technically the province of Wiktionary). I can even see mentions of kanji that were used as manyogana and developed into kana in articles. However, it'd be pretty hard to make a non-stub without duplicating information in the Wiktionary entries. Still, it's perfectly legitimate to link back and forth between the 'Pedia and Wiktionary (the latter even has a template, {{-info-}} for that purpose). Gwalla | Talk 21:52, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

The existing kanji articles are on VfD as Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Kanji articles. Gwalla | Talk 22:15, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Names of albums, books, songs etc

If an article lists books by an author, or albums by a band, should the names be given in kanji and/or romaji, or only a translation? An if no official translation is available, is an unoffical one acceptable? Kappa 23:28, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I would always include kanji and rōmaji for informativeness' sake, maybe putting it in a table if it's too cluttered. Adding an unofficial translation would be OK IMO but I would do it in the style (lit. meaning) or add a footnote stating that the translations are unofficial. Including translations only is a bad idea because often things are better known among fans (and who else would care) under their Japanese titles, especially if they haven't been domestically released. DopefishJustin (・∀・) 23:02, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

Japanese names

From the Japanese names section, this sentance doesn't make sense: "Give the romanization for any name or term written in kanji or kana when the Japanese pronunciation is different from the English pronunciation." I suggest we change this to: "Give the romanization for any name or term written in kanji or kana when the Hepburn romanized spelling is different from the English spelling." -Himasaram 13:01, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. DopefishJustin (・∀・) July 1, 2005 18:14 (UTC)

Template for articles Japanese terms

Japanese Name
Kanji (kanji)
Hiragana (hiragana)
Hepburn romanization (hepburn)
Kunrei romanization (kunrei)

I think it would be a good idea to agree on a standardized info-box template for articles on Japanese terms. This is very well implemented in articles on Korean terms, see for example Kimchi or Silla. In fact, it's already common in articles on Japanese martial arts for example Sumo or Karate, and I think we would benefit from doing the same thing for any non-stub Japan article! To the right is my proposal for such a template:

See an implemented example over at Seppuku. -Himasaram 13:35, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think Seppuku is a pretty good argument against this: after all, it's exactly the same in all romanization schemes. See also Karate, which has the exact same spelling (Karatedō) in all three romanizations shown (except for a circumflex instead of a macron in Kunrei-shiki—big whoop). I believe in most cases the actual differences in romanized spellings are too minor to warrant mentioning each (especially Nihon-shiki, which is both archaic and almost identical to Kunrei-shiki). Gwalla | Talk 17:03, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
We can discuss the details later. For the time being, I just want some feedback on the general idea of a generic template for articles on Japanese. Korean articles use the following two templates: Template:Koreanname and Template:Koreanname_noimage. I think we should do something similar. -Himasaram 19:27, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Please take look at Seppuku again. I made a Template:Japanesename and tried it out. There is one Template:Japanesename noimage as well. They are slightly different from the example posted here. Please tell me what you think! -Himasaram 19:57, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have to agree with Gwalla. Such boxes are necessary and helpful for languages like Chinese, Korean, Hindi and others that have several different native pronunciations and English romanizations, but there is only one style of romanization that is in widespread and scholarly use for Japanese, and only one native pronunciation of Japanese words. A quick look at the Seppuku article shows that it's cluttered and that the box is really doing nothing to improve the article itself. Oppose. Exploding Boy 19:58, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with the idea of using a table. The table works for the Korean language but it is not useful for Japanese articles. In English, Hepburn has been consistently used throughout history. This is unlike Korean and Chinese that have several conflicting romanization schemes that were popular at one time or another used in English. There is no benefit that I can think of in making Japanese articles like Korean articles. For Japanese articles, the style "term (kanji hepburn)" meets the needs perfectly and it is less cluttered than a full-blown table. —Tokek 18:53, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Oppose. "term (kanji hepburn)" is indeed much less cluttered and there are no alternate pronounciations. JeroenHoek 19:43, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

Verb conjugation should not use extended vowels for endings

It should be noted that romanizations of verbs should not use extended-vowel notation for verb endings. For example, ??? (o-mo-u, meaning "to think or feel") should always be transliterated "omou" and never "omo." The "u" is part of the verb conjugation. I'm only a student but this is fairly vital, is it not? — J44xm 00:39, July 13, 2005 (UTC)

Likewise, I'm only a student, but my Japanese Grammar syllabus seems to agree with you. JeroenHoek 14:07, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
Not all ? are long vowels.  ??? is actually pronounced "o-mo-u", not "o-mo", so of course the correct romanization is also omou. Jpatokal 03:16, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree that inflected endings should not carry macrons. Fg2 03:37, July 14, 2005 (UTC)
Someone want to write that caveat into the Hepburn article in a sensible manner? At the least clarify what a long vowel is exactly and give an example of what isn't. --zippedmartin 05:45, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
How does this sound, to replace number one under the Romanization section:
  1. Long o and u are written with macrons as o and u, respectively. (Note that "ou" (??) is usually romanized as o except in the case of verb endings, in which it must be rendered as "ou"—e.g., the verb ??? (omou) should not be romanized as "omo". If in doubt whether a word with a terminal "ou" is a verb, the best recourse is to leave the "ou" as such and let someone more knowledgeable change it it need be.
    (If you are having difficulty typing these characters with your IME, remember that you can also click on the special characters below the Wikipedia edit box. You can also enter the HTML entity ō for ō, and ū for ū.)
-- J44xm 19:50, July 24, 2005 (UTC)
Better than not mentioning at all, at any rate. Though IPA would help clarify it. --zippedmartin 12:07, 30 July 2005 (UTC)
That's horribly complex and mostly incorrect. The facts of the matter are, there are two different sounds in Japanese, one being a long O (o) and the other a sequence of two vowels (ou). Japanese kana does not differentiate between these, but Japanese sure do, and so should we.
As for what I propose to do about this, I suggest we leave the existing sentence as is, and whack people with clue sticks if they don't understand what long vowels are and romanize incorrectly. Jpatokal 05:34, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
I'm of course willing to defer to whatever's correct. For reference, the idea came from a discussion at JRef's Learning Japanese forum. I was under the impression that in hiragana, the long "o" (o) was usually represented as "ou," which is the reason I thought the clarification is in order.—J44xm 01:57, August 5, 2005 (UTC)