Skip to main content

Language of Japan

The Japanese language was once a beautiful collage of rhyme and meter, and it still is, but a lot of the language itself has been lost in a sea of broken English words that have not only polluted the Japanese language, but has handicapped the learning processes for millions of Japanese who are struggling to learn to use and say English words properly.

The Japanese have grown too comfortable with misspellings and mispronunciations of literally thousands of English words.    The use of Katakana - a Japanese syllabic writing used for foreign languages - and downright laziness by not trying to figure out the correct way to “say” or “spell” a word. Just because it’s a foreign word and you have a separate writing system for foreign words doesn’t make it okay to misspell or mispronounce a word just because it’s easier to utter.

Words like [gas-o-rin] or [empitsu] just don’t cut it. Personally I think Katakana should be abolished, and in its place should be a rigorous set of guidelines to force the language learner to acquire the correct spelling and pronunciation.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that the level of kanji has gone down in recent years, and although I have no data to support this claim, it’s easy to see that more and more English words are being incorporated in day-to-day Japanese conversation which has a subtle affect on peoples writing, like 「キャンセル、取り消し{とりけし}. If you try to pronounce the word cancel it comes out like “Cyan-sell-ru.” And even the kanji for cancel is almost never used anymore in business Japanese. Just because Japan is becoming more and more internationalized doesn’t mean that the language should, too.

This isn't Los Angeles where there's no official language.   This isn't just any country.   The language must be preserved.  Dumbing down the language is not cool, and should never be accepted.


  1. The English language was once a beautiful collage of rhyme and meter, and it still is, but a lot of the language itself has been lost in a sea of broken French words that have not only polluted the English Language, but has handicapped the learning processes for millions of English people who are trying to learn to use and say French words properly.

    But seriously, languages evolve or die. And Japanese certainly isn't dead. It's not that the Japanese have grown comfortable with misspellings, it's that the original spelling and pronounciations of English does not work in the Japanese sound system. It's just how English people can't pronounce sushi, the sounds to not carry over. And "sushi" is certainly a misspelling of the word since Japanese is not written using Roman letters.

    Also, you can not use rigorous guidelines to force people to use a language in a certain way. A language is a living thing and people will bend it fit their needs.

    It's also good to keep in mind that a lot of Japanese today consists of Chinese words that certainly aren't pronounced like they were in Chinese when they were imported. So empitsu (which as far as I know doesn't come from English) is a butchering of Chinese sounds, so by your logic all Chinese words and sounds should be reverted back to the state they were in in Chinese when they were imported. So you'd be left with some supposedly Japanese words. But they, if you want to take it into the extreme, in turn had to come from somwhere so could be argued that they also aren't part of the Japanese language. Actually, how do you define when Japanese was "good"?

    Also keep in mind when you talk about the dwindling use of kanji (which is debatable) that kanji isn't a Japanese invention, so by your logic it shouldn't have been used to write Japanese at all. Actually, come to think of it, by extension English shouldn't use roman letters.

    Lastly, on the rhyming of Japanese. Read this post on No-sword about rhyming in Japanese hip-hop.

    Certainly proof that modern Japanese rhyming is alive and well, taking good care of the English imports.

  2. The English language has always been a hodgepodge of words mixed-in with French and many other Indo-European languages. Even the English themselves thought of English as a substandard language until Shakespeare came along. The English never even spoke English in their own country, unless of course you were uneducated and lacked social statues.

    For centuries French and Latin were regarded as the language of ‘ Business & Commerce.’ Latin was highly regarded as the language of history, science, and philosophy. Even according to today’s standards English is still proving to be an inadequate language for learning mainly because of all the idioms and phrasal verbs that go into acquiring the language.

    The Japanese language is under attack by Indo-European languages. Standard Japanese has declined thanks in part to ‘Japlish’ and the excessive use of Romaji and Katakana brought on by foreigners. It is simply unacceptable and arrogant to say that “ English does not work in the Japanese sound system.” Of course, it’s not supposed to work. There’re rules that govern each languages use of pronunciation. If an Englishman cannot pronounce sushi, it’s because he’s thinking in English and not in Japanese and he’s probably untutored in proper pronunciation skills.

    The Japanese language is pure in many respects. Yes, Japan has borrowed their writing system from China, but there should be know doubt that the Japanese language is Japanese. The Japanese language was good when the country was isolated and closed to the outside.

    {{{Also keep in mind when you talk about the dwindling use of kanji (which is debatable) that kanji isn't a Japanese invention, so by your logic it shouldn't have been used to write Japanese at all. Actually, come to think of it, by extension English shouldn't use roman letters.}}}

    It’s merely a matter of Kanji and Hanzi that differentiate in the evolution of the Japanese language. The Japanese language was a spoken language long before Kanji came here, and even after it was adopted into the writing system is too was modified in order to make the Japanese language more refined for the Japanese.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…