Japanese dictionary’s definition of 'LGBT' draws criticism for inaccuracy on the 'T' part

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Following the release of its first edition in 1955, publisher Iwanami Shoten’s Kojien has become one of the most respected and widely used dictionaries in Japan. Since 1998, the tome has been on a 10-year update cycle, and so last week’s release of Kojien’s seventh edition was a big deal not just for linguists, but for Japanese society in general.

However, not more than a few days after it went on sale on Jan 12, criticisms have arisen regarding one of the new book’s definitions. Among the terms added to the seventh edition is “LGBT,” and not an equivalent using indigenous Japanese linguistic components. The four-letter acronym appears in the book as “LGBT,” just like it would in an English dictionary.

The inclusion of the term hasn’t caused any controversy, but what has is the way Kojien defines the term, which is: “People with a different sexual orientation from the majority.”

Critics say that this definition improperly limits the scope of what the term stands for. Breaking the acronym into its components, “lesbian,” “gay,” and “bisexual” indicate sexual orientation, but “transgender,” represented by the last letter of the acronym, does not, instead referring to an individual’s gender identity.

Given the exalted position that Kojien occupies in academic and professional circles, the dictionary’s definitions have the potential to affect how educators, students, and businesspeople use and interpret words. Kanazawa University associate humanities professor Takeyoshi Iwamoto expressed his concerns about the book’s incomplete definition for LGBT, saying that he hopes the publisher will craft a more suitable entry for the term after consultation with experts and specialists. LGBT activist Mameta Endo had similar sentiments, saying that he would be alarmed if the limited definition in the new Kojien were to gain traction. “I want the publishers to revise the definition at the first opportunity,” he has said.

Iwanami Shoten, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying that it is aware of the concerns about the present definition, and is currently in internal discussions about whether to revise the definition, and if so, how to implement the change.

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko

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© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Shouldn't be whether but when!

is currently in internal discussions about whether to revise the definition,

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Less than .01% of anybody cares!

3 ( +22 / -19 )

Which is STILL over 100,000 people!

Less than .01% of anybody cares!

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Yeah, takes all sorts of huge board meetings and such to simply change the wording. pe-shaw; it's a term they simply don't agree with, and "We'll think about it" means they won't change a thing. Not for another 10 years, anyway. So, stop using it. Stop buying it. Make them "think" with their lighter coffers. Let professional educators recommend an alternative, publicly, if they are serious about the implications of how the term is misrepresented.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Well it's a nonsensical grouping anyway, so it's really no wonder that a foreign dictionary has trouble explaining it. Gender dysphoria and sexual orientation don't have anything to do with each-other other than politics.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

since this is not a binding legal defintion, then who really cares? if a kid is looking up LGBT, i'm sure there are more sources than kojien's dictionary to give him/her the answer. another kerfufle about nuttin.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Even with the wrong definition, they’re missing a few extra letters: LGBTQIA

Feel sorry for dictionary publishers. This is bound to happen when the accepted standard is in constant flux. You can’t even ask the LGBTQIA what definition they want because the pronouns that “they” choose are ever increasing in number and changing in definition.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it...

9 ( +14 / -5 )

It's just willful ignorance.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Is this dictionary online? If yes, then it can be changed instantly. If not, who uses a real hard copy of a dictionary anyway?

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

When was the last time you picked up a dictionary? The book not an online version.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Did you notice the picture? Japanese use online, electric and paper dictionaries.

> Is this dictionary online?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

They should just delete it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Less than .01% of anybody cares!

actually usually 10% of the population fall into this category

another kerfufle about nuttin.

its a well respected dictionary and should be 100% accurate, otherwise its just fiction

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@Tom and DaDude, I have a huge dictionary and I use it on occasion; not daily or weekly, but at least once a month, and not for Scrabble. Online dictionaries are fine, but there's something more fascinating to the 'fine print' of true lexicography. But then, I'm a book lover.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It's a conservative dictionary; I wouldn't be surprised. Not the kind of thing you would go looking for in Kojien if you knew what kind of dictionary it was.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@nasbi. You are only one labeled Iwanammi see conservative. Dictionaries are not created by political belief. Perhaps you never used dictionaries Iin your life?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Income of Book publisher is sales of books. They are not going to begin onnllinee dictionary publication.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I thought it was always supposed to be in the medical dictionaries only...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let's make it simple! DSP! 'Different Sexual Preferences'

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Income of Book publisher is sales of books. They are not going to begin onnllinee dictionary publication

For several years we have used online, iOS apps for dictionaries for both Japanese and English and they make their profit from the app.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese dictionary’s definition of 'LGBT' draws criticism for inaccuracy on the 'T' part

The ‘T’ folks and their lobbyists on the political Left are themselves not quite able to define the ‘T’ word yet. The meaning of the word transgender is always “transitioning” and in a state of flux. They keep getting caught up in the absurdity of trying to make sense out of a delusion. It’s not easy trying to deceive people into believing that an apple is a banana.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Over the next ten years, the definition (and length) of the term 'LGBT' will change at least a dozen times. I mean, just saying 'LGBT' alone is outdated by years already. I'm sorry if I have trouble getting worked up about this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is getting ridiculous.

Articles over fake outrage of a dictionary definition, and no articles about real LGBT rights battles, like for example, the international gay couple fighting deportation which filled a lawsuit against immigration for not taking into account at all the fact that the guy who's getting deported lived with his Japanese partner for over 20 years, or the guy who's partner also of over 20 years was murdered and the local government of aichi didn't allowed him to get the normal victim benefits, saying that there is only precedent of recognizing a civil law marriage of heterosecual couples.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


You completely missed the point of the article and the original complaint. Being trans has nothing to do with your sexual preferences or orientation.

There are straight trans people and gay trans people just like there are gay cisgendered people and straight cisgendered people. The article is literally about how they aren't the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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