Man sues Japan broadcaster for foreign words

Featured Japan - June 27th, 2013
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A man is suing Japan’s national public broadcaster NHK for mental distress allegedly caused by its excessive use of foreign words.

Hoji Takahashi, 71, from Gifu Prefecture, filed the complaint Tuesday with the Nagoya District Court and is seeking 1.4 million yen ($14,000) in damages for “unnecessary emotional distress”.

Takahashi said the broadcaster has recently been loading its TV programs with loan words.

He cited words such as “kea” (care), “risuku” (risk), “shisutemu” (system) and “toraburu” (trouble), as causes of his distress.

He accused NHK of irresponsibility by refusing to use native Japanese equivalents of the foreign words, The Japan Times reports.

“The younger generation probably understands, but old people don’t understand words like anarisuto (analyst) and conpuraiansu (complaince),” the Chuunichi Shimbun quoted Takahashi as saying.

“I sent in a list of questions but I got no response, so I decided to sue,” he added.

Takahashi, who heads a small language advocacy group, said he wants NHK to prioritize the use of Japanese. He believes it “would go a long way toward protecting Japanese culture,” Takahashi’s lead attorney, Mutsuo Miyata, told The Japan Times.

An NHK spokesman said that the broadcaster had not verified the content of the complaint and decline to comment further.