redrisingphoenix: (These Are the Days)
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LET ME PREFACE THIS BY SAYING that Jun or Bofu would probably be a whole lot better with this than me. I AM JUST LEARNING OKAY OKAY. Also, this is as much info as I've gathered on names in the Three Kingdoms period - modern Chinese may be completely different, I don't know. |D;;;

Anyhow, you've probably noticed that when Gongji introduces himself, he does it as 'Ling Tong, styled Gongji'. Basically, that means his style name is Gongji, his family name is Ling, and his personal name is Tong. We're all familiar with family names (last names) and personal names (first names), but what the heck is a style name?


Back in ancient China (and actually following through to fairly recently, considering Mao Zedong has one), when a boy reached adulthood, his family - usually his father or grandfather - would give him the style name. Some people would even give *themselves* style names, although I've read this was considered sort of rude. Additionally, some women were even given style names at certain points in history.

Style names were usually some sort of literary allusion, a reflection of the bearer's personality, a play on their family or given name, or any other of a list of clever plays on words.


I'm glad you asked! There are a couple similarities between Japanese and Chinese names - name order, for one, and using family name with people you're not close to for another. Past that, though, things get a little... weird. It's easier for me to break this down by how each name is used (to the best of my understanding):

Family (Last) Name
Japanese: Used among casual friends, co-workers, strangers, subordinates, superiors, etc., modified with an honorific to signify relationship
Chinese: Used by subordinates, strangers. I've most commonly seen it used in conjunction with the given name.

Given (First) Name
Japanese: Used by family, close friends, superiors on particularly close subordinates, increasingly by younger people to refer to casual friends (ala western style name usage)
Chinese: Family only - no one else gets to use it.

Style name
Japanese: N/A
Chinese: Members of older generation or peers

In other words, pretty much everyone but your subordinates calls you by your style name, whether they're your friend or not. In fact, this quote attributed to Emperor Sun Quan (Sonken) is kinda illuminating about how they're used:

Mengde has Zhang Liao, and I have Gan Xingba.

'Mengde' is Cao Cao, Emperor of Wei, and Xingba is Gan Ning. Which just goes to show that you may not like the person, but if they're your same social status...


Japanese kanji were basically taken from Chinese hanzi several hundred years ago. In doing such, the hanzi used in the names of the characters of Romance of the Three Kingdoms are pronounced differently in Japanese than in Chinese (think of it like the difference between the French Jacques and the English Jack). In addition to different pronounciations, the names are used differently as well.

In both the Japanese version of Dyansty Warriors (Sangoku Musou) and in Koutetsu Sangokushi, the Japanese equivalent of a family name is used pretty well exclusively - for instance, Ling Tong is always called Ryoutou in Kousan and in DW. In fact, it's a pretty safe bet that more style names should've been thrown around - but I'm guessing because of the Japanese tending more towards using family names than given names, that they don't use the style names as much as they should. In fact, 'Ling Tong/Ryoutou' is treated as a family name in Japanese, while 'Gongj/Kousekii' is treated as a personal name. (this gets a little weird when you've got Sonsaku and Sonken who're supposed to be brothers, but... have a different family name? Heck, at least Sun Jian is also translated into Japanese as Sonken)

I PROBABLY SCREWED SOMETHING UP, but basically, that's a good run-down of it, as I understand it?
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