This week, we decided to look for engrish and the usage of katakana in magazines. We read various magazines, such as fashion, entertainment and English magazines. We felt that the magazines tend to use katakana to express things. We saw that it was mostly fashion magazines that used katakana. We wondered why those magazines prefer Katakana to Kanji. We didn't believe that it is because the Katakana is easy to write because the magazines are printed and not hand written. Therefore, we felt that there should be some other reasons for the use of Katakana in place of Kanji. In addition, we also found some engrish in the magazines we looked at. The following paragraphs will provide an explanation of our thoughts and discoveries.
The first magazine we read is called, “Real Design”, which focuses on interior design for offices and information about office supplies. This magazine is targeted toward office people. We believe that this magazine provides monthly updates on the latest products and designs. There are many terms written in Katakana.
For example, the organic cotton is written as “オーガニックコットン”, but there are kanji that can be used for this term, “有機綿 (ゆうきめん)”. We thought that the cotton is similar to soy milk, because the kanji “有機” can be used to describe organic soy milk, and we wondered why these two Kanji cannot be used for the words “organic cotton”.
The second magazine is “オリスタOnly star”, which focuses on celebrities, dramas, and movies. This magazine is targeting toward the young people who are interested in the entertainment market.
The third magazine is called “Hanako”. This magazine is about the beauty and health for women.
The ladies who are concerned about their health, beauty, life quality, and lifestyle are the major readers for this magazine. Those ladies are well educated and are interested in the most recent information about those topics, which is the same as the first magazine’s readers. Therefore, Hanako magazine is more likely to have a lot terms written in Katakana, so those intelligent ladies can understand more easily than other people. The magazine is probably providing those ladies the feeling that they are in higher level of knowledge about those certain topics. For example, they use “ミネラルコスメ”, which means mineral cosmetics, instead of using Kanji, “鉱物(こうぶつ)” for mineral, and “化粧品” (けしょうひん) for cosmetics.
On the other hand, we found some engrish in the magazine, “Aera English”, which teaches Japanese people English.
For example, “The grass is always greener” is odd because it omits some words from the phrase. It is supposed to be “The grass is always greener on the other side”.
Also, in this article which talks about a wind bell, there is a sentence which is hard to understand and a little bit awkward.
In conclusion, these magazines represent the current culture and life in Japan, and they have the latest Japanese language. Therefore, it is a good source to use for our Engrish research. After this week’s research, we concluded that more and more Japanese people prefer katakana to Kanji or Hiragana, so in order to meet their needs, those magazines try to use Katakana more often. In addition, Japanese people are more interested in English, so Katakana plays an important role in Japanese language. Even the magazine that tries to teach English to Japanese people has some misleading English phrases.