The Japanese healthcare system: an explanation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The 101 for the Japanese healthcare system

Japan has had a universal health care system in place since the 1960’s and has enjoyed the benefits of such a system. Coming from another country with a health care system it is something I can appreciate and understand, not just the positives but also the negatives about it.

The problem with Japan’s health care system is 3 fold:

  1. an aging population
  2. low economic growth with high rates of unemployment
  3. a negative population growth i.e. low birth rate

There are plans to change the system into something more sustainable and allows more collective responsibility to ensure it remains stable and sustainable. But what about how the system stands currently?

A post-code lottery

There is an uneven distribution of health care providers in Japan as most clinics are private and it is down to the business to where it should open. As a general trend clinics are only found within built up areas and clinics that specialise in something are extremely rare outside cities. While researching this article, I came across a singular diabetes specialist in Nabari and Iga but there are many clinics that specialise in diabetes in Osaka.

Another example is palliative care which is expected to be the responsibility of the household. An advertisement on the train (of all places) gave commuters information about a palliative care clinic in Osaka and people were reading this and taking that information in.

Cost of healthcare for foreign nationals living in Japan

If you live in Japan, you are required to join the health care system and I will always say one thing: do it. The current system will cover 70% of the costs of any necessary treatment plan e.g. dentistry, internal and external medicine etc. A recent trip to the dentist should have cost me just offer 10,000 JPY but under this system I paid around 3000 JPY instead.

This has a few positives especially for Americans living in Japan. This is a form of insurance that everyone is required to have and if you’re filling US taxes, this does count in the eyes of the IRS.

My monthly cost is just under 2000 JPY and just one visit to the dentist or doctor would be the equivalent to 4 or 5 months work of insurance. It is brilliant for the end user but not for the system. The amount of money that the government spends under this system is astronomical. This is a better system than the UK as everyone has a more direct input into the running costs of health care in Japan, but there is still money being pumped into the system.

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Patient enpowerment

A patients choice is at the heart of the Japanese healthcare system and people are encouraged to give suggestions to policy makers in Tokyo. People have the right to chose which clinic, which hospitals they would like to go to regardless of insurance status, disease or background. There may be a fee incurred but people have that right.

Please note there is also voluntary private health insurance available which helps cover things that national health insurance dies not including: loss of income insurance, transportation, food etc.

Care

There is no difference between primary and secondary care in Japan, even historically. This means that you can go to a clinic or a hospital without a referral, a small clinic may be extremely specialized in an obscure disease but they are located in the smallest town imaginable or have no specialist available within a city.

In Japan there are over 8,400 hospitals and over 100,000 clinics and 80% are privately owned. The system is split into several major sectors: internal medicine, external medicine, dentistry, gynecology, emergency medicine, pediatric medicine and pharmaceutical.

Emergency care

Even emergency care is split into primary care (on call doctors and prefecture run care), secondary care (hospitalization is required) and tertiary care (advanced or more grievous care).

The general pathway for this system is 119 (ambulance) assistance, then hospitalization, the removal to a specialist facility e.g. ICU.

Where to go?

As a general rule of thumb, the guidelines about where to go are:

  • External medicine: injuries and problems of the limbs
  • Internal medicine: anything else e.g. vaccines, non-commutable diseases (cancer, COPD, cancer etc)
  • Dentistry: teeth….
  • Gynecology: females
  • Pediatric medicine: Children
  • pharmaceutical : drugs
  • Emergency medicine: ambulance

There is a lot more information about the Japanese health care system and I can, and really want to, go into so much more detail but this is an overview and a general guide.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Happy 100th post

Nabari Dam

This blog has now 100 posts- many pictures and many details about my life in Japan. So let’s celebrate a little! This post is going to look at Nabari Dam in a bit more detail, a HOW2: for Place names and a product review as well. I hope you enjoy this 100th post and happy reading.

Additionally, on the homepage, there are 2 new sections:

  • A pictures in Japan section
  • A western calendar to Japanese era conversion page

Let’s start the post!

Full Review: 青蓮寺ダム Shorenji dam aka Nabari Dam

A nice, pretty picture of the dam

I have previously talked about Nabari lake and I have mentioned Nabari Dam in passing but now well look at it in a bit more detail.

Nabari Dam was constructed in response to the Ise typhoon disaster in 昭和34年 or 1959. Nabari experiences wide spread damage and thus the dams construction was finished in 昭和45年7月 or July 1970.

The Dam is 275 m long, 82 m tall which allowed the formation of lake with an area of 1.04 km 2 containing over 27 million m 3 of water- which is quite a bit.

Around the dam, there are signs which highlight the 5 main advantages of this dam:

  • safety: the dam allows Nabari and other cities down stream (Osaka, Nara) to remain safe in extreme weather
  • ecosystem: the dam provides a constant stream of water supporting life downstream
  • household use: allows a water supply to Nabari and other areas (from drinking water to bath water)
  • agricultural use: allows water to be used for rice farming within the Iga area comprising of 1,150 ha at 1.72m3/s
  • electricity generation: green electricity is generated

The slight problem with the dam is the road that was constructed along its’ top.

There is a single carriage way which requires cars to move the the side to allow them to pass. There is a lovely video of on my social media pages.

Along the lake side there are many parks, tennis courts and picnic spots and just above the dam is the viewing spot which is also known as the famous sakura viewing point- somewhere to go in April.

The views are spectacular and are well worth a visit for those in the area. With the amount of thing available (from sports, to eateries, to hikes, photo opportunities etc) I would definitely recommend a visit. Think of this place as a trip to a national park or just a larger park: plenty to do (including an Italian restaurant that is always booked nearby), plenty to enjoy and plenty of places to relax.

Just remember: take only photos and leave only footprints.

HOW2: Japanese place name ~ヶ丘

One thing that you need to be aware of with place names is the ending ~ヶ丘 or ~gaoka meaning “one hill”. Examples of this around Nabari are 梅ヶ丘、つつじヶ丘、桔梗が丘 etc. There are many examples across Japan but with the ending, you should expect extremely steep hills, that even cars struggle to climb.

The kanji is quite strange. ” ヶ ” is an ichi-dan counter used as a suffix to count objects and ” 丘 ” means hill- in such combinations as 丘上-きゅうじょう meaning hill top or 丘疹-きゅうしん meaning pimple (there are other combinations out there).

Near the Top of Tsutsuji-gaoka or つつじヶ丘

This was a fantastic view of Tsutsuji-gaoka just before my arrival at the dam. What you cannot see in this picture is the extremely tall hill that it is built on. Additionally, each settlement that can be seen in the distance is an entire other area- either Nabari city or small settlements surrounding it. The name should definitively be it’s warning when cycling or walking. You could argue that it should be つつじ山 instead.

The reason that you must be aware of its name is simple put: google maps. Google maps do not show you how steep the hill you climb are when using the app (they do during the planning stages on desktop).

Product review:

A vege bowl- with meat

The last product made me smile when I found it and that was a simple salad. In Japan vege salads refer to salads being made up of more vegetables than normal- which is a weird phrase now that I think about it. But to the rest of the world, a veg salad is (or at least should be) a vegetarian salad. My favourite was a salad bowl with massive shrimp on it stating vege salad.

The salad was extremely good- all crispy fresh veg, a nice mix of oats and rice and a sort-of miso dressing (extremely Japanese) but went well never the less.

Strangely enough, there was no problem with this product- even with the Japenglish. Check them out in Aeon supermarkets.

Thank you for reading and here’s to many more blog posts to come.

How2: romaji

ひのとり becomes Hinotori in romaji

Anyone who either learns or attempts to learn Japanese comes across romaji or romanized Japanese. Other languages have similar systems (pinyin for Chinese, romaja for romanised Korean etc- there are many different systems to represent each language).

In simple terms, romaji (Japanese romanisation of either Kana or Kanji) for most sounds is simple. Japanese sounds are either a vowel or a consonant and examples of singular vowel sound are: “a, i, u, e, and o”. In English there are the main vowels (we’ll ignore y) but each sound is pronounced differently- which is extremely important to note.

The phonics of each sound are:

  • /a/ from fat
  • /i/ from ink
  • /u/ from Uber
  • /e/ from egg
  • /o/ from video

Please note, there are no other ways to pronounce the letters- unlike English- there is either the correct or incorrect way.

These 5 sounds are then combined with a consonant either: k, s, t, n, h. m, y, r, or w. Together sounds such as ra, ma, ya etc are created. There are obviously exceptions. The main exceptions are

  • fu (not hu)
  • ha in a sentence is pronounced as “wa”
  • wi, wu, we- these sound have been mostly removed from the language
  • wo is just pronounced o
  • n- is a consonant digraph. Imagine the m sound you make when thinking- not pronounced but made in the throat. This is n.

With this basic understanding, the following sentence can be read:

watashi ha nihongo wo yomemasu. ( I can read Japanese)

For any visitors, this is immensely helpful with reading Japanese signs or simple sentences. Now we’ll get into it a bit more.

There are a lot more rules for transliteration on Japanese and converting elongated sounds to romaji but in order to read romaji and write, you need to be aware of some slight differences.

An elongation in a u sound may be represented in one of the following ways:

  • u- without any hit elongation (technically a mistake)
  • either using uu or uo to stress an elongation
  • û shows a stress and thus elongation
  • ū uses a line to show a lengthened vowel

I hope you enjoyed my into into the romanisation of Japanese.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Iga, the ninja journey

A journey around the heart of Iga

City hall with that sign….

As I live in the area, some of the nuances that tourists seem to love are a bit lost on me. Nevertheless, I was a tourist but 5 years ago when I visited the city as a foreign exchange student. But, new age I hope comes experience and today, we’ll look at my journey through Iga city.

Firstly, here’s a bit of cute- which was advertisement for the ninja costumes you can rent while touring the ninja city (mostly popular with young children and families).

Who’s a cute dog?

Upon exit from the Ninja train station I was greeted with this cute sight- which doesn’t happen when commuting to work. These 3 are adorable and even the taxi driver (there is a taxi rank located behind me) got out and took a picture.

But onward I went, until I came to the main reason for my visit: the NINJA experience. Firstly, the downside: when I last came I only took part in the Ninja experience and museum and this is exactly the same: from the actions taken to the displays. However, this does not mean that it is not worth doing.

Firstly price: to visit Iga castle, take part in the Ninja experience and visit the lantern hall (called the だんじり会館) it is 1750 JPY- which is the combined ticket price. Buying this is easier and it does save a bit of money. But, If you only want to visit 1 or 2 of the sites, pay for a single entry- it is cheaper. Firstly, we’ll look at Iga castle.

伊賀上野城 or Iga castle has been present on the site in some form since it was built. The castle dates back to 1585 or 天正15年 when the ruling family started to build it. The site once held smaller building surrounding the castle and it was once a hive of activity.

Just north-west of the castle is the ruins of the castle hall- which served as the living spaces for the castle helpers, the attendants and everything else which the main castle would have needed including housing the kitchen area, the tax office, and other offices a head of state needs to have.

All that remains of the heart of the operation

The site of the castle office, now seems to be ignored by locals and tourists alike as just a part space. The boarders you can see marked out show where each room once stood and markers name the rooms both in English and Japanese. but still people walk on past.

In 1611 or 慶長16年 building work gor underway around the castle and 30 m 本丸 or walls were erected- which was and still is the tallest of any castle in Japan, making Iga castle one of the “100 most famous castles in Japan”, one of the reasons for a high volume of Japanese visitors.

A lovely look at the 本丸 and the wider Iga area.

The castle was once a central part of nationwide defense as there was a high risk of rebellions due to the climate at the time and after the erection of the increased defenses in 1611, on the 2nd of September 1612, the Tenshu (天守 or castle tower was destroyed in high winds. The decision to not rebuild the castle was made in 1615 at the start of Genwa 天和元年.

Fast forward to 1935, 320 years later, Katsu Kawasaki (川崎克) started restoration/ rebuilding the castle out the tensho was created out of wood- which is what can be seen today.

The castle is also known as “white phoenix” castle.

The castle is a fantastic thing to explore but it is NOT accessibility friendly. There are no lifts at all and all stair cases are extremely steep, but it is worth it. The castle has almost become a community center, showing the history and culture of Iga and of the Iga district. In addition to this, the castle hosts many artifacts from the castle era, showcasing the strange articles of war, war time documents and art and poetry created by the castles inhabitants.

There are many things I could point I which I liove when I visit but I will do but 2. Firstly, on the top floor, there are 46 individually created from many different people. Secondly, the view of Iga- take a look for yourself:

You can actually see Nara-prefecture from here.

The next stop was the ninja experience, and I got to say it was a bit of fun. Admittidaly I did end up speaking to a Japanese professor and we did have a bit of a laugh, mostly at my height and being in a tradational Japanese house. Nevertheless the tour. There are 2 types of tour on offer: with or without the ninja weapons exbition- I went for without (but I went with previously).

A ninja’s house

The attendant who guided the group around, explained that the roof was so steep by design- it made it harder for enemy ninjas to enter the property. Which bring us nicely to the first point- the fist part of this is a group guided experience and it is wheelchair friendly.

Upon entry, you must take off your shoes (it is Japan), you are guided into the living room where some ninja tricks are performed- along with the explanation of how and why. There are tours in English, but there are a lot more in Japanese.

The guildes explain quite a bit about the way of the ninja and what precaustions they took to ensure everything remained safe while ensuring that everything was done to amaze and amuse.

Following this, the tour leads onto the museum where exhibits are presented in English and Japanese which show ninja artifacts and tell you how many things were done. As this tour is designed for children and adults in 2 different languages, the explanations given are more of an overview but helpful never the less.

There is just one artifact that I will talk about in more detail: the 4 sided shrunken. What I will say is that there is no problem with the Japanese side- there is a problem with western cultural knowledge. This shuriken is known as a Manji-shriken and is written with the kanji: 卍手裏剣, see the problem. To make matters worse, the translation of 卍 or まんじ is swastika which really does evoke any positive feelings to a European’s ear.

Finally, there was but more more building which housed further information and a gift shop with some brilliant books about the history of ninja and plenty of general ninja merch including T-shirts, rubber kunai, pens, etc.

The last stop was the lantern hall- argubuly the least impressive of the 3, especially for any non-Japanese speaker. However it is from here were ninja costumes may be rented for your grand tour of Iga.

This hall houses the large lantern floats used in various festivals happening in Iga (all of which I have missed or am unable to attend….). Each display has been painstakingly created to best highlight it’s beauty and artistic style. All explanations are given in Japanese and while it can be enjoyed without, it does make the experience longer.

Upon entry, you are told that there is a 12 minute starting at the start of the hour on the second floor and to be honest, even with this, you are only going to be here for about 30 minutes to an hour.

The floats of lanterns used in festivals

At the end, there is a large gift shop with ninja anything and everything: sake, rice, chocolate, alcohol, ice cream, t-shirts etc. If you love ninja, this is not to be missed.

All in all, it was a brilliant way to spend a day. There is a lot more in Iga to explore (the main city for example) but spending a day looking more into Iga’s history was well worth itだってばよ!( BTW that was painful to write but if you don’t get that reference, do you even ninja?)

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

The small thanks

Convenience store raffle

A win is a win

Occasionally while buying extreamly unhealthy food and coffee, it was treat day (come one next Tuesday), you’ll be told by the attendant to take a ticket.

At first you are likely to be confused. But as the attendant holds this card box, you see that there are ticket inside. You take one, after struggling to open it while holding your lovely bento, and see a Barcode, you have won.

What a Nice dramatic story for winning a pack of sugar free chewing-gum but the spend X to get a free Y is extreamly common in Japan. The change of winning has enticed me in the past, even with winning being highly unlikely.

With this post, today’s Japanese phrase is はずれ which is simply better luck next time.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

UK attitude: an overview

Why is the UK so self-obsessed?

Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

In September, Jacob Rees-Mogg was photographed almost lying down in parliament and it became a symbol of the embodiment of British arrogance (or a nicer way to put it is: Inbegriff von der Überheblichkeit der Großbritannien) and it is this topic that I will cover today.

DISCLAIMER: This article is based upon my own opinions. Additionally, I am British and I can quote and use examples I have seen, hear, experienced etc from my life there. I will try and cover some of  the MANY reasons for this, but doing all and in detail would take too long.

The easiest way to start is by understanding UK history and out of the many many (ad nauseum) examples I can use; I’ll start with the easiest: the British empire. I know the following quote was concerning other things by the following quote fits too perfectly:

The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.
Queen Victoria

There have been many reasons given for the UK forming an empire, but at its core, the main idea was to improve the homeland. The UK has committed many heinous acts through its’ history (1), some committed before and after the Victorian era and the ones who committed them have always been celebrated back in the UK. Such examples are soldiers who fought the Zulu- the Victoria cross (a very prostitutions award was created to commemorate the fallen), the designers of the bouncing bomb were also celebrated. These and further examples highlighted the importance of the UK both to citizens and internationally, showing its’ worth, which is reason 1: ‘proven’ past importance.

Additionally, to add to historical traditions we travel quickly back to 1066 and the battle of Hastings. At the end of this battle (spoilers?!?) William slain Harrold and the old royal bloodline was ended. William became king of a divided country and established a monarchy- which was the bases of following systems that still can be seen today. This system created the upper-, middle-, and working classes which created a tier system to allow anyone to know where they stand. As a quick breakdown:

  • Upper: Royalty and those who are ennobled (have a title)
  • Middle: Skilled and well educated (teachers, doctors etc)
  • Working: the grafters and anyone else

While my description is extremely general- it gives a good oversite into a tradition what should have ended in the 1950’s. This is where reason 2 comes into its’ own: especially concerning the honourable gentleman’s actions in parliament: expectation. The UK expects to remain important, because it has been so for so very long. People expect the EU to graciously allow a perfect Brexit to occur because are we not but too important for anything else?

At time of writing on the 18th of October, the EU has agreed upon a potential Brexit deal but one of the main right-winged politicians (whom has campaigned for Brexit for the best part of 20 years) has stated that they would rather further delay it, than get it on “unjust” terms.

This self-importance has been a trait going back to Tudor Britain- not even the Scottish have been innocent of this. Any internal conflict in the UK has always used the argument of a “God-given right” to rule, wage war etc. It is an unfortunate trait the Americans also picked up (sorry about that).

So we have: expectation, proven importance and expectation- not a nice combination. But is there anything else to add?

At the end of the day, the main concern for the UK government is not just the UK but their own perceived position, and more often than not, self-gain at all levels. Shall I mention that politicians vote on their own pay rises, or campaigns (like the anti-fracking) which are defeated by a local government and at a local government level have been overturned by the government for the promise of economic growth, or shall I mention UK politicians expenses scandals, banker bonuses in failing banks, Thomas cook executives getting major bonuses even though the company has gone into administration etc etc etc.

While there are many who are tying to do good in the UK, there are many more working for an agenda and being part of a system that has some control over the UK government was never going to last. This is the last and final reason: a cultural reason- a selfish culture. If you would like a good example of this, read Harry Potter. There are many Mrs Dursley’s in the UK afterall.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. What do you think- love it or hate it?

Thank you for reading and as always, happy exploring,

Next: BACK TO JAPAN!!!!!

Health food in Japan

The world of extreams

How long does it take to spot CC lemon?

I have talked about buying protein in Japan very recently, but what I have not yet mentioned is suppliemts, more specifically added vitamins and minerals.

If you were to go to a convience store and go to the drinks section, ignoring the sugar content, there would be quite a few healthy looking options. Admittedly one of my favourites is CC lemon which it’s selling point (on the front and highlighted) is that it contains the same amount of vitamin C as 60 lemons or 200 mg. The body cannot process this amount and a lot of it is lost via urination.

You may think that is a crazy amount, but it’s nowhere near the highest amount. Available at most stores are health tonics in small glass bottles that contain upto 2000 mg of vitamin C.

To put this into prospective, the daily recommended intake for most adults is upto 90 mg a day. If that is the case, does excess vitamin C cause any ill effects?

Yes! Regular amounts exceeding 2000 mg cause gastronomic distress i.e. Diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps etc.

However Japan doesn’t just have products with excess vitamin C, there are products with excess anything.

You may buy wafers with added calcium, wafers with added iron, wilk with added calcium, health drinks with collegen etc. It’s sometimes amazing what extras Japanese producers add to products.

It sounds a bit morbid but: health warming! Be aware of what you are consuming, an excess of a vitamin or mineral for you may have a completely unintentional side affect or may cause you harm. If in doubt either do further research (scientific papers etc), ask a doctor or dietitian or simply avoid it.

After all there’s only one you (and you read my blog, so stay safe)

Thank you for reading and happy exploring

How2: reading train fare tables

A large complex chart, for the uniformed that is

When I first came to Japan, and before I bought an IC card, calculating the correct train fare seemed like the start of a JLPT- even with the romanji. But it’s a lot easier than it looks.

We’ll start small with the Iga-tetsudo line:

Train fares for the Iga-tetsudo line

The Iga-tetsudo line like the Yokkaiichi lines are a small service with few stops, so finding the train fare is very simple. Want to get from Iga Kanbe to Uenoshi? That’s ¥370 one way for an adult or ¥190 for a child? Want a return or to go to more than one stop? Buy an all-day ticket (一日フリー乗車券) for ¥740- the same price as a return and the ticket machines are in multiple languages as well!

Now for something more complex, the kintetsu line:

So many places…

The kintetsu is a very large network and the fare map highlights this. Want some advice? Know where you’re going! It sounds basic enough but you have to be aware of train station names that sound the same (nishi Aoyama, and higashi Aoyama are a good example).

Another reason to be careful is if you are not using an IC card, and get the price wrong, you have to waste time at a fare adjustment machine before you may exit a station.

My advice for travelling in Japan is to use an app such as Japan Transit planner, which tells you the fare, train time and fastest journey.

Alternatively buy an IC card, it automatically deducts the train fare from the card and some link with your bank account, so you don’t have to worry about how much is left.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring

Japanese advertising: the need to google

When advertising in Japan, don’t worry about the website, worry about gooogle

Japanese has a non-latin based writing system which is unique, even though there are borrowed elements within. This did not pose a problem originally but this changed with the computer age.

Most websites use a Latin based Web address to search (exploringlanguages.org is a brilliant example) rather than a Arabic, Japanese, cyralic or other root based language. One reason for this is the adaptability the Latin based system, as it can spell out the phonics of other language systems.

This has effected Japanese in a particular way. While English language learning is heavily emphasised at schools here, not everyone understands the need; either globally or within Japan. This has left many people without the ability to read non-Japanese scripts–which brings us back google.

As any polygot knows, you can Google in other languages, without exception. Therefore what often happens in Japan is that advertisers don’t include their website address (due to the Latin based system ) but they instead include the information one is to Google to get to the website.

While it is a strange system, its the Japanese way and not likely to change any time soon.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

Why Japanese people?

For anyone that is familiar with Japanese culture, “Why Japanese people” is a throwback to Atsugiri Jason who initially featured on the TV programme  ‘Sokuhou! Ariyoshi no o-warai daitouryousenkyo 2014,’ and is still being referenced today.

But when considering Japanese its self, why Japanese people is a good starting point.

Japanese is a mix of Chinese characters, naturally developed script (hiragana and katakana) and loanwords. Which makes it seem like a bit of a mess and it can be at times.

Kanji, the famous symbols from China and used by the Japanese for about 2000 years- which is nothing considering that Japanese far predates this date. The symbols use was changed to fit the Japanese language more effectively. So while Chinese is more like a western language in its construction (subject-verb-object language), Japanese is not. Japanese is a subject-object-verb language and traditional use of Kanji is remarkably hard to understand. Additionally, in early times, Kanji would often not fit with Japanese mora ( a sound used to denote a ‘letter’ in Japanese), so something had to change.

Japanese, therefore, had a need and hiragana (developed by women in the Hei-an period as they were not allowed to learn Kanji- or be allowed the same level of education as men) filled that gap. Hiragana is used to write okurigana, kana which allows various grammatical forms to be expressed- from particles to adjectival endings.

Next, the language of men- katakana and strangely the language of cultural divide. Katakana has to be split into pre- and postwar katakana. Modern katakana is used for transcription of load words into Japanese and also used to allow words to look more non-Japanese (used quite often in advertisements)- this is where modern Katakana’s use mostly ends.

Historical Katakana is slightly more interesting. In more recent times, it was used interchangeable with hiragana for okurigana, creating at times strange looking sentences and texts. But historically is more interesting still.

The change from a kanji-based system to a kana based, was more defied by the reduction in China’s influence on Japanese culture. One positive of this was the increase in literacy rates in Japan. The literacy rate further increased with the popularity of famous poems, one of them being “The Tosa Diary” (土佐日記) by Ki no Tsurayuki (紀貫之).

Lastly why not mention the origin of Katakana? Well there are 2 main theoires of its delelopment. One is by Buddhist scholars in the 9th centry as they helped transccribe texts from China- this theory is accepted by most. But some research does suggest that it may have orginiated from 8th centry Buddhist texts from Korea instead.

There is a lot more about the history of written Japanese, but this should give you an insight into the world of written Japanese.

As always, enjoy discovering more