Why are the Japanese so insensitive to swearing in other languages?

In just one week I’ve heard someone saying “Merde” in a NHK programme for primary school kids, seen “Jesus Christ!” coming out a speech bubble on Yamanote line train posters, and become aware of this incredibly profane T-shirt on local station Kanagawa TV. Is it just because there is very little concept on swearing in Japanese, or just the incredible ability of the Japanese to filter out most of what is going on around them, especially text in foreign languages?

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2 Comments

  1. Kaz Watanabe said,

    January 13, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Swearing in foreign languages (written or spoken) is fashionable in Japan. Actually, foreign languages, especially English, are fashionable (profane or not) in general. If that original language created it, we feel free to use it. Not much thought goes into the sensitivity of it. Others created it and the Japanese don’t police other languages so it’s fair game.
    You’ll see foreign words on shirts and bags and in TV shows and in music, just like in every other culture, except that in Japan, it may not grammatically correct or even spelled correctly. It’s just fashionable.

  2. January 23, 2014 at 12:25 am

    there also are not any curse words in japanese like there are in other languages. therefore people do not have the same misgivings in general with curse words since in reality they dont have any intrinsic bad meaning necessarily. poop vs. shit. sex vs. fuck. etc.


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