Why is the Japan Times so unreadable?

Since the International Herald Tribune became the International New York Times and for some reason at the same time starting coming with the Japan Times for free, I’ve almost been forced to look at JT a couple of times a week for the first time in years. It hasn’t improved.

There are some actual errors in every edition, but it’s more the terrible writing style such as overuse of headlines and other journalese, e.g. using ‘hike’ in the body of the article when they mean ‘rise’ that drives me nuts. Then there’s the articles that have the Japanese chronological or even seemingly random structure, just with English words rather than Japanese ones…

Unlike most of the questions on this blog, I do have some inside info to help answer this one. A colleague of mine who worked part-time for Japan Times described it as a typical Japanese office, with people given duties because of seniority (or lack of) rather than special ability, and people loath to ask each other for advice. My time teaching in Hokkaido Shimbun was also similar, with students with no particular international knowledge and Elementary English those who were supposed to be going abroad as foreign correspondents.


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