Japanese using mobile phones to look up kanji

Post questions and answers about living or visiting Japan or the culture
Post Reply
Posts: 403
Joined: Wed 03.01.2006 10:01 am
Location: United Kingdom

Japanese using mobile phones to look up kanji

Post by chchan45 » Fri 09.07.2007 11:50 am

I noticed this news article on NHK today.

It is about how reliance on technology can reduce people's kanji ability. According to the news article, 79% of Japanese in their 20s (compared to 9% of those in their 60s) use the henkan (変換) function in text writing (メール作成) screen of their mobile phones to look up kanjis.

Unfortunately, this does not work for everything. The reporters tested passers-by with a question converting つとめる. There are three possible conversions depending on the context (勤める, 努める, 務める) and this stumped quite a few people. The mobile phone is not a dictionary and does not provide explanations on how the different kanjis are used (使い分け).

However, I simply cannot believe that some people cannot write 総理大臣! The lady said she was ashamed. She explained that she has not written anything by hand for a while and that is why she may have forgotten how to write simple words.

The professor at the end said that the mobile phone is a useful tool for recalling things you have learnt, but you should not rely on it for things you do not know.
Reading 李香蘭 私の半生

Please note that:
1. English is not my first language.
2. I am not Japanese. I am prone to making mistakes so please point them out if you see any.

User avatar
Mike Cash
Posts: 2737
Joined: Sun 08.20.2006 3:38 am
Native language: English

RE: Japanese using mobile phones to look up kanji

Post by Mike Cash » Fri 09.07.2007 12:54 pm

Did they ask what percentage of those in their 60s know how to do anything on their mobile phones other than dial a number and answer incoming calls? That would have been most useful for providing some more perspective on the 9% figure.
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.

Post Reply