Presenting new approaches and results previously inaccessible in English, the Routledge Handbook of Japanese Sociolinguistics provides an insight into the language and society of contemporary Japan from a fresh perspective.

While it was once believed that Japan was a linguistically homogenous country, research over the past two decades has shown Japan to be a multilingual and sociolinguistically diversifying country. Building on this approach, the contributors to this handbook take this further, combining Japanese and western approaches alike and producing research which is relevant to twenty-first century societies. Organised into five parts, the sections covered include:

  • The languages and language varieties of Japan.
  • The multilingual ecology.
  • Variation, style and interaction.
  • Language problems and language planning.
  • Research overviews.

With contributions from across the field of Japanese sociolinguistics, this handbook will prove very useful for students and scholars of Japanese Studies, as well as sociolinguists more generally.

part Part I|2 pages

The languages and language varieties of Japan

chapter 1|22 pages

Ainu language and Ainu speakers

ByMika Fukazawa

chapter 2|18 pages

Ryukyuan sociolinguistics

ByMasahide Ishihara, Katsuyuki Miyahira, Gijs van der Lubbe, Patrick Heinrich

chapter 3|20 pages

Ryukyu-substrate Japanese

Contact effects on the replacing language
ByMark Anderson

chapter 4|15 pages

Japanese dialects

ByShinji Sanada

chapter 5|13 pages

Koine and koineization

ByShin Abe

chapter 6|19 pages

Language and migration in Japan

ByRuriko Otomo

chapter 7|17 pages

English in Japan

ByRyuko Kubota

part Part II|2 pages

The multilingual ecology

chapter 8|14 pages


From standardized identities to language aesthetics
ByJohn C. Maher

chapter 9|15 pages

Metrolingualism in transitional Japan

ByEmi Otsuji

chapter 10|12 pages

Linguistic landscape

ByPeter Backhaus

chapter 11|14 pages

Bilingualism and bilingual education in Japan

BySachiyo Fujita-Round

chapter 12|13 pages

Japan as a multilingual society

ByHiroshi Shoji

part Part III|2 pages

Variation, style and interaction

chapter 13|19 pages

Language variation and change

ByKazuko Matsumoto

chapter 15|13 pages

Language and social relations

ByZi Wang

chapter 16|16 pages


ByYasuko Obana

chapter 17|15 pages


ByYukiko Nishimura

chapter 18|17 pages

Gendered speech

ByYumiko Ohara

part Part IV|2 pages

Language problems and language planning

chapter 19|16 pages

Language policy and planning

ByRuriko Otomo

chapter 20|11 pages

Script and orthography problems

ByHidenori Masiko

chapter 21|13 pages

Literacy and illiteracy

ByTakeshi Nakashima

chapter 22|15 pages

Japanese language spread in the colonies and occupied territories

ByToshiaki Yasuda

chapter 23|16 pages

Ainu language shift

ByTakayuki Okazaki

chapter 24|19 pages

Language shift in the Ryukyu Islands

ByMark Anderson

chapter 25|15 pages

Language rights

ByGoro Christoph Kimura

part Part V|2 pages

Research overviews

chapter 26|13 pages

Language life (gengo seikatsu)

ByPatrick Heinrich

chapter 27|21 pages

The study of Japanese language speakers

ByRiikka Länsisalmi

chapter 28|17 pages

Studies of Ryukyu-substrate Japanese

ByMark Anderson