Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles/Archive 9

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My problem in Kanji/Romanization Agreement

Sorry for this minor question.

I am currently editing The Phantom of Baker Street (A Detective Conan movie), and have a problem on how it write its Japanese name in its kana/kanji.

The plain name of the movie is ベイカー街の亡霊, but furigana explicitly mentioned the kanji 街 to be pronunced "street" as in English (ストリート), and even official resources name it as ベイカー街(ストリート)の亡霊. [1]

I was tempted to use the latter form (this is the way I am using in my current edition) since it lines up well with the romanization, but ストリート is not officially part of the name but only a pronunciation guide for 街.

So, should I keep the (ストリート)? Samuel Curtis 12:37, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Eh, good enough, at least until ruby becomes more widely available. (Actually, here ruby really would degrade fairly gracefully, but I still wouldn't suggest using it unless you want people "fixing" it.)  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 20:38, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Please, let's not use ruby! It's probably not necessary to have ストリート because that's the pronunciation of 街, and is indicated in the romaji. But it's probably ok to have it in parentheses. Fg2 21:16, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
I disagree about the necessity: I know I'd be confused without the parenthetical katakana, in this instance. Although less so, if it had said Beika Sutorīto. ... wait, that's right, it's supposed to say Beika Sutorīto. Alright, then, I fully agree. ^_^  –Aponar Kestrel (talk) 21:45, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Do you think there is, or should have, a rule on this...? Samuel Curtis 15:40, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

To anyone in general: Are these readings considered Ateji? --Kunzite 15:54, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

A little bit late but... no I wouldn't consider this example real ateji, though it's a little unique so hard to put a name to. It's basically stylistic, but you could interpret in different ways. It is rather common to use completely different (sometimes unrelated) readings for kanji for purposes of humor, prose, or (in this case) language differences. The name of "Baker's street" in Japanese (as written in a travel book, for example) would officially be ベイカー街 due to an interpretation of the word "street" and the kind of area "Baker's street" exists in, and then interposing that image onto the most similar Japanese word, 街. Similar "standard translations" exist for most map features, and things get much more complicated when you consider that the words are often different across countries even when they speak the same language.
The only thing that is useful when translating from Japanese is to realize what they are trying to say. By reading ベイカー街 as beikaa sutoriito they are trying to get the Japanese meaning of 街 across without losing the original meaning of "street" or preserving the fact that it's a street with an English name. Therefor there's no reason to interpret the Japanese word, because it's only meant to be useful to Japanese people who might not understand exactly what street means. There are many more complicated examples of this... like when they put "brothers" as furigana for 軍人 or イーグル as furigana for 米, but those should be handled appropriately if and when the problem arises.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  00:47, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
(reply to Kunzite) No, according to the definition of ja:当て字, it's not Ateji (i.e. yomi first, kanji next), rather, reversed(kanji first, yomi next). Perhaps you can name it as Ateyomi, although Google doen's return a good result. There're unimaginable number of them, as Freshgavin said (though I didn't know 軍人 nor イーグル); for instance, 亡霊 in the movie title itself can also be read as "ファントム" (phantom). Hmmm, now I suspect almost all nouns and lots of verbs, adjectives and adverbs that are not made of katakanas can be rubied with katakana (plus hiragana in some cases) if you want to: 記事(アーティクル // article)を編集(エディット // edit)する, 利用者(ユーザー // user)と話す(トークする // talk), ... list never ends. In real situations, you can find this kind of "Ateyomi"s in translated sci-fi novels for example. In this case the reason seems to be exactly what Freshgavin gave: to let readers grasp the idea. 重力制御法(ヌルグラブ) // NullGrav(null + gravity) in The Door into Summer is one such example. Or, in some fantasy (light?) novels such as Slayers where, I thought, a magic named fireball is written as 火炎球(ファイアーボール).
Also, just as a side note (I'm afraid you all know this fact), and I believe this is why the movie has the ruby, ベイカー街 is normally pronounced as "beikaa gai" and never "beikaa sutoriito"; unfortunately the article on ja.wp doesn't have its reading... Try, if you can, watching The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (TV series) with Japanese dubbing. I really loved the series :) - marsian 13:40, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposals on City/Town/Village/District Suffixes

  1. In section 'Place names' the rules for 'cities' and 'towns and villages' should be amended to indicated that the suffixes -shi, -cho, and -son (市, 町, 村) should be omitted from translated names. This appears to already be general practice, but I think it should be codified. For 'districts', suffix -gun (郡) should be omitted and the word "District" appended to the translated name.
  2. The frequently used format for Japanese place names [[{English} ({kanji}; -{suffix romaji})]] should be deprecated in favor of the Template:Nihongo format, i.e. [[{English} ({Kanji} {Romaji})]] ({Romaji} includes suffix). I understand the economy of the current style, but think it's very hard to understand to all but those who are not already intermediate or better Japanese readers.

--D. Meyer 09:28, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I find this puzzling. For example, gun is unambiguous and monosyllabic; "district" less than instantly clear and also disyllabic. And how about shi? I'm all in favor of dropping it where possible, but certainly not if this forces use of the very often ludicrous "city": some of these "shi" have just the population and amenities of what in my idiolect is a small town. -- Hoary 09:39, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

"... City" is ludicrous. That is why I am proposing that -shi simply be dropped in translation: ○×市 should be translated as "Marupeke", not "Marupeke-shi" or "Marupeke City". (And personally, I would translate -gun as "... County", but that's just meenforcing my preference isn't worth the grief of overhauling the pages already devoted to "district".) --D. Meyer 09:50, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Re #1, I thought it was already worded that way; but, you're right. It is only explicitly spelled out for prefectures (don't), and wards (do, usually). The examples sorta lead us to the correct conclusion, but it might not hurt to reword the section. This section is also focussed on article names, and not the usage of place names within an article. Neier 10:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
I advocate omitting "city" and similar words from translated names, writing "Yokohama" (not "Yokohama City"), "Minato" (not "Minato Ward," "Minato Special Ward," "Minato City"), and so forth, regardless of what the cities choose to call themselves in English. We should use the word "city" when discussing the corporate body that governs and administers the city, but not for the geographic place. Thus, I advocate writing "the city [corporation] of Okahira was in danger of bankruptcy" but "Morioka [the geographic place] is the capital of Iwate." Taking the U.S. as an example, a lot of cities use the word "city" in their corporate names, but normal writing omits it. Thus, "the city of Boston [the corporation] issued bonds for sewer construction" but "Gillette has its headquarters in Boston [the geographic place]." Also, when the word is necessary, I suggest using "city as a prefix, not a suffix, following the pattern "City of Los Angeles" rather than "Oklahoma City." Fg2 10:28, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Both in article titles and in body text, I might add. 10:29, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that Minato-ku is bad? Or, just "Minato Ward"? For districts, I don't know if county is a more suitable translation or not; but, in the US where we have counties, we would never say Orange or Cook without the County afterwards. So, I prefer "○○ District" or "○○ County" (not choosing favorites). Neier 10:35, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
(That's Minato-ku in YokohamaOsaka. Not Tokyo) :-) Neier 10:35, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
We follow the pattern Name-ku, City in article titles. "Name" is "Minato," and so we have "Minato-ku, Yokohama" as an article title. In the body text, I advocate "Minato" over "Minato Ward" and "Minato-ku."
Counties do seem different, don't they? X County is a common pattern. In articles on Japan, I suggest that we allow the pattern X District and, to avoid excess repetition, X (without District). But that we keep the present pattern for article titles. I don't know why Wikipedia settled on "district" rather than "county"; I've sort of gotten used to it despite at first finding it strange. Fg2 10:56, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
"District" does appear to be the well-established translation for , even though it's not what I would go with—"county" seems better, and I've also translated it as "township". I'd also agree that, just as a matter of English style, it needs to be called "X district." adamrice 15:52, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone know the reason the rule for Tokyo wards is different from other cities? --D. Meyer 12:10, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I found the original discussion here: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_for_Japan-related_articles/misc2#Wards_of_Cities. It looks like it is based mostly on Ghits. Neier 13:04, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
The reason the rule for Tokyo wards is different from the rule for wards of other cities is that the wards of Tokyo are themselves different from the wards of other cities. What used to be a ward of Tokyo is now, legally, a "special ward," and it has the legal status of an entire city. Tokyo is not a city (see Talk:Tokyo); it has the same status as a prefecture and thus is analogous to a state of the US or a province of Canada. It has villages, towns, and cities in it, in addition to the 23 special wards. The wards in Tokyo are legally cities. Each of the 23 wards has its own mayor and city assembly. This is different from wards of Yokohama, Osaka, and other cities, where wards are part of a larger city. Since the wards of Tokyo are legally cities, Wikipedia treats them consistently with other cities. Thus, we have an article on Chiyoda, Tokyo (Chiyoda is a special ward of Tokyo, that is, a city), Tachikawa, Tokyo (Tachikawa is a city, not a ward; it has common garden-variety wards inside it); Yokohama, Kanagawa (a city) etc.
If Wikipedia had been written prior to 1943, it would have had an article on the city of Tokyo, encompassing many ordinary wards. It would also have had an article on Tokyo, the geographically larger prefecture in which the city was located. Articles on the wards would have been named according to the pattern "x-ku, Tokyo" (here, Tokyo is the name of the city, not the prefecture), just like other wards. But in 1943, Tokyo City, a legal city within Tokyo, was legally abolished, and its administrative functions were assumed by the higher government. After the war, the city of Tokyo was not reestablished. Instead, multiple, separate cities were established in place of the earlier city. Yet these new cities had the name "ward" rather than "city." All of this took place within the geographically larger Tokyo.
The Wikipedia system of naming articles on the 23 special wards is logically consistent. What is inconsistent is the word "ward." The special wards of Tokyo have recognized this, and many write their names as "X City" in their official English Web sites.
I hope this answers the question.
Fg2 21:17, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
In brief: the wards of Yokohama, Osaka etc. are subdivisions of a city. The special wards of Tokyo are not. Rather, they're separate cities. Wikipedia treats them as cities. Fg2 21:26, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
This is a legal technicality. In common usage both inside and outside Japan Tokyo is thought of as a city, albeit an extremely large one with a unique governmental system. However, although as a Kansai-jin I am reluctant to grant special consideration to that cancerous concrete wasteland of a rabbit concentration camp, there are enough examples around the world of sections of really big cities so famous in their own right that they are referred to by name only without needing any classifying "... ward", "... burough", "... district" (not -gun district), etc., that there is no reason to change the current rules on Tokyo and non-Tokyo -ku names. --D. Meyer 23:14, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
(Response copied from duplicate post on Talk:Tokyo) It is not a legal technicality: It is reality. It is impossible to have a proper, even basic discussion about Tokyo when assuming it is a city, because within the borders of Tokyo there are numerous entities such as Hachioji City which are very clearly designated and acceptable cities, and cities do not exist within cities. This point is not up for discussion, the NOTE: (on the Talk:Tokyo page) is left at the top of the talk page because it has been settled on numerous occasions in the past and it does not need to be argued any further. Also be advised that Tokyo does not appreciate being called a "cancerous concrete wasteland of a rabbit concentration camp".  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  05:23, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
For those interested, let's continue discussion on "Tokyo is not a city" on the Tokyo talk page. Also, if I have offended Tokyo, then we're even for the year of my life I lost there. ;^) --D. Meyer 07:16, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Capitalization of roman-letter names, etc., generated in Japan

First, a preamble. I have on my bookshelf a copy of the first and I think only edition of a book by Vladimir Nabokov. On the spine, front cover, and title page, it consistently announces itself as "LOLITA: A SCREENPLAY" (pardon the shouting). It does not occur to me that I should always refer to it in FULL CAPS; I merely regard this use of full caps as a good or bad decision by the book designer, and refer to the book as (for example) Lolita: A Screenplay.

It seems that a number of people interested in Japanese pop culture take a different view. If, say, a CD has a list of songs with titles in rōmaji (whether Japanese, wasei-Eigo, genuine English, or something else), and if these have idiosyncratic capitalization, they carefully preserve this capitalization.

I can speculate that there are two reasons for this. First, respect for the artist. Secondly, influence of the Japanese notion that upper- and lowercase differ as fundamentally as kata- and hiragana: although you can put into hiragana what's normally in katakana (and vice versa), you normally don't; and thus the very old lady named カツ on her kosekisho is always カツ and never かつ; and her great-granddaughter かおり is always かおり and never カオリ.

(And perhaps there's a third reason: a feeling that since Japanese culture is wonderful, mysterious and/or unique in so many ways, its capitalization of roman lettering must be as well; and must be preserved.)

Well, that's just speculation. Meanwhile, I'm in a bit of a dispute over at Talk:Ellegarden.

What are the pros and cons? Do comment there or somewhere else that seems more appropriate, or of course add a relevant bit to the project page here. -- Hoary 03:57, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Full caps strikes me as a typographic effect, along with boldface, italics, typeface, color, and size. Your copy of Lolita: A Screenplay might have its cover printed in a very bold, hand-cut 36 point type, stamped in gold foil. Or it might be in 12 point Courier from a faded Remington typewriter ribbon. None of the typeface effects is part of the title. We do not copy the boldface, italic, font, color, or size when we write the title. Neither should we copy full caps, in my opinion. This is true for works that originate in English, and should be equally true for works in Japanese and other languages.
Japanese, as we know, doesn't have capital letters. I speculate that Japanese people, writing English or using the Latin alphabet, often capitalize out of convenience, and occasionally out of ignorance of the rules of capitalization. Clearly, though, there are lots of occasions where they capitalize deliberately and, as you said, idiosyncratically. I think Wikipedia should not try to sort out which are the artist's intent and which arose from other causes. To do so would ordinarily be original research, but even when an artist has published a statement on the subject, we should not feel bound to follow his or her wishes. Instead, we should just regularize the capitalization according to any of the usual style guides. We should do likewise for names of people, companies, and products. In my opinion. Fg2 05:10, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
When I digitized all of our music a few years back, I too carefully preserved all of the upper and lower case quirks. I think the most difficult to overlook are the titles that use no caps whatsoever. I can't think of any justification for fixing the titles to what you think is correct. It is a title and should be preserved in its original to the extent possible. If someone were to come to me and ask me how I thought the title should be spelled at the stage that they are still creating it, I might give various suggestions. But once it is fixed, it is fixed. I think there is a big distinction between a title and text that needs good old fashioned editing.-Jefu 05:55, 6 July 2006 (UTC)It's a little like taking a copy of a picture with a sky that the artist has colored green, and "fixing" it by coloring it blue. Sure some of the quirks may be unintentional, or based on a lack of understanding, but it is the artist's prerogative to put whatever title they wish for whatever reason they wish. Think of things like Microsoft and PeopleSoft. It wouldn't be appropriate to write MicroSoft or Peoplesoft.
Now, having said all that, I think a limited exception could be made for changing a title in all caps to title case (i.e. capitaling the first letter of each word). This is done often in English. I guess what I'm mostly talking about are the use of lowercase letters where one would expect upper case, or a careful mixture of the two.-Jefu 05:55, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
So if a Maxi CD lists the songs as "FIRST SONG", "SECOND song", "Third SONG", "FouRth Song" and "fIFTH sONG", we'd only adjust the first of these? My own inclination would be to change the lot; after all, there's no reason to think that the capitalization of "fIFTH sONG" is anything more than typographical playfulness: the "f" and "s" could just as well be in red as in lowercase, and we wouldn't (I hope) insist on having colors match the originals.
I'd say instead: If there's good reason to believe that "SONG" is to be spelled out ("ess, oh, enn, gee"), then it's in full caps; otherwise, it's either "song" or "Song", depending on whether you prefer (or whether the MS prescribes) "down" or "up" style. -- Hoary 06:34, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
There are two extremes. One is to convert everything to some standard, e.g. title case. The other is to copy all titles scrupulously as the artists wrote them. I find it easier to live with one of the extremes, simply because we don't need to debate them. Anytime a rule allows exceptions, it invites fans to research the issue, often with conflicting results. As for which extreme to adopt, I consider the musician's art to be the music, and I'm not sure we have to put kid gloves on when editing titles of songs in an encyclopedia. Fg2 06:55, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't think the second extreme is an option, unless it's limited to matters of capitalization. After all, a lot of companies seem to use idiosyncratic typography for the name of the product (e.g. some pretty font whose "A" lacks a cross-bar and instead is a turned "V"); surely we can't do that. ¶ But let's put that aside. This fellow at Talk:Ellegarden seems to be claiming that scrupulous reproduction of idiosyncratic capitalization is something that is unusually important in articles about Japanese artistes: that different rules are required for the use of roman script when discussing Japanese and non-Japanese phenomena. While I concede that there might be a reason to hesitate before pulling out loads of capitals from 安室奈美恵 (within ja-WP), Amuro Namie no more needs ALL CAPITALIZED titles (tours, husband, pseudonym, etc etc.) than, oh, Madonna Ritchie does. Or am I wrong here: Does Japanese-ness affect such rules of "style"? -- Hoary 10:41, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
By "copy ... scrupulously" I did mean spelling capitalization. Color, font size, altered use of characters (including "Λ"), one-of-a-kind typefaces, characters set at random angles, overlapping characters with transparency, colors and gradients: these are not things that we should duplicate, and html isn't the right way to do them. They are cover art, not titles. And I put capitalization in the same category. Fg2 11:30, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

I think we should generally follow the guidelines at the Manual of Style, which indicates we should avoid funky capitalization. The funky capitalization can be explained in the first paragraph if it's important; otherwise, we should use normal capitalization. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 18:33, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Capital letters? Or do you mean Wikipedia:Template messages (as you linked)? Fg2 23:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I meant WP:MOS-TM. I've fixed it now. Thanks. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
In response to Jefu, I'd say that it if I were acting as an agent of the artist, I'd use the artist's capitalization. As an editor of the artist's work, I might ask the artist to check or confirm capitalization, but the artist is the boss, and I'd respect his or her decision. As an IP lawyer I'd want to make sure to copy the artist's capitalization precisely. So there are plenty of circumstances where we agree.
As a writer or editor for Wikipedia, however, I don't feel compelled to copy the artist's capitalization. Artists can choose many aspects of their cover art, including typeface, size, and color; again, I put capitalization in the same category. Wikipedia doesn't reproduce those other effects, and (again, in my opinion) needn't follow the artist's capitalization practice either. If we disagree, it's on that point. Fg2 23:59, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

There seems to be broad agreement above. In particular I don't see any support for an idea that what's Japan-related needs treatment that's in any way different from what's not Japan-related. That being so, this is (as I've always thought) not a Japan-related issue. My thanks to all of you for your patience and insights, but I think we can now close this discussion here -- unless perhaps somebody does want to present a cogent reason for Japan-specific treatment. If somebody thinks that capitalization for all artistes (Japanese, New Guinean, Macedonian, USian, wherever) deserve special kid (alpaca?) gloves, then this should surely be proposed somewhere else, e.g. on the talk page of Wikipedia:Manual of Style (capital letters) -- Hoary 00:44, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

I'll keep following the topic there. As an aside, though, how does one distinguish the rules of track naming and band naming? Obviously band names (such as Motörhead or HΛL) are copywrited entities and though the symbols have are simply stylistic I doubt they will ever be successfully romanized, and one only has to look at this category to see the number of articles that play with capital letters, but do individial track names/album names get treated differently? I have absolutely no objection, I can just imagine that an issue similar to this will be brought up if someone proposes an addition/change to the MoS. Of course, this should probably be discussed over there as well, I've just become weary of approaching the MoS without laying out all the facts first.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  04:02, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
I think the umlaut in Motörhead is, while used stylistically, a part of the name and should be kept, although I can imagine others would disagree. As for HΛL, I don't know. Is it really a lambda, or just a fancy A? In the latter case it would be part of the typeface, and we don't copy typeface. As for caps, I would like to join the broad agreement above (and apply it to Western playful capitalization too). Shinobu 10:22, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Motörhead is probably a trademark, like iPod, eBay, or t.A.T.u.. In those cases (no pun intended), the rules are different, and I feel that capitalization and foreign characters should be preserved as much as possible. But, song titles are made up of common words — common words which, AFAIK, have no trademarked capitalization schema, and I see no reason to disagree with the building consensus here about restoring some sanity to the articles where it is running rampant.Neier 11:11, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Although I proposed the rule "standard capitalization except for CamelCase" in the Ellegarden discussion, I am now beginning to wonder are or should the rules be different for trademarks or any other text used in an English context? Obviously Apple Computers and its agents can write "iPod" in their own materials with whatever font, color, size, or capitalization they like, but is there any more reason for neutral reporters in an English medium, like en.WP editors, to duplicate Apple's capitalization for "Ipod" ("I Pod", ...?) than there is for them to duplicate Ellegarden's prefered capitalization of their song titles? Pedants shouldn't play favorites. -- Meyer 17:35, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
There seems to be a convention emerging whereby, whether as mere attention-seeking gimmickry or in an attempt to register a trademark, companies concatenate words, morphemes or even names ("PriceWaterhouseCooper"?), using capitals to demarcate them. Seems daft to me, but I have no say in the registration of trademarks. And this isn't, and doesn't come off as, mere shouting. ("NeXT", of course, is not so simple.) -- Hoary 10:37, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, there is an MOS page for trademark caps like iPod and eBay, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks). Also might want to look at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (trademarks). Hope that helps. -- Ned Scott 12:55, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
As I said on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Songs, I believe it's now open season on changing Japanese songs, albums, and bands (in article titles and body copy) to standardized capitalization. When you do this, if you come across an article with two languages in the title, consider using the "~title~" convention on the second language to separate them.--Mike Selinker 05:39, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
Let's spice this up a bit: what do you think of the captalization of Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE? Shinobu 23:19, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I actually think the article should be moved to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Insane capitalization is, well, insane. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:36, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Change to Revised Hepburn Romanization

I am sorry if this is digging up already resolved issues, but I had to voice my opinion. Macrons are confusing in general to read. They also lose the original spelling of the word. I propose that instead of using modified Hepburn we use the more commonly used revised Hepburn. As stated in the Hepburn romanization article regarding revised Hepburn: "This is the most common form of Japanese romanization used today, and is used by the Library of Congress." It also states about modified Hepburn: "It has been adopted by some major dictionaries (e.g. the Pocket Kenkyusha Japanese Dictionary published by Oxford University Press), but is still mainly the preserve of linguists." It sounds like Wikipedia is trying for force a generally unused method of romanization onto people. In all of the anime and manga community (which is large) I have NEVER seen macrons used. The only places I have seen them used is here, a few manga, and in a few small dictionaries which I don't use anymore.Ergzay 06:12, 8 July 2006 (UTC) Juusu-

This is digging up already resolved issues. It was decided long ago that we'd stick to modified Hepburn, precisely because it's the generally accepted scientific way. It would not add to Wikipedia's credibility, not to mention professionality to go in another direction. An extra problem of switching now is that all articles use macrons - switching would result in an extraordinary amount of work. We'd somehow have to find all articles using romaji and change them.
I've tried to find some old discussions on this, in case you're interested in how the current situation came to be.
For personal use, I usually don't employ macrons, as well as having some unique habits of my own. However, an encyclopaedia should use the system most accepted in scholarly circles, if only because it's the professional thing to do.
Also I'd like to note that whatever system we choose, reopening the discussion is counterproductive, and takes up time better spent writing articles (or playing a game, or hosting a barbeque, or...). Shinobu 11:50, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Shinobu. This is one of those issues that will never make everyone happy and while suggestions for improvement are welcomed, simply saying "macrons are confusing and anime fans don't use them so let's get rid of them" is not terribly constructive or convincing. Why do some people think that watching Inuyasha makes them an expert on the Japanese language? CES 12:13, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
If anything, perhaps the Hepburn article should be changed. Macrons are not solely the domain of linguists, as both major transportation companies in Tokyo use them on their English materials, etc. (PDF of JR routes, and PDF of Subway routes. The Japanese wikipedia article on Romaji has links to both a British standard (with long ō), and an ISO standard (with circumflex ô). So, macrons may not exist in the English manga world, but they are in many other places. Neier 13:03, 8 July 2006 (UTC)
CES: I feel insulted the way you said "Why do some people think that watching Inuyasha makes them an expert on the Japanese language?" I for one am not a fan of Inuyasha. I have not "just" watched Inuyasha (although I have watched some of it). I watch a lot of anime and I know a decent amount of japanese through watching so much. I would in no way consider myself an expert. I considered removing my line about anime and manga because I had a strong guess that I would get discrimination like this. That sarcastic comment was unneeded and unproductive. I was just refering to my experience in how I see everyone romanizing virtually everywhere in the US.
I have a second question to add to all this. For anime and manga related articles shouldn't rule #2 for article titles apply and for character names? As it says to use the "generally accepted" method which is usually without Macrons. So would it be okay to drop macrons out of anime anime/manga/related articles?
If you're talking about the "common usage" rule #2, then yes. If the word is in common usage in the English Language (i.e. in a dictionary) without macrons, we should use it without macrons. i.e. Tokyo Mew Mew as opposed to Tōkyō Mew Mew. --Kunzite 05:41, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
What about character names from anime? As in how they are ususually romanized by fansub groups. I would consider that common usage. Ergzay 08:05, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
My apologies if my comment insulted you ... I was not aiming it at you specifically (for all I know you're a native Japanese speaker!) but in general to the very large population of anime fans on Wikipedia who believe that watching a TV show automatically makes them experts in the Japanese language. There is a difference between people who know Japanese and watch Inuyasha and people who watch Inuyasha and thus think they know Japanese. Getting back to the point you raised, you are alluding to a fundamental dilemma that affects many policies in place here: when does a word stop "belonging" solely to the Japanese language and start becoming a "commonly used" word in the English language? For example, when did "tycoon" stop being an incorrect/non-standard romanization of taikun and start becoming an English word in its own right? At this point I think it's important to bring up an issue that is often overlooked: the difference between romanization and translation. The Japanese 大君 is always correctly romanized as taikun, never as tycoon. That should not be under debate. Yet, that is what you are essentially arguing (although the macron issue is much more subtle in a language (English) where distinctions between vowel length is generally unimportant). As macrons (or some other marking for long vowels) are an important part of the romanization of Japanese, there is no problem with the fundamental policy. Your question is essentially less about romanization than about when does a word fall under the domain of English language conventions. Intentionally or not, you are essentially noting this issue and saying "there is a gap between the original Japanese and the translated English, so let's make the gap less obvious by making the original Japanese look more like the translated English (by dropping macrons)." To me that seems like backwards logic. CES 13:00, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
Thing is, there is a difference between おお and おう that the macrons don't preserve. Furthermore, the use of macrons make no logical sense: if お should be romanised as o, then it makes sense two of them in a row should be romanised as oo, not ō. On top of that, it's inconsistent: why are macrons used for おお and うう but not any other doubled kana? If you're going to use macrons to represent a doubled character, then use them for every doubled character, not just doubled お and う. Note that I am not opposed to the use of macrons for the katakana long vowel mark (ー) or the use of ッ at the end of a word: macrons make sense in these cases. (little side note here: just because I don't like the current macron policy doesn't mean I don't follow it: I use them whenever I add romanisations to articles) jgp (T|C) 03:14, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Little clarification to the above: when I use お and う above, I'm using it as a placeholder for any o-dan and u-dan kana, respectively (same with おう referring to $any_o-dan_kanaう, etc.). jgp (T|C) 03:23, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you that the macon'd o and u do not preserve information, and this is unfortunate. The problem here is trying to strike a balance between perfectly reflecting the kana spelling and indicating the sounds of the words in ways that are meaningful to people who aren't really familar with Japanese. "ou" can be pronounced many different ways in English, only one of which is approximately correct; "oo" can be pronounced two ways in English, neither of which is correct. So these spellings would tend to mislead non-experts. And while we really don't distinguish vowel length in English (o vs ō), the macron'd o does a pretty good job of getting the idea across—certainly with less ambiguity than any of the other options. おう, おお, and うう occupy an unusual place in Japanese—although all the other vowels can be elongated, they are only elongated in the context of an exclamation or word inflection (I'm pretty sure). Elongated Os and Us can appear within an "atomic unit," so to speak. But "kurushii" can transform into "kurushiku," so keeping the IIs distinct makes a certain amount of sense to me. Admittedly, this does not address oddities like the II in chiisai, but this note is already long enough.adamrice 15:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I have been studying the romanization rules and this discussion and have gotten confused.

Wikipedia uses the Hepburn romanisation ...

Please give me a concise clarification: Is the en.WP standard romanization:

  1. Revised Hepburn (long o, long u, and long foreign vowels get macrons), — OR
  2. Modified Hepburn (long vowels are written doubled, syllabic n gets a macron)

(also clue me in if I have gotten "Revised" and "Modified" backwards)?

I then propose we add the appropriate modifier in the quoted sentence in the main article based on your answer (assuming there is a consensus).

Also, am I correct that the use of the "no-macrons-or-doubling-for-long-vowels-in-Japanese-words-common-in-English" variation (e.g. Tokyo) in article body text, though common on en.WP is not standard romanization and deprecated? -- Meyer 06:20, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

A similar question was asked a couple months ago. The hepburn we use is as defined in the MoS, which you could call "Revised Modified Revised Hepburn".  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  07:04, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. Rereading the MoS makes it clear to me now. en.WP standard romanization is Revised Hepburn with just a few tweaks.
It was this discussion that was making my brain all twisty: Shinobu saying we'd decided to stick with "modified" Hepburn, the section title being ambiguous whether it was about modifying the "revised Hepburn" system or changing to revised Hepburn from something else ("modified"?), then your "revised modified revised", ... it's like a Monty Python sketch. Please have a little mercy on us newbies.


I am going to make a slight modification to the article text to make this clear for generations of newbies to come. Maybe it will reduce the frequency of questions on romanization to less than the one-per-day we seem to have been discussing since time immemorial. -- Meyer 07:43, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

My previous question seems to have gotten lost and if I reply again to it I don't think anyone will see it. "What about character names from anime? As in how they are ususually romanized by fansub groups. I would consider that common usage." CES sortof responded but it wasn't very clear. I personally think anime/manga articles should be without macrons as in all the anime and manga themselves when they are officially translated they very rarely use macrons and never in fan translated anime or manga. I am talking about character/place names in the anime/manga. Ergzay 09:09, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Character names from fiction are still up in the air.
Fansubs & scanlations: Do NOT rely on them. They get a great deal of things very wrong. They don't always signify the most common usage. And in new series, the names are often in flux. I recently read a scanlation that translated "Austria" as "Australia". Fansubs are not always much better ... "Belladonna" to "Eradonna". Even if the character is better known by a passport or modified romanized name, it's best to use both: {{nihongo|'''Haruka Tenoh'''|天王 はるか|Ten'ō Haruka}} → Haruka Tenoh (天王 はるか Ten'ō Haruka?) (IIRC, Sailor Moon characters came to a concensus decision for the main character names after months of reverting and debate and using different forms for different characters.) --Kunzite 23:18, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Romanisation FAQ

Should there be a page to direct people to who think the romanisation scheme has to be changed? A page that is, that explains why we use the system we use and how this came to be? This discussion has been waged several times, and I think there is broad support for the current way of doing things. Just restarting the discussion again gets tiresome. Shinobu 11:55, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

It may be good to create a subpage off the WP:MOS-JA that discusses the whole romanization issue, including macrons, etc. It could be built off of the content from all the discussions and decisions made here. Perhaps something like Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)/Romanisation (with a redirect from Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (Japan-related articles)/Romanization, of course)?···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 04:17, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
You know, I don't see why it couldn't be an article in itself. Problems with romanization of Japanese for example, or maybe better as just a segment of the Romanization of Japanese article. Wikipedia has always been a great place to boast both sides of the story, and there are loads of respected linguists that have published in respected journals about their problems with romanization of Japanese, as well as other romanization schemes.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  04:57, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

For a Wikipedia romanization FAQ, Romanization of Japanese wouldn't be an appropriate location; it would be a self reference, and we try to avoid that in the article namespace. Shinobu 23:15, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I was implying that it didn't have to be in the Wikipedia namespace, the problems with romanization could be included in the article itself.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  23:26, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Names of high schools

I'm editing a lot of Japanese athlete bios, and I encounter high school names that appear in articles in both English and in Romaji.

For example:

  • Shimizu Shogyo High School or Shimizu Commercial High School
  • Noshiro Kogyo High School or Noshiro Technical High School
  • Funabashi Ichiritsu High School or Funabashi Municipal High School

What is the consensus here? Do we translate the type of school or maintain the Japanese name? Thanks Ytny 17:43, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

You should use the English title when possible. It's also recommended that you use the {{Nihongo}} template to list the name of the high school, which would then include both the English, the kanji and the rōmaji, so there would be no confusion. In the case the high school is notable enough for its own article, then just link to the article using the English title. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 03:15, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Thank for the clarification. Makes sense. Ytny 18:25, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Help at Mahō Sentai Magiranger

With a recent reversion, I was trying to figure out if the kanji for the character/creature Barikirion was correct. On the page for Magiranger, it says that "魔導馬バリキオン" is read as "Madōba Barikion" in Hepburn romaji. For some reason "魔導馬バリキオン" is parsed into romaji into a translator I use as "Mashirubeba Barikirion" with "shirube" meaning nothing that can be discerned (translated as "Dark ? Horse Barikirion"). However, "魔術馬バリキオン" is parsed as "Majutsuba Barikirion" which means "Dark Magic Horse Barikirion," which is the character's name is when translated into English. Should I just chalk this up to my online translator not being able to understand "Madōba Barikirion" in the kanji presented in the article?

And as a side question, should "Barikirion" be transliterated to "Valkyrion"? Ryulong 06:17, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The closest I can find for information on the correct Kanji would be here, where the character's name (in purple) is "Madōkishi Uruzādo" ("Dark Magic Knight Wolzard") (this is listed at Magiranger's page as "魔導騎士ウルザード"). Ryulong 06:24, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm afraid that your translator has limited ability. Those kanjis, if read separatedly, are,
  • 魔 / ま / ma - magic(as 魔法) or devil(as 悪魔) or like; note 魔 itself may not always imply "dark" (otherwise, what is 白魔法? white dark magic?? no way). Nevertheless, sometimes 魔 is contrasted with 聖 (sacred) -- as [[Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones|聖魔], and in the context 聖 pertains to light and 魔 to dark... perhaps
  • 導 / しるべ or どう / shirube or dou (or as a verb 導く / みちびく / michibiku) - to lead
  • 馬 / うま or ば / uma or ba - horse
however, when combined,
  • 魔導 / まどう / madou (never ましるべ / mashirube) - a word which does not seem to appear in dictionaries but widely used in fantasy novels or games (I guess - at least I saw it in FFVI); the meaning is probably unstable or vague... something like magic power or, say, something like "force" in the Star Wars (not sure); or, according to the original meaning of kanji 導 (to lead) and 魔 (magic or like), it might be "a capability to use magic power" or "someone/something that has the capability", or... I don't know. If you can read Japanese, a subpage of ja:user:すぐり(User:Suguri F), ja:利用者:すぐり/魔法的なものの分類ページ and its talk might be interesting.
  • XX馬 / XXば / XXba (can sometimes be XXうま / XXuma) - XX is the property of the horse, for instance white(白馬 / はくば / hakuba)
therefore, it's "madouba".
For バリキオン, I don't know if it's "Valkyrion" or "Barikion", although I suspect the former might be transcribed as バルキオン or ヴァルキオン or like. --marsian 11:55, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, in the context of the show "Madou" or "魔導" would mean dark magic, and I guess I should find another translator. I remember that when I was putting in the kanji for "fox" (kitsune), it would give me the word "ko" for "orphan" or "child". On the Valkyrion/Barikirion, I'll have to try and find a youtube episode where the character shows up and try and discern what they meant. Ryūlóng 21:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Art term suffixes: 絵 and 画

I do not know if there has ever been discussion or consensus on the preferred format of art terms, specifically those ending in "-e" and "-ga," so I apologize if I am bringing up something already resolved. That said, I am beginning a discussion on the matter over at WikiProject:Japan. LordAmeth 23:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Family Name Order

The demarcation of the Meiji Period as the time period in which to list names "first name, then last name" is completely arbitrary. If this is not the practice in Japan, why should it be adopted here? There should be standardization across time frames, otherwise casual Wikipedia users will get completely confused as to proper naming. The standard should be the common academic standard of "last name, then first name" common in most modern academic texts in the U.S and Japan. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Please see the archives ... this was one of the classic debates of this forum and after years of debate we finally reached a consensus. It's not perfect, but neither is it completely arbitrary either. CES 13:16, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, it is common when writing the names in English, even in Japan, to demarcate with Meiji 1. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 16:14, 24 July 2006 (UTC)


Why isn't the rule about putting foreign words in italics mentioned in this MOS? It seems something that needs to be touched on. But I'm finding it confusing which words should be put on italics. Many words are becoming commonplace enough to (somewhat) consider them a part of English.

Merriam Webster has definitions for "manga" and "anime" so those two are obviously to go without italics (not to mention the English definition is different from the Japanese meaning), but that's about as far as an offical word will go for this sub-culture. A list could easily be compiled of all the Japanese words in English dictionaries; I've looked before, it shouldn't much go past 25 words.

Consider some of the following words: otaku, lolicon, hikikomori, baka, hentai, yuri, yaoi, chibi, kaishakunin, shinkansen, tankōbon. See also: Category:Japanese terms.

Some should obviously be in italics (kaishakunin); some probably should not due to differences from original meaning (otaku); most however, fall into a vague borderline case where it is uncertain if a Japanese word is being "borrowed" to describe a specific thing, or if the word have been taken into the English language entirely. Where is the line drawn?--SeizureDog 21:24, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm a little confused. What "rule about putting foreign words in italics" are you talking about here? I wasn't aware of one. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:30, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
It's apparently not a rule in WP:Manual of Style, but it seems a rather common convention, both in Wikipedia, and in other forms of writing. It basically helps to denote that a word is being borrowed from a foreign language. Though words like samurai, burrito, sushi, and ballet were originally taken from foreign languages, they have been assimilated into regular everyday English-language use, and are not italicized. Other terms, used less commonly, and perhaps almost exclusively in esoteric or academic contexts, such as fin de siecle or kaishakunin would be. I apologize that I can't quite seem to explain, in a simple and logical way, the reasoning behind this, or what it accomplishes. But that's how it is. It helps to deliniate that these are special terms which shouldn't be confused for regular English words... For example, italicizing sake (the Japanese wine) helps to differentiate it from "sake", as in "for God's sake." I dunno. Hope that helps somewhat. LordAmeth 02:44, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, if anything, I could see doing it for the first time such a term is used, but not every time. Even then, I think it would be better to not do it all unless you want to call attention to the word for some reason. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 15:42, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
See "Foreign words and phrases" at University of Minnesota Style Manual's entry for italics link.
I don't think anyone outside of UM uses that style manual (as opposed to the Chicago Manual of Style, for example). ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:38, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
I was going to cite the Chicago manual of style, but it required having a account and stuff to look at. Besides, it's not as if style manuals tend to be all that different.--SeizureDog 23:15, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
The thing is, the only seperation between using them and not is if they are likely to be "familiar to the reader", which can get very vague. --SeizureDog 23:59, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, in general, people looking up information on Japan are more likely to have at least heard the words before. In general. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 22:38, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
There in lies the problem though. We are technically catering to two seperate groups. The first are those who have interest in the subject (and thus know the basics) who are looking for more information. The second group knows nothing about the subject and is looking it up to find out.--SeizureDog 23:18, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Also, this actually is covered at WP:Manual of Style. It's under Italics > Loan words. To quote from it:
Wikipedia prefers italics for isolated words and phrases in other languages, that do not yet have common use in the English language. Use anglicized spellings for such words, or use the native spellings if they use the Latin alphabet (with or without diacritics). For example, "Reading and writing in Japanese requires familiarity with hiragana, katakana, kanji, and sometimes rōmaji." Words or phrases that have common use in the English language, however—praetor, Gestapo, samurai, esprit de corps—do not require italicization. If looking for a good rule of thumb, do not italicize words that appear unitalicized in an English-language dictionary. Per the guide to writing better Wikipedia articles, use words from other languages sparingly. Include native spellings in non-Latin scripts in parentheses.
Although ironically, "kanji" is without italics at, so that's a pretty bad example. --SeizureDog 00:08, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
A quadruply bad example since "hiragana," "katakana," and "romaji" (no macron) are all in both M-W and OED. That is, they are English words of Japanese origin. (Add "kana" to the list too.) Fg2 06:58, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Disputed Names

I hope bringing up this topic does not cause too much trouble, but after watching the passionate but (IMHO) banal debate about Korea's role in Japan's history on Talk:Japan as well as the reverts between Dokdo and Takeshima on List of islands of Japan, I wondered if we have a policy or have even discussed how to deal with "disputed" names in Japan-related articles. To me at least it makes sense to use the Japanese name (unless there is a commonly used English name that would be appropriate instead) ... following Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English. As an example, to me it seems silly to have "Dokdo" as an "island of Japan" (just as it would be strange to have "Takeshima" as an "island of South Korea"). Given that most of these issues will be Japan-Korea debates involving geographic locations like Takeshima/Dokdo, Sea of Japan/East Sea, etc. this may be a touchy subject, but it seems like it would be a good idea to have a policy in place, or at least discuss the issue. CES 23:13, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I looked at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (places) and some other Manual of Style pages but was unable to find a Wikipedia-wide discussion. Can anyone locate a policy or guideline? Fg2 01:21, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
How's this one, for a Wikipedia-wide standard? : Wikipedia:Naming conflict --Endroit 02:09, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Apparently, I've run into another revert-war in the Imjin Wars article. The current name of the article, "Imjin Wars" is usually used only in the Korean context. "Hideyoshi's Invasion of Korea" (or simply "Invasion of Korea") is usually used in the Japanese context, as well as the general context. (Ideally, the page title should be "Hideyoshi's Invasion of Korea"). However, some Korean-POV editor(s) are so militant, that they even insist on deleting "Hideyoshi's Invasion of Korea" as an alternate name in the beginning of the article. If anybody would like to comment on this, please join discussions in Talk:Imjin Wars.--Endroit 16:49, 27 July 2006 (UTC)