Regarding Dipak Basu’s Sept. 16 letter, “Questionable link to innovation” [in which professor Basu recommends that Japanese education abolish the kanji character system]: The kanji character system is only a problem for primary schoolchildren, who take longer to learn the needs of daily life. This difficulty is not much different from starting out with English and having to learn certain phrases, sentences and works of literature that cannot be understood by schoolchildren who simply learn the alphabet.
Japanese schoolchildren learn kanji characters and their meaning at the same time, and they have time to learn about the world, its philosophies and ideas in their school curricula.
If Basu wants to address the qualities and capabilities of Japanese university students, he should not mix up the accomplishments of schoolchildren with the requirements for university degrees.
If there are some differences in capabilities between students educated in English and those educated in Japanese, the differences probably have important effects on future development work, innovation and scientific research.
Still, the university years are the time to learn as much as possible about various cultures and branches of learning (otherwise known as the liberal arts).
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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