The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Study on the Multilingualization of Japan

Joint Research Coordinator SHOJI Hiroshi

Reserch Theme List


In recent years the number of foreigners who are permanent residents or semi-permanent residents in Japan has increasedtremendously, giving rise to daily contacts among people with different languages who hail from different places. Ethnic businesses and ethnic media using foreign languages have appeared, and with both government and the private sector beginning to respond to foreigners in foreign languages, Japan is steadily becoming a multilingual society. At the same time, we have begun to recognize within the Japanese language the existence of all kinds of variants in terms of dialects, sign language in Japanese or topological language in which the speaker or the user of such a form of language has an increasing sense of belonging in his or her social existence. While examining the language situation for ethnic groups and other aspects of the increasing multilingualization, our research will compare this language situation and other aspects with global changes in conditions and examples in other countries. We also seek to clarify the impact on the linguistic consciousness of the Japanese people and their social systems.