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Concentrating on the Job at HandMokutan Angelo

A moment of perfect flow can arrive unexpectedly, but it is a truly special experience. The fourth of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips looks at the phrase 一行三昧 (ichigyō zanmai).

Katakana: Studying Japan’s Second ScriptRichard Medhurst

Katakana is a part of the written Japanese language used for foreign terms and names. Learn this script to recognize many familiar words from other languages.

Hiragana: The First Building Block of Written JapaneseRichard Medhurst

Get started with reading Japanese by learning hiragana. Knowing this essential script lets learners take their first steps of recognition in a Japanese-language environment.

Stumbling Over Words: The Growing Communication Gap in Japanese Politics

Words may be the most potent weapon in politics, but they are a double-edged sword. In the social-media age, a slip of the tongue can quickly spell disaster and send a politician scrambling to do damage control. In Japan, a recent spate of gaffes and verbal chicanery among prominent legislators has many experts lamenting a breakdown in communication between leaders in Tokyo and their constituents around the nation.

A Warning About Japan’s Future? AI Outperforms Students at Reading

Professor Arai Noriko has predicted that artificial intelligence will perform half of all white-collar jobs in 2030. Her project pitting an AI against the University of Tokyo entrance examination got her thinking about how well young students are actually able to read. She started researching a new test to assess reading ability and draw attention to those junior high and high school students who cannot read well enough to understand their textbooks.

“Seaman” Virtual Pet Creator Working on Chat-Capable AI

Voice recognition technologies are still in their infancy, responding to specific requests or following set patterns. Saitō Yutaka, the designer of the Seaman virtual pet games, wants to create a conversation engine for the Japanese language that will make talking with artificial intelligence a more natural experience.

Failure to Communicate in the Social Media Age

Miscommunication has always been a problem, but it seems to be magnified in the online world. Dictionary editor Iima Hiroaki, who often posts about the Japanese language on Twitter, gives his perspective on poor listeners and others who regularly get the wrong end of the stick.

Japanese City Offers Hospitality to Foreign Visitors with “Easy Japanese” (News)

Fukuoka, Feb. 16 (Jiji Press)—Yanagawa, a tourist city in southwestern Japan, is working to offer omotenashi hospitality to visitors from abroad with yasashii, or easy, Japanese that is simple for them to understand. The efforts of the city in Fukuoka Prefecture have been drawing attention as an effective way to communicate with foreigners, with the number of visitors to Japan seen continuing t…

Storming the Dictionary: The Top New Japanese Words for 2017

Two of Japan’s leading dictionary publishers announce their top new words of 2017. An overview of the some of the most popular vocabulary to enter Japanese in recent times.

The Fascinating World of Japanese OnomatopoeiaEhab Ahmed Ebeid

A well-cleaned floor shines pika pika, while a light, fluffy futon is fuwa fuwa. Japanese onomatopoeia is one of the language’s most intriguing features, with many linguistic discoveries to be made.

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