Sunday Tangent: excellent Mark Schreiber article on crime terms in J media


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Hi Blog.  As a Sunday Tangent, here’s a lovely little lesson in Japanese from a person who’s collated all this information the hardscrabble way — through years of experience in Japan.  Mark Schreiber has been here about as long as I’ve been alive (he came to Japan in 1965 shortly after I was born; no connection, of course), and I love it when we have shortcuts like this to useful linguistic knowledge.  Enjoy.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo


The Japan Times, Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Get the sukūpu on crime terms in Japanese (excerpt)


Sometimes I’m asked how I came to be interested in crime in Japan. I guess it began in my early days here as a student and lowly paid salaryman in the late 1960s.

Before I could afford a newspaper subscription, I never lacked for sensational reading matter. All I had to do on my morning train commute was gaze upward at a 吊り広告 (tsurikōkoku, hanging advertisement) for a magazine. That finished, I would peer over the shoulders of fellow commuters poring over sports tabloids with huge red or blue headlines, often accompanied by supplementary words like スクープ! (sukūpu, scoop), ズバリ (zubari, no punches pulled), 暴露する! (bakuro suru, to disclose or lay bare) and 新事実 (shinjijitsu, new revelations).

My surreptitious 盗み読み (nusumi-yomi, theft-reading) was an economical way to keep abreast of current events — although sometimes I put Japanese coworkers on the spot when asking them to explain a particularly lurid term I’d picked up from the tabloids.

Rest at


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