The word processor can be described as either the savior of the Japanese language or its curse. It’s a savior in that it simplifies the process of making documents in written Japanese, which incorporates two separate syllabaries of 48 letters each and up to 50,000 Chinese characters. It’s a curse because the “wa-pro’ “s ease-of-use has rendered young people incapable of remembering how to write Chinese characters.

The Japanese word processor was once considered a pipe dream. This week’s installment of NHK’s “Project X” (NHK-G, Tuesday, 9:15 p.m.) profiles the group of young Toshiba engineers who, in the 1970s and ’80s, created Japan’s first word processor.

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