I still cannot agree with Dipak Basu’s recent letters opining against continuance of the kanji system. Basu has argued about curriculums and programs at universities, and the problems that Japan’s universities have been suffering from for a long time.

I admit that a lot of intellects and university students in Japan have complained about inflexible and impractical courses that the authorities require them to take as part of the curriculum, while the amount of time students have for learning their field is limited.

But I cannot understand his conclusion that the abolition of kanji characters would be a silver bullet for this problem. I don’t see any relationship between these two issues:

First, ordinary university students do not study kanji characters at university anymore.

Second, if only hiragana characters were used as Basu suggests, Japanese people could not communicate and identify people smoothly. Before the invention of Japanese word processors, some Japanese trading companies tried to use hiragana characters only with a view toward boosting efficiency. All in vain.

Third, as language is the cornerstone of a country’s customs, literature and culture, a discussion only of kanji characters, which are just part of the Japanese language, seems meaningless.

I believe that a language should be changed by people’s feelings and opinions, which should occur spontaneously and naturally. It should not be changed for a deliberate objective.

shuichi john watanabe

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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