Japanese and attitudes toward kanji

Ken of What Japan Thinks has helpfully translated into English the results of a recent poll of 1,010 Japanese adults on their attitudes about kanji ability.

A total of 95 percent of those polled said they believe the kanji ability of elementary and middle school children is “undesirably low.” Of those giving this response, 56 percent associated the problem with a drop in school education levels.

A slight majority (52 percent) of all those polled reported a lack of confidence in their own kanji ability.

Here are the questions. For the responses, see the translation or the poll results in Japanese (『漢字力』などに関する調査, Goo Research, June 27, 2007):

  • Do you feel that elementary and middle school children’s kanji ability is sufficient?
    • It’s undesirably low
      • Why do you think that?
    • It’s not a problem
      • Why do you think that?
  • Do you have confidence in your own kanji ability?
    • Yes
    • No
      • Why don’t you have confidence in your own kanji ability?
  • What do you do when you cannot produce a kanji character?

    One thought on “Japanese and attitudes toward kanji

    1. Many of the students I taught when I was in Japan said the same thing. The majority of them blamed it on their usage of PC’s and word processors. They felt their writings skills were deteriorating as a result, though their ability to recognize kanji wasn’t being affected.

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