Kuwai Iooo Rooo

This is why romanization rules are important:

... Because without them, people are just going to keep writing vowels until they run out of room.

As Waseda explains:

The roman letters at the top give the idiosyncratic spelling in the English alphabet of "Kuwaiiooorooo" for the restaurant's name (Kaiyuro), testimony that it antecedes the establishment of regular rules for romanization.

That's 會友樓, 会友楼 in modern characters, to be pronounced kwaiyūrō. (In the passage above, Waseda have modernized /kwa/ to /ka/.) The meaning is roughly "Meet-Friends Towers," with unmistakably Chinese V-O order. Might even be a reference to some continental classic or other... if so, it's over my head.

Popularity factor: 2


I've lately come across some names of Japanese scientists who first published in American academic journals during the late 1940s and early 1950s, and quite a few of them romanized their names in what would nowadays be romaji input style, not anglophonic Hepburn: Huzio Utimura and the like.


Kunrei-shiki, no? I understand there was some fussin' and fightin' over the Kunrei vs Hepburn issue during the occupation period and shortly afterwards... actually I think that Kunrei is still the official standard, but since it's not used on public signage or government documents (passports etc.) that just means that kids have to learn it.

I know a couple of researchers who use Kunrei for their names even now... one because he didn't really think about it as a newcomer and doesn't want to change now, and one because he wants to make a political statement about the non-supremacy of English. What surprises me is how viscerally some (Anglophone) people hate Kunrei...

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