image of [Japanese] toilets are not garbage cans
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Traditional linguistic landscape research focuses on the diversity, vitality, and structure of languages in public spaces. However, this study takes a critical lens and examines how certain multilingual signage reflects the normalised, harmful ideologies which target minorities in Japan. The study reveals examples of punitive multilingualism, highlighting the information disparities between languages in public signage found in Aichi, Hokkaido, and on the Internet. The paper discusses instances of discriminatory public signage, including online advertisements, based on the premise that foreigners are unruly, and official government signage that appears to target foreigners. The study also delves into problematic instructions posted in public restrooms, showing how the presentation of language(s) can reinforce stereotypes and implicit bias. Through a critical analysis of multilingual signage, this study reveals the challenges and consequences of punitive multilingualism in the context of Japanese sociolinguistics.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Afifah, M.
    (2022) Japanese and Indonesian prohibitive expressions on prohibition signs at train stations: A linguistic landscape study. Jurnal Pendidikan dan Pengajaran Bahasa Jepang, (), –. 10.17509/japanedu.v7i2.51851
    https://doi.org/10.17509/japanedu.v7i2.51851 [Google Scholar]
  2. Al-Athwary, A.
    (2022) Linguistic landscape in Najran: A sociolinguistic approach. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, (), –. 10.17507/tpls.1212.11
    https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.1212.11 [Google Scholar]
  3. Angermeyer, P. S.
    (2015) Speak English or what? Codeswitching and interpreter use in New York city courts. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. (2017) Controlling Roma refugees with ‘Google-Hungarian’: Indexing deviance, contempt, and belonging in Toronto’s linguistic landscape. Language in Society, (), –. 10.1017/S0047404516001020
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404516001020 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2022) Translation as discrimination: Sociolinguistics and inequality in multilingual institutional contexts. Language in Society, , –. 10.1017/S0047404522000422
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404522000422 [Google Scholar]
  6. Backhaus, P.
    (2007) Linguistic landscapes: A comparative study of urban multilingualism in Tokyo. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2010) Multilingualism in Japanese public space: Reading the signs. Japanese Studies, (), –. 10.1080/10371397.2010.518598
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2010.518598 [Google Scholar]
  8. (2019) Linguistic landscape. InP. Heinrich & Y. Ohara (Eds.), Routledge handbook of Japanese sociolinguistics, (pp.–). New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315213378‑10
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315213378-10 [Google Scholar]
  9. Banda, F. & Jimaima, H.
    (2017) Linguistic landscapes and the sociolinguistics of language vitality in multilingual contexts of Zambia. Multilingua, (), –. 10.1515/multi‑2017‑3047
    https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2017-3047 [Google Scholar]
  10. Barni, M. & Bagna, C.
    (2010) Linguistic Landscape and language vitality. InE. Shohamy, E. Ben-Rafael, & M. Barni (Eds.), Linguistic Landscape in the city, (pp.–). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781847692993‑003
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847692993-003 [Google Scholar]
  11. Evacomics
    Evacomics (2019) I show the cultural differences between Japan and other countries (30 pics) (accessed2023, September 22) https://www.boredpanda.com/comics-cultural-differences-japan-evacomics/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
  12. Gramigna, R.
    (2013) Toilet cultures: Boundaries, dirt and disgust. InA. Kannike & P. Laviolette (Eds.), Things in Culture, Culture in Things. Approaches to Culture Theory 3, –. Tartu: University of Tartu Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Gustafsson, K.
    (2016) Routinised recognition and anxiety: Understanding the deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations. Review of International Studies, (): –. 10.1017/S0260210515000546
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210515000546 [Google Scholar]
  14. Higgins, C.
    (2015) Earning capital in Hawai‘i’s linguistic landscape. InR. Tupas (Ed.), Unequal Englishes: The politics of Englishes today, –. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137461223_9
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137461223_9 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hinnenkamp, Volker [Google Scholar]
  16. Hupp, S. L.
    (2017) The experiences and perceptions of microaggressions against American Assistant Language Teachers living in Japan. (Master’s thesis). University of Arkansas.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Isono, H. & Uenaka, J.
    (2014) Ōsaka Dōtonbori no tagengo keikan: Gaikokujin ni muketa minkan hyōji o chūshin ni [The multilingual landscape of Dotonbori, Osaka: A close look at non-governmental signs]. Nihongo kenkyū: –.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Kubota, R.
    (2019) English in Japan. InP. Heinrich & Y. Ohara (Eds.), Routledge handbook of Japanese sociolinguistics, (pp.–). Milton Park/New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315213378‑7
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315213378-7 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lee, E. & Olsen, J. E.
    (2015) Multiculturalism in Japan: An analysis and critique. Kwansei Gakuin University Journal of International Studies, (), –.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Long, D.
    (2010) Amami kotoba no gengo keikan [The linguistic landscape of the Amami language]. InJ. Uchida, S. Nakai, O. Nakamura & H. Kanaseki (Eds.), Higashi ajia naikai no kankyō to bunka, (pp.–). Toyama: Katsura Shobō.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Long, D. & Nakai, S.
    (2014) Researching non-standard dialect usage in linguistic landscapes. InA. Barysevich, A. D’arcy & D. Heap (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, –. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Masai, Y.
    (1972) Tōkyō no seikatsu chizu [Living map of Tokyo]. Tokyo: Jiji Tsūshinsha.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013) Recent Japan-Taiwan Relations and the Taiwan situation. Retrieved fromhttps://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/taiwan/pdfs/japan-taiwan_relations.pdf
  24. Morishita, M.
    (2022) Nihon no gengo keikan ni okeru eigo no goyō keikō [Non-native English expressions found in linguistic landscapes of Japan]. Gengogakushū to kyōiku gengogaku 2021: –.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Morita, L.
    (2015) Some manifestations of Japanese exclusionism. SAGE Open, (). 10.1177/2158244015600036
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015600036 [Google Scholar]
  26. Nagoya Convention & Visitors Bureau
    Nagoya Convention & Visitors Bureau (n.d.). Osu/Kanayama: Asunal Kanayama [Web log post]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.nagoya-info.jp/en/spot/detail/25/
  27. Oshima, K.
    (2014) Perception of hafu or mixed-race people in Japan: Group-session studies among hafu students at a Japanese university. Intercultural Communication Studies, (): –.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Piller, I.
    (2016) Linguistic diversity in a time of crisis: An introduction to applied sociolinguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Runcieman, A. J.
    (2022) Translanguaging in court proceedings: How interpreter pedagogy needs to address monolingual ideologies in court interpreting that delegitimize litigants’ voices. International Journal of Interpreter Education, (): –. 10.34068/ijie.14.01.03
    https://doi.org/10.34068/ijie.14.01.03 [Google Scholar]
  30. Seiger, F.
    (2019) ‘Mixed’ Japanese-Filipino identities under Japanese multiculturalism. Social Identities, (): –. 10.1080/13504630.2018.1499225
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13504630.2018.1499225 [Google Scholar]
  31. Taitō City
    Taitō City (2022, January7). Gaikokujin kankōkyaku no ukeire ni benrina sīru/panfuretto o haifushiteimasu (shokuzai hyouji, toire no riyō shikata nado) [Distributing helpful stickers and pamphlets for welcoming foreign tourists (ingredient display, how to use the toilet, et cetera)]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.city.taito.lg.jp/bunka_kanko/anzentaisaku/anshintaisaku/anshikanko/siruhaihu.html
  32. Tan, M. S. & Ben Said, S.
    (2015) Linguistic landscape and exclusion: An examination of language representation in disaster signage in Japan. InR. Rubdy, S. B. Said (Eds.), Conflict, Exclusion and Dissent in the Linguistic Landscape. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137426284_7
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137426284_7 [Google Scholar]
  33. Terao, S.
    (2009) Chihōtoshi ni okeru tagengo hyōji: Minokamo-shi ni okeru nanbei shusshin muke hyōji wo reiji to shite [Multilingual signage in suburban cities: The case of signage directed toward South Americans in Minokamo City]. Kōbe daigaku ryūgakusē sentā kiyō: –. 10.24546/81001034
    https://doi.org/10.24546/81001034 [Google Scholar]
  34. Tokunaga, T.
    (2011) ‘I’m not going to be in Japan forever’: How Filipina immigrant youth in Japan construct the meaning of home. Ethnography and Education, (): –. 10.1080/17457823.2011.587358
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2011.587358 [Google Scholar]
  35. Tsuda, T.
    (2000) Acting Brazilian in Japan: Ethnic resistance among return migrants. Ethnology(): –. 10.2307/3773795
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3773795 [Google Scholar]
  36. Usui, A.
    (2020) Gaikokujin shūjū chīki ni mirareru gengo hyōji ni tuite: Genjō no kadai to kongo no kyōsei shakai e mukete [On language in signage seen in foreigner-concentrated areas: Current challenges and toward a society of coexistence]. (Unpublished bachelor’s thesis). Nanzan University.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Wang, J.
    (2015) Linguistic Landscape on campus in Japan – A case study of signs in Kyushu University. Intercultural Communication Studies, (): –.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Yoneoka, J. & Saito, C.
    (2017) Globalization of the Japanese ladies’ room: Multilingual signage needs and issues. Asian English Studies: –. 10.50875/asianenglishstudies.19.0_58
    https://doi.org/10.50875/asianenglishstudies.19.0_58 [Google Scholar]
  39. Yubisashi
    Yubisashi (2017) Gaikokujin no manā taisaku: Yubisashi inbaundo sutikā [Countermeasures for foreigners’ manners: Yubisashi Inbound stickers] (Web log post). Retrieved fromhttps://biz.yubisashi.com/sticker_inbound/

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error