Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan

Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan : Reading Between the Lines

3.5 (2 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


Japanese writing intermingles three different sets of characters, making it difficult to adapt to new technology. Unger looks at why the Japanese have not reformed their orthography and specifically the efforts at script reform that took place after the Second World War, and how and why that movement was defeated.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 188 pages
  • 146.1 x 217.4 x 19.6mm | 437.93g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • line figures, tables
  • 0195101669
  • 9780195101669
  • 2,077,887

Review quote

Unger's book adds a new dimension to the picture by clearly showing that fear of romanization, which suddenly did not seem such an unrealistic alternative, made them all the more determined to hold off the challenge. * Monumenta Nipponica * an excellent account of literacy ... the romaji experiment was cancelled ... the book is all the more readable for Unger's obvious sympathy with the experiment's aims and his respect for those who tried to achieve them. Romanisation is and will remain a topic of East Asian significance, and not least cause for the odd surprise. * The Times Higher Education Supplement * must be welcomed as filling an important gap./ Florian Coulmas, Chuo University, Japan, Written Language and Literacy. This is a book that deserves wide readership. * John Lie, Social Science Japan Jnl. Vol.3, No.2, 2000. * Unger's clear and convincing account of Japanese script reform ... is a fascinating study. * John Lie, Social Science Japan Jnl. Vol.3, No.2, 2000. * Unger's study of literacy and script reform is a tragic account of lost opportunity. * John Lie, Social Science Japan Jnl. Vol.3, No.2, 2000. *
show more

Back cover copy

This book challenges the widespread belief that overzealous Americans forced unnecessary script reforms on an unprepared, unenthusiastic, but helpless Japan during the Occupation. Unger presents neglected historical evidence, showing that the reforms implemented from 1946 to 1959 were both necessary and moderate. Although the United States Education Mission recommended that the Japanese give serious consideration to the introduction of alphabetic writing, key American officials in the Civil Information and Education Section of GHQ/SCAP delayed and effectively killed action on this recommendation. Japanese advocates of romanization nevertheless managed to obtain CI&E approval for an experiment in elementary schools to test the hypothesis that schoolchildren could make faster progress if spared the necessity of studying Chinese characters as part of non-language courses such as arithmetic. Though not conclusive, the experiment's results supported the hypothesis and suggested the need for more and better testing. Yet work was brought to a halt a year ahead of schedule; the Ministry of Education was ordered to prepare a report that misrepresented the goal of the experiment and claimed it proved nothing. The whole episode dropped from official and scholarly view - until the publication of this book.
show more

Rating details

2 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 50% (1)
3 50% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X