Background and status
Japanese, an East Asian language, which is spoken by about 125 million speakers primarily in Japan, has no official status, but is the de facto national language of Japan. Japanese is also spoken by Japanese living in Hawaii, the North and South American mainland as well as a second language by the Chinese and Korean captives who lived under Japanese occupation. Formerly, standard Japanese in writing (bungo, ‘literary language’) was different from colloquial Japanese (kōgo). Kōgo is however, the dominant method of both speaking and writing, although bungo grammar and vocabulary are occasionally used in modern Japanese for effect. Hyōjungo or ‘standard Japanese’ is taught in schools, used on television and with official communications.
Growth and usage
The media in Japan is undergoing rapid changes (as is the case elsewhere in the industrialised world) with regards to the increase in multi-media technologies and the introduction of digital services. The importance of the media for every day life in modern, industrialised societies is reflected in an ever-increasing number of publications relating to the media, media ownership and media control. These changes in Japan have supported Japanese’s present surge of popularity especially within the Pacific Rim region. As Japan maintains its position as a world economic power, the necessity for many to communicate in Japanese has increased.