Home Podcasts Japan Station Japan Station 21: Exploring Made in Japan English (Wasei Eigo) w. Anne Crescini

Japan Station 21: Exploring Made in Japan English (Wasei Eigo) w. Anne Crescini

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On this episode of the Japan Station podcast we’re talking about the Japanese language and the very interesting linguistic phenomenon of “made in Japan English” (wasei eigo).

Anne Crescini is an Associate Professor at the University of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture. She has conducted extensive research on the linguistic phenomenon of wasei eigo (“made in Japan English”) and has even written a book on the subject called Petto Botoru wa Eigo Ja nai tte Shittō to!? (English: Did you know that “PET Bottle” is not an English word!?). Aside from teaching and her work on wasei eigo, Anne regularly appears on Japanese television, writes a column for a Fukuoka newspaper, and makes her own miso. Anne is also well-known for her mastery of the Hakata dialect.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The various types of words that make up the Japanese language
  • The various languages of origin of gairaigo (loanwords/foreign origin words in Japanese)
  • What wasei eigo is
  • Examples of wasei eigo
  • What a “handle keeper” (handoru kīpā)
  • What a “paper driver” is (pēpā)
  • What “magic tape” (majikku tēpu) is
  • What “skinship” is
  • How the need for efficient communication shapes the words people use
  • Possible reasons why wasei eigo came to be so prevalent
  • How wasei eigo can be confusing for both English-speakers and Japanese-speakers
  • Why Anne moved to Japan
  • How Anne became interested in the Japanese language and researching it
  • The changing nature of language
  • Recent Japanese slang such as the use of wanchan and futsū ni (murai, oishii, etc)
  • The use of re-tasu kotoba
  • The use of ra-nuki kotoba
  • The importance of knowing when you should speak formal Japanese versus casual Japanese
  • Anne’s interest in cooking Japanese food
  • The potential probiotic benefits of making one’s own miso
  • And much more!

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Extra Stuff

You can get a copy of Anne’s book, Petto Botoru wa Eigo Ja nai tte Shittō to!?, via Amazon in Japan.

Purchase on Amazon (Japan)

You can also get Anne’s book via the US Amazon website. Unfortunately, (as of the time of this writing) it is being sold at a much higher price on the US Amazon.

Purchase on Amazon (US)

You can check out Anne’s blog (An-chan kara Miru Nippon), via the link below. Anne writes her articles in both English and Japanese, so this is a great resource for anybody studying Japanese.

An-chan kara Miru Nippon Blog

Here is Anne in a video of a livestream she did with fellow Fukuoka-based media personality Bobby Judo. Both Bobby and Anne speak almost exclusively in Japanese in this video.

Here is Anne giving a TEDx talk in Fukuoka. The talk is on the importance of trying to understand the way people other than yourself view the world. The talk is entirely in Japanese.

Miyajidake Shrine (宮地嶽神, Miyajidake Jinja) Location Information

7-1 Miyaji Motomachi
Fukutsu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, 811-3309

How to Get There
From JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka City take the JR Kagoshima Main Line (Kagoshima Honsen) bound for Mojikko to Fukuma Station. Miyajidake Shrine is about 2 km awar from Fukuma Station. This is about a 25 minute walk or around five minutes by taxi. To go by bus, head to the Miyaji Exit (Miyaji-guchi) and take any of the Nishitetsu buses that stop at Miyajidake Jinja-mae. If you take the bus, the whole trip from Hakata Station could take around 35 minutes. However, factors like train and bus schedules can significantly affect this estimate.


Miyajidake Shrine Official Site

What to See
Though a bit out of the way for most people, Miyajidake Shrine is a pretty interesting place to visit. It is known for having the largest shimenawa (a ceremonial rope), taiko drum, and suzu bell in Japan. It is also known for the Hikari no Michi (Path of Light). Every year in the latter half of October and February the sun sets in such a way that it is framed beautifully by the torii gate that is at the top of the stairs leading up to the entrance of Miyajidake Shrine. It is said that the light from the setting sun during these times looks like a sacred path of light leading straight to the sea not far from the shrine. In 2019 the Hikari no Michi will take place on October 12-25. In February it will begin on the 19th and continue until March 3rd. This is a popular event among Japanese tourists, so if you intend on going, you should go early to secure a good viewing spot.

Here is a commercial the Japanese pop group Arashi did as part of a team-up with Japan Airlines (JAL). The video was shot at Miyajidake Shrine and highlights the famous Hikari no Michi. This commercial has led to a resurgence in popularity of the shrine.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena (Used with permission from Yunomi)
To listen to more of Yunomi’s music, check out his Soundcloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Featured image: Courtesy of Anne Crescini

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