Korean artist Korean names: Latin like cover or Hangeul like usage?

This topic issue is opposite from the issue of Korean artists (often bands) using English names in genuine Latin or in Hangeul transcription: Giriboy = 기리보이

For stylistic reasons, some Korean artists are using their Korean name (last name, first name) in a Latinised transcription:

First case why I open this topic:


There is a similar topic about Japanese names but I don’t know the Korean scene, I guess usages could differ.
Thus this topic.

Please Korean music fans, discuss. :slight_smile:

This discussion is interesting to me because when I first got here, I thought that the Korean language/script should be preserved at all costs, but as I got more experience and word from other editors, I was under the impression that what’s printed on a release (be it a digital album cover or an actual physical CD) was more important than the origin of their name or how they use it on social media, etc.

Ever since K-pop got widely popular after BTS rose to fame, artists and labels started to see the importance of their international fans being able to read their names and their album/song titles, so there’s been a huge decrease on the use of hangul in K-pop as a whole. Most albums are now completely made up of English titles and even solo artists are using latin instead of hangul.

So, taking into consideration the script used on the covers and mediums of releases, I’ve been changing lots of Korean solo artists in the past few years to use their latin names instead. Hwa Sa, Hyolyn, JEON SOMI, TAEYEON, etc, to name a few. So I take a look at all their releases and see what’s used more often. Sometimes I’ll go beyond the cover and check unboxing videos and scans of their releases just to confirm that latin is more commonly used.

But anyway, sticking to KWON EUN BI, just checking one of her albums I can see her latin name on the cover of both physical versions, then her latin name again being written on many of the left pages of the photobook. Here’s the medium, KWON EUN BI again… Then we see latin again even on the photocards that come with the packaging. The only time her hangul name is used on this release is on the credits for some tracks where she’s credited as “chorus” (usually means background vocals). Now of course, if I’m adding these relationships I will be preserving her Korean name as it was credited, but with all of these evidence going for the release artist, it’s clear that I should be using her latin name for that. This should reflect the name used on the RG too, hence this edit. And if most of the releases (physical, digital media) will use her latin name, why not her artist page?

Sure, this is just one of her albums, but you have the patience to look at her other one, you will find the same thing. Cover, back cover, medium, photocards, all using her latin name. If you want to go a bit further, her new album Lethality is not out yet, but all the promotion related to the album, teaser images, album packaging information, all using KWON EUN BI already. I mean, even her past video teasers use her latin name (in the actual video I mean, not the title on YouTube).

There are still instances where I would use hangul, such as OSTs, those almost always use hangul on the cover, but they’re are not her main releases, so I hardly consider them when it comes to the artist page name. You can see that better on TAEYEON’s page, how her main releases (albums, singles, EPs) use latin, but the “Single + Soundtrack” section is almost entirely in hangul, so I like to preserve that. I’m not trying to extinguish hangul from MB by any means. lol

Anyway, I’m sorry if this looks like a long boring rant and that my sources aren’t the best I could find. Watching unboxing videos are annoying, but since I cannot purchase every K-pop release out there, it’s what I have to use most of the time if there are not album scans available, which is her case, since she’s not very famous. I just want to make sure that people know that I’m not doing these edits blindly, since I feel like I’m the biggest “target” of this discussion having made all these past edits myself. It’s even far out of my personal preference because I actually really like the look of hangul even tho I can’t read it yet (just some syllabes lol), but it’s clear to me that Korean artists (group or solo) are intending to be using latin in all of their media and we should reflect that on MB.


Have you read the Japanese topic?
Maybe do you know how it feels for Koreans in Korea?

I just want you and other K-pop fans weight the pros and cons and put you in the shoes of a fan from home market (Korea).
How do everyone refer to the artist.
And imagine what’s best.

Because myself, I know nothing.

For example in Japan 浜崎あゆみ would always use ayumi hamasaki on cover to look more cool stylish exotic.
But everyone from magazines, texts from official website and green club, shop shelves, etc. use the genuine script.
It’s more easy to understand and it is the name of the person.

It’s similar, in Latin script, I think to artists who may write their name in full caps, or often omit their first name on cover art (Higelin, Springsteen), but we still always use consistently First name Last name style.

It’s tough subject, but at least for Bruce Springsteen, for Jacques Higelin and for 浜崎あゆみ I would keep their genuine full names with genuine script.


I can’t speak for a Korean when I’m not one or don’t live in Korea. I know Koreans learn basic English in schools, so they must be familiar with the Latin alphabet at the very least, but if I were to put myself in their shoes, I’d imagine it is as difficult for them to read something in Latin as it is for me to read something in a foreign alphabet. That, however, doesn’t stop the market from using Latin in CDs, magazines and websites.

Briefly, but I don’t think we can compare because Korean CDs don’t even have Obis and the spines mostly use Latin or English as well, so there’s no such discrepancy.

Using the same example of TAEYEON so you can see it’s very consistent unlike what I’ve been seeing on the Japanese discussion.

Not when you choose 한국어 (instead of ENGLISH) in the language selector at the bottom of the page:


This website selects language per your browser settings or per geolocalisation, maybe.
You can see the language selector only on desktop computer or when you activate desktop view on your mobile browser.


A third official site where I do see her referred to as genuine 권은비 is on her official label site (where all artist titles are in Latin, otherwise), see ABOUT.


First site was Twitter (see next post) and second official site, where I see genuine script before Latin, is 권은비 KWON EUN BI (@official_kwon.eunbi) • Instagram photos and videos

I didn’t search much, it’s linked to MB artist.

I forgot to copy my info from edit here:

Her official https://twitter.com/KWONEUNBI mentions 권은비 first, and then the Latin transcription only between brackets (secondary).

If I launch Google searches, they show how many results they yield:

I’m still thinking taking Latin script for Korean person names is Latin-centric bias.
I still think it would be obvious for Koreans to only use the Hangeul script.
Like it is obvious to us to use David Bowie instead of 데이비드 보위 or to use Bruce Springsteen instead of just Springsteen, as printed.

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I’m still thinking taking Latin script for Korean person names is Latin-centric bias.
I still think it would be obvious for Koreans to only use the Hangeul script.
Like it is obvious to us to use David Bowie instead of 데이비드 보위 or to use Bruce Springsteen instead of just Springsteen, as printed.

I agree with this. Koreans use their Hangeul names, and Korean sites (like vibe naver, Bugs, Genie, melOn, etc) will always use Hangeul preferentially for group names, even if the group name itself is often advertised in Latin. For example: Oneus on vibe.naver, Oneus on genie, Oneus on melOn, and Oneus on MB.

While Koreans are able to use the Latin alphabet, I’ve noticed (as a non-Korean, not living in Korea) that they’ll use Latin alphabet for shortened/censored forms of cursing (I C for ‘aish’ which can be translated as ‘gosh’ or something like that, but it can also be shorthand for ‘아시발’ (as in ‘ah fuck’) or JMT which is slang for ‘it’s fucked’ or ‘it’s fucking good’ (based on context) which incidentally also sounds a lot like ‘turned into porridge’) but for the most part, a lot of the artists will use Hangeul even for western artists when looking them up or when recommending songs. It’s usually only the artists/people who are bilingual that will flip between Hangeul and Latin based on different contexts. Most editors for TV shows will use the Hangeul versions of a group’s name - even if the group has a Latin name like Stray Kids. You can see here that the editors used the Hangeul versions of names for Ateez, The Boyz, and Stray Kids - even though all 3 are ‘advertised’ with Latin characters and have logos with Latin characters that could be use instead.

Basically: When inputting Korean artists and groups, if we are to follow the style guideline of ‘use local language’ then we need to use their local language (ie Hangeul) for their artist/group names as they would use them when entering data. Can it be clunky? Yes. But I personally feel that it’s more respectful to artists and musicians everywhere to use their local language rather than just being like ‘oh it’s showing on the album like xxxxxx’ and providing even more of a Latin character bias, as MB is (and should be) accessible to everyone - including people who don’t use Latin characters in their language.


I agree that we should always use the local script where applicable. But there has been previous discussions where we’ve talked about not putting the Latin name into the disambiguation, which I think could be thought about again in the context of this discussion.

There’s plenty of evidence how non-English artists can struggle to make it internationally, so they switch to English, which imo is a shame. What MB does with our ‘don’t show the Latin name/disambig in all search results (etc)’ mindset is punish the groups who haven’t changed to latin everywhere by making them less accessible to the (maybe this will change some day) mainly Latin reading MB audience.

I think MB can be respectful to artists by using their local name, but also respect that their intent when switching to English in some contexts applies to the MB context (e.g. we are currently not, for better or for worse, a Korean ‘market’).

Long story short, I think Hangul name + the Latin name in the disambiguation is a good solution when an artist is using both.

Note that I don’t really edit non Latin scripts, so I’m not too attached to the outcome, but wanted to share my thoughts.

@calarinda, you’re talking of band with English names, like Giriboy = 기리보이 which is discussed in another topic of its own, as it’s a different… topic. :wink:

This topic here is about person’s Korean names, like 권은비 = KWON EUN BI.
This case is, IMO, more easy.

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Honestly, I don’t mind if the artist page is in hangul, but since there’s no consensus here, if latin is being visually used on the releases, I’ll keep on adding the releases with latin names. Exceptions being Korean digital releases that almost always use hangul. So basically what I’ve been doing is:

Physical releases = keep the name mainly used on the cover/spine/medium/booklet, etc (which is latin for most cases)
Digital worldwide releases = romanized/latin names as usual
Digital Korean releases = hangul

I was just using that as an example of MB usage as compared to what the artists themselves and/or Korean sites were using. Kwon Eunbi would use 권은비, not the Latin version of her name. But the point still stands in that no matter what is written on the physical album, or how it is advertised, the artist themselves will always use Hangeul and not Latin characters. (Same also applies for groups, even if the group name itself is in Latin characters, the artists of the group and most of the Korean public will use Hangeul.)

Even in stage names, Korean artists will preferentially use (again, just from observation) Hangeul, like Solar from Mamamoo would use 솔라 and not ‘Solar.’ One of the few examples that I can actually think of where an artist will preferentially use Latin characters is Minhyuk from BTOB, who I believe always writes his stage name HUTA in Latin characters instead of 허타. But even then, when his solo MVs are posted officially, they’re still released as 이민혁 (HUTA) instead of just HUTA or as the Latinized form of his name.

Stage names, legal names, group names… Korean artists will mostly use Hangeul, not Latin characters, and it doesn’t matter what the packaging of the album has on it.

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Please replace 이민혁 (HUTA) by 허타 (HUTA), for the sake of understanding. :sweat_smile:
I will remove this post after your fix.

I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking?

If you mean me referencing Minhyuk’s solo releases under his name - that’s how it’s officially given on the MV, and often how it’s given on Korean sites as well.

이민혁 (HUTA) - ‘BOOM’ Official Music Video (that’s a direct copy of the YT title)

He doesn’t really use 허타, it’s always his name in Hangeul, followed by HUTA in Latin characters.

Oh ok, it’s the same person!

yep! Huta is just his old underground rapper stage name. He also might use it to differentiate himself from the several other 'Lee Minhyuk’s in the K-pop industry, so it’s just his stage name that’s carried on from his rapper days into him being into BTOB and into his solo debut.