Tuesday, July 28, 2015

English Is Hard Especially For Japanese Television

English is not an easy language for Japanese people. But you’d think that Fuji TV, one of Japan’s biggest television networks, would have a native English speaker check things. You’d think, but you would be wrong.

Recently, the network broadcasted its annual telethon 27 Hour TV. This is one of Fuji TV’s most widely promoted specials. This year, it featured celebrities wearing t-shirts that read, “No Fun, No
TV, Do Honky.”

Oh boy.

People on Twitter watching the show, including Heroes actor Masi Oka, were quick to point out what “honky” meant in English and wondered if Fuji TV knew what the word meant.

So what’s going on here? Why are they wearing shirts that say “honky”? The telethon is actually referring to the Japanese word “honki” (本気), which means “truth,” “earnestness” or “seriousness.” These telethons usually have celebrities participate in athletic events—hence, showing an earnest effort.


Well...you can call me whatever you want...

The shirt probably should read something like, “No Fun, No TV, Be Serious.”

But as Livedoor News points out, the word is usually written as “honki” in English, so changing the “i” to a “y” and mixing in English words resulted in this unfortunate and embarrassing linguistic fail.

This certainly isn’t the first in recent memory for Japanese TV.  Their failure to capture the English language is known.  However, who are we to talk?  Not like we have any Japanese on our game shows.

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