Society

Elderly Japanese Man Sues National Public TV for Using Too Much English

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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A 71-year-old man is suing Japan’s national public broadcaster NHK for using too many American words. Hoji Takahashi is seeking 1.41 million yen, or $14,000, for “emotional distress” because he claims he does not know what broadcasters are saying.

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation has always identified itself by the English pronunciation of the initials NHK. The NHK is allegedly converting many Japanese words to suit English norms.

“Risuku (risk), kea (care), toraburu (trouble), asuri-to (athlete); I can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about!” Takahashi said, according to RocketNews24.

Takahashi, a resident of Gifu Prefecture, is a former public servant and sponsor of the Cherish the Japanese Language Group. He claims the NHK is violating Article 709 of the civil code by “causing mental anguish to people who feel uncomfortable with the excessive use of foreign languages.”

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He says he hears words like konshieruju (concierge) and konpuriansu (compliance) on NHK, although there are suitable Japanese words that mean the same thing. He said these English “loan words” are also in program titles like Sutajia Paaku Kara Konnichiwa (Hello From Studio Park).

“Young people can probably understand a lot of this stuff, but for older people like myself, when I hear asuri-to (athlete) and konpriansu (compliance), I don’t know what it means," Takahashi told the Chuunichi Shimbun newspaper. "I wrote and asked NHK about this issue, but they failed to respond so I am suing them.”

"The basis of his concern is that Japan is being too Americanized,” said Takahashi’s attorney. “There is a sense of crisis that this country is becoming just a province of America."

The NHK did not comment on the suit.

Sources: RocketNews24, Global Post