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Tadasu Takahashi
Seihan Mori, the chief Buddhist priest of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, writes the kanji character "zei," meaning "tax," with a calligraphy brush to announce the Kanji of the Year.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Dec 15, 2023
Despite a taxing year, 2023's top kanji still draws questions
In a year of major crises around the world, Japanese voters pick the kanji for "zei," meaning "tax," based on a plan yet to be implemented.
Sometimes just saying that you won't break a promise isn't enough. You may need the power of the pinky finger.
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Nov 3, 2023
Breaking a promise comes with sharp penalties in Japan
An interesting element that is present in both Japanese and English rhymes around pinky promises is the idea of needles.
Trendy buzzwords tend to be most at risk of dying out as they often reflect ideas and trends that are fleeting.
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Oct 31, 2023
A foray into the realm of Japanese ‘dead words’
Old slang and problematic terms are prime candidates when it comes to slipping out of usage and disappearing from the Japanese lexicon.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
May 17, 2023
Yes, crime is on the rise in Japan. No, you don’t have to panic.
The year so far has been marked with several high-profile crime stories and, according to the numbers, crime is on the rise. However, the types of crime we’re seeing are different from before.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 30, 2023
Know the shady Japanese vocabulary that will help you avoid 'dark' part-time jobs
Even if the turnover for them is quick, knowing the code words people use to refer to possibly illegal activities will give you some insight into the Japanese language.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Dec 16, 2022
If you thought 2022 was a battle, this year's top kanji pick shows you weren’t alone
The kanji of the year for 2022 is used for wars and struggles, while this year's buzzwords referenced sports lingo and a Norwegian pop tune.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Sep 8, 2022
Climate talk reaches 'crisis' mode
Are you clued in to the “GX” taking place in Japan? If not, it's time to review your environmentally focused vocabulary lists.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Jul 22, 2022
A shocking incident provides an unexpected language lesson
When former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed this month, the Western media called it an “assassination.” So why did the Japanese media avoid the term?
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Jun 3, 2022
Looking to make an escape in Japanese? You'll need to know your kanji.
As the war in Ukraine looks far from over, there is no shortage of discussions on how to “get out” of such a dangerous situation. Here's a closer look at some escape-related terms.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Jun 3, 2022
Returning a pencil, returning to work and the return of Okinawa
Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japanese control. But the word used for 'return' in this case wasn't the same as what you'd use to 'return' a pencil.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Apr 8, 2022
A well-crafted speech is powerful in any language
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been delivering a series of online speeches to various countries. Here's a closer look at how his speech in Japan was different.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Mar 22, 2022
Describing an invasion and expressing unity in Japanese amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, Japanese-language learners are discovering that there's no shortage of terms relating to “invasion” and “unity.”
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Mar 11, 2022
Military words are back in the headlines after Russia launches an invasion of Ukraine
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been all over the news in Japan, which means we'll be seeing a whole new set of kanji and conflict-related terms.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Feb 18, 2022
The rules for deciphering the Japanese words for regulations
While the Olympics are proving fun to watch, it seems not many fans have checked the rulebook.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / Vocabulary Boost
Jan 14, 2022
Language roars to life in 2022, the Year of the Tiger
The arrival of the Year of the Tiger is an opportune moment to go over a few idioms and sayings that involve the animal of 2022.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Dec 17, 2021
24 confirmed dead in suspected case of arson in Osaka
One source said police received a report that the fire started from a liquid that came out of a paper bag held by a man who appeared to be in his 60s.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Dec 10, 2021
Sports, silent meals and 'Shut Up!': What Japan was talking about in 2021
The year's top buzzwords were announced to great fanfare, but the real word on everyone's lip last week was 'omicron.'
Japan Times
LIFE / Language
Dec 10, 2021
How do this year's English buzzwords translate into Japanese?
Collins Dictionary announced its 'Word of the Year' and technology-related terms came out on top.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Dec 1, 2021
Buzzwords in Japan 2021: Ohtani and Tokyo Olympics loomed large
The language of the pandemic, while still present, took a back seat to phrases and words inspired by Shohei Ohtani, Thomas Bach, Yoshiro Mori and other sports-related figures.
Japan Times
LIFE / Language / BILINGUAL
Nov 19, 2021
Be active in discussions about crime by mastering the passive voice
With news about train-related crime appearing in broadcasts, we look at the basic structure of talking about victims and perpetrators.

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan