Monocolumn: Japanese Brush Up On Their English

Monocolumn: Japanese Brush Up On Their English

Verb conjugation; adverbial clauses; the future progressive: forget financial jargon, these are the words that may soon be found flying around the offices of Japan’s banking world.

  • 18 february 2011

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

Verb conjugation; adverbial clauses; the future progressive: forget financial jargon, these are the words that may soon be found flying around the offices of Japan’s banking world.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Japan’s second biggest bank by market value, has just unveiled a series of initiatives to encourage its staff to pick up the grammar books and learn English.

This month, rows of “language booths” will open in its Tokyo and Osaka offices where staff will be able to join one-to-one classes between 07.00 and 22.00 daily. Workers are also being encouraged to take officially-recognised English language tests, with perfect scores required for those planning to ascend the career ladder. The bank’s overseas presence – there are currently 15 branches outside Japan – will also expand, with more staff sent on international postings.

The move taps into a slow but growing trend of Japanese companies embracing English. Indeed, even now, fluent speakers are often few and far between.

Rakuten, the internet mall operator, is making English its official language, for use in meetings and documents (even staff canteen menus are in English apparently). Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing also plans to make English the main language of communication, as well as increasing foreign employees.

Some commentators say it comes not a moment too soon. Efforts by Japan to sustain itself as a global economic powerhouse, leading manufacturer and major political player may well have been limited in the past by a failure to open up and connect with the outside world – starting with language.

To continue reading, click here.

tumblr analytics


Transformable Table Maximizes Utility In Small Spaces

Design & Architecture
Technology Today

Roaming Robots Crawl Around Your Body To Do Small Jobs As You Go About Your Day

A new concept wearable developed by researchers at MIT and Stanford are fully functional bots that live on your clothing

Retail Today

Runners Are Delivering Groceries To Parisians

French supermarket Carrefour partnered with a running group for fast and memorable deliveries


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Gaming & Play Today

DIY Kits Let You Create Your Own Cameras And Speakers

Computer-building startup Kano has entered the IoT space with a new set of original products

Related Expert

Becky Arreaga

Multicultural Insights & Marketing

Automotive Yesterday

GM And Audi Are Experimenting With Car Rentals In SF

The automakers are trying something new to capture the segment of urban dwellers who don't want to own a car

Travel Yesterday

This Vertical Forest Hotel Will Improve The Air Around It

An architectural firm is creating a lush mountain lodging in China with so much greenery that it will actually clean the atmosphere

Work Yesterday

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Creative Leadership Expert: Experiencing A Seismic Shift From Brand Loyalty To Interface Loyalty

Marc Shillum, founder of Chief Creative Office, explains why product designers must rethink the way they capture consumer attention

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Europe Yesterday

This Company Believes Insects Can Provide Biofuel To Power Our Future

A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

Entertainment Yesterday

Music Venue Caters To Virtual Reality Events

Boiler Room has launched the first VR hub for content creators to capture special footage for the masses

Gaming & Play Yesterday

Automated Chessboard Lets You Play Against Anyone In The World

Square Off is an AI-powered board that can move the pieces on its own

Technology Yesterday

Contraband Recorder Helps Those In Need Capture Captive Conversations

Designer Marianna Mezhibovkaya created the device to help prison inmates capture crucial evidence of abuse

Advertising Yesterday

A Compelling Brand Purpose Is Never Born In The Boardroom

Strategist and Designer Anna-Rae Morris shares why she believes all brands exist for a reason, and how Snapchat has upended our behavior

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports

WHOOP, ShotTracker, Rithmio, PlaySight, STYR Labs, EverybodyFights and Lift / Next Level Floats explain that we're only at the iceberg's tip of performance enhancement

Retail Yesterday

Kodak’s Smartphone Is Inspired By A Retro Camera

Ektra is an Android phone with a powerful lens aimed at photographers

No search results found.