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The public use of language deemed by certain groups within a society to be demeaning to their members has been widely debated in Japan, as in other countries. Such language is known in Japanese as sabetsu yogo(discriminatory language). Japan has no laws attempting to regulate the use of this language, nevertheless, debate on the use of sabetsu yogo has brought about some degree of awareness and modification of language use in differing arenas. These changes have not gone unquestioned; the issue of minority rights versus freedom of speech has been a subject of considerable debate in Japan and elsewhere. This book is the first full-length study in English of this aspect of Japan's linguistic landscape. Focusing on an aspect of language and power which illustrates some of the dissent underlying Japan's officially promoted ideology of a harmonious society, this book illustrates the use of discriminatory language identified by five minority groups: the Burakumin, the Ainu, people with physical or mental disabilities, women and ethnic groups within Japan.
Published: 1st November 2005