• Boulogne Billancourt, France


The Feb. 18 Kanji Clinic article, “A rainbow of kanji brightens Japan’s palette of colors,” was very interesting and delightful news. As a former teacher in Japan, I used to struggle with getting my students to forget about those hideous katakana. I still don’t understand why Japan’s education system keeps katakana to teach foreign language. It is archaic, inaccurate and one of the pillars that maintain the systematically awful foreign-language level of Japanese citizens.

So, the part of the article that explains that kanjis are vividly present in everyday Japanese language is a relief. Unfortunately, a year living in Japan made me realize that gairaigo (words of foreign origin) are taking over, especially among young people. Katakana shortcuts are slowly but surely erasing Japanese beauty and poetry. I hope for a reversal of this trend and believe that the Japanese education ministry should focus on the matter.

olivier pignot

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