[lg policy] Japan: Policy at odds with its purpose

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 12 00:34:46 UTC 2013

Policy at odds with its purpose


 Chris Clancy’s Aug. 1 letter, “Language policy hurts
makes for an interesting debate as a followup to the July 14 editorial
“More people studying Japanese.” I can understand that children must be the
ones who are affected the most.

When you think of the sheer numbers of people studying Japanese, it seems
like a big increase. But is not a lot of the interest in manga, animation
and the like?

That is what’s being promoted overseas by several education agencies as
well. That’s a good thing, but I wonder how many Japanese companies would
be interested in hiring people who are largely influenced by anime culture
and that kind of Japanese.

There seems to be a dissonance between purpose and policy. Many foreigners
have to be taught Japanese manners, a polite way of speaking and so forth
once they join a company — even after they’ve studied at Japanese
universities. They should be taught these things at university rather than
in the workplace.

Also, one must note that most Japanese learners tend to be from particular
countries. More could be done to increase the number of students from other

As I was reading this news, I found out that my Japanese friend, who works
as a Japanese-language teacher, is being moved within the company from
teaching Japanese to working as a tourist adviser from next year — this
after having left a job and studying for years to become a teacher. How


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