The Japanese public broadcaster NHK has been sued by a 71-year-old viewer who accuses the company of causing him “mental distress” through the excessive use of words derived from English.
Hoji Takahashi, the discontent viewer, asked for Y1.4 million ($14,300) in damages, according to the documents filed with the Nagoya district court. He says that NHK is ignoring its responsibility to use Japanese words instead of terms derived from English.
Among the examples he gives are words like kea (care), toraburu (trouble), risuku (risk) and shisutemu (system), as well as programme titles like BS Kosheruju (BS Concierge) and Sutajio Paaku Kara Konnichiwa (Hello from Studio Park).
The man says he represents a pressure group that works to protect the Japanese language.
“I contacted NHK to inquire about this, but there was no response so I decided to take the matter to court,” he said, quoted by Kyodo news agency. “I want the broadcaster to take into account elderly viewers like me when it is creating shows.”
The Japanese government and media have been under pressure to rein in the use of loanwords since the early 2000s, according to Makoto Yamazaki, a professor in linguistics. “It’s OK for people in the same company or group to use, say, specialized words, but when they are picked up by the media it becomes a problem”. Even if the lawsuit is ridiculous, at least it draws attention to the problem, he added.