Japanese artist names: obi or cover? Latin or Japanese script?

Related to:

But about artist names.

After what I’ve said in above topic, for having seeing some other examples with time.
Like 浜崎あゆみ who we should credit in Japanese despite cover arts, like 浅井健一 whose releases and band releases always have Latin front and back cover but main titles should use Japanese, as can be found in the lyrics booklet, like those Korean bands who have both Hangeul and Latin names.

The idea is that in the main market, what will be used and recognised, outside of design choices, will sometimes not be the front cover text.

Like for CREID by 光田康典ミレニアル・フェア, as printed on one of the spines and on obi / obi.

Some are being renamed to Latin:

I don’t agree with the renames to Latin as I have always seen the artists being referred to as like on the obi in Japanese scripts.

I mean generally the artist name if Japanese should usually stay written in Japanese.
Of course there are exceptions like KEIKO, etc.

It should be case by case.
Japanese artist names are often printed in Latin script on packagings nowadays but, IMO, only a small portion (like KEIKO) should stay in Latin in MB, not the majority, depending on the usages around each artists.

I took KEIKO example at random but it’s actually a good one:

https://avexnet.or.jp/avexdb/c_cd/disco.htm (OHP) and all instances in general will say 浜崎あゆみ & KEIKO.


Despite the packaging showing Ayumi HAMASAKI & KEIKO.


Same as Edit #88501022

Style / Language / Japanese - MusicBrainz emphasizes using the intended titles and names preferred by the official Japanese sources. If the official Japanese sources type Japanese script text, then that’s what the text is supposed to be in MusicBrainz.

It’s exceedingly common for Japanese cover art to incorporate graphic designs that are not supposed to be transcribed literally into the letters chosen by the graphic design artist.


(I may have accidentally de-emphasized “use Japanese script” in STYLE-2079, but the original guideline’s usage of that wording wasn’t clear to me at the time.)

See also: STYLE-2087


I don’t read Japanese, but have always seen the Obi as the external wrapper that is selling the product in that market. And in that market the artist is known by the Japanese version of the name. Same with the track list.

Yes it’s for convenience, for finding stuff easily.

But the foreign artists and old release titles will also have their names in Japanese, and for these, we should keep the Latin names, IMO.

The most important is the native script (be it Latin for foreign artists or Japanese), but even with exceptions! :thinking:

It sounds hard to justify to the people when they don’t agree with what I feel is right.

Maybe @yindesu guideline link is good, with the official Japanese sources.
Because indeed their OHP and Twitter posts and everything are in line with what I feel is good, tipycally.

Most editors don’t have issues using the intended script of the Japanese names and titles. (Generally, new users would import from CDJapan’s or VGMdb’s English-default names and titles, which is an entirely separate issue from users thinking that Japanese titles should go with translated names rather than artist-intended names.)

I feel like it’s time for guidelines since the issue keeps recurring mostly with specific users who aren’t willing to accept advice on how Japanese music is catalogued.


the only insight i can add is that if the artist name, in japanese is credited anywhere on the release be it cover, obi, booket, the release credit should be in japanese.

i added a single by Mamoru Miyano, which his name is credited as MAMORU MIYANO everywhere but the vocal credit. so i inputted it as MAMORU MIYANO except the vocal credit.

idk. :^)

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this can be applicable only if editor has full scans or cd on hands which is not always the case, but front covers (often with obi) are way more spread across the web, and much more accessible. Also i’ve (and i believe many new editors) sometimes find myself in situation when i have no way of knowing that pysycal relese even exist and all i had is digital release with cover in latin.

i personally wouldn’t try to edit the artist name of something i don’t have full scans (or near full) of.

i did this in the past, that’s what lead to the thread of mine jesus linked.

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Why go out of your way to change the text on a digital download release that’s linked to multiple official Japanese platforms?


For the same reason as with physical releases, front artwork.
the release cover is the closest thing to what can be called the “original source”.
There are Japanese bands on releases whose name acts as a translation, for example, the wagaki band



And only in one rezil the Latin alphabet is used exclusively

In this case, I can see the name of the group in Latin as a design element.

In the case of ito kanako, the situation is exactly the opposite, on almost all releases “Ito Kanako” is used, often without the use of hieroglyphs.



using the obi as a guide is pointless as every release destined for sale in japan has an obi with the name of the artist in kanji, regardless of the original title

Just like digital releases, digital distribution stores can use the spelling they see fit. The text is not non-editable like the cover artwork
if there is a rule to use the names of the artists in their native language, instead of using the title from the cover. A lot of work to be done on renaming a huge number of releases, such as this


Hmmm, that’s not the quite appropriate term. But heh.

But when all shops and OHP (official homepage) are listing exactly the same style as the obi and often one of the spines and the booklets, it should be considered. No?

I don’t know your example artist but I have some others in mind from my collection, where most of the artists you see in Japanese in it, have a Latin designed cover or a Latin additional name.

But they should not be returned to Latin, is a huge portion of Japanese releases that are like that.

There was several periods of music genres in Japan with a serious dichotomy of Latin design covers and Japanese real titles and names.

There are some artists who go full Latin (like Galneryus, etc.), It does exist. But it doesn’t seem to be the case of your example artist or at least of the edits that triggered this discussion.

Of course foreign artists, it’s more clever to keep their native scripts.


No, the label/artist provides the spelling. Some platforms like Spotify modify the text, but other platforms like mora do not.


This is simply not true:

  1. Release “ラスト・ジャッジメント” by ARTERY VEIN - Cover Art - MusicBrainz - artist is ARTERY VEIN, not アートリーベイン.
  2. Release “Metamorphose” by Asriel - Cover Art - MusicBrainz - artist is Asriel, not アズリエル.
  3. Release “TVアニメ「俺の脳内選択肢が、学園ラブコメを全力で邪魔している」オリジナル・サウンドトラック” by sakai asuka - Cover Art - MusicBrainz - artist is sakai asuka, not 境亜寿香.
  4. Release “REAL×EYEZ” by J×Takanori Nishikawa - Cover Art - MusicBrainz - artist is J×Takanori Nishikawa, not J×西川貴教.
  5. Release “月と太陽” by shela - Cover Art - MusicBrainz - artist is shela, not シェラ.

Japanese record companies (the same two as your examples of 和楽器バンド and いとうかなこ) have no issue using Latin script on the obi rather than Japanese script if that is the intended name/title.

It’s fine if you lack knowledge, but you are supposed to take advice from editors more experienced in Japanese music.

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If it’s the rule of db (in this case musicbrainz), then of course it should.

i’ve opened 2 random releases from your collection, and as i see, some titles are in Latin some in Kanji

For me personally, the cover is more important. It practically never changes when an album is released in different countries. And only in some countries, some labels use the obi in essence acting as an advertisement. And they write whatever they want.

Of course you right, the label/artist provides the spelling. My point is that any website can change it. For example, how does the site cdjapan.co.jp (which is an international shopping site), and their version for japan market neowing.co.jp
At this example you can see that they are changing artist name and album title as they want, regardless of original titles


my bad. not “every release”. replace it with “most of the time”

You have it backward. Neowing is a Japanese retailer, and CDJapan is their version for international users.

CD JAPAN is a section of Neo Wing that offers dedicated and friendly services in English.

In any case, neither is a digital distribution platform, so I wasn’t aware we were even discussing this.

Again, this is simply not true for at least the last 2 decades. Also, please refrain from embedding so many images into your posts. Posting links is fine - as-is, I don’t think anyone is actually reading your post.

Bottom line, what you prefer is not what the community at large wants, and it’s also not what Japanese users would expect.

There is general agreement that we ignore the graphic design of the front cover if there is a good reason to believe that the intended name/title is something else.

I think there is general agreement you should not be changing the script of Japanese digital download and streaming text. When in doubt, I recommend following what mora and the official listing on the record company’s page says (it is extremely rare that they would disagree).

You are free to create a Pseudo-release to hold your transliterated names and titles.


apparently there was some kind of voting in which most of the musicbrainz community, which I did not know about … if it was, then this whole discussion was initially piontless.

unfortunately I do not have access to verified or verifiable information to refute or confirm such a strong statement, apparently you have.

I have queued a batch of 3 edits removing ayumi hamasaki Artist Credit from one 浜崎あゆみ album edition that is the exception within all the MB album editions.