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Japanese English

Language and Culture Contact

James Stanlaw

Publication Year: 2004

This book gives an in-depth analysis of the use of the English language in modern Japan. It explores the many ramifications the Japanese-English language and culture contact situation has for not only Japanese themselves, but also others in the international community.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: Asian Englishes Today


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pp. v-vi

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Series editor's preface

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pp. vii-viii

The history of European contact with Japan starts in the mid-sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese explorers began to arrive in the Japanese islands. These were followed by the Dutch and English from around 1600. From the 1630s, the Dutch came to dominate European contact with Japan, and, over the following two centuries, Dutch was the only European language ...

Acknowledgements / Map of Japan

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pp. ix-xii

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1. Prologue

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pp. 1-10

Anyone who has ever even had an airport layover in Tokyo — or even a cursory exposure to Japanese people — will instantly realize that English in Japan is like air: it is everywhere. It is not clear if this English is a 'problem' (Ishino, 1977), a 'puzzle' (Yokoi, 1973), a 'barrier' to communication (Hirai, 1978), something 'fashionable' (Kawasaki , 1981), or some kind of'pollution' (Kirkup, ...

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2. The dynamics of English words in contemporary Japanese: Japanese

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pp. 11-44

His demeanour and his Sony company pin indicated that he was an executive who could make people sit up and listen when he spoke. I was listening to him, too, albeit sitting two seats away on the bullet train Green Coach heading for Kyoto. 'We import too many of them from the Americans,' he declared authoritatively, eliciting nods of agreement from his two travelling companions. ...

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3. The history of Japanese English language contact

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pp. 45-82

Although many believe that extensive contact with the English language in Japan first began with the American occupation after the Second World War, the history of Japanese English linguistic contact may be traced back to the early seventeenth century. In April 1600, the British sailor William Adams (1564—1620), later immortalized as the fictional John Blackthorne in James ...

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4. The Japanese writing system and English

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pp. 83-100

In this chapter1 I will discuss the Japanese writing system, and show how it has been influenced by English. I will discuss the structure of the special katakana syllabary used, among other things, as a way to write foreign words or names phonetically in Japanese. I will not give a complete account of its development at this point, however, as much of this story is connected to the ...

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5. The poetics of English in Japanese pop songs and contemporary verse

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pp. 101-126

In the fall of 1995, I was invited to a party held by the Japanese students at my university in the Midwest of the USA, and, as might be expected at any Japanese party, I was asked to sing a song.1 'Let's do Diamonds,' I said, naming a song which had been a big hit for the pop group Princess Princess. This song, like many other contemporary J-Pop songs, relies heavily on English words and ...

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6. A new voice: The use of English as a new rhetoric in modern Japanese women's language

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pp. 127-142

In this chapter1 I will extend the discussion that began in the last chapter. I will examine the innovative uses of English by Japanese women, especially in the creative arts. A millennium ago, Japanese women were deprived of the social and cultural advantages of using imported Chinese linguistic resources (such as writing, or the political or economic vocabulary). Ironically today, ...

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7. Using the graphic and pictorial image to explore Japan's 'Empire of Signs'

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pp. 143-188

On the back cover of the June 2001 issue of Gengo ('Language') was the following fascinating advertisement for a website for books: [INSERT CHARACTERS] (kore wa ' [INSERT CHARACTERS] desu, 'This is a " [INSERT CHARACTERS] ".', and I will explain this character in a moment). At the end of this sentence was the drawing of a foreboding-looking person with a suspicious glass in his hand. The reason why this advertisement was so ...

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8. Is it naisu rice or good gohan?; In Japan, it's not what you eat, but how you say it

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pp. 189-210

It was strange to see, but there it was, clearly outlined in red on the plastic dish on my friend's breakfast table.1 In the letters of the katakana syllabary — the writing system that the Japanese use to write foreign words — was the appetizing name Fatto Supureddo, 'Fat Spread'.2 This butter substitute was ironically named, as it was actually a very healthy, low calorie, margarine made ...

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9. Language and culture contact in the Japanese colour nomenclature system:

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pp. 211-236

Colour nomenclature has been an ongoing concern in anthropology for well over a hundred years, ever since ethnographers discovered that exotic peoples all over the world have differing colour systems; that is, ways of naming and labelling colours of the world.1 It was odd for these early anthropologists and linguists to find a supposedly natural stimulus as the colour spectrum could ...

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10. Sense, sensation, and symbols: English in the realm of the senses

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pp. 237-264

In this chapter I will first discuss some relationships between perception, culture, and language in Japan. This in itself is hardly original. Semioticians, whether Asian specialists or not, have long been interested in this country. As we have seen in Chapter 7, this so-called 'empire of signs', as one of the most famous French scholars (Barthes, 1982) called the islands, is supposedly ...

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11. Images of race and identity in Japanese and American language and culture contact

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pp. 265-278

The founding totemic figure in American anthropology, Franz Boas (1858 -1942), taught us about the dangers of conflating notions of race, language, and culture.1 Being a wise if cantankerous old sage, he instilled in most linguists and anthropologists a healthy respect for this problem and gave many reasons to keep race, language, and culture separated, both in theory and in practice ...

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12. Japan, English, and World Englishes

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pp. 279-300

We have seen in Chapter 11 that the Japanese are very cognizant of their position in the world, and the part that language plays in it. In this concluding chapter, I will connect the use of English in Japan to the wider scope of international 'Englishes'. I will argue, as others have done (see Kachru, 1992; Smith and Forman, 1997; Tickoo, 1991; 1995; Bautista, 1997, for example), ...

Appendix:The Japanese syllabary writing system

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pp. 301-308


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pp. 309-322


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pp. 323-356


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pp. 357-376

E-ISBN-13: 9789882201897
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622095717

Page Count: 388
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Asian Englishes Today