August 28 2000 at 3:16 PM

Response to Sorry...

Your post didn't strike me as sarcastic...perhaps a tad whiney. It's fine to ask about a bit of vernacular you don't get, I'd be happy to explain. To insist we de-color our commentary or provide multi-lingual translation is a bit unreasonable, methinks.

As far as Kansai-ben being considered "unsophisticated", I'd agree, and so would most speakers of it...unsophisticated when compared to the tumped-up pretension of perfectly-spoken NHK-quality "Standard" Japanese. But I think it's a mistake to assume people feel it is a rural dialect...that's wrong. I might agree if you were talking about a more obscure dialect like one from Kyushu or Tohoku. Kansai and Nagoya dialects have a distinctly working-class aura about them, and it seems they have been pretty influential in the last ten or so years, imparting a little soul to standard Japanese. Ever wonder why so many (unfunny) comedians and talento are Kansai people? I'm sure it can be summed up more succinctly than "they sound like hicks!".

I'm certainly not trying to re-write history, and indeed "standard" Japanese is the educational standard. But I fail to see the strength in the argument that because a spartan dialect of Japanese was declared official teaching by the Meiji government, it necessarily becomes "real" Japanese, sarcasm included.

Oh well, this means nothing guess is that around half of the people who live in Tokyo are from somewhere else entirely, anyway. Tokyo is like New's hard to find a real native.


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