Background on how Chinese names are pronounced in Japanese
Consider the man who was the chancellor of the state of Shu under Liu Shan during the Three Kingdoms period. In Chinese, his name is written 诸葛亮. In English, his name is typically written Zhuge Liang (pinyin), which is a reasonably close approximation of how his name is pronounced in Mandarin.
Japanese, though, does something that may seem strange. The Japanese language has its own unique ways of pronouncing Chinese characters, and so even though this man's name is still written 诸葛亮 (same as in Chinese), it is pronounced "Shokatsu Ryō" - nothing at all like how it's pronounced in Mandarin! The reasons for this are complicated; basically, it has to do with how the Japanese language borrowed Chinese pronunciations for Chinese characters (so-called "on readings") from Middle Chinese mostly before 1000 CE, and how the Japanese and Chinese/Mandarin pronunciations have diverged in the ensuing millennium-plus.
The actual question
In some anime, the names of Chinese people are spoken. This sometimes happens with historical figures, e.g. Gakuto in Prison School and his obsession with Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It also happens with the joint Chinese-Japanese productions that've been springing up lately, where pretty much everybody's name is Chinese - for example, Hitori no Shita: The Outcast, Bloodivores, and Soul Buster from the past few cours.
The thing I find weird is that sometimes, Chinese names are localized using the Japanese spellings. This makes no sense to me - nobody outside Japan has any idea who "Shokatsu Ryō" is, whereas many people will have heard of "Zhuge Liang".
- Crunchyroll's subtitles for Hitori no Shita (for example, the character "Baobao" is rendered in the subtitles as "Houhou")
- Crunchyroll's subtitles for Soul Buster (the Han dynasty is subtitled as the "Kan" dynasty!)
- the manga Reincarnation no Kaben, apparently
- the Crunchyroll subtitles for Cheating Craft also do this (the main character is called "Shokatsu Mumei" in Japanese, but would be called "Zhuge Mu Ming" in Chinese), but since the show technically takes place in the fictitious "mainland" rather than real-world China, I'd let this one slide
I know I've seen this happen elsewhere; I'll update this list if I remember where I saw it happen.
Why would a subtitler or other localizer choose to render Chinese names into English using the Japanese pronunciations? This approach seems wrong on its face to me, so I'm hoping to hear from some involved party why this decision might be made.