Exploring “Nihongo do” Spirit to the world
The Super Japanese Language Coach Association (a.k.a. Super J) was established in 2019 supported by “Hiragana Times,” a bilingual Japanese-English magazine, which has readers in over 100 countries. Our goal is to spread the Japanese language to the world through innovative methods.
Today, Japan is regarded by many countries as one of the most attractive countries, and following manga and anime, the Japanese language itself is beginning to be seen as an attractive part of Japanese culture. In a 2018 survey conducted by the Japan Foundation, more than 60% of respondents cited interest in the Japanese language itself as the reason for learning it.
Many of Japan’s traditional cultural pursuits have the word do(art / spirit) in them, such as sado (tea ceremony), kadou (flower arrangement), judo, aikido, shodo (calligraphy), bushido. Masters of these arts are not only expected to be proficient in their skills, but also to have dignity and spirituality. As Japanese language is also a part of traditional cultural pursuits, we are exploring nihongo do.
From the birth of language to the present day, words have reflected the minds of the people who use them. The Japanese language is full of expressions of compassion, such as “osewa ni nari masu” (thank you for your help) and “otsukare sama” (thank you for your hard work). At the root of these expressions is the wisdom of harmony that avoids conflict.
This wisdom is thought to have originated in Japan’s environment as an island nation, an agrarian people, and almost a single ethnic group. In the environment where it is not possible to move to other places and where people are required to work together, it can be assumed that the idea of not harming others, not disturbing harmony, and coexisting was nurtured, and that expressions to convey this idea developed.
Japanese is a high spec language:
Able to express your delicate feelings
Japanese has a rich vocabulary, including onomatopoeia, and is capable of expressing subtle nuances. Furthermore, the structure of the Japanese language, which does not assert itself strongly, and the fact that there are four types of scripts including the alphabet, make the Japanese language a high-spec multi-functional language.
From the environment, it is thought that a method of using casual language, polite language, and honorific language was developed to facilitate human relations. For example, when offering a meal. Depending on the person or situation, we use different expressions such as “tabete (casual),” “tabete kudasai (polite),” or “omeshiagari kudasai (Very polite).
It is also said that Japanese people naturally use too many “aizuchi” (responding words) compared to other languages, but this is another way of showing consideration for other person. It can be said to be an expression of kindness, of listening carefully to the speaker, of being interested, of agreeing, of sympathizing, of being close to the speaker’s feelings.
In addition, there are expressions that do not use the subject. For example, on the memorial stone to the A-bomb victims in Hiroshima, it is written: yasuraka ni nemutte kudasai ayamachi ha kurikaesenu kara (Rest in peace, we will not repeat our mistakes. It is not clear whether this is referring to the Americans who dropped the bomb or the Japanese who started the war.
This method of leaving the interpretation up to the reader is another expression unique to the Japanese language. The ambiguity of not saying something clearly can be said to be wisdom in avoiding conflict. These structures of expression can be interpreted as being born out of the natural environment.
Spreading “The Japanese Wisdom of Harmony”
It can be said that Japanese language is not only a tool for communication, but also a language born out of consideration for others. We are promoting various projects as follows, based on the idea that spreading the Japanese language will lead to the spread of the “wisdom of harmony.”
- Intangible Cultural Heritage Project
Activity to register “expressions of compassion” with UNESCO.
- Yoroshiku Project
Spreading “Yoroshiku” expression worldwide to deepen global exchanges.
- Your Japanese Dream Support Project:
For our academy students, assisting their Japanese dreams come true.
- Global Skills Project:
Supporting foreign people having a skill to find a job in Japanese company.
- Online Japanese Academy Project:
Revolutionary Japanese language learning lessons in English
- Japanese Language Coach Training Project
Training course for Japanese coaching online academy.
- JAPANese Test Project
J-CLUE: A test of knowledge on Japan and real proficiency of Japanese language.
- Online JAPANese Liberally Project
A data base on Japan and the language available in Japanese-and English.