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The Language of Zen: Words for a World of ChangeMokutan Angelo

Familiar people and places surround us, but we should recognize that each encounter is different. The first of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips tackles the phrase 一期一会 (ichigo ichie).
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English to Become Regular Elementary School Subject in Japan (News)

Tokyo, Feb. 14 (Jiji Press)—Japan's education ministry released draft revisions of the country's curriculum guidelines for elementary and junior high schools on Tuesday, including adoption of English as a regular subject for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders. Under the curriculum revision plans, a teaching method designed to encourage students to independently find problems and soluti…
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Dictionary Pros Pick Their Top New Words for 2016

Two major dictionary publishers have announced their new words of the year for 2016. As the Japanese language continues to evolve, it borrows and coins new terms at a rapid clip—and these, say the publishers, are the ones most likely to stick around long enough to end up in their dictionaries.
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Another Golden Year for Kanji

The year 2016 was tumultuous and unpredictable by most people’s standards. But the kanji that best represents the year, as chosen by public vote in a keenly followed annual contest, was one that never goes out of style: 金, pronounced kin or kane and meaning “gold” or “money.”
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2016: The Winning WordsNippon.com Staff

Kamitteru, or “godlike,” topped this year’s finalists to be recognized as the word of the year for 2016. Other selections in the 10-strong finalist pool shed light on the economy, current events, and celebrity romances and scandals that left an impact on Japanese news-watchers—and their vocabularies—over the past year.
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The Words of 2016Nippon.com Staff

Once again, the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha has selected the nominees for its “Words of the Year” award. Learn about these 30 terms that help to show how the Japanese saw the year that will soon be finished.
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Are Loanwords a Threat to the Japanese Language?Ehab Ahmed Ebeid

One day as I was traveling to work on the train, I overheard a pair of what must have been junior high school students talking to each other in Japanese. “Hey! Your clothes are so nostalgic,” one said to the other, using the loanword nosutarujikku. I could not help but doubt whether such young boys would know anything about nostalgia. Loanwords are seen and heard everywhere in Japan. Their exte…
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A Boy Named BonsaiIrmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

For most of the modern era, the linguistic balance of trade between Japan and the West has been fairly unequal. The transfer of knowledge from the West, accompanied by the assimilation of new vocabulary, was an inherent part of Japan’s modernization. Since the late nineteenth century, countless loanwords from Western languages have become central to Japanese. Compared to these words’ sheer number …
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2015 Kanji of the Year: “An” Juxtaposes Security and UneaseNippon.com Staff

As the year draws to a close, kanji lovers turn their attention to the famous 13-meter-high wooden platform at Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera for the unveiling of the Kanji of the Year. The annual event, which is sponsored by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation, took place on December 15 in 2015. This was three days later than its normal date on “Kanji Day,” chosen for the homophonous wordplay as…
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2015: The Winning WordsNippon.com Staff

On December 1, the publisher Jiyū Kokumin Sha announced its list of the top 10 words or phrases for its annual “Word of the Year” prize. The grand-prize winners this year came from the realms of baseball and the tourism industry, rather than politics, which had provided many of the 50 nominees released last month.
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