Small capital letters in Japanese releases (Sᴍᴀʟʟ Cᴀᴘɪᴛᴀʟꜱ)

There is a Style/Language/Japanese guideline to keep capitalisation of Latin script as printed in Japanese releases.

There is a reason to this as the Japanese using Latin script for title usually will always keep consistency as the capitalisation was part of their chosen title.
I think it’s quite fair, as in Japanese as well you can choose between hiragana, katakana, kanji and even Latin to write words creatively in a title.

Many rock bands will use small capital letters like for instance Aꜱᴄᴇɴᴅᴇᴀᴅ Mᴀꜱᴛᴇʀ (how beautiful). :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

For these, I and others have often hesitated between converting small capitals to uppercase ASCENDEAD MASTER or convert small capitals to lowercase Ascendead Master

But then, I thought… Hey but why even convert?
Why not use what is printed, like the guideline says? :slight_smile:

BTW here is the content of the guideline, as of today:


For names and titles originating in Japan, non-Japanese characters should be capitalized as intended by the artist or label.

Although the Japanese script has no capitalization, it is very common for Japanese titles to contain characters or words from other scripts. Japanese artists have a tendency to choose capitalization and punctuation for aesthetic reasons, and to be very consistent regarding case over all releases. For this reason, 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. This applies even if the whole title is in English or another non-Japanese language, as long as it is consistently written in the non-standard way.


Isn’t that a font choice doing that? Or is that in the actual Unicode?

Ah I see. I copied the text out to notepad and see is it specific characters chosen from Unicode. Don’t see how that is any different to choosing different dashses. I could see a good argument to keep the characters as typed as converting to a European ASCII means changing every character. There are some artists who make up whole album names of funky characters and they are accepted.

Those S’s are a little weird and seem to break in Notepad++

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small capital letters

Here what you see with BabelPad and LICEcap. The S looks normal to me, like in this forum. :wink:

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It feels to me like this is a choice made by a graphic designer and not something that I’d expect to see replicated in the database. Also note that the label just uses normal ASCII capital letters to write the title at Versailles / ヴェルサイユ「ASCENDEAD MASTER(初回限定盤-Ⅰ)」 | Warner Music Japan, which seems like it fails the “if other available sources, such as official discography or record label pages, are consistent” part of the guideline.

It’s perhaps a tangent, but the “don’t make changes to Latin characters” part of Style / Language / Japanese - MusicBrainz (or at least, that interpretation of it) has always made me a bit uncomfortable. I’m completely on board with preserving a title like 紅のケン 〜Burning Blood〜 [KEN], where it seems like there was a deliberate choice to use those Latin characters, but it feels strange to me to not follow the English guidelines in cases where (as far as I can tell) the artist was trying to just write “normal” English text.

I’ve also been confused about when exactly this guideline should be applied. The guideline uses multiple terms like “names and titles originating in Japan”, “Japanese release”, and “Japanese artists”. The last one seems particularly fraught.


In the forum it is okay, but when I copy \ paste that line out of Vivaldi (Windows) and drop it into a dumb text editor (notepad++)

Not sure exactly how that is set… what ever is default for a Brit. Probably just a font thing in Notepad++

Windows notepad has a taller S character


I am showing this as it could be argued as to why using the extended character set can be a problem for some. Though more and more modern devices can generally handle this fine.

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Not really, see how the write Ascendead Master Noble*, but zombie and windress and SUZERAIN, etc., in the same release*. (and in small capitals, not lowercase like I did here for convenience, probably same reason as label OHP). :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

* I meant in Noble, as I was working on another release, now.

At least, allowing small capital letters would make editor’s life easier.
As otherwise we can always debate between lowercases (English logic) and uppercases (Japanese lazy website logic).

According to it should be in all caps. The intent of the Japanese Capitalization guideline is to follow official text, not graphic design. We shouldn’t be trying to use incorrect characters or exotic markup to make the text resemble graphic design, Japanese or not.


IMO it’s mostly a matter of this label is more lazy than another one…

See how their indies OHP was less lazy about their earlier album Nᴏʙʟᴇ (but they strangely mistake for the release title and for the last track NOBLE and PRINCE, instead of Nᴏʙʟᴇ and Pʀɪɴᴄᴇ).

Printed version

Here are some photos:




Aʀɪsᴛᴏᴄʀᴀᴛ’s Sʏᴍᴘʜᴏɴʏ
Aɴᴛɪǫᴜᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ Fᴜᴛᴜʀᴇ
Sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ Fᴇᴀʀ –Aɴᴏᴛʜᴇʀ Dᴇsᴄᴇɴᴅᴀɴᴛ–
Aꜰᴛᴇʀ Cʟᴏᴜᴅɪᴀ
Tʜᴇ Rᴇᴠᴇɴᴀɴᴛ Cʜᴏɪʀ
Tᴏ Tʜᴇ Cʜᴀᴏs Iɴsɪᴅᴇ
Hɪsᴛᴏʀʏ ᴏꜰ Tʜᴇ Oᴛʜᴇʀ Sɪᴅᴇ

Lowercase version (from their indies OHP)

Here is a working URL:
Release and last track titles only (NOBLE and PRINCE) are strangely inconsistent with printed (Nᴏʙʟᴇ and Pʀɪɴᴄᴇ).
Pʀɪɴᴄᴇ is a bonus track only on a later release, so maybe not the same webmaster typing… :thinking:
I have fixed them here:


Aristocrat’s Symphony
Antique in the Future
Second Fear –Another Descendant–
After Cloudia
The Revenant Choir
To The Chaos Inside
History of The Other Side

Uppercase version (I don’t know where it’s used)

It’s completely wrong anyway IMO, because it erases the specific stylings of windress, SUZERAIN, etc.



Here I think we completely loose the capitalisation oddity artist intent of the printed tracklist (Noble, zombie, windress, SUZERAIN, History of The Other Side, Antique in the Future, To The Chaos Inside, Prince)…

indies OHP

This link doesn’t work.

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One problem with using it like this will be search. E.g. searching for “ascen” here in my browser or text editor will not find this string, as the small capital letters are not considered for the corresponding base letter.

Actually I agree with derat’s comment above that this really seems more like a graphical choice and should not be part of the title.

But should this be used there should definitely an alias be added to the recording with the name written in proper letters.


I agree with you here, same goes for graphic design that can’t be written out in text (Edit #58584764 - MusicBrainz)

All these cases are font issues (small caps) and not something we should put into the database.

It see seems most people don’t want small capital letters. :wink:

But then, I think we should at least respect the capitalisation creative effort they made by using lowercased letters for every printed small capital letters, not full caps, where we lose the distinction.

Even if that major label website does not achieve this faithfulness.
As we saw that some labels took care of respecting it (indies), and some didn’t (major era): it means printed source (and consistent across editions) is more important than OHP.


This I would agree with. In fact, that’s what happens when you use the small-caps font-variant in CSS. If you set Ascendead Master in the small-caps font-variant, the browser displays it as “Aꜱᴄᴇɴᴅᴇᴀᴅ Mᴀꜱᴛᴇʀ” but the text is still searchable, and if you copy it you get “Ascendead Master” in plain text. I actually like small capitals, and think it should be used more often, instead of all-caps, which is generally very ugly. But it is a stylistic choice, you should never use Unicode for this, you’d make the text unsearchable and unindexable — the opposite of what we try to do here on MB.

To get that effect, you could request that MB supports a “display in small-caps” check-box, so the tracklist would be displayed in small-caps (with CSS). I don’t think this should be a prority, I’m not even sure I support it, but it’s a better idea, I think.


This is kind of big indication that what we should set in MB titles is the lower case version!

Latin titles in Japanese releases

Use upper case for printed upper case
Use lower case for printed small capital
Use lower case for printed lower case

Does anyone disagree?

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Yes, I’m disagreeing with your original idea of using Unicode small caps, but agreeing with your last point of reproducing the intended capitalization.

So, “Aꜱᴄᴇɴᴅᴇᴀᴅ Mᴀꜱᴛᴇʀ” should be entered as Ascendead Master, and “Pʀɪɴᴄᴇ” as Prince. This way you preserve the textual content, the intended differences in capitalization, and allow people to easily apply small caps to get the same style.


Can we add this rule to Style/Language/Japanese - MusicBrainz Wiki, or should we wait for a greater consensus?

The posters in this topic in favor of such a rule seem to be a minority of posters in this topic.

The practice of using “small” capital letters isn’t common in the first place. I don’t think such a niche case would warrant a guideline, given how many non-niche cases can’t be enshrined as guidelines.