How player names are translated?

Last updated January 2018 maintains a central database for player information so that player names are used consistently through out the website. Player names are translated using the following rules:

  • By convention, Chinese/Japanese/Korean names are always written as family name followed by given name.
  • For players from mainland China -- China has a well-established spelling system (PinYin) which maps Chinese characters to Roman letters. This system is almost strictly followed by The only exception is that special character 'ü' in the PinYin system is replaced by 'yu' following recent Chinese official practice (in the past 'ü' was often replaced by 'v').
  • For players from Taiwan -- The author of is not an expert in the official romanization system used in Taiwan. Luckily the system is said to adopt identical syllables as the mainland counterpart for about 80% of the times. uses the mainland way to spell Taiwanese players' names and this should not cause any difficulties for western readers.
  • For Japanese players -- Although there are small variations, romanization of Japanese is quite standard. For example, the name 'Yamashita Keigo' and 'Akiyama Jiro' (both top Japanese players) do share something in common - 'yama' maps to the character which means 'hill'.
  • For Korean players -- Unfortunately the Korean government has been promoting a romanization system which is different from the one widely used. As a result, you might see names like 'Yi Se-tol' and 'Lee Sedol', which actually refer to the same player. Go4Go only guarantees to use names consistently when compiling data from various sources. Go4Go never uses special symbols (such as hyphens and apostrophes) in names as doing so often confuses computer programs.
  • Eastern names are often quite short, therefore it is not uncommon for people to use identical names or names that pronounce identically (even if they use different characters). Whenever there are confusions, additional information will be appended to the names so that players involved are distinguishable.
  • Taiwan has the tradition to send prospective Go talents to Japan for study and many eventually becomes successful there. always uses Japanese way to refer to such players. For example: Rin Kaiho (rather than Lin Haifeng); O Rissei (Wang Licheng); Cho U (Zhang Xu). However, in recent years, Nihon Kiin has started using translations that are more akin to the Chinese Pinyin for some younger players (such as  Wang Jinyi, Yao Zhiteng). We try to follow this practice.
  • Like ordinary people, Go players do change their names because of marriage (in particular for female Japanese players), acquisition of citizenship or nationality, or other formal reasons. Go4Go database keeps multiple entries in such case. Go4Go also internally links these names so that 'Search by Player' function would pick up all games played by the same player under different names.
  • Apart from the few cases mentioned above, Go4Go does not support other variations of player names. In our opinion, most of such 'variations' have been produced by western users in error (e.g. Wu Guangya is consistently translated as Chun Guangya only because the two Chinese characters in question look a bit similar).