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Japanese cram school under fire over 'sexist' kanji text

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Seems more 'sexual' than 'sexist' to me, but I guess one way to get high school boys to remember Chinese? Kanji? lol

22 ( +26 / -4 )

The title seems misleading.

Isn't it just a book to learn and memorize kanji?

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Agree the headline is misleading.

But the content is hilarious.

The textbook writer obviously gets his (I doubt it's a her) jollies from this kind of thing.

Perhaps he's been writing textbooks for so long he's gotten bored.

Textbook editors should have caught it though, unless they were all high five-ing and laughing the staff room.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

“We thought of sentences in a way that students can memorise and practise easily,” said the spokesman.

Ah yes. Of course.

Problematic entries included, “I was puzzled by the size of her breasts” and “She squeezed me in a rhythmic way.” Among other examples were, “Please slowly insert all the way” and “Don’t stimulate the sensitive spot too hard.”

On second thought, this might actually work for the male students. /jk

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Haha...........I can see suggesting this kind of a joke that never gets very far!

But getting to the point of printing.........wth! My guess is its the usual sempai/kohai crap, ie the underling didn't dare question the old fart!!

I remember a similar thing with foreign movie subtitles where some old woman had been doing it for so long the kohai's didn't question her poor translations & movies suffered & it went on for years & years before someone kind of pointed it out LOL!!!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The book, designed to help students prepare for a national standardised exam for university admission, contains 710 “usable” sentences that include key Chinese characters—known in Japan as kanji—that students must know.

So which is it Chinese or Kanji? Get it right.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Two birds one stone. This book helps students learn kanji, plus it gets them thinking about how to boost Japan's low birthrate.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Let's be fair, these phrases were taken out of context.

I was puzzled by the size of her breasts...because a moment earlier they were much larger.

As my physical therapist treated my back...she squeezed me in a rhythmic way.

When you assemble these components...please slowly insert all the way.

Don’t stimulate the sensitive spot too hard...or the game controller will shut down.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

If it were "Chinese text", 手紙 would mean "toilet paper." I can accept "Chinese characters," but even that is incorrect. Please just use "kanji."

Sensato, 一石二鳥刺激する。

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Not sexist at all. That is the wrong word. I would call it titillating instead. Yes, the pun was intended also, and that is what the author did. Sure makes things easier to remember that way.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Some commentators here don't seem understand the concept of sexism. This was a textbook purportedly for female and male students alike. The fact that the examples given make women out to be willing sexual partners (But they all want it, don't they? Nudge nudge...), and at worst, objects of sexual ridicule, makes the publishers and their supporters (e.g. Some posters here) worthy of public ridicule themselves.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Let's be fair, these phrases were taken out of context.

If it were one or two, maybe. But taken together, it's pretty clear that it was intentional. Besides, unless they have invented sentient game consoles it is impossible to "stimulate the sensitive spot" on a game controller.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Semantics, the the buttons/joysticks can be sensitive without being "sentient" or aware of their own existence.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It's funny because it's about sex. Such genius. That part where they talked about breasts? I thought I'd die. And all of those students whose parents paid huge amounts of money to try and help them get a meaningful education, only to have their time and money wasted by a veteran language instructor who apparently doesn't understand that his personal sexual predilections might not be interesting to everyone else, and how there was so little quality control in the company that no one noticed this might be a problem until 7000 copies were sold and students started complaining, wait, I'm not laughing anymore. I'm starting to think about stuff and it's making me uncomfortable. Quick, someone say "boobies"!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“We thought of sentences in a way that students can memorize and PRACTICE easily”

Nothing further to add!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Instead of wasting money on such a textbook, all the students need to do is visit a convenience store.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

"all the students need to do is visit a convenience store"

Exactly. It's more like manga-ese than any meaningful language. But wait...

This is a cram school. Where the CHILDREN are in class after school. Leaving at 21:00 to walk home alone in the dark. The purpose of the text book was to SEXUALIZE the children. They then pass the KOMBINI and now they are thinking... I will buy one of those SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CHILD-PORN MANGA comics...

And do some more studying!!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Obviously a few 'editorial dinners' short of a textbook, if you know what I mean.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

**** As a retired University instructor, I am surprised to read about this scandal. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a business and the publication company's pay international teachers to screen and edit many teaching text books. However, someone must have played a joke on the Conservative Bombusho, with the above mentioned phrases! Unbelievable Rubbish my dear friends. Sensei Valdez.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Do.Act.Check.Plan publishing

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The title seems misleading. Isn't it just a book to learn and memorize kanji?

AFP often does this. Japan's Kanji words are not Chinese at all. Many Kanji LETTERS came from China more than one thousand years ago but Kanji WORDS are made in Japan. In fact it is China that imported many Kanji words of modern science from Japan.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

LOL This article has made my morning

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The cram school business is a scam school business. People making money so the schools are very crummy. A business that survives when the poor don't thrive. The worse the real schools get, the more cram schools collect. Peace out.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sensei258: Let's be fair, these phrases were taken out of context.

Commanteer: If it were one or two, maybe. But taken together, it's pretty clear that it was intentional.

@Commanteer.

Sensei258 was being facetious.

Anyway, for those curious about the format of these multiple choice kanji problems, here is another gem from the book (link to image below).

Q: きみのエキスをちゅうしゅつして飲み干したい。 ("I want to drink all the juices ('extract') that you secrete.") The student must then determine the correct kanji character 'chu' in 'chushutsu' (ちゅうしゅつ > 抽出 > extract/secrete/discharge), from among a list of other phrases with 'chu' characters that each have different readings.

The five choices are: 伯 hakuchu (evenly matched); 断 chudan (discontinued/suspended); 象 chusho (abstract); 義 chugi (devoted); 折 sechu (blended).

So, the 'chu' in 出 matches the 'chu' in number three, 象.

Link to the above question: http://goo.gl/6TS1RH

2 ( +4 / -2 )

きみのエキスをちゅうしゅつして飲み干したい。 ("I want to drink all the juices ('extract') that you secrete.") The student must then determine the correct kanji character 'chu' in 'chushutsu' (ちゅうしゅつ 抽出 extract/secrete/discharge)

A more accurate translation would be I want to extract your essence and drink it down , (meaning, I want to imbibe your good qualities, I want to be like you) which is nowhere near as suggestive - though still not what I would want an impressionable high-school student to be poring over given that it's out of context.

From what we are given here, the book is not so much sexist as needlessly suggestive. These appear to be sentences provided with no context, so it's easy to imagine that hormone-driven young lads and their Dads would read into them what they read into them. (Now there's a proper sexist statement for you). Each one of these sentences given, in a proper context, could be perfectly innocent.

Japanese education often seems to take place bereft of context. I regularly get sent sentences out of context, or even partial sentences, with the question, 'can we say this?: To which the answer is always, It depends on what you mean. Out of context, smutty minds are gonna read things the way they're gonna read 'em.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@cleo

You made some great points. Spot on.

Also, I concede. Your translation reflects the exact wording of the Japanese sentence MUCH more accurately than how I rendered it. My translation, on the other hand, reflects how adolescents and others with their mind in the gutter (like me obviously) are likely to interpret the meaning.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

“We thought of sentences in a way that students can memorise and practise easily,” said the spokesman.

Well, I guess they are right! If you mention anything to do with sex to a Japanese teenager they will remember it forever.

By the way, a note to the editor of this article. These statements are not sexist. They are sexy or raunchy, if you like. Or, you could even say they have sexual connotations. A sexist statement is a gender specific derogatory statement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, thank you, Cleo - I'm getting a rise out of your comments. Didn't expect that on a Sunday morning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Were the textbooks effective? Will the students' scores worsen or improve after switching to new PC books? I hope someone at the cram school keeps an eye on this.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

“We thought of sentences in a way that students can memorise and practise easily,” said the spokesman.

Oh, they'll practice and make use of it alright! lol

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kanji WORDS are made in Japan

If you mean words like 馬鹿, sure.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A sexually suggestive text would actually probably sell well and be effective - if it were sold privately, and not used in any school setting.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When is the department of education going to wake up and accept a revision of the curriculum and cut off the Japanese publishers? Today's schools are not grandfather's schools. The department needs to send classroom teachers and textbook approval committee members to the USA or any European textbook publishers convention just to see alternatives to the boring texts that Japan uses. Also, why do cramming schools exits? Is it because grandfather went to them? The Japanese taxpayers should be outraged that they have to pay a cramming school to teach the same lessons from the same texts again to the students. Some cramming schools do not do that, and if they don't, then their students should be outstanding in the daily classroom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AFP often does this. Japan's Kanji words are not Chinese at all. Many Kanji LETTERS came from China more than one thousand years ago but Kanji WORDS are made in Japan. In fact it is China that imported many Kanji words of modern science from Japan.

So you're saying without the Chinese, the Japanese would have no way to write those words? Interesting........

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Does anybody know where I can buy this masterp- I mean highly questionable and offensive book? I need to confirm its contents for my... studies. I need to brush up on my Kanji.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does anybody know where I can buy this masterp- I mean highly questionable and offensive book? I need to confirm its contents for my... studies. I need to brush up on my Kanji.

...in the pixelated section of a local book store.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Not 'sexist'. 'Sexual'.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Evidently some people need to learn what the word "sexist" means, because I see nothing sexist in the examples at all -- just sexually suggestive. If the sentences were as suggestive but also had women in subservient examples in all the cases, then yes, they might have an argument.

I still think some of the examples are pretty ridiculous -- I have absolutely no doubt that a sentence like, "I was puzzled by the size of her breasts", or, "Don't stimulate the sensitive spot too hard" would be VERY easy to remember (I don't need to double check the article, I know I am quoting them correctly, just as an example), but they are entirely inappropriate for such a text. If they want to make a naughty book of phrases to easily remember Kanji, then fine.

tinawatanabe: " Many Kanji LETTERS came from China more than one thousand years ago but Kanji WORDS are made in Japan."

Wrong. A few modern words in Japanese use Chinese characters for completely new words, yes, but the majority of Japanese words are taken from other languages, as is the case for many other languages. Hence, many "Japanese" words are the same or VERY similar in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese; because they originated from Chinese (and hence the on-yomi). Japanese words with Kun-yomi and okurigana use the Chinese character for meaning. It's just a fact you will have to deal with.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The real scandal should be that those cram schools exist in the first place. They cost a fortune and prevent children from doing what children should do: enjoy life, be happy, wish to explore and achieve as high as it gets. All that just to pass some useless exams and to make everybody the same underachievers that will never speak his / her mind clearly, and stand up for what is right because they fear the person above them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The department needs to send classroom teachers and textbook approval committee members to the USA or any European textbook publishers convention just to see alternatives to the boring texts that Japan uses.

Oh, I'm not so sure the US system is something to follow. I've heard so much about their "common core", mainly negative, very negative.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

What's the problem? This is Japan, no?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@ Wakayama Mama

Oh, I'm not so sure the US system is something to follow. I've heard so much about their "common core", mainly negative, very negative.

Let's be fair, now. Common Core isn't so much about improving education across the board as it is about eliminating critical thinking, dumbing down and indoctrinating children and turning public schools into little factories that pump out liberal drones that follow orders without question.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"parents of students using the book complained"

All joking aside, the problem here is that this is a SCHOOL BOOK. For use in a SCHOOL. By the TEACHERS, to teach our CHILDREN...

This text book is FORCING the CHILDREN to engage in SEXUALLY EXPLICIT conversation with their TEACHERS!!

What part of INSTITUTIONALIZED CHILD ABUSE don't you understand??...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think "teachers" meant it as a joke. But contents of the question is "gross". The test is very important for students. So I want they make a test seriously.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The incredible thing that I have noticed having had to deal with skewed out of context (and occasionally in-context) items like the ones in the article is that many students 'studying' do not notice the irony or even process the meanings cognitively.

I wish the contexts for the 'breast', 'sensitive spot' and 'slowly insert' items had been given in the aticle, so we cold make up our minds more reliably.

Rather it is the ones who pay just selective attention, including parents, teachers and commentators who pick up questionable nuances (once again in or out of context, freak out, and deny a few people a bit of curious fun.

For instance should we change standard Japanese items like 手紙, because someone draws an anal correlation with it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, hopefully it's not an outline some kind of role-play.

Japan never ceases to amaze and amuse! (This one is slightly more amazing than amusing.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The design of an American or European textbook may not be the perfect answer, but at least it is an option. Start with the design of foreign language textbooks in the USA. Any French, Spanish, German, Japanese or Chinese language text is 1000% better than a Japanese published text to teach English. What is the problem here, saving face? Most American students in any foreign language classroom can give 5-10 answers to the simple question, "How are you today." What is the ONLY answer in Japan, "I am fine, and you?" Maybe the answer is, "You are fine, and don't ask again."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do the general public and media just make up new terms for words like racist and sexist now days?!?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What is the problem here ?

We do not know, i do not think ti is connected to (un)related news we read recently...50,000 yen paid to each attendee (only if you can vote@ your local approval school book board) packed in a nice hotel tour offered by generous schoolbook publisher.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

this fuss over something so silly and trivial is beyond belief and shows how widespread the liberal elite effort to destroy normal acceptance and relaxed relation to sexuality in favor of their permissive and totally biases view of these things. Because some media writer wanted to push this program in an article and make it seem like of all things a "tweet" on some social media junk channel is a worthy and authoritative indication of widespread acceptance that this is a valid issue of concern is beyond belief. Stop trying to bully us into supporting a twisted liberal permeissive agenda. How sad.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It all seems like pretty sound advice to me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Great for shikan on the trains, "But i am just studying!" :P

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Textbook editors should have caught it though, unless they were all high five-ing and laughing the staff room.

I'll wager the writers wrote those phrases for a laugh in the office, but somehow they ended up in the official draft!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@The Godfather: "practise" is the verb-form spelling of "practice" in all non-US varieties of English.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I guess you must be a teacher... ;-)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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