User:HibiscusKazeneko/Japanese name guidelines

From MusicBrainz Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Finding kanji

When adding a Japanese artist to the database, always add the kanji for the artist's performance name in the name field, if you can find it. Some Japanese releases list composition and/or production credits under romanized names, so it may take some digging to find the involved parties' official names. If you cannot find such a name, use a Western-order (first name, last name) transliteration as a placeholder.

Info searching tips

  • Search (via your favorite search engine) the artist's name. For better results, type the artist's name out in hiragana. Most search engines will automatically pick kanji matches.
  • Search the artist's name in Discogs. You can usually find kanji in the "variations" section of an artist page.
  • Often times in the case of production-class credits, a company name will appear next to the artist's name. If you track down the company's website (if any), they may have a page with the names, photos and biographies of staff members. This is useful not just for finding names but for discerning gender, birthplaces, etc.

Sort names

As per the official Sortname Style guideline, use Latin transliterations for sort names (unless you cannot find one). All other transliterations (hiragana, katakana, Cyrillic writing, etc.) belong in the alias field.
Before you add the sort name, look for the official pronunciation of an artist's name. A lot of artists take creative license with the pronunciation of their names, so use an official source such as the artist's official homepage, label-provided profile, blog, etc. or the liner notes of a release to find the appropriate pronunciation. Sources such as Wikipedia or Generasia may be tempting, but they can sometimes get details wrong. Use them with extreme caution and only if no other sources are readily available.
See Kepstin's guide for transliteration help.


  • Check for JASRAC affiliation. Go to and enter the artist's name in the "権利者名" (copyright holder) field. From there, select a work at random. Scan the list of names for your artist and if he/she has "全信託" (all rights retained) next to his/her name, this means he/she is represented by JASRAC. Copy the official transliterated name of the work you selected and re-enter it at (search by "Titles"). If it shows up, look for your artist's name and use the given transliteration in the sort name field back at MB.

Special cases

Dual Japanese-foreign names
In the case of Japanese artists of mixed parentage, the artist will often have a surname (either Japanese or foreign, sometimes both) along with two given names, one Japanese and one foreign. There is no set way for these to be listed, so list them in the sort name in the order presented for the artist name (example: 山本スーザン久美子, Susan Kumiko Yamamoto).
An exception can be made if the official romanization clashes with the kana/kanji listing (example:サイード横田絵玲奈, whose official romanization was Erena Yokota Syed).
If such an artist has two surnames, treat them as if they were hyphenated (last name last name, first name) but do not add a hyphen unless the official romanization uses one.
In the case where a surname is not used at all (example: ミシェル未来, Michelle Miki) just copy the name.

Western-style names spelled out in kanji/hiragana
Sometimes artists will use a Western-style name but spell it out in kanji or hiragana (example: 伊澤有梨須, Arisu Izawa). In such a case, transliterate the name as you would normally unless official documentation suggests otherwise.