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Sign of the times

96 Comments

Demonstrators outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings in Shinjuku protest the amount of Korean and Chinese language signs in Tokyo on Wednesday. They argue that anyone coming to Japan from these countries should at least be able to read and understand English signs provided.

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Sign of the times that demonstrators crowd is so small that everyone of them has to carry 3~4 placards !

28 ( +31 / -5 )

Since there only appear to be four people in this "demonstration" I wonder why JT feels it has to publicise it.

27 ( +31 / -5 )

And an electronic megaphone to annoy everyone with their nonsense.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Actually, I don't blame them. In my home town in Canada, store signs for entire streets have turned to Chinese characters that I don't even know what store they are or what country I'm in anymore... and it's not Chinatown either.

-3 ( +16 / -19 )

It's ironic that those people are using Kanji (Chinese characters) to protest the use of Chinese signs. Now if they were standing in front of a temple (which follows Korean architectural motifs), the scene would be perfect.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

I wonder if these protesters can understand any English signs.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

These 4 have an IQ of 80 ... combined.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

What I don't understand is why they don't carry signs stating their true feelings-- it's not the language thing they really have a problem with. It's the people themselves they hate.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

A refreshing sign that we live in a country where freedom of speech is protected as it should be. These sad sacks can complain about whatever xenophobic issue they want, and we can point and laugh at them and carry on about our day.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Just a bunch of racists venting their spleens.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

They argue that anyone coming to Japan from these countries should at least be able to read and understand English signs provided.

Why exactly? What's the point in being able to read and understand English in Japan? It's not like English is spoken in Japan is it?

I'm Japanese myself, but I'm just so fed up with Japanese people in general thinking English is somehow a superior language.

-2 ( +10 / -13 )

To these 4 men I say: Go voice your complaints to Ishihara who fought nail and tooth for the Olympic Games. Expect more signs.

2020 will be here in a blink of an eye.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

kitty3Mar. 19, 2015 - 08:40AM JST

The 2nd person from right holds sings saying

日本語と英語の表記だけで十分と思いませんか。

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I wonder if these protesters can understand any English signs.

Why should they? The English signs are for the visitors, not for the Japanese people. And that's the very point they're making. It's uncomfortable to see so many signs that they don't understand.

-20 ( +6 / -26 )

I would not like too many foreign language signs all over in streets. English signs seem proper for visitors as everyone studies English in school home.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

They need to find steady jobs. Clearly they have too much time on their hands!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Say no to Chinese and Korean signs, but say yes to English ones. That sounds a little wierd.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

BertieWooster: Since there only appear to be four people in this "demonstration" I wonder why JT feels it has to publicise it.

There's another in the back.

And a shadow on the right. But that might be a fire hydrant, raising the collective IQ of the group.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I think they should be forced to take Korean lessons.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Always like the complaints like the above.

Chinese can use Kanji so they can understand most Japanese names. The other signs are written in Roman characters which are used by a lot of languages and not just English.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's uncomfortable to see so many signs that they don't understand.

Would they be more comfortable having people coming up to them all the time asking directions in Chinese, Korean or any other language they don't understand?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

They argue that anyone coming to Japan from these countries should at least be able to read and understand English signs provided.

The irony is that their signs are not in English as well

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan belongs to the Japanese. They can do what they like. It's not China, it's not Korea, and it's not America. I consider it a kindness that they've posted in English as much as they have. If you're going to live and work in Japan, learn Japanese.

-6 ( +10 / -18 )

'It's uncomfortable to see so many signs that they don't understand.'

You tend to find frustrated people like this find many things uncomfortable. Very narrow-minded, intolerant and often unintelligent people. They need love. I'd buy them a bowl of ramen with gyoza or a nice kimchee nabe.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

My only gripe is that it's written and so many languages and yet some people do not read and make a real scene about not knowing where they should be heading to.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Why is the guy second from left holding a sign saying "Omotenashi"? This is the antithesis of that isn't it?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

tina:

The English signs are for the visitors, not for the Japanese people. And that's the very point they're making. It's uncomfortable to see so many signs that they don't understand.

Hate to burst your racist bubble, but there's a LOT of English wording out there which is not only wrong, but is just written because it's cool, and not for the benefit of English speakers. Eg the JT ads for smoking manners (perfect English but I bet less than 0.1% of smokers in Japan speak English better than Japanese). And it's crazy seeing an old Japanese lady with the words 'juicy' written on her shirt - please don't tell me she understood what it meant. If the Japanese knew what certain English words meant or how bad the spelling and grammar were, most English words would have disappeared from Japan ages ago.

mikesbo:

I consider it a kindness that they've posted in English as much as they have. If you're going to live and work in Japan, learn Japanese.

And how about the tourists (most of whom come from Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong)? If the government is trying to lure more visitors (and the mainland Chinese have LOADS of cash), then you're going to have to do something to make them feel more welcome.

There are many destinations popular with the Japanese, like Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. And the Japanese can go there and speak nothing but Japanese because a lot of the service industry have Japanese speakers. Are you saying they should stop this? Already I see few Japanese actually interact with the locals because there's little attempt at even English. I visited a French-speaking tourist place - a large percentage were Japanese, especially in my hotel and yet I never heard one of them attempt to speak any French. I was the only one to do so.

Those men in the photos look unemployed.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

You know what you can do if things you don't understand make you feel uncomfortable? Learn to understand them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why isnt "ピクトグラム” written in English?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan belongs to the Japanese. They can do what they like. It's not China, it's not Korea, and it's not America. I consider it a kindness that they've posted in English as much as they have.

If it's a kindness that they have posted in English, then why isn't it a kindness when there is Chinese or Korean?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Since there only appear to be four people in this "demonstration" I wonder why JT feels it has to publicise it.

I agree. xD

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I mean, anyone with 6+ YEARS of English education should be able to read "pictogram," right?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Currently train announcments in Tokyo are made in Japanese and English. But when the majority of visitors to Japan come from China will there also be announcements in Chinese?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Those men in the photos look unemployed

They seem retired volunteers except young one. Some old people are conservative and just don't like other Asians but not right wingers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

With the exception of something exclusively for tourists, non Japanese business signs are mostly NOT for foreigners and there many reasons for this. One basic reason for English or romaji is that many companies do business overseas and have to project an international image. European language signs for bakeries or restaurants can be in French or Italian or anything else. Clothing store signs want to convey a certain chic quality by using non Japanese. And as others have pointed out there is also that "cool" factor or prestige aspect.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They need love. I'd buy them a bowl of ramen with gyoza or a nice kimchee nabe.

I'd like to treat these clowns to a firehose. Water should be icy.

Seriously, the guy with a megaphone should be taken away somewhere grim and filthy for disturbing the peace, right off the bat.

Sign of the times that demonstrators crowd is so small that everyone of them has to carry 3~4 placards !

Hoping to this "crowd" reduced even more.

Those men in the photos look unemployed.

That would be my guess too. The police should tell them to scram.

Tina,

Give it a rest. I like patriots who stand up for their country, but these guys are just racist buffoons. Most tourists here create no problems. A few signs and announcements hurts nobody either.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Haha this sooooooooooo pathetic!

I think Japan is awash in an over abundance of signage that's pretty obnoxious in any language, however the over use of signage has also become part of Japan's landscape although like noise pollution its not beautiful, but its Japan.

BUT clearly these morons are referring to signage that's meant to help tourist & short term visitors which is a GOOD THING, an no English(Romanized Japanese) isn't enough if you truly want to help.

These fools are clearly just racists who don't like Korea, China or its peoples, simple as that.

And yeah if these twits hate China so much pls try getting by with just Hiragana & Katakana LOL!!! Return the kanji to its rightful owners LOL!!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Maybe they should say no to all the money coming in from Chinese and Korean tourists and residents.

I was in Osaka the other day, and god, there were Chinese speakers everywhere I went. They're dropping a lot of cash here.

Maybe a bit of gratitude rather than hate by these xenophobes should be in order.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Come to north-west England. We have trains with the "pull in case of emergency" sign in German, Japanese and Welsh.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

What signs are they referring to in particular? If it's signs at major tourist areas, etc. then I don't really think there is any choice. If they are talking about traffic signs, etc. then I can see where they are coming from as it could be excessively burdensome

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sign of the times that demonstrators crowd is so small that everyone of them has to carry 3~4 placards !

Good comment! That protest is truly hilarious, and a bit disgusting by the way. Their argument is invalid as they can't even read & understand English signs properly themselves. Anyway, simply put, their anti-Chinese & Korean ego is acting out. These right-wing hardliners simply don't wanna have anything to do with any foreign element that has never subdued their past imperial ego. The Chinese & Koreans have never conquered their Nippon ego, so why should they be kind to them?? True ignorance & abominable pride. They really should learn from their ancient (not the pre-war imperial) ancestors.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But there hasn't been a single protest in Japan, to protest the over abundance of liberally used English language signs everywhere.

But when the majority of visitors to Japan come from China will there also be announcements in Chinese?

My country, South Korea does that with no problems. In fact, not just Chinese language announcements, but also Japanese, and English are announced. Same with all the signs in the underground train stations, and some major roads as well. There are Chinese signs everywhere for Chinese people, and many Korean businesses who cater to Chinese tourists have signs also in Japanese and as well as Chinese. Not only that, many shop keepers are Chinese and Japanese speakers who are there to help their customers in their own languages. It's just smart business decision in my opinion. But I agree, Japan is for Japanese only.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

By the way, there are also Arabic or Persian language signs all over as well. Why not pick on those Muslims too huh? Especially that tough-wanna be young one (as his young Japanese kinds are punks). Too scared maybe?? I'd like to see what would happen to them soon if they would also bring up "No Arabic" protest as well. Cowards!!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Go ahead and demonstrate, it's their right. And now everyone, their bosses, their co-workers, their friends & family can know how ignorant this person is.

As for their issue, signs are in different languages to make the guest feel welcome. I thought that's what o-mo-te-na-shi was all about?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sometimes I've felt a bit annoyed by those signs, knowing that Japan was putting out its welcome mat and receiving scant reciprocity from S. Korea and China. But sometimes in this life you have to be content with taking a more positive approach. I think the signs exert a subtle psychological message. Even though relations between Japan and those two countries are a bit frayed at the moment, short of the outbreak of war, their tourists are made to feel welcome. If that message sinks in, if only for a small number, perhaps some good will come of it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

receiving scant reciprocity from S. Korea and China

What kinds of reciprocity do you want? If there was real true reciprocity, then you'll see the kind of hate protests you see everyday in Shin Okabu.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Speaking as a person who has travelled to Japan numerous times over the past two decades, I have always appreciated English signs, brochures, headphones and any effort made by people to help me enjoy my experience of the country. It makes my appreciation of what I am viewing so much deeper to be able to read about and reflect on what I see. I'm sure there are visitors from Korea and China who feel the same way. They dig the culture with all it's delightful nuances and symbolism. I'm guessing that they too would like to understand what they are looking at or find their way around independently without an expensive (even if excellent) JTB guide at their side the whole time.

As to the Canuck whose home town has too much Chinese signage, I live about 80km away and know what he means. The gripe there is that there is no English (or French) the country's two official languages. In addition, it's not inviting to the residents of that town who might enjoy shopping there but are not Chinese speakers. They feel (and are) shut out. You cannot get into a culture without language--not fully. Anyone who travels anywhere knows how important it is to greet people in their own language--even if all you can say is hello.

If Japan wants tourism (and the yen that come with it), it has to invite people by making them more comfortable. Look how comfortable the tourist industry makes the Japanese who travel abroad. They can tour and dine without ever having to speak anything but Japanese!!! Turnabout is only fair play.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@ReformedBasher

Most tourists here create no problems.

They are not complaining about the tourists.

A few signs and announcements hurts nobody either.

It's not a few signs, it's a lot and everywhere. The signs look crowded.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

If they love Japanese so much maybe they should spend their time outside the station giving free Kanji lessons to foreigners? ...Oh I forgot, they hate Koreans and Chinese even if they learn to speak Japanese fluently.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Those demonstrators have never bought anything from Tokyo major stores. One of the reason is they can not afford it. Most of my customers are from Taiwan, Korea and PRC. I agree with Pukey2 for shoppers are the most important people for sellers. Signs should be making money. Not the noise!

My shop have to speak the same language with customers.I do not care whether the signs from my shop are any form of written language such as Native American or Australian aboriginal or Zulu warriors. The bucks stop with tourists. Not locals.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The bigger irony here is that if you banned all these signs tomorrow, the Japanese service industry would just respond by demanding that new Japanese recruits speak at least some basic Korean or Chinese. I'm sure that would drive these guys apoplectic.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's not a few signs, it's a lot and everywhere. The signs look crowded.

Your opinion. In any case, if non-English speaking tourists come here, the signs will definitely help them. This might amaze you but other countries have tourists too and they put up signs as well. Unless the signs actually cause a problem , anyone there complaining could also be thought of as racist.

And yeah if these twits hate China so much pls try getting by with just Hiragana & Katakana LOL!!! Return the kanji to its rightful owners LOL!!!

And the twits who hate Japan should know that kana actually comes from kanji. Maybe they would if they spent more time reading and less time hating.

Anybody hating on ANY race is a close-minded fool. This applies to both of the above. As bad as each other.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If they are protesting that they should be able to read signs in English, then they should write the signs in correct English. Katakana style English is often incomprehensible. It makes no sense.

When I see a sign such as Coffee and Spaghetti on a restaurant sign, it confuses me.

No signs are better than wrong signs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Four nutcases got their little PR stunt.... hardly an imprssive demonstration. You can get that number of people to protest just about anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@tinawatanabe... This was a great opportunity for you to stand up and denounce these fools and show to the so-called Japan-bashers you talk about that Japanese ( I'm speaking generally here!) are not racist xenophobes. But instead you do the opposite and reconfirm what we have suspected all along.

On another note, what complete ignorance the four demonstrators demonstrate. I mean, isn't kanji borrowed Chinese characters?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

When I was on the board of DFW airport we put out survey takers with German, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Spanish. We asked what we could do to make it easier to navigate the airport. The number one request was signage in the languages rather than red caps speaking the language.

We spent a ton of cash to provide multilingual signage but in a few months the increase in tourist traffic through DFW made up for it. How? Well folks went back home and talked about how DFW made it easy for non English speakers to navigate.

Some rednecks were upset about the signage that it looked "cluttered" my response was this: Every job in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex is tied to DFW airport in some way. The growth of the area depends on the airport. The more we make people happy, the more we cater to their needs, exceeding their expectations and making international friends then the more Dallas - Fort Worth will prosper and that includes you and your family.

In 1980 when I began at DFW the population of the metroplex was 1.5 million. Today, 3 million and counting. The moral: Make the greatest number of people happy with your service and the cash takes care of itself. Japan cannot afford to p-off Chinese and Korean tourists.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wow. Great Point indeed. Kanji is borrowed from Chinese characters-

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Get a job!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

kyushubill

Sounds like a really good example.

But (just this last bit)

Japan cannot afford to p-off Chinese and Korean tourists.

"Japan" doesn't want to. The government is actively trying to promote tourism. It's likely that the general public doesn't have a problem with this policy or there'd be mass demonstrations. Looking at their turnout, it's pretty safe to assume the group above are a minority of misfits.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Kanji letters came to Japan more than 1,000 years ago for writing, but the two languages are completely different.

It's not just signs that're problem but the anouncements in Japan are also noisy. The signs and anouncements should be simple and effective.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

'It's not just signs that're problem but the anouncements in Japan are also noisy.'

I agree. The announcements I hear from politicians at the station or driving around in cars is very noisy. This of course is a mere whisper compared to the nutters driving around in black vans screaming nonsense. Announcements in Chinese or Korean at shopping centres don't seem to hit anything like that decibel level. I suppose it depends on what people choose to notice. You claim to see these signs 'everywhere'. Can you really back that up?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Shane

By the way, there are also Arabic or Persian language signs all over as well.

Persian? Where? Never seen it. Are you 100% sure when it comes to Arabic and Persian?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't see Arabic or Persian anywhere.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the biggest toughest morons in japan tend to also be mostly on the small sizes, its more to do with an inferiority complex than anything.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is a parade of these fools walking down Midosuji in Osaka about once or twice a month. Mostly older guys but kind of surprised to see young females too in the crowd with their hair and nails done up.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If these people don't want to see Chinese language signs in Japan, then they shouldn't use kanji (Chinese characters) and should lobby for all Japanese to remove kanji everywhere.

tinawatanable said : The Kanji letters came to Japan more than 1,000 years ago for writing, but the two languages are completely different.

and so? whether it's a year ago, or a thousands years, it's still Chinese characters. So if you don't like it, then don't use it. Simple. Same should be said about the demonstrators you see here.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese. Period. I lived in Japan for twelve years and did my best to learn conversational Japanese at the very least, and though my Japanese wasn't perfect, those of my Japanese friends, coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, and students around me expressed their appreciation for my efforts, small though they be and were. If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Yeah. Its funny cause lots of my Chinese friends in CA said the same thing. japan "stole" the Chinese characters to use them as their "own."

No wonder why when i first came to tokyo, i was able to understand simple characters; man, woman, tree, river, forest, mountain . . . #1-10 etc. Those 4 people cannot be serious with their signs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah. Its funny cause lots of my Chinese friends in CA said the same thing. japan "stole" the Chinese characters to use them as their "own."

Operative word there is "characters". What your Chinese friends don't know is the "combination" of these characters make up 'words' which Japan incorporated first are now used in the Chinese language.

In fact 中華人民共和国 ”人民” People "共和国” Republic are words derived from Japan that were subsequently incorporated by the Chinese.

http://www1.china.com.cn/chinese/ch-yuwai/193347.htm

http://www.suzuka-iu.ac.jp/campana/num16/1608wang.pdf

Pg 110-113

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese. Period. I lived in Japan for twelve years and did my best to learn conversational Japanese at the very least, and though my Japanese wasn't perfect, those of my Japanese friends, coworkers, acquaintances, neighbors, and students around me expressed their appreciation for my efforts, small though they be and were. If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese.

I don't know why this and similar arguments aren't deleted for being off topic, because that's exactly what they are. It's not about if you live and work here; it's about signs put up for tourists. What kind of fool lives and works here but doesn't speak the language? Seriously!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Let me get this straight. These guys are saying:

This is JAPAN! SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What always amuses me are the ones using the word 'racist' are almost always the closet case racists. It takes one to know one as they say. There is nothing wrong with wanting signs in Japanese in Japan after all it's Japan. Why should one in their own country be forced to learn a foreign language just so they can understand a sign in their own country? That's the point here which clearly most of you have missed. If want to place another language on a sign then go right ahead as long as that country's official language is first on that sign and equal or larger than the foreign language.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Let me get this straight. These guys are saying:

This is JAPAN! SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!

Ha!

If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese.

Tourists are just visiting.

What always amuses me are the ones using the word 'racist' are almost always the closet case racists. It takes one to know one as they say. There is nothing wrong with wanting signs in Japanese in Japan after all it's Japan. Why should one in their own country be forced to learn a foreign language just so they can understand a sign in their own country? That's the point here which clearly most of you have missed. If want to place another language on a sign then go right ahead as long as that country's official language is first on that sign and equal or larger than the foreign language.

What always saddens me is there are those who want to take things to extremes like you. Nobody is forcing anybody to do anything. Why one sign should be bigger than the others? Are these signs causing such a commotion? Why aren't the protesters also complaining other languages besides Korean and Chinese?

As I've noted above, multilingual signs, announcements etc don't cause a ruckus when used to assist tourists in other countries.

As for racism, you're way off the mark in my case. Racism would be supporting these douches. And racism would be saying this kind of protest only exists in Japan. I've seen similar stupidity in my own country when tourism first start booming. It's because I like Japan that I want to it to prosper. Increased tourism can play a part in this.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@KnowBetter

No. If you read their placards you'll see that they're objecting specifically to the addition of Chinese and Korean to Japanese signs. English is somehow okay.

Just looking at the picture makes me feel quite sorry for them. Is this what their lives have come to?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The fact that a person has to justify that they are not racist when they have not been called a racist on that they use the word racist so freely when in fact it's NOT racism is far more confusing than this sentence was to construct to make even a little sense. How about we drop the use of the word racism altogether because like the word 'cloud' for computing, most people have overused the word so much as a 'key word' and really don't understand what it really means anymore.

The signs those protestors are holding up are their concerns that there are too many signs that are not in Japanese. So what? That's their opinion just as its your opinion that it's not a problem. Move on, nothing to see here other than what you all wish to make out of something that is a real problem but don't want to address so you paint it with a label and shift the blame. Very human nature of you not to deal with the real problem but take the easy way out and blame someone else. Ask yourself when was the last time you openly accepted blame for your error? Just listen to arguments and you'll always hear the same from all involved, it never anyone's fault and almost always it was an accident. Anyone reading this unless they're a sociopath will agree and be angered by it so their natural human response will be to thumb it down. Let see how many grow a conscience and see it for what it is.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Since when do you have to be a racist to recognize racism? Most racists claim to be anything other than racists and start their racist rants with phrases like, "Not to sound racist or anything, but..." Or else they substitute things like "There are too many signs in Korean and Chinese here in Japan" for what they really mean, which is, "There are too many Koreans and Chinese in Japan."

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I would suggest to these protesters that they learn to speak Korean and Chinese, so that they can be sure their message was driven home with 100% accuracy. Oh, and stop using Chinese characters to write, since this is Japan and only Japanese characters should be allowed in public... wink, wink.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@nigelboy you said:

Operative word there is "characters". What your Chinese friends don't know is the "combination" of these characters make up 'words' which Japan incorporated first are now used in the Chinese language.

In fact 中華人民共和国 ”人民” People "共和国” Republic are words derived from Japan that were subsequently incorporated by the Chinese.

-well, if you're gonna go there, I suggest you read where the name "日本" aka Nippon/Nihon comes from. That's right, it was the Chinese referral name to the land situated east of them, the land of the rising sun known as Japan, during a time when Japan sent envoys to China and give tributaries to their emperor. the examples you've provided (people, republic, and etc) are relatively new, and cannot even compare to how much the Japanese incorporated aspects of Chinese language to their own. Their use of kanji alone would've been enough to prove that, but leave it up to you to try to twist it up. You made it sound like the Japanese invented the language lol.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japanese uses many of the same characters as Chinese. It's not Chinese. The idea that Japanese in the streets is Chinese makes no sense. That's like saying French is English, because the share an alphabet.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you want to live in Japan, learn Japanese. Period.

Well Jason, these signs are mostly for tourists from China and Korea. They just want to visit Japan, not live or reside there for an extended period of time. Do you expect tourists from any country to have to learn a different language so they can travel to a certain place?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Persian? Where? Never seen it. Are you 100% sure when it comes to Arabic and Persian? I don't see Arabic or Persian anywhere.

Go visit supermarkets and look at the signs on many of their automatic doors' sides. Supermarkets, man! Japanese supermarkets.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most natural and social science Kanji words Chinese and Koreans use are Japan made. Chinese leaders such as Lu Xun and Zhou Enlai studied in Japan at Meiji University, and brought Kanji words back to China.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Operative word there is "characters". What your Chinese friends don't know is the "combination" of these characters make up 'words' which Japan incorporated first are now used in the Chinese language.In fact 中華人民共和国 ”人民” People "共和国” Republic are words derived from Japan that were subsequently incorporated by the Chinese.

i seen this logic and kinda of opinion before, in fact how this absolutely wrong and ridiculous opinion convinced you to spread it shows nothing but your lack of understanding of the chinese characters or just your general ignorance, let me explain it to you plain and simple: unlike english or japanese where a word is formed as a word where it has to express a certain meaning and function as a whole word, in chinese every character has its own meanings(like the word "word", where "wo" or "rd" or "w" "o" "r" "d" seperately doesnt have any meaning or make anysense at all on their own), when a chinese wants to express the meaning of people he had no other way but to say it using the characters 人民 where 人means human and 民 means mass of human, its not like that you japanese can patent this combination so ever since then chinese can use these 2 charactes together, it just happens when u japanese want to express the meaning of people you cant find any way in japanese so you turned to the chinese characters just in a way that a chinese would naturaly do,

there are also other tons of words that didnt and will never, per your words, be derived from japanese and be used in chinese, for example 切手 in japanese means stamp but 切 has the meaning of “cut” and 手 means “hand”, it will never be in chinese for the meaning of stamp, no matter how early or how many thousands of years ago you japanese invented this word "切手", in chinese , the word for stamp is 邮票, where 邮 means post and 票 means ticket, combined they very naturally translates the meaning of stamps and had so therefore being used as the word for stamp.

another expample,新聞 with the meaning of newspaper in japanese, i see how this might getinto the japanese language as the word for newspaper as 新 means "new" and 闻 means "things that you hear, the knowlege youll about to get", but in chinese, even in the last century where newspaper got invented and massly circulated when japan might first started using it and thus invented this word or should i say combination of chinese characters for the meaning of this thing, in chinese, it will always simply mean "news" and will never be used for newspaper, cause there simply isnt the slightest meaning of paper in this word. another example, 手纸 with the meaning of written letter,envelop,mail in japanese, it will never be in chinese for the meaning of letter no matter how early you japanese invented this combination as a word, casue 手 means hand and 纸 means paper, it will never make the meaing of letter in chinese. the list can go on forever,

as you should understand by now, only words that abide the chinese language rule gets into the chinese language, no matter who first used it or not, and it gets into the chinese language only becasue the combination together with the said chinese character has the meaning that its meant for naturally, no matter who used it or in your words invented it first, it has to be in that way of combination for chinese characters to express that certain meaning, so it become a chinese word.

lastly, just fyi, some examples of words that are really borrowed from another language: 巧克力 meaning chocolate, with the 3 characters conveying no meaning but only the sound of the said word. 沙发 meaning sofa, samely only becasues it sounds like sofa. and others like 咖喱,的士,etc。

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ThePBot: "You made it sound like the Japanese invented the language lol."

Yes, The Japanese invented the Japanese lanugae. Japan imported Kanji LETTER from China( not the language) for the writing purpose like alphabet about 1 and 1/ 2 thousand years ago. Japanese language is totally different language from Chinese.

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in other words, japanese didnt invent the word people/人民 and chinese didnt start using this word "人民" for "people" becasue the japanese were using it, chinese used the word 人民 for the meaning of 人民 becase it originally has and will express the meaning of 人民 in the chinese language, and any chinese that knows the characters 人 and 民 will get the meaning and fully understands this word instantly the moment he sees it even if he has never before in his entire life heard of the word 人民.

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@konporer

Never mind the kanji, full stops and commas can be useful.... ; )

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Many fish names are Japanese made kanji too.

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i seen this logic and kinda of opinion before, in fact how this absolutely wrong and ridiculous opinion convinced you to spread it shows nothing but your lack of understanding of the chinese characters or just your general ignorance, let me explain it to you plain and simple:

As the link indicates, 王彬彬

"...社会和人文科学方面的名词、术语,有70%是从日本输入的,这些都是日本人.."

As in most combination of these characters, it's easy to assume such combinations came about but that's essentially a hindsight. Stop whining already.

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Wiktionary entry for 人民 says Japanese adopted 人民 from Middle Chinese.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E4%BA%BA%E6%B0%91#Etymology

Japanese

Etymology

From Middle Chinese compound 人民 (njin min) ... Formerly pronounced with a consistent goon reading of ninmin, later changing to a mixed kan'on / goon reading of jinmin.[1][2]

References

[1] 1988, 国語大辞典(新装版) (Kokugo Dai Jiten, Revised Edition) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Shogakukan

[2] 2006, 大辞林 (Daijirin), Third Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō, ISBN 4-385-13905-9

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Wiktionary entry for 人民 says Japanese adopted 人民 from Middle Chinese.

The term that is meant then by China versus that of what was established subsequently have two meanings for the latter implies that "people who established a state and formalized society. Generally, it refers to people under governing class".

http://www.ps.ritsumei.ac.jp/assoc/policy_science/083/083_07_kato.pdf pg79-80

和製漢語は中国と世界を繋いだ。独立、平等、自由、民主、法制、主権、民族、国際、それまで分からなかった近代思想、近代語彙が中国に入りました

The words, independent, equality, freedom, democracy, legislation, sovereignty, ethnicity, international and such other modern ideals and words were incorporated to China.

http://www.china-embassy.or.jp/jpn/rbjw/t718128.htm

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Three language is too much for signboard. This is the most important assertion. So they choose English as international language for signboard. Like English or not is not the topic.

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In your the country, do you have Japanese language notation?

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Yes, there is Japanese language here & there. Not as much as Korean, Chinese or Spanish tho. Seems like all the Japanese business owners in So. CA packed up their crap and left after the bubble busted.

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tinawatanabe: Yes, The Japanese invented the Japanese lanugae. Japan imported Kanji LETTER from China( not the language) for the writing purpose like alphabet about 1 and 1/ 2 thousand years ago. Japanese language is totally different language from Chinese.

languages have two main forms: 1) verbal (like what's spoken) 2.)non-verbal (like what's written) so when you say Japan "imported Kanji LETTER from China", it means they imported a written language. to say that the writing isn't a language is wrong. They also loaned some Chinese words into their spoken Japanese language, that's why there are some words that are pronounced similarly in both languages, and written exactly the same even (in Hanzi/Kanji). And despite what you said, Chinese writing are not letters (phonographs), they're pictographs, and to be able to use it, you must understand the meaning behind them, of which the Japanese did. There's no denial that most of the Japanese spoken language is very different from Chinese, but then again, if we go back to the original point, if you and these demonstrators dislike Chinese SIGNAGE in Japan meant for tourists, then please stop using Kanji. Return it to where it belongs.

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Now, just to get it straight, Japan has a great many visitors from Korea and China, on business and touristic itineraries.

Signs, in many languages are the problem. OK, thanks, got it.

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Strangerland said "Japanese uses many of the same characters as Chinese. It's not Chinese. The idea that Japanese in the streets is Chinese makes no sense. That's like saying French is English, because the share an alphabet".

Try again, Strangerland -- I suspect most of us posting here are not so completely ignorant of the nature of Chinese writing. The Japanese using Chinese characters to write is NOT the same as the French and the English using the same alphabet to write their respective languages. Individual letters of the Roman alphabet are simply sound units and have no meaning of their own -- but Chinese characters are not just sound units; every Chinese written character is a whole word in Chinese. While it's true that some Chinese characters are used for their sound value, and also that some new phrases were coined by the Japanese using Chinese characters, the vast majority of Chinese characters as used by the Japanese today are the very same Chinese words that they have always been. The proof is that a Chinese person (or a Korean or American or Singaporean or anyone else who is educated in Chinese writing) who is completely unfamiliar with the Japanese language will nevertheless be able to suss out much of the essential meaning of a page of a Japanese newspaper or magazine, just from being able to understand the portion that's written in Chinese characters. Your "explanation" is a transparent attempt to minimize the cultural and intellectual debt the Japanese owe to China (and to some degree to Korea, since early Koreans did much of the work of transmitting advanced civilization from the Asian continent to Japan, including the initial introduction of Chinese writing to the pre-literate Japanese).

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