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Determine if romanized Japanese names are family names

Project description


This library identifies (kenchi) romanized Japanese family names (myouji), largely in order to split romanized Japanese names into given name and family name.


>>> import myouji_kenchi
>>> myouji_kenchi.order_names(['Yamada', 'Satoshi'])
['Satoshi', 'Yamada']
>>> myouji_kenchi.get_score_as_myouji('Yamada')
>>> myouji_kenchi.get_score_as_myouji('Satoshi')
>>> transliterator = myouji_kenchi.MyoujiBackTransliteration()
>>> transliterator.back_transliterate('Yamada')
[('ヤマダ', 201046.0)]


The Japanese ordering of a name is family name given name, whereas the Western ordering is given name family name. When a name is written in Japanese script one can assume it follows that convention. However, when a Japanese name is written in Latin characters it might be in either order, depending on the context and the author. While sometimes a person's name can be treated as atomic, it is often desirable to know which name is which.

One major complication is the variety of romanization schemes in active use. Most libraries for back transliterating from Latin characters to Japanese script presuppose that the romanization scheme for the original transliteration is known. Often in the sort of situation where you do not know the order of a Japanese name the romanization scheme will also be unknown. This library targets Kunrei-shiki, Nihon-shiki, and (Modified) Hepburn, with allowance for the common deviations of omitting macrons and apostrophes.


  1. Install OpenFst.

    It is necessary that the version of OpenFst and the version of the OpenFst Python binding match. Note that OpenFst must be compiled with the --enable-far option in order to support that binding package.

    tar xf openfst-1.6.6.tar.gz
    cd openfst-1.6.6
    ./configure --enable-far
    sudo make install 
  2. Pip install myouji-kenchi

    pip install myouji-kenchi

Compiling OpenFst on OS X can be troublesome. Making sure you have the latest version of your compiler and prefixing pip install and/or make with CFLAGS="-std=c++11 -stdlib=libc++" can be helpful.

For Python dependencies see and requirements_dev.txt.


MIT License (see LICENSE file)

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