I have divided all Goethe into 29 parts

Again via Honyaku-L, specifically Wolfgang Hadamitzy: a page containing 29 ways to write "Goethe" in katakana:

  1. ゴエテ
  2. ギューテ
  3. ギェーテ
  4. ギョート
  5. ギョーツ
  6. ゲーテ
  7. ギュエテ
  8. ゲォエテ
  9. ゴアタ
  10. グウィーテ
  11. ゲエテー
  12. ゲーテー
  13. ゲェテー
  14. ギョウテ
  15. ギヨーテ
  16. ギョーテ
  17. ギョーテー
  18. ギヨテー
  19. ゴエテ
  20. ギヨテ
  21. ギヨヲテ
  22. ギヨオテ
  23. ゲョーテ
  24. ゲヨーテ
  25. ゴエテー
  26. ゲエテ
  27. ギヨエテ
  28. ゲイテ
  29. ギョエテ

Gyoutsu and guwiite are probably the most egregious.

There's even a senryuu by 斎藤緑雨 (SAITOU Rokuu) on the subject:

"'gyoute' to ha / ore no koto ka" to / geite ii
"'Gyoute'? You mean me?" says Geite.

I can actually imagine this being a serious problem in the days before internets. All of these katakanafications obviously come from the same source word, but if person A was talking about Giyoete and person B about Goata... I mean, even today, there are a lot of English speakers who never realize that Tao = Dao.

Popularity factor: 2


Interesting. Just today this blog was going on about Chinese transliterations of foreign names. He notes that just after 911, someone said "知道吗,现在国外有两个恐怖分子,一个叫拉登,一个叫拉丹,听说是哥俩。" - "Did you know that there are two international terrorists, one called Ladeng and one called Ladan - I've heard they are brothers."


Of course one option would be something like:

柯瑞南(Ronald Craig)

Would take up more page space, of course, but you'd only have to do it once per document, or until everyone got used to the usage.

Goethe? Isn't that from that Village People song?

Goethe, life is peaceful there.Goethe, lots of open air...

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