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Sharp to make English its official language in a year: CEO

31 Comments

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31 Comments
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Sharp is a Taiwanese company now, so they aren't geriatric and arrogant like their Japanese counterparts.

3 ( +27 / -24 )

I think Rakuten were supposed to have done that years ago,but it’s website is only in Japanese,lol.

14 ( +31 / -17 )

Sharp employees should be grateful that their CEO didn’t make mandarin the company’s official language.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

I have heard there is no change in Uniqlo after they made English their official language, nobody uses it on e-mail or even on official meetings, much less in informal conversation.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

If only my employers would do the same... I would be overjoyed!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The point is the employees.

They should be trained to speak english.

Just a few days ago, I went to the Sony Store in Ginza and even I speak japanese, the staff, he was a young guy in his 20s, spoke fluent english with me.

And I told him that I am very impressed by his english, and he said he was just hired a few months ago by Sony, and one of the criteria was english language skills.

Sony is sending now all his employees to english classes, but

he basically learned it by himself via self study and online classes.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Well the Japanese Economy is sinking and the education system sucks here! You need English! So good on them!

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

This is Japan! No just kidding. Rakuten said the same thing but insiders told me that they almost never speak English at all.

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

I never would have guessed the English skills in Japan were so behind compared to China, Taiwan, and Korea until moving here. It really is a major factor that limits their successful interactions with other countries. Hopefully, this becomes the norm for non-foreign owned companies soon (Panasonic, NTT Dacomo, Softbank, etc...)

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Sharp employees should be grateful that their CEO didn’t make mandarin the company’s official language.

A smart compromise from both sides.

Just a few days ago, I went to the Sony Store in Ginza and even I speak japanese, the staff, he was a young guy in his 20s, spoke fluent english with me.

I personally feel that their writing proficiency for professional life is urgently upgraded while I have come across more Japanese speaking English quite fluently.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He has also said that English inadequacy among Japanese is one obstacle to attracting human resources from overseas.

Most Japanese study English from junior high to the end of university or college. This amounts to ten years of intensive study for 4-5 hours a week. However, only 5% of Japanese have an English communication skill of intermediate or above. Being able to pass a test does not give one the ability to communicate in a foreign language.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Why buy a Japanese company then? Reeks of arrogance and self defeating goals.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

He has also said that English inadequacy among Japanese is one obstacle to attracting human resources from overseas.

Yes, but I think the unpaid overtime, ridiculously long hours, endless pointless meetings, stifling work culture, lack of holidays, lack of maternity/paternity leave, the endless stupid rules concerning appearance and behaviour, and just plain workplace discrimination, might also have something to do with it!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I'm just waiting for a high court judge to rule that Japanese must remain the official language of Sharp!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

I think Rakuten were supposed to have done that years ago,but it’s website is only in Japanese,lol.

Yes, Rakuten is a dumpster fire. Its not only in Japanese, but its search engine is terrible. I find ebay, amazon, and even Yahoo Auctions far more user friendly.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sharp is a Taiwanese company now, so they aren't geriatric and arrogant like their Japanese counterparts.

Taiwanese CEOs can be almost as geriatric and arrogant as Japanese ones, but not quite as much.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The experience of other companies that have done this has been a total failure.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Why buy a Japanese company then? 

Because they make good products. But the market in the future will be outside Japan, as Japan's market is shrinking, dying off and becoming too poor to be attractive.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Monty, if you speak Japanese , why does he need to speak English ?

Just speak Japanese, I do.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Sharp like a butter knife.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Saying it and actually accomplishing it are 2 different things.

I am Japanese and American and amazed there are so many foreigners who speak native Japanese!!! better than some Japanese :)

Japanese who lived abroad or worked at multinational firms are bilingual and tend to work for international firms in Japan. Japanese companies need to attract talent from this pool and send employees abroad for a few years. All companies I have been working for we speak both English and Japanese at work depending on the situation and who we are communicating with so incorporate English into the work culture.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Here's what happens:

Meetings are held in English, and 90% of the Japanese have no idea what is being said.

Then, after the meeting, they have to have another meeting (in Japanese) to confirm what they think they heard in the previous English-only meeting.

Genius!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Monty, if you speak Japanese , why does he need to speak English ?

He decided to speak in English by himself.

I started to explain the reason for my visit at the store in Japanese, but he answered me directly in English.

Maybe he thought that I feel more comfortable with English. Or maybe he was just proud to talk in English.

But English is not my native language.

But in general there are many foreigners living in Japan, especially in Tokzo, who can not speak Japanese, and I guess that companies like Sharp, Sony...should increase their staff with English skills.

Tokyo is a big international City, with many foreigners come and go, foreign business travelers and maybe soon also tourists will come again.

So English skills will bring these companies a better business, and makes it easier for foreigners to communicate with the staff and to do business with them.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Monty , you spoke with him in Japanese and he answered you in English, pretty rude I think . Yes it is good that maybe they speak English for global business , but when out shopping I don't expect them to speak English . I wouldn't have allowed him to do so at all.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Monty , you spoke with him in Japanese and he answered you in English, pretty rude I think

Honestly speaking a few years ago, I would think the same.

I would think, "is my Japanese so bad that this Guy have to answer me in English"?

But now, after so many years here in Japan, I know that my Japanese Skills are really very good, and therefore it doesn't bother me at all and I didn’t see it as a rude behavior from the Guy.

And like I said, Japanese and also English are not my native languages, so it doesn’t make a big difference for me to speak in English or Japanese.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Great that he speaks English , and If I couldn't speak Japanese I would be relieved that he could.

But if I'd spoken to him in fluent Japanese and he answered me in English , I would've ask him to speak Japanese .. I just think that is pretty that's all.

Have a great day.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Monty , you spoke with him in Japanese and he answered you in English, pretty rude I think . 

I have this issue too. Speak Japanese and get the kind treatment of you poor gaijin who is trying so hard to speak Japanese. The staff answers in English and I in Japanese. It’s a standoff every time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

Uniqlo, Shiseido, Rakuten and now Sharp making a branding decision to improve their image because regardless of whether they say English is their official language, we all know it's not true. Japanese of course will still be their official operating language.

Why not just say the truth. In order to survive and be a global company in light of the falling Japanese population, we need more employees to speak English and will support their efforts to learn by subsidizing their expenses by creating an employee benefits and education program to ensure that (%) of our employees can achieve a TOEIC score of (?).

They may never be able to achieve their specific goal but it's more about helping as many employees to get as close as possible to that goal. Which is forward thinking and admirable. They don't need to say that English is their official language because it isn't and will never be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not good. This means whole brands will be in English and will hire Only speaking English people.

Any Western brands give special service to Japanese or Chinese speaking buyers/visitors? No. Then?

Even the European strictly wants English to speak their language. Not the other way as in Asian countries.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I thought Sharp had gone under, what consumer products do they make?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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