Right now I'm using an anecdote about the Japanese Akita, Hachikō. The dog's name contains an "おう" (ou) in Japanese. What is the standard way to romanize this? Should I use a macron (ō) or "ou"? The same goes for the president of Japan, Shinzō Abe.

  • 2
    since it’s the same as such a famous guy whose name is likely to be found all over the internet, why not do some searches and see how his name is spelled by reputable news agencies etc.
    – Jim
    May 16 '17 at 15:00
  • 1
    This is not about ELU, but about translation from another language into English.
    – Gary
    May 16 '17 at 15:06
  • @Gary - I think the question could be relevant since the idea of transcribing names is to come up with a spelling that is most likely to lead to the desired pronunciation by speakers of the target language. But in this case the answer should be easily found with a quick Google search.
    – Jim
    May 16 '17 at 15:29

Honestly, it depends.

The most widely used system of romanization is arguably Hepburn romanization. To quote, "The Revised Hepburn system of romanization uses a macron to indicate some long vowels... For example, the name じゅんいちろう, is written with the kana characters ju-n-i-chi-ro-u, and romanized as Jun'ichirō in Revised Hepburn." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese#Modern_systems)

However, other widely accepted romanization methods besides Hepburn, like Nihon-shiki, preserve the exact characters for the word, meaning that you would instead use ou. I've seen it done both ways, and I don't believe either way is wrong.

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