It is commonly believed that changes have been taking place in the Japanese writing system in recent years, with more kanji being used than kana when compared with the years before. If this is so, this could mean that words which were written in kana in the past are now being written in kanji. In other words, what this means is that the manner in which words are represented in the Japanese language is itself changing. This paper is based on a longitudinal study carried out to examine the changes in the Japanese writing system in relation to the use of kanji and kana. The study aimed to find out whether higher proportions of kanji have been used after the early 1980s, and if so, whether this increased use of kanji has had an impact on how words are represented in the language. The study examined the changes in script usage by using topic‐controlled news texts published in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun from the 1940s to the 2000s.
|Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
|Published - 2012