Man Sues NHK For Use Of Foreign Words, Netizens Supportive

71 year old man will sue NHK for using too many foreign words on TV

The revelation that a 71 year old Japanese man will sue the national public broadcaster, NHK, for overuse of foreign words made global news today, but how did netizens react to the story?

When the article was reposted on Yahoo! Japan, it quickly became on of the most read and most commented on story of the day, with many commenters sympathising with the overuse of foreign words in Japanese in general, and agreeing that the problem does not end with NHK, but is actually endemic in Japanese society.

Interestingly, none of the top comments point out that foreign loanwords have been used in Japanese throughout history, from the strong influence of Chinese on the language to Portuguese words like “tempura”, which few would question have now become Japanese.

What do you think? Should languages be preserved? Or should we embrace their natural evolution in a globalized society?

From Yahoo! Japan:

NHK Uses Too Many Foreign Words! 71 Year Old Man Sues Them, Saying “I Can’t Understand The Content Of The Programs”

On June 26, manager of the “Association For Treasuring The Japanese Language” Takahashi Houji (71), from Kani, Gifu, brought a case against NHK to the Nagoya District Court requiring 1,410,000 yen [approx. $14,000] in compensation for psychological damage caused by heavy use of foreign words in NHK programming and being unable to understand the content of the shows.

According to the court claim, foreign words such as “risuku [risk]”, “shistemu [system]”, “toraburu [trouble]” and “kea [care]” are being used frequently without regard to whether a program is for news of for entertainment, and indicates that these workds are also being used in the titles of television programs, such as “BS Concierge”, “Hello from Studio Park”, “Glad It’s Evening”, “Sports Plus” and “Shibuya Deep A”. It stated that they are being used even when they could easily be expressed using a Japanese word, and that there are strong doubts about NHK holding the Japanese language in disdain.

Takahashi, who founded the “Association For Treasuring The Japanese Language” and runs it alone, said in an interview “Although I submitted queries to NHK, I received no response, so I embarked upon a court case. This is not only an issue with NHK; however, public broadcasters are particularly influential. I want them to have broadcasts that older members of society can understand”. Takahashi’s representative, Miyada Michinokuo explained that “The basis of his case is a concern for this disdain for Japanese culture and the rapid Westernization of Japan. This case is not about winning or losing at trial, but there is rather a strong sense of raising the issue in society”. He further stated that “I wonder about the heavy use of these words even in the news and in commentaries. We are well aware that there are criticisms of the case”.

The total sum being requested was decided based on the fact that for a case to be dealt with in a district court, the sum must exceed 1.4 million yen, as set out in the Civil Procedural Code. NHK said “We have yet to confirm the details of the case, so we will refrain from commenting at this time”.

Comments from Yahoo! Japan:


NHK is that way too, but idiotic politicians tend to use foreign words.
“Ajenda [agenda]” and stuff w
Or “Manifesto” w.


Plus, I want them to return the portion of my licence fee that they spend on those lying anti-Japan programs like useless Korean dramas and documentaries.


It’s not that they’re using too many foreign words, but rather I’d like them to use Japanese correctly.


So he’s 71?
I guess that in society there are words we need to actually get more accustomed to,
and words written in katakana [the characters used for foreign loanwords] make the original meaning of the words ambiguous too…
Plus the katakana meaning of words is so far removed from the original English meaning…
I mean, I guess that’s why Japanese is so difficult, there’s always more to learn!
Still, more than that, I feel uncomfortable with this trend of writing words that should be written in kanji, like “Fukushima” and “Okinawa” being written so simplistically in katakana.
People should realise immediately that this is causing discrimination!


I think he can’t possibly not understand anything, but I do feel that they use too many foreign words for things that can be said in Japanese.


Far from just having disdain for the Japanese language, NHK has too much contempt for Japan.
Honestly, it’s so bad that I just want them to return my licence fee.


It’s weird that we call Korean ‘hangeul’ too, right? w [NB ‘Hangeul’ does not mean ‘Korean’ in the same way that ‘katakana’ does not mean ‘Japanese’. The netizen has misunderstood the meaning].


It’s not that everywhere isn’t the same,
but it’s because NHK is a public broadcaster.
It shouldn’t be like commercial stations.
Because it’s run using our tax money.


And it’s so important to use words people can understand and to speak in a way that is clear for them, too.
I think that Ishiba [LDP Secretary General] is pretty good at this stuff.
At the end of the day, the fact this isn’t followed up by NHK or Civil Law, means that it’s all just masturbation.
They’ve forgotten that the most important thing is that the news conveys facts to people correctly, without the view of the person reading the new coming into it.


This is so interesting!!
I want to follow him!!


This morning Ozura [a Japanese TV announcer and celebrity] was criticising the hell out of NHK like a fool over this incident, but when Kikukawa Rei added that Fuji TV also use English, he was defiant, saying “We’re a commercial station so it’s irrelevant.”


Don’t need those Korean dramas, either.


The moment I read the article I thought, “This guy should do some studying” but then I felt that actually English vocabulary is used for words that could reasonably be expressed using Japanese.


I agree with the old man. The overuse of erroneous Japanese, discriminatory remarks, and phrases that are offensive to people are too much to tolerate on the wavelengths of a public broadcaster.
It’s not only NHK; commerical TV stations do this too.
I think that the country should consider measures like suspending some broadcasts.


Seriously, I don’t even watch NHK for one second.
I just don’t get why we have to pay the licence fee.
I’m against this pressure to pay for their airwaves.

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