Presenting new approaches and results previously inaccessible in English, the Routledge Handbook of Japanese Sociolinguistics provides an insight into the language and society of contemporary Japan from a fresh perspective.

While it was once believed that Japan was a linguistically homogenous country, research over the past two decades has shown Japan to be a multilingual and sociolinguistically diversifying country. Building on this approach, the contributors to this handbook take this further, combining Japanese and western approaches alike and producing research which is relevant to twenty-first century societies. Organised into five parts, the sections covered include:

  • The languages and language varieties of Japan.
  • The multilingual ecology.
  • Variation, style and interaction.
  • Language problems and language planning.
  • Research overviews.

With contributions from across the field of Japanese sociolinguistics, this handbook will prove very useful for students and scholars of Japanese Studies, as well as sociolinguists more generally.

part I|2 pages

The languages and language varieties of Japan

chapter 1|22 pages

Ainu language and Ainu speakers

chapter 3|20 pages

Ryukyu-substrate Japanese

Contact effects on the replacing language

chapter 4|15 pages

Japanese dialects

chapter 5|13 pages

Koine and koineization

chapter 6|19 pages

Language and migration in Japan

chapter 7|17 pages

English in Japan

part II|2 pages

The multilingual ecology

chapter 8|14 pages


From standardized identities to language aesthetics

chapter 9|15 pages

Metrolingualism in transitional Japan

chapter 10|12 pages

Linguistic landscape

chapter 12|13 pages

Japan as a multilingual society

part III|2 pages

Variation, style and interaction

chapter 13|19 pages

Language variation and change

chapter 15|13 pages

Language and social relations

chapter 16|16 pages


chapter 17|15 pages


chapter 18|17 pages

Gendered speech

part IV|2 pages

Language problems and language planning

chapter 19|16 pages

Language policy and planning

chapter 20|11 pages

Script and orthography problems

chapter 21|13 pages

Literacy and illiteracy

chapter 23|16 pages

Ainu language shift

chapter 25|15 pages

Language rights

part V|2 pages

Research overviews