20 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
Both Chinese and Japanese names are written in Kanji/Hanzi but are read in their native languages. The surname Wang 王 is also written as 王 in Japanese, and you'd be correct in saying that it's pronounced "oh", but what makes you think it'd be difficult for Japanese people to pronounce it? They'd read it as "Oh" whereas the Chinese would read it as "Wang". Apologies for replying to a post this old, but it's bugging me a lot.
Edit: Thinking about this more, I suspect the only issue with Kanji in names is that there are multiple ways of pronouncing each character (for Japanese at least). 王 could be read as "Oh", but it could be read as "Ohkimi" or "Kimi".
I heard two ways to read Chinese names. One is to use Japanese 音讀 (onyomi). It is usually used in old translations. 王小华 (Wang Xiaohua) is O-Shyo-Ka in Japanese. 毛泽东 (Mao Zedong) is Mou-Taku-Dong. Another way, which applies more on modern Chinese, is to use Katagana to help the pronunciation. Anyway, even Japanese people can name their kid's name "中田虎王" and set the pronuciation in the ID documents as "Tanaka Lai-yon-kingu (lion king)".
When a kanji is intended to be read with an unusual (or non-Japanese) reading, furigana may be used. These are miniature kana characters that sit either next to (for vertical writing) or above (for horizontal writing) the kanji.
So for example, if a Chinese person wants to ensure Japanese will read their surname 王 as Wang rather than as Oh, they can write it with a small katakana ワング beside/above it. This is difficult to do on western PCs, but easier if you have a Japanese computer.
My Japanese teacher once told us that you can write your name however you personally like it written and pronounced, personal preference, so if you were called Maria and preferred to pronounce it with more of a "ya" sound at the end, you would be able to do that, there isn't one specific "right" way.
Are you sure you wrote it in katakana? And/or with an ア (a) at the end instead of the similar-looking (and sounding in this case) ヤ (ya)? I don't think any of these lessons will spell it with a ヤ (nor will they accept a hiragana spelling), but outside of these lessons people can choose to have it spelled that way if they wanted the slightly extra emphasis on the end of their name.
Katana is a phonetic language used to describe individual syllables. So it is used to pronounce things that are not originally Japanese. The word/name "Maria", obviously doesn't have Japanese origins, so it would be pronounced "Mah-Ree-Ah" (Even this is phonetic spelling.)