Thursday, January 26, 2012

Japanese Romanization Task Force Report

Dear CEAL colleagues,

On Sunday, January 22nd, the CTP/CJM Joint Task Force on the LC Proposal Regarding Japanese Romanization submitted a report to LC titled “CEAL Response to the Clarification of LCpractice concerning the use of diacritical marks in Japanese romanization,” based on the survey conducted early this month.

The Task Force is very grateful to those who responded to the survey. We received close to 60 responses in spite of the very short notice and the brief survey period. I would also like to thank some Japanese experts consulted by the Task Force. Based on the survey results, close examination of the proposed revision, and brief research on related topics by Task Force members (excellent jobs!), we have composed a seven page response (45 pages including appendixes). Click here to view the report (PDF file). We welcome further feedback.

Here is a summary:
  • The CEAL community thanks LC for clarifying the long-standing issue of alif and apostrophe usage in Japanese romanization.
  • CEAL members support the idea of adding a “Diacritic marks” section to the Japanese romanization guidelines, and suggested moving the section towards the beginning of the document
  • The TF also suggested adding a section on macron usage, with examples, to further clarify usage in more complex macron cases.
  • The TF requests that LC continue to review the guidelines, and to establish a timeline for further revisions of the Japanese Romanization Table beyond the alif/apostrophe issue. The TF identified 17 additional examples and one deleted section included on the LC website version of the table (, but not in the version attached to the original email to Eastlib on Dec. 14, 2011.
  • The TF welcomes both LC’s and OCLC’s intention to work together with the CEAL community to do necessary cleanup work resulting from this change.
  • The TF hopes that over time further improvements, bringing even more clarity to the ALA-LC Romanization Table for Japanese, will be made and that these improvements will be done in a collaborative and transparent way, with the participation of a range of stakeholders, including LC, OCLC and the CEAL community.

Please let Task Force members or me know if you have any questions or comments regarding our report. We intend to do follow-up work, including the review of any counter-response from LC, and further research on Japanese romanization, with the aim of improving the Japanese Romanization Table with broad input from the community. Please share your opinions, ideas, or insights on this issue. Also let us know if you notice any misunderstandings or inaccuracies in our report.

We are looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

- Keiko

For CEAL CTP/CJM Joint Task Force on LC Proposal to Japanese Romanization
Rob Britt
Yoko Kudo
Mieko Mazza
Hikaru Nakano
Keiko Suzuki, Chair

Shi Deng, ex officio (CTP Chair)
Setsuko Noguchi, ex officio (CJM Chair)

Ms. Keiko SUZUKI  鈴木啓子
Japanese Catalog Librarian, East Asia Library
Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University
P.O.Box 208240
New Haven, CT 06520-8240
Tel.: 203-432-2778 / Fax: 203-432-7231

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