Japan’s Recent Decision To Change To A Simplified Kanji System — 50 Comments

  1. Right when you’ve gotten halfway through Kanji Kingdom! At least you don’t have to redo the entire deck……


  2. “Simplified Japanese”

    悪戯だと分かっていましたけど、when I read this phrase, I almost couldn’t breathe for a second! It sounded like blasphemy. Like something that shouldn’t ever be just stood there and smirked at you in the face like a scary misshapen clown. I am aware that kanji was already simplified but they call it 新字体 (NEW vs. SIMPLIFIED), so the thought of the phrase “Simplified Japanese” being an actual thing that everyone accepts really struck me. Like, “Hey dude, is that text in Simplified Japanese?” NO! JUST NO!! NOT IN MY LIFETIME, PLEASE JAPAN XD

    • I should’ve included that part as well, as that would make it look like there was more history to it and would’ve made it more believable!

      The thought of a real simplified Japanese makes me shudder.

  3. Ah man, I didn’t realize that it was April Fools until near the end of the article, and my heart was pounding so hard aahh (;▽;) Nice one.

  4. Rofl, I have been laughing at all the silly april’s fool jokes all day and still you completely got me with this one. Well done :)

  5. Holy crap I literally finished RTK yesterday so I actually considered hanging myself till I read the comments!

    • It would probably be the saddest day in the history of learning Japanese (especially those who had done RTK)

    • Even writing it, and thinking about a what if scenario, made my own blood boil. Which makes you wonder how Chinese people felt when their language was changed.

  6. And you even found characters for the simplified versions. Was about to go crazy for a moment. I do wonder how something like this would be taken in Japan. 日本語 vs 日本语, 東京 vs 东京.

    • I figured that would add to the realism. I think the only reason why it worked in China is because they banned the traditional characters and enforced it. That would never work in a country like Japan (I think).

  7. Oh wow I have to say I’m a little embarrassed but I was kind of excited. I’ve only been studying the kanji for about 2 months and they aren’t fully etched into my mind yet so I was thinking… “I’ll have some work to do at first but this could be good for me in the long run…”

    All things considered though, I’m still happy they didn’t change :)

  8. Heh, you used the real Simplified Chinese versions. Good job.

    I wish Japanese actually did this, though. This is one of the things I miss from Mandarin (well, that and phonetic radicals). I’m getting pretty tired of remembering the difference between 繊 and 殲 instead of 纤 and 歼.

    • I dunno, I feel like the drawbacks of simplifying at this point outweigh the benefits. It’s not like literacy is an issue with the current character set, and the need to handwrite is becoming increasingly rare. Not to mention it’ll become a hindrance for the upcoming generation if they want to read anything written in the last 60ish years.

      • Yeah, literacy was never really a serious problem in Japan. Only in China and Korea did they have that problem, which led to hanzi being simplified in China, and hanja being abolished in Korea. The other “kanji countries” like Taiwan and Hong Kong didn’t have any problems and continued using traditional characters.

        Also despite the purported benefits and logic of simplified Chinese, it’s not completely logical at all. Many times, the structure and underlying meaning is destroyed just to lower the number of strokes.

  9. OMG I almost died. It’s like I drop off the Japanese learning websites for a second and the WHOLE game changes.

  10. My gaigokujin opinion is that Kanji should be entirely eliminated and rules should be simplified to remove exceptions and 10 different counting systems and just generally give a more predictable structure to words and their modifications.

    There are SO many variations on how to say or write something.

    First step would be to pick either katakana or hiragana. The fact that there’s two identical alphabets is unfathomable to me.

    • Japanese has a much more limited set of phonemes, so eliminating kanji would making reading and writing very difficult (even for native speakers). You need them to add context because there are so many homonymns.

      Language is also a somewhat chaotic, organic system that you can’t just change on a whim. It’s already been tried with many older European languages (and even English, at one point) and it never works in real life.

      English also has dozens of different ways to say the same thing, due to its rich linguistic background. and this might help you understand why there are both hiragana and katakana.

  11. The worst part is that this article still comes up in google searches about kanji in 2019! You gave me a healthy scare!

  12. I’m writing my senior thesis on character simplification in Japan and China, and I think I nearly started crying when I read this article.

    • Lol, well, the bright side is, even if they did decide to do this, it really wouldn’t matter. All the massive amounts of media that Japan has already produced would always be available in the original way it was written (enough for a lifetime) and so the kanji skills tou developed would always be useful.

      The same goes for people being worried about the increase of loan words being used. Even if 3/4 of the language became loan words it really wouldn’t matter since you still have all that other prior media to enjoy. Really, the sad part for me is them losing their culture (language included) :(

  13. This was written in 2016, and they are still the original. I guess the people got some sense and did not simplify them. Simplification just makes them harder to recognize, and it doesn’t help with writing.

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