National / Crime & Legal

Plaintiff tells NHK to stop using foreign loanwords

Kyodo

A 71-year-old plaintiff representative Thursday demanded that NHK stop using foreign loanwords at the start of a damages suit against the broadcaster before the Nagoya District Court.

NHK admitted employing common non-Japanese words, particularly popular English terms, including “risuku” (risk) and “kea” (care), in programs and has one TV program titled “Spo-tsu Purasu” (“Sports Plus”).

But NHK denied it uses loanwords excessively, asking the court’s three-judge panel to reject the ¥1.4 million damages suit filed by Hoji Takahashi, a resident of Kani, Gifu Prefecture, who represents a group called Nihongo wo Taisetsunisuru Kai, which roughly translates as Society that Appreciates the Japanese Language.

Takahashi questioned why NHK uses loanwords that must be translated into Japanese, urging the broadcaster to use Japanese terms, even though, for example, “sports” has no direct Japanese equivalent, except possibly “undo” (movement).

NHK’s lawyers argued that the broadcaster did not infringe on the plaintiff’s rights even if he felt disgusted by the programs.

Takahashi, who is seeking ¥1.41 million in damages from NHK because district courts handle damages claims of more than ¥1.4 million under the Code of Civil Procedure, claims he suffered psychological damage due to NHK’s excessive use of foreign loanwords that he does not understand.