A Note on Naming

Or why we use Japanese names.

Warning: incoming wall of text.

When we first began scanlating Kingdom, we decided we would be using either Chinese or Japanese names exclusively for the sake of consistency. It makes no sense to use Japanese names for one character and a Chinese name for another such as what we saw being done on myanimelist or the anime wiki etc.

Points for using Chinese names included:

  • The manga is set in China.
  • Shin and so on are actual historical people who actually have pages on the Chinese Wikipedia.

Points for using Japanese names included:

  • It’s a manga and Japanese pronunciation of all Kanji is actually provided and used.
  • Some names are given solely in Katakana (i.e. the mountain tribes) and don’t use Chinese characters at all.
  • Translator bias even though we’re chink.
  • A mistaken belief that anime fansubs would use Japanese naming due to discrepancies in what subtitles would display and what the characters would say.

Regarding the fact that Shin and the majority of the cast are actual historical people, to the English speaking community, this information is largely inaccessible anyway so this point was rather moot. The fact that Sei is also Qin Shihuangdi, the first emperor of China is also largely known and easily looked up.

On the last point, due to being in Malaysia on work at the time we began scanlating Kingdom, verifying what fansub groups were using was difficult (5th slowest internet in the world tethered through my phone). We also didn’t really feel like poring through subtitle scripts to see what they used although we did download episode 20 or 22 later to find out what people were translating Ouki’s title as (see Chapter 8 post here). I almost shat myself when they said Ouki and the subtitles read out Wang Qi.

As a result, we’ve used Japanese names exclusively and will continue using them and don’t really feel this detracts much from the manga that anyone who can’t read Chinese will miss out on anyway.

A Further Note on Naming

Some astute viewers may have noted that:

  1. Chinese State names are used
  2. Ou Ki vs Ouki, Sei Kyou vs Seikyou

We’re using Chinese state names (Qin, Zhao, Wei etc.) because they are easily recognisable to any English speaking person with a slight interest in Chinese history. This is the only exception of Chinese naming we are using. Also, the Japanese pronunciation for Qin is Shin… yeah…

We introduce characters with the characters for their name split up (Sei Kyou) and then use them in dialogue as Seikyou. This is because while generally the entire name is pronounced, Family names become somewhat important a very long way down the track. Ei Sei remains somewhat the exception as everyone either just calls him your majesty or Sei.

If you somehow managed to read all that, give yourself a pat on the back and eat some watermelon.


Filed under Kingdom

14 responses to “A Note on Naming

  1. Derrr

    By any chance, can you add who each character is in Chinese? Like mini bio, of who they were and what they did? I am slightly confused to who is who, is Ouki(Wang Qi) Wang Jian? It’s the only name that comes up with Wang Qi. I would also love to know who Bai Qi is, in this manga.

    • Derrr

      Assuming he is present at all.

    • You’ve actually just reminded me of that Chinese/Japanese name table we were thinking about doing a couple weeks back but then forgot about again, I’ll see if I can squeeze out a rudimentary version of it sometime this week.

      As for your question, Wang Jian shows up later down the line, Ouki is supposedly based off Wang Yi, but was given the name Qi because the Yi kanji does not exist in Japanese.

      Bai Qi is known as Haku Ki in our translations, he’s one of the Qin Six Great Generals and has shown up in another flashback earlier on where he was responsible for the massacre of Zhao soldiers at Chouhei (Chang Ping).

      • Derrr

        Thank you very much for the reply! Bai Qi is one of my favorites, so I was hoping for some sort of mentioning of him, or appearancešŸ˜€.

  2. Anonymous

    I will never read Kingdom as long as its names are in Jap. I’m not even chink and I think that’s vile. Your reasoning sucks and it just sounds like you didn’t want to make waves with older scans that snubbed the chink names.
    If several years down the way, I or someone else steals your scans and fixes all the names in them, don’t get mad.

    • gongitraped

      Eh go for it, we’ve even got our cleaned and edited psds up for free download at the top, along with a chart of the Chinese names to the side so most of the stuff you need is right there for the taking.

    • linxroyal

      i actually think you’re a retard.

    • e45t

      See you might have a point, if you weren’t so god damn stupid. In the anime they use the Japanese names. Now the only one making waves are the Anime fan subs since they are the ones who are now using the Chinese names. Now when I’m watching the anime it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I hear Shin, see Shin the character and have to read Xin. When everything about the Manga and Anime are in Japanese it seems quite stupid and forced to put the Chinese names on. Hell if you go and paste the chinese names over then I’ll just fan sub the entire anime and use the Japanese ones.

  3. Lucas

    im eating my deserved watermelonšŸ˜

  4. Azure

    Just saying, but thank the heavens(and you guys) that you’re using the Japanese names. I’m watching the anime after reading the manga and the subs had my head twisted forwards and sideways trying to figure out who the heck was who. I can understand about 50% of the spoken Japanese, so when the subtitles suddenly talk about someone else, it sucked. Plus the story’s being told from a Japanese point of view anyway.

    • Verily

      A Japanese point of view? What have you been huffing?

      • Azure

        what have YOU been huffing, the mangaka is Japanese. Ever heard of more than one side of the story?

        • Kiro

          Well would be more than one side of story if the Japanese were involved in that period. Japan themselves was just about to enter the Yayoi period and that was when they began to settle down and grow crops like rice. Before that, they had no interest beyond their land and actually lacked the technology to properly sail and trade until Korea and China gave them those years down the road.

          So in actual fact the story is not being told by the Japanese perspective but rather a story being explained by a mangaka who happens to hold a strong interest of that part of history.

  5. MEElahi

    Thank heavens for using Japanese names. As an English reader, I am far more familiarized with Japanese names. I tried watching the subbed anime, but the Chinese name felt so damn weird! It’s my own selfish reason, but I like the decision nonetheless.

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