Viewer Sued Japan’s NHK for Using Loanwords

August 23, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. disgruntled [dis-GRUHN-tld] (adj.) – angry or displeased
Example: The disgruntled viewers walked out of the show.

2. loanword [LOHN-wurd] (n.) – a word adopted from a foreign language with little or no modification
Example: Terebi is a Japanese loanword derived from the English word ‘television.’

3. derive [dih-RAHYV] (v.) – to obtain or come from something else (a specified source like word, concept, etc.)
Example:  Most of the Filipino words are derived from the Spanish language.

4. lexicon [LEK-si-kon, -kuh n] (n.) – a dictionary, wordbook, or language used by a person
Example: The English lexicon contains all commonly used words.

5. considerable [kuh n-SID-er-uh-buh l] (adj.) – notably large in size, amount, or extent
Example: American pop culture has a considerable influence among the Japanese youths.


Read the text below.
A disgruntled Japanese viewer filed a lawsuit against a national broadcasting company called NHK for using loanwords excessively.

Hoji Takahashi, a member of a group supporting the Japanese language, reported a mental distress due to NHK’s excessive use of words derived from the English language. 

Takahashi accused NHK of ignoring its responsibility to use the Japanese native language in its news and entertainment programs. Mutsuo Miyata, Takahashi’s lawyer, told the news agency AFP that Takahashi is concerned on how Japan is being too Americanized. The 71-year-old complainant seeks $14,100 (1.41 million yen) in damages from NHK.

On the other hand, NHK said that it would not release any statement regarding the complaint filed last June until the content is verified.

The modern Japanese lexicon is filled with borrowed English words. Most of which have been used for decades and are immediately understood by people of all ages. Examples are terebi (television), rajio (radio), konpuraiansu (compliance), koraboreeshon (collaboration), dejitaru (digital), and taoru (towel).

Some Japanese words are also derived from the Portuguese, French, and German words. However, NHK used words that came mostly from America. Takahashi cited some particularly troublesome words, such as toraburu (trouble), risuku (risk) and shisutemu (system).

The American language has provided a lot of loanwords when Americans occupied Japan during the World War II. Takahashi said that given its considerable reach and influence, the company is responsible to remain neutral to appeal to as many viewers as possible.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree on Mr. Takahashi's opinion that Japan being too Americanized? Please explain your answer.
·         Why do you think Mr. Takahashi firmly wants to preserve the native Japanese language?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how else can foreign influences affect a country’s culture?
·         How do you think a country can preserve its culture despite foreign influences?


August 23, 2013