A survey conducted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Ministry of Education shows that 66.5% of respondents believe that they are slowly losing the ability to properly handwrite in kanji. The obvious “culprit” is the prevalent use of electronic devices such as tablets and mobile phones. While everyone is in agreement that technology has changed lives, mostly for the better, it has also brought tension to culture, communication and even to the most basic tasks, like writing your own language.
The numbers are up by 25.2 from the last survey done by the agency in 2002. The study, conducted last February and March through interviews with 3,474 subjects from ages 16 and above, also showed 42% feel that handwriting is too tedious and 29.5 prefer to use electronic means like email rather than actually communicating orally with people, even for the simplest tasks.
With the rapid evolution of communication, especially in a country like Japan, the inevitable clash between preserving culture and adapting to the changing world is imminent. The main issue that the agency has with this is that young Japanese students who haven’t mastered yet the language and writing are already much more proficient with electronic devices that automatically generate the kanji characters. They are seriously considering what can be done to address this, without necessarily sacrificing technology.