Japanese capitalization with inconsistent official sources

Hello,

I am planning to complete information for the band LOVEBITES from my physical media collection and noticed the “fixme japanese capitalization” tag.

The Japanese Styling Guide states:

non-Japanese characters should be capitalized as intended by the artist or label.

and

words in the Latin script on a Japanese release should be in the same case as on the album art if other available sources, such as official discography or record label pages, are consistent, not normalized according to English or other capitalization standards.

I noticed that across official online sources, the band name is always capitalized and song titles have the first letters of every word capitalized, but album and release titles are not consistent. Different releases also have different styling on album arts (always capitalized letters, but first letters sometimes printed larger).

Overall, most of the releases are written in all caps, sometimes with larger first letters on album covers. However, in Japanese and international social media posts, the latest album “Judgement Day” in particular is often spelled in the normalized way, while a recent Blu-ray release is always in all caps, consistent with the official shops.

Here are examples from the label’s shop:

So my questions are:

  1. Do I try to guess the artist’s or label’s intention by majority spelling or fall back to normalized English for everything?
  2. Do I consider releases in a release group separately when doing so?
  3. Do I consider release groups separately or should the artist page on musicbrainz have consistent capitalization for release groups?

Thank you for your help.

2 Likes

There was a discussion recently about those Sᴍᴀʟʟ Cᴀᴘɪᴛᴀʟꜱ and we concluded to convert them to lowercase (while keeping capitals uppercase).

But it’s just one detail of your whole topic.

2 Likes

I’m still trying to make a sound decision for this artist specifically; I will ignore other artists with the “fixme japanese capitalization” tag, because I am not familiar with them.

Arguments for Japanese-style full capitalization:

  • the band, its members and the main record label are all from Japan,
  • official shops are mostly in Japanese and require proxy services for purchases,
  • almost all releases use it in those shops, arguably making it the artist’s intention,
  • the UK-based label that distributes physical media for the western market uses all-caps in their shop, while many other Japanese artists’ releases there use normalized spelling (https://jpurecords.com/en-de/collections/lovebites).

Arguments for normalized English capitalization:

  • the band’s name, all original release names and all original song names are in English,
  • specifically, all titles contain only Roman letters,
  • all lyrics are in English,
  • established shops such as cdjapan use normal capitalization for all releases,
  • the default language on MusicBrainz is English.

Personally, I definitely prefer normal spelling, especially when the titles should be used for tagging and folder naming, but full caps seems more accurate to me for database purposes. Which does not make this easier.

I think the rules for this should include a preferred fallback for unclear cases.

Frankly, none of these are valid arguments for ignoring Style / Language / Japanese.

1 Like

To take one of your examples:

This one has a Japanese tracklist and title as well as an English tracklist and title.

But the casing that Victor is using for English, is apparently not good compared to what is printed.

They use GLORY, GLORY, TO THE WORLD and also Glory, Glory, To The World which are both different from the front cover we see.

Printed:

Gʟᴏʀʏ, Gʟᴏʀʏ, ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ Wᴏʀʟᴅ

Which could be equivalent to:

Glory, Glory, to the World

So at least I think going full caps would be wrong for this English tracklist.

I don’t see the back cover, for the rest of the tracklist.

For the Japanese tracklist, refer to this page they are probably correct. On the packaging, I guess you should see it on the obi and in the booklet.