Names in Go / Discussion

Sub-page of NamesInGo

Lengthy discussion moved from Names in Go.

A note on 'oriental' names: it is customary in the far east to present oneself with the surname (family name) first, followed by the first name. E.g. Ishida Yoshio should be thought of as Mr. Ishida in english speaking terms. Yoshio is his first name.

(Cultural note: in France, where names like Phillipe Robert can often be found, it is customary to capitalise the surname to avoid any confusion. Our friend Phillipe will therefore see his name spelt Phillipe ROBERT.)

TakeNGive: I've begun capitalizing surnames on this page. I'm assuming the Asian names mostly are listed familyname-first. Anyone who notices a mistake, please fix it. Also, what's customary with "van der Steen" -- should it be VAN DER STEEN, or van der STEEN, or what? Similar question for "van Zeijst". (Apologies for my ignorance...)

SAS: You've capitalized all the single names (like Shusaku), but most of these are not surnames. I have to admit that I don't like the idea of capitalizing surnames anyway. It's ugly. It destroys case distinctions - e.g., would MACFADYEN mean MacFadyen, or would it mean Macfadyen?. It also assumes that the concept of a surname is universally meaningful.

TakeNGive: Hmmm, I didn't realize "Shusaku" wasn't his adopted "family" name... it's a nickname, then? Or something like a nom de plume? Corrections and clarifications are welcome.

I disagree with you about the aesthetic ugliness of capitalization, but I concede that all caps loses meaning that can be conveyed by case. In my opinion, it's worthwhile to trade that rare specialized meaning for ease in distinguishing the family name. After all, when appropriate, the more linked article can delve into the finer points of the person's name. However, if my view is in the minority, I'll happily restore mixed case. (Would something like "MacFADYEN" be an acceptable compromise?)

I'm not familiar with a go-playing culture that doesn't identify individuals (at least partly) by family name, so I'm not sure why a surname would be meaningless. Could you expound, please?

SAS: Shusaku's surname was Kuwahara. "Shusaku" was the personal name he adopted early on. Later he became Honinbo Shusaku. (You could possibly consider "Honinbo" to be a surname. What exactly is your definition of a surname?) Similarly, Shuho was Murase Shuho, later Honinbo Shuho.
As for your last question: by capitalizing surnames you seem to be assuming not only that everyone has a well-defined surname, but also that this is necessarily the most significant part of their name. I think Nikkai and Nichiren may be examples of people who did not have surnames, but I'm not sure. Shusaku is an example of someone whose surname is less significant than his personal name.
What do you intend doing with the surname "van der Steen"? It's currently listed above as "Van Der STEEN", which is surely wrong whichever way you look at it.

splice: I strongly disagree with SAS's assumption that capitalizing surnames means that it is necessarily the most significant part of their name. I believe it's a well established way of writing names so that there is no confusion between what the person's surname and personal name. It is commonly used in French, and I've seen it used often for Japanese names. The "Philippe Robert" example is great for that; both parts of the name are very common personal names, and I have also seen them both in surnames. Since we are listing a variety of names here, both surname first and surname last, according to nationality, the capitalization of surnames makes it much clearer for everyone. If someone has no clear surname, just leave the name as is, not capitalized ("Nikkai" should be fine, or we could list him as "HONINBO Sansa"). And going by all of this, I'd vote for "Jan VAN DER STEEN" (if my assumption that his surname is "Van Der Steen" is correct).

SAS: OK, I'm outvoted 2 to 1. Someone needs to go through and check that the names which are capitalized in the above list are actually surnames (and that those which are not, are not). I've changed some which appeared wrong, but I haven't checked everything carefully.

TakeNGive: Thanks for the edits, SAS. For Shusaku and similar, I'm willing to insert nee where known... (Shusaku nee KUWAHARA). Or would that make things worse?

AvatarDJFlux If by nee you mean the French for born I'm sorry to say it is wrong: the French verb naître (to be born) has the past participle if it is referred to a male, and née if referred to a female...

Regarding "Jan Van Der STEEN", someone please correct me, but isn't it normally "Jan van der Steen", so capitalizing surnames, wouldn't "Jan van der STEEN" be the way to go? (In a few days, after a quorum of library patrons has had time to notice and comment, I propose to move this to a new page -- NamesInGoStandardNomenclatureDiscussion or the like.)

SAS: I think Shusaku's surname remained Kuwahara until he became Honinbo Shusaku, so "Shusaku nee KUWAHARA" would be a little misleading. As for Jan van der Steen, the "van der" is part of the surname, by any reasonable definition of what constitutes a surname.
>Bob McGuigan: I don't think Shusaku actually became head of the Honinbo house, so technically he wouldn't be called "Honinbo" however, customary usage gives him that title as recognition of his expected succession to the headship.
:>John F It's true Shusaku never became head, Bob, but he was still legitimately called Honinbo as he had been approved as heir. What he didn't get was the generation number (x-se) but the name gave him the right to a stipend.
::Bob: OK, thanks, John. I was a bit confused about exactly what it meant to be designated heir.
By the way, what have you got against simply listing the surname first in all cases, with commas where appropriate ("Redmond, Michael", "Yi Ch'ang-ho", "Honinbo Shusaku", "van der Steen, Jan", etc.)? This is a very common convention, and makes sense considering that we are listing the names in alphabetical order of surname. It avoids the problem of capitalization destroying case distinctions. And IMHO it's also less ugly (especially as most names in the list naturally have the surname first anyway).
Chrisd As a native Dutch speaker I would like to remark that I would have expected "Steen, Jan van der" and "Zeijst, Rob van", listed under the S and the Z respectively, even though "van der" and "van" are parts of the surnames. This is the usual way it is done in the Netherlands. A reason not to do this could be to avoid confusion for people who do not know about this convention. In that case, the first letter should be a capital. E.g., "Van der Steen, Jan" (note: no capital for "der") and "Van Zeijst, Rob".
I agree this discussion should eventually be moved to a discussion page.

TakeNGive: Listing surname-first in all cases seems, to me, to distinguish the family name less explicitly than capitalization. However, in a list of this kind, I think the most important thing is to use consistently whatever standard we agree is best. If most Library folk prefer (the reasons you give are good ones), then I'm quite happy to have consistently "family name first" with commas for the Western names. The only trouble is that sometimes it's not clear to me whether an Asian author (for example) has adopted the Western name order, or is using the traditional family-name first name order. But presumably a bit of consultation with those more knowledgeable should solve that problem.

Shusaku was not nee anything as he was male (the androgynous nature of Fujiwara no Sai notwithstanding). The names for him are as follows (his father was called Yasuda but he married in to a richer family called Kuwahara): Kuwahara Torajiro 1829~1835, Yasuda Eisai 1835~1841, Yasuda Shusaku 1841~1848, Kuwahara Shusaku 1848, Honinbo Shusaku 1848~1862. In only 5 games was he known as Kuwahara Shusaku. Invincible is misleading in this respect, although John Power was following the then latest Japanese collected games edition. The newest edition has corrected all this. It is standard practice in Japan even today to name people who belong to schools such as Honinbo by their style (Shusaku). The situation was complicated in ancient Japan as not everyone was entitled to a surname. The simplest way to find out which name is the surname is to get my MASSIVE Names Dictionary on the GoGoD CD. John Fairbairn.

TakeNGive: Would it be "Shusaku ne KUWAHARA Torajiro" then? (Sorry for my ignorance..) I have the GoGoD CD; at home, where it doesn't help when I'm at work messing with SL. But since I've taken an interest in the NamesInGo page, I can make a practice of consulting it before editing here. John, what's your opinion of the capitalization question?

Reply from John F. I'm not sure that my view carries any weight, but for what it's worth I too think caps are ugly and occasionally misleading - the given name is often the preferred one. And while the notion of making things clearer for the reader is laudable, I also believe that at some point it is fair to expect readers to learn at least a little about history and others' customs etc, When I first came across Catalin Taranu I didn't know which was the surname and would have appreciated a guide. But practising what I've preached I did take the trouble to find out - I asked him personally! Capitalisation fails, anyway, in some historical cases because there are players known only by their given names (in China as well as Japan). As to ne and nee, of course ne is gender correct but the usage is maybe a little precious, not least because if you are trying to be precise you'd have to accept that he wasn't ne anything at all as he wouldn't have a surname at birth. At best he would be simply entered in a family register, and then probably only after the age of two or something like that (nobody made formal records until babies had passed the critical infant mortality stage). Remember too that it has not been definitively established whether it was Kuwahara or Kuwabara.

Bob McGuigan: Just to throw some spice in the pot I'll mention that the Oriental/Asian nations are not the only ones that commonly put family names first. For example Hungary does it, too. So I second John's comment about taking the trouble to learn something about the culture and conventions of the nation at issue.

SAS: Rin Kaiho is listed under China, but Go Seigen is under Japan. This is clearly inconsistent. I had no idea where I should add Jiang Zhujiu and Chan Ka Yui. We need to work out what this division into countries is supposed to mean (and if it's even useful, bearing in mind that the information should be given on the page about the person anyway).

TakeNGive: Now that I've looked at NamesInGo after the restoration of mixed case, I have to admit... it looks better. Also, I agree about the confusing issue of nationality... Redmond, Michael plays in Japan, but was born in USA; Kim, Janice was born in USA, but is a Korean pro, but plays mostly in USA... Go Seigen (Wu?) was born in China, but played mostly in Japan... I'm not sure how to make it less misleading / more useful. Focus on place of birth? citizenship? or place of professional accreditation, if any? Alternatively, don't try to group by country?

SAS: Having thought about it, I would prefer not to group by country. This at least makes things simple.

SAS: Unless someone objects, I intend to ungroup them next week.
SAS: Done.

Harpreet: This voting method is probably not the best but I don't know how else to put in my vote (which I feel really strongly about): Caps are really ugly for this. I think it should be left as is and we'll all continue to learn which is the family name etc. as we have always had to do. I don't think it leads to any particularly damaging problems that are not quickly corrected. Once you see enough examples and read a little about the history behind some of these games you stop getting them wrong for the most part. I think caps would make us look kind of silly. Bunch of sore thumbs all over tons of pages.

I don't understand what is wrong with simply always putting the last name first? In the case of a western name you use a LastName, FirstName. In other cases you may omit the comma. Note the rule somewhere and that should be ok, right? When referring in the text to these players we usually use last names anyway unless we're familiar with them. In the case of Honinbo Shuho being referred to as Shuho we can also just add another note that explains (the obvious) shortening to Shuho.

Charles Matthews The case of Chun 7 dan brings up the question of romanisation of Korean names: as the individuals do it, or Mc Cune-Reischauer which is 'official' (See Korean names.)

In the case of Chinese names SL is tending towards pinyin, even for Taiwanese players (where there is a roughly comparable problem) - though Japanese readings of players based in Japan are the commonly-known ones and used here too.

To illustrate: my co-author Kim Seong-june would be Kim Seung-chun (which happens to be a pro's name too); he writes 'june' and people then pronouce his name more correctly. That's the real issue, by the way, on a personal level. McC-R works well for those who can read it back into the hangul alphabet, and therefore can get their vowel sounds right. Koreans in general romanise quite unsystematically.

Stefan: One consideration why I'm strongly in favour of Mc Cune-Reischauer was given by John as a side note when he posted the Korean Names material: consistency across different publications. If Bozulich, Davies, Go World and the likes will talk about Yi Ch'ang-ho, then it's nice for the English reading community to find back the same name as the default on SL.

SAS: Mostly he's called Lee Changho in English, regardless of what Go World uses. And according to John Fairbairn "Lee Changho" is how he spells his own name when writing it in English, so it seems somewhat impolite to spell it differently. (I've been writing "Yi Ch'ang-ho" because this seems to be an SL convention, but I'm not happy about it.)

John Fairbairn Yi may spell his name Lee but he doesn't pronounce it that way. It's dangerous to accept Oriental preferences, otherwise you end up writing Hideo Ohtake instead of Otake Hideo. You will find lots of Japanese who like to write Syuusaku. What about Honinbo and Honimbo? Inoue and Inouye? Mizutani and Midzutani? And while we are on the topic of politeness, when will people stop calling Hideyuki Shuko, as he has specifically asked on more than occasion? But the situation in Korea is so mixed up that special measures are needed. The Chun Poongjho name in question here has also been written by Koreans as Chun Poongjo, Chon Poongcho, Cheon Pungjo. This cho/jo alternation means that Cho Hun-hyeon is often written as Jo Hunhyun (he was called Mr Jo in some of the World Cup coverage), which screws up alphabetical ordering no end. It also means that many databases or magazines record the same player as two or three different people. The single most important reason Go World follows my list is to cope with new or minor players whose names haven't made into English works yet. With McC-R you can always cope, always be consistent and always work out the hangeul. Here's a little test. Ch'oe Min-sik changed his name to Ch'oe Weon-yong on 28 June. You probably haven't heard of him in either incarnation. So how would you write either name if you insist on doing it the Korean way? Or Cheong Mi-hwa (Cho Hun-hyeon's wife)?

SAS: I don't insist on doing it the Korean way. I would prefer to do it the English way. When I see most people writing "Yi Ch'ang-ho" rather than "Lee Changho" in English, then I will no longer feel so silly writing "Yi Ch'ang-ho" myself. (You are, of course, right that "Lee" isn't pronounced the way that most English speakers might expect it to be pronounced. Charles points out above that the "chun" of "Kim Seung-chun" has the same problem.)
John Fairbairn: Why do you feel silly following scholars and the Korean government, and helping to communicate better with fellow go players? If I'm right in thinking that the bulk of the occasions when he is mentioned in English is in Go World, SL, MSO, GoBase writings by Charles Matthews, etc then I'd submit you already have the situation you want to feel comfortable with. And the more you set a lead, the more others will follow. Separately, the two examples above are totally different. Yi in Yi Chang-ho is written Yi (or I) even in Korean - ALWAYS. It is pronounced (Y)i in this form of the name (i.e as a free form, to use linguistics terminology). Where Lee comes from is when Koreans tried to westernise themselves a little, in the same way the Japanese did, by swapping their names round to western order, the surname Yi then followed the personal names (i.e. became a bound form) and so requires a sound change, giving Changho Lee - but these sound changes are not usually reflected in the Korean spelling. This has illogically persisted even when they give their names in Korean order. With compounds like Seung-chun where chun is always a bound form it is always pronounced chun (or june, if you prefer). The Japanese used to write Ri Chan-ho (their version of Lee Changho; or Ri Shoko - the Sino-Japanese reading) but some years ago switched, 100% as far as I can see, to I Chan-ho, so we're not doing anything perverse by trying to standardise.

Charles Matthews Yi is romanised also as Rhee (at least); if the version Lee is what is taught, or is business practice (probably the latter, by the way), then this is a kind of semi-systematic romanisation. If someone gives me their business card, I use the name as spelled there. But I'm converted by John Fairbairn's arguments, for scholarly purposes. Which isn't out of place here.

Hu of KGS: In this specific case, Mr. Chun has specifically asked me to arrange to have the page title changed to Chun Poong Jho. I have made an alias page with that name. Please, would someone who is empowered change the page title to Chun Poong Jho. I think the fundamental policy should be that the page titles and default names used should be those that the person uses and would like. Thank you.

SAS: I've moved it. (No special empowerment is required.) By the way, is it "Victor" or "Viktor"? - the Chun Poong Jho and KGS Teachers pages disagree.
Stefan: checked on KGS, and it says "Viktor".

Charles Matthews No problem with that, at all. I met Mr. Chun last year in Korea. It would be courteous to do as he wishes. Tozhe, on govorit po russki. Tak, eto - Viktor.

Hu: Mr. Chun prefers Victor. The email address has a 'k' but perhaps the preferred spelling was already taken.

tapir: I feel like turning the page into a index of pathes and removing all the names. As we are doing something on the chinese, japanese, korean names lists recently they should supercede it. Maybe we need another list for historical names and western names not covered elsewhere.

Names in Go / Discussion last edited by tapir on August 24, 2014 - 18:59
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