Why many Japanese can’t speak English?

If you are an ESL teacher, you know that many Japanese can not speak English well even though they study English at junior and senior high school for 6 years. The main reason is follows.

The occupation period was short

The 1st reson is literally.

Japan was occupied by the United States after the Pacific War. However, the United States did not enforce English education. After that, Japan fulfilled independence.

English education system was not for communicate

In Japan, English education was just an examination subject, not for communicate. Therefore, there were many English teachers can not speak English well. Of course their students will not be able to speak English.

It was not necessary for many Japanese people

The 3rd reason is core of this theme.

Fortunately, Japan had a strong economic power for a long time. And domestic economic scale is also quite large. Therefore, many people did not have to look overseas.

However nowadays, the English communication skill become important also in Japan.

The head of state

The head of state of Japan is the Emperor. Prime Minister is the next.

However, the Emperor is not involved in politics. Emperor is positioned as a symbol of Japanese integration.

The main role of the Emperor is as follows.

  • National acts (such as the appointment of ministers)
  • Traditional ritual from ancient times
  • Imperial diplomacy
  • Consolation

For example, when a massive disaster occurs in the country, the Emperor and the Empress go to the site and encourage the victims. For ordinary citizens, consolation by the head of state is very honored and encouraged.

Some people may have different ideas, but almost all Japanese respect the emperor. This is not only a tradition from ancient times, but it depends largely on the personality of the Emperor and his father (previous Emperor).

Also, the current Emperor is a fish scholar. His specialty is goby. Sometimes, he was asked to identify the goby that is difficult to classify, from foreign researchers. And Yellow prawn-goby is common in the Philippine sea. The Japanese name “Gingahaze(ギンガハゼ)” of the fish was named by the Emperor and the Empress.

Yellow prawn-goby、ギンガハゼ
ギンガハゼ(Yellow prawn-goby)

The December 23 is the national holiday called Emperor’s Birthday. However, the present Emperor is planning to make a concession to the Crown Prince, because of the elderly. February 23 will be the next Emperor ‘s birthday from 2019.