Script and orthography problems

Authored by: Hidenori Masiko

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Sociolinguistics

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415790277
eBook ISBN: 9781315213378
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Contemporary Japan forms in many ways a particular cultural space like the “Galapagos Islands”. One of the fields where Japan is very particular is arguably its writing system. The existing writing conventions are among the most complicated in the world, and it is therefore rather unsurprising to find that script and orthography are causing a number of problems to diverse groups in Japan. The existing writing system constitutes a barrier to foreigners, in particular those from non-kanji countries, such as the nikkeijin. It is also a problem for visually impaired people, a challenge for IT developments and adaptations, but also mainstream and healthy people having grown up in Japan are prone to experience difficulties in daily life. Learning how to read and write takes long hours of ardent and intensive study. This experience, too, is a mechanism that sets “Japanese” apart from “foreigners”, rendering the latter “cultural outsiders” in Japan.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.