Anyone familiar with wave dash or Japanese? Could use some help on an edit


I think it’s safe to safe to say calestyo and I have reached an impasse on whether the character in track 1 and 13 is a U+301C wave dash or some other tilde-like character. Album art is available; I can re-scan and upload higher than 300ppi if needed.

Also, I wouldn’t mind a second opinion on what the dash character in track 13 should be.

(Note: not asking for votes—if you think that is a wave dash, I should cancel that edit and also fix track one, the recordings, and the other releases in the release group before getting votes).


(I only know enough Japanese to be dangerous … to small rodents.)

It is definitely a wave dash, according to all evidence I have seen.

I don’t get @calestyo’s reasoning at all. This is not a Japanese release? Or that Japanese conventions should not apply, because the track titles are in latin script? Well, we would have to standardise 〜 to a colon, then…


I think the edit could be more correct if it also changed track one to wave dash as well. :slight_smile:


It would be… see the “Note:” in the first post…

Tonight I’ll put in a replacement edit with those fixes. At least if the mood here continues to be in support.


@jesus2099 @sparkinson Replaced that edit with which includes both tracks, and uses an en-dash. I guess now would be the time to vote.



First of all, the whole “dispute” is IMHO just about perfectionism, so there is no real trouble between derobert and myself, at least not from my side :slight_smile:

I personally am still not convinced by this being a WAVE DASH.
That character is described as being used in Japanese punctuation, and while the movie is in fact a Japanese movie and the soundtrack is from an Japanese artist/composer,… the language of the album (at least album and track titles) is English.

IMO it may be that the writers of the track-listing actually wanted to use WAVE DASH (or it might not be), but I don’t think what they wanted counts here.
Many such writers probably also want to use the plain (and typographically wrong apostrophe ') instead of the right single quotation mark ’ which is the right character (at least in English and some others). Yet we correct it.

So my argumentation is basically:

  • Whether or not the authors meant WAVE DASH is pure speculation.
  • Regardless of that, we should use the right character, and since the surrounding language/script is English/Latin, there doesn’t seem to be any strong reason for WAVE DASH (stronger than e.g. TILDE or SWUNG DASH). In fact, as WAVE DASH is more or less strongly connected to Japanese punctuation, there’s IMO rather reason not to use it.
  • And just because the album comes from Japan, doesn’t mean anything,… otherwise any album made in Germany would be required to use e.g. „” as double quotes even if the language is English, where “” is correct.

I’d actually invite others to vote on deroberts new edit, to get opinions on this of course even if they agree with him (for the above reaons I’ll vote No again, but I’d be happy).

Oh and I should probably add: This is actually the US-Version of the movie’s soundtrack, which is different from the original Japanese version (which is in another album)


PS: The dash question is probably pretty settled,… I can live with en-dash, hyphen or hyphen-minus.


Well I don’t get the reasoning why just because an album comes from Japan/a Japanese artist, Japanese punctuation rules should apply to its English/Latin track titles? Especially when even the MB album language is by the rules English.


I’ve just seen that derober already made some further analogous edits:

People who voted yes on the one he already mentioned in his post above, should not forget to vote so for these two edits either :slight_smile:


I think there are in general some limits to how accurately we can reproduce the release’s track titles in MusicBrainz database strings. Our strings are limited to plain text represented by a fixed repertoire of Unicode character codes, and the vagaries of how our various browsers and fonts turn those character codes into glyphs on our screens. The graphic designer of release’s artwork, on the other hand, can switch fonts, use non-Unicode characters, insert drawings instead of characters. There will be cases where it’s just not possible to reproduce the release’s track titles exactly.

Perfectionism is a great inclination to bring to MusicBrainz, but there’s no avoiding the reality that some releases will be beyond our power to get “right”.

That said, I think these edits look pretty good to me.


Can we agree on the fact that this release is a Japanese one, for the Japanese market? Otherwise all the Japanese packaging does not make any sense.

Yes, its the USA soundtrack („USA ヴアージヨン サウンドトラック“ on the obi says as much¹). Why one would buy this in Japan is beyond me.

So IMO it boils down whether a track list comprised of English words overrides the conventions applicable to the release as a whole. I obviously think it doesn’t.

As a further, weaker argument, I am not even sure whether a Japanese speaker would consider the track list as English. The Japanese have appropriated a lot of English words over the years (ヴアージヨン above is just „version“ hammered into Katakana), and often use Latin characters. They still apply their ideosyncracies, just like hear German speakers say „rebooten“.

As to the other alternatives, tilde as a standalone character is mostly a vestige of our previous use of typewriters. Like the straight quote, it’s use should be confined to those and the Unix shell.

Swung dash looks ok graphically, but seems to be the wrong character logically.

¹ only half-wittingly done in this bracket: German quotation wrapped around a Japanese text


It’s made in Japan, but so are many CDs in the US, EU, etc. though they are happily sold over the world.
Nevertheless, I see no MB rules which would say “if something is sold/made in JP it’s language is per se Japanese”, if you can show me that… then I’d be fine.
In particular, your argument of borrowed English words in Japanese seems plain wrong in this case. Of course many languages take over English words, like we have “Computer” or “Smartphone” in German, but it seems a bit weird to say that a text fully composed of English words would be German (or Japanese), just by declaring all its words as borrowed.
Moreover, the JP-soundtrack to that movie doesn’t use English/Latin script either,… so one cannot really argue that these are just borrowed words that were used over native language words that didn’t just fit as well.

“So IMO it boils down whether a track list comprised of English words overrides the conventions applicable to the release as a whole. I obviously think it doesn’t.”
=> Which “conventions applicable to the release as a whole” do you refer to? Better said, which concrete guideline?

If the track title would be something like: ヴアージヨン サウンドトラック ~ Flaptors Attack
Then I’d say it’s clearly as you try to show: Album made in Japan, Japanese language, some separator character “~” and borrowed words.
But it isn’t. The whole two titles are English.
I could even agree to call it Japanese, if all but say one track would be Japanese language/script and that single track would be “Prologue ~ Flaptors attack” - then one could argue: okay they probably had no perfect phrase for this in Japanese.
But it isn’t, all tracks and the album title, is completely English.
How one can declare this as “clearly Japanese” (and from that follow, that it’s should be WAVE DASH) is beyond my understanding.



It’s a largely orchestral score. It’s not like it contains a bunch of English dialogue or similar. So it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to sell in Japan, to the Japanese. GhibliWiki has an explanation of why they did it (which I just found via Google, can not vouch for the accuracy).


It is utterly deplorable that they had to do this.
It is like how they have added lots of off screen voice explaining tons of things in Mononoke intro when there is absolutely no need.
And they even changed the roles of those characters in the intro IIRC.
It was not that a problem to me as I look at original versions but as Dusney translated their French subtitles from American, it makes no sense watching. Although cinema release had proper French subtitles from Japanese… :frowning:


After this, I believe I’m out of points to present—so one last try:

If the artist intended to use it, then our first style principal is follow artist intent.

We correct typos, spelling errors, etc., yes. Correcting ' to (though really, its often right on the album—and the style guideline to use proper Unicode punctuation instead of the ASCII versions is at least as much about not being lazy when entering the data—it’s much easier for most people to type " vs. .

But if an artist intentionally used ASCII quotes, or even TeX-style ``quotes’’, then we’d preserve that (e.g., maybe its an album of songs about mathematics, and the liner notes tell us that TeX-style quotes were used on purpose).

But a lot of this seems moot point: You’re not arguing we should correct it according to (a) standard written English. You’re arguing we should make/keep it wrong in a different way: Neither tilde nor any tilde-like character has any use in English that’d make sense in that track listing. In English, a title and subtitle are separated by a colon; multiple works (at least here) by a slash; and different tempo markings used as names by an en- or em-dash.

I think there is a fairly strong argument that it is:

  • There is a tilde-like mark on the page. It appears to be part of the track title (and not some stray decorative mark, etc.). I think we all agree on both of these.
  • The composer (& artist we credit with the work), is Japanese and presumably speaks Japanese. In addition, Wikipedia lists one of his other occupations as typesetting… so it’s pretty safe to presume he’s familiar with Japanese punctuation.
  • The release was for sale in Japan. As evidence, I offer that (a) the release has plentiful Japanese text; (b) the promotional material on the obi (both front and the ad for an upcoming release on the back) is in Japanese; © the price is given in yen; (d) to buy it I had to import it from Japan. [d is obviously the weakest of these.]
  • People in Japan (where it was sold, see above) can, I think, be presumed to familiar with Japanese punctuation.
  • There does not exist any English punctuation that makes sense in that context. Tilde (of any sort) is barely used in English at all, mainly being used to say “approximately five” as “~5”. It is also, according to Wikipedia, used in a special way in dictionaries (which this is plainly not).
  • The usage of wave dash matches with what we see on the album.

That, to me, is not pure speculation. It’s a pretty convincing case. Especially when there is no evidence to the contrary.

However, just to be sure, I went and did some more research. I found the album on the composer’s web site. He uses as wave dash on this release’s discography page. (Given his lack of spacing around parentheses, I don’t think he really understands English punctuation, though…)

Sure, maybe he has an underpaid web designer who randomly changes the composer’s tildes to wave dashes, maybe he enjoys using English punctuations in nonsensical ways to confuse his audience, etc. But then, maybe the release isn’t actually “Castle in the Sky”; it could be “Ⅽаѕtⅼе іη tҺе ՏkУ”. How do you know that C isn’t really Ⅽ (the Roman numeral for 100)? Makes as much sense there as tilde does in the titles.


I understand all your points, as well as why you prefer WAVE DASH.
Plus, in our conversation in the original edit, I’ve even said that I’m not really happy with TILDE or SWUNG DASH either.

However, regardless of all this, my argument is as simple as:
The surrounding text determines that language, and both the track titles in question and all other track titles either are English. I don’t see how one could dispute that so far.
And this is simply the point why I think WAVE DASH is the least perfect solution, simply because of it’s “special meaning” for Japanese punctuation.

Unicode even sets that character into the group “CJK symbols and punctuation” (, but there are no CJK characters at all.

What the writer/composer may have intended or not is IMO difficult to say… the guideline you quote would only count here if we’d really know that he intentionally wanted to mix English wish Japanese punctuation for whatever interesting reason. But whether this is the case or not doesn’t seem to be proven by him using the same on the website. It’s at least as likely - if not more - that he simply did it because he’s used to that character by his Japanese origin.
Just the same as millions of tracks use ’ or " simply because people don’t know better and not because they really thought: “well, typographically this is wrong, but I still do it because I’m want to protest against society”.

If there’d be an album whose songs are bout DEK and TeX and TeX-style ``quotes’’ are used in that, than I’d say there’s enough reason to believe that’s by intention.
But some Japanese author using WAVE DASH seems rather to be because he’s used to that by his own language’s typographical and punctuation rules and simply didn’t knoe that WAVE DASH is not meant for English.
Just as 99% people don’t know that it’s not " or '.

TILDE and SWUNG DASH aren’t much better, admittedly,… but neither of them has that strong connection to CJK punctuation.
Both are either in the “C0 Controls and Basic Latin” respectively “General Punctuation” Unicode block, making them pretty general in contrast to WAVE DASH.
SWUNG DASH, at least according to the Unicode chart, has no special use, so it seems to be more or less a neutral dash character that is simply not straight but swung.
While TILDE has some more or less generally accepted use cases (as you mention above)… it’s also used in many other areas (especially within computing) making it pretty “neutral” again. And the typical use cases (“approximately”, and diacritical stuff) have all more appropriate characters and TILDE’s use for these is rather historic/legacy as is eg U+0022 QUOTATION MARK’s.

Anyway,… I don’t think we’ll reach consensus here, since at least currently a majority is on your side in terms of voting, it’s IMO not necessary to discuss this any further, at least not from my side.

Best wishes,



Just to answer some of @calestyo concerns about this is not a Japanese release and we could use other available tildes:

It is a Japanese edition, Japanese customs are using wave dash (nami dash exactly 波ダッシュ in JIS) for subtitles, versions and multiple title style.

ASCII tilde does not achieve the same effect as it is half shorter and will sometimes display on top of the character box instead of middle.
ASCII tilde was available in JIS but still they did use 波ダッシュ specifically.
Other tildes (including full width tilde) may have wrong shape or direction.

FTR Japanese usually use wave dash for two purposes.

  1. To separate multiple titles on one track (be it medley, or anything else). A〜B〜C (usually no spaces when Japanese characters are used, with or without spaces when Latin characters are used)
  2. To enclose a subtitle (they will either use wave dash or en dash or even em dash). A 〜abc〜
  3. They may also rarely use 〜 instead of the normal long vowel bar to give special funny feeling but then it is no longer used as a separator/punctuation, it is another topic.

Why not using wave dash, then? :wink:


You keep hacking at this straw man… Nobody here argues that, though. The argument made by me and others is, that this is a release for the Japanese market. That’s why Japanese style should apply. Not because it’s recorded/mastered/pressed wherever.


Weeeell, as you probably know, support for the correct form of the wave dash is also not universal due to Unicode blunder.

This weakens the position for the wave dash somewhat, but I still think it’s the best choice here.


I know that issue with the initial wrong direction of the Unicode WAVE DASH sample sheet that lead to first Unicode font implementations being wrong.
But this was a mistake (progressively being fixed in all sensible implémentations); the WAVE DASH is the mapping for JIS 波ダッシュ in any case, even on computers that still have wrong fonts like mine (Windows XP). :slight_smile:


Given that people in favour of WAVE DASH, argue mostly based on the album being allegedly Japanese, could you please then also adapt the language to Japanese?

Especially the WAVE DASH will have wrong looks, given that it was drawn differently until Unicode 8.0 and all fonts I know still follow that (though I have reported bugs against some of them).

As I wrote above, because the language is English.