No. 64 Considering how to live in the present age while searching for the meaning of Babel.

Babel University Professional School of Translation (BUPST) Alumni Newsletter
Issue 64
September 29, 2018

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Table of Contents
1. Featured articles from issue 205 of TPT (Foreward)
2. Featured articles from issue 205 of TPT (From the Alumni Editing Department)
3. Japan Translation Association Announcements

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2. Featured articles from issue 205 of TPT (From the Alumni Editing Department)
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The language of Japanese is deemed inconvenient and is not sufficient
for writing compositions or public speaking. Therefore, we should speak
and write in English – at least this is the foolish nonsense that some
people propose (directed at Mori Arinori, the first Minister of
Education). -Fukuzawa Yukichi

Tomoki Hotta
Vice Chancellor
Babel University Professional School of Translation

In this article, we’ll consider what we can learn from Fukuzawa Yukichi
’s viewpoints, referring to Itsuo Kohama’s recent book Fukuzawa
Yukichi and Japan’s Graceful Spirit.

Fukuzawa announced bluntly that, “The language of Japanese is deemed
inconvenient, and is not sufficient for writing compositions or public
speaking. Therefore, we should use English and write in English – at
least this is the foolish nonsense that some people propose.”

At around the same time, Fukuzawa published An Encouragement of Learning,
Japan’s first Minister of Education Mori Arinori called for switching
to English as the country’s official language. The above quote is
Fukuzawa Yukichi’s words of scathing reproach in response to Mori’s
proposal.

It would be one thing if only private corporations were making the
switch to English, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. National and
local governments are glibly proposing strategic “English only”
districts, or areas where public services are offered only in English.
Then there’s the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and
Technology (MEXT), that insists on creating “super global”
universities and casually switching higher education in Japa to English.
What’s more, MEXT is pushing forward policies to introduce English in
elementary schools for earlier grades, even though the success of such
policies is doubtful. In light of this recent activity, Fukuzawa’s
words sound as a warning for the Japanese.

What’s more, while Singapore and other Asian countries adopted English
as the language used in their higher education, Japan has remained
adamant about using Japanese in its higher education. What’s
interesting is that Japan has won several Nobel Prizes in the sciences,
putting it right behind the U.S. at the top of the list for Nobel Prize
for sciences. However, compared to the year 2000, a comparison of shifts
in the science and technology budgets for major countries shows that
America, Germany, and England have allotted 1.5 times more funds for
science and technology, and Korea 4.7 times. China has set aside a
surprising 11 times more funds for science and technology. Japan – whose
allotted 1.06 times more funds in these fields – has shown almost no
change. The government of Japan’s blatant downplay of its role as a
technology-intensive nation is shocking.

The Japanese people and government must adopt an attitude for learning
similar to that which Fukuzawa Yukichi taught. Fukuzawa advocated
standing between the East and the West – always thinking of Japan’s
role and not simply following the West, but also learning from the East,
Japan itself, and the West as well.

Considering recent policies enacted by the Japanese government, it’s
time to be concerned again about Japan’s current condition and examine
just what kind of country Japan should be.

Fukuzawa Yukichi contemplated such questions after the Meiji Restoration,
which was a great turning point for Japan. The Japanese need to be aware
of the fact that now is also at a turning point – a period where Japan
must make a shift.

Many are already aware of the following data, also cited by Kohama in
his book (data provided by Kyoto University Graduate School professor
Satoshi Fujii) from OECD’s report on shifts in nominal GDP for major
countries. Setting the year 1990 as the base year (100), Germany, France,
and Italy are currently at 200 and above for nominal GDP, while the U.S.,
England, and Canada are at 300 and above. However, Japan has exhibited
almost no growth. What’s more, during the 20-year period from 1995 to
2015, Japan’s nominal GPD rate of growth has been the lowest of all 80
major countries. Japan’s deplorable situation doesn’t stop there –
nominal wages have continued to decline as well during that same 20-year
period. Is Japan’s current situation intentional? What’s incredible is
that not only the government but the media as well makes no mention of
these issues.

If Fukuzawa Yukichi were alive today, he probably would have had the
following thoughts…

If one were to venture to list the three dangers threatening modern
Japan, they would be the lack of citizens’ awareness of danger and a
lack of concern for the country. The Japanese today resemble the fable
of a frog being slowly boiled alive. Neighboring China continues to cast
sidelong glances at Japan as it struggles with economic decline (due to
the misgovernment of government officials), looking for ways to encroach
upon Japan’s borders (buying whatever they can lay their hands on), and
make Japan a Chinese protectorate. It is in the midst of such conditions
that the Japanese must wake up to what’s going on.

Kohama also has a sense of impending danger and asserts that there are
two other dangers in particular threatening Japan.

The first is Japan’s Ministry of Finances’ reduced budget policies,
which are the foolish plans of finance bureaucrats who renounce growth.
These policies have resulted in delays in infrastructure maintenance,
which was the primary reason for recent water damage in various areas.
Such policies have also resulted in budget cuts in science and
technology, which has threatened Japan’s status as a technology-
oriented nation, and military budget cuts, that have led to Japan’s
decreasing ability to protect itself as a nation. These budget cuts have
also created an overwhelming disparity between Japan and neighboring
China. Japan’s foolish policies are deplorable, to say the least.

Behind such policies are rumors of economic collapse, with Japan’s debt
supposedly at 1,000 trillion JPY, or approximately eight million JPY of
debt per person. The government, however, issues bonds calculated in JPY
as if there’s no possibility of bankruptcy, and spreads propaganda
insinuating that its citizens are the ones burdened with debt (while in
actuality Japanese citizens are creditors).

The second danger is minimal opposition in Japan to globalism and
neoliberalism. How many people are aware that increased immigration
policies, shifts in education to English, the liberalization of
electricity, privatization of waterworks, and other policies are leading
to Japan falling prey to global corporations?

How many are aware that such problems are the result of the reckless
actions of Japan’s unique private members of the Diet? These “members,
” who aren’t members of the Diet but rather prominent players in the
financial world, are allowed to nominally participate in Japan’s Future
Council, the Economic and Finance Advisory Council, etc. What these “
members” are really doing is looking out for the interests of their own
corporations (it would be one thing if they were simply engaged in
honest lobbying). Japan is thus creating a structure that allows
enterprises to greedily pursue personal gain.

My intent in this article is not to get mired down by political issues,
but I do believe Japan’s people need to be concerned about the current
health of Japan.

Fukuzawa Yukichi did not merely side with the West as many often believe,
but earnestly cared about Japan and adhered to a policy of fully
understanding things Western, using what’s called a “translational
approach” – adopting Western ideas into the context of Japanese society.
What Japan desperately needs now is another Fukuzawa Yukichi.

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3. Japan Translation Association Announcements
Japan Translation Association Test Information
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***Alumni from BUPST – a Japan Translation Association certified
university – can take JTA tests in October for 3,000 yen per test.

(Regular test fee: starting at 5,400 yen)

*When applying for a test, be sure to enter in the Remarks section the
year you graduated from BUPST and your major.
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1. 15th Translation Project Manager Advanced Certification Test
Date: October 20, 2018 (Saturday) 10:00-13:00 (Japan time)
Application deadline: October 16, 2018 (Tuesday, Japan time)
http://www.jta-net.or.jp/about_pro_exam_tpm_2.html

2. Literary Translation Proficiency Test
Date: October 20, 2018 (Saturday) 10:00-13:00 (Japan time)

Application deadline: October 16, 2018 (Tuesday, Japan time)
1) 20th Young Adult and Children’s Books Translation Proficiency Test
2) 19th Light Novel Translation Proficiency Test
3) 14th Romance Novel Translation Proficiency Test
Refer to JTA’s website for details and to apply:
http://www.jta-net.or.jp/about_publication_exam.html

3. Business Translation Proficiency Test
Date: October 20, 2018 (Saturday) 10:00-12:00 (Japan time)
Application deadline: October 16, 2018 (Tuesday, Japan time)
1) 26th Medical and Pharmaceutical Translation Proficiency Test (E-J and J-E)
2) 26th Patent Translation Proficiency Test (E-J and J-E)
3) 18th (J-E) Medical and Pharmaceutical Translation Proficiency Test
Refer to JTA’s website for details and to apply:
http://www.jta-net.or.jp/about_business_exam-2.html

4. 17th French Translation Proficiency Test
◆ Nonfiction
Date: October 20, 2018 (Saturday) 10:00-13:00 (Japan time)
Application deadline: October 16, 2018 (Tuesday, Japan time)
Refer to JTA’s website for details and to apply:
http://www.jta-net.or.jp/about_french_translation_exam.html

5. 17th German Translation Proficiency Test
◆ Nonfiction
Date: October 20, 2018 (Saturday) 10:00-13:00 (Japan time)
Application deadline: October 16, 2018 (Tuesday, Japan time)
Refer to JTA’s website for details and to apply:
http://www.jta-net.or.jp/about_german_translation_exam.html

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Published September 29, 2018 by BUPST Alumni Service.
The above information was sent by BUPST.
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