Alfasado Co., Ltd., a Japanese company involved in software, website applications, internet services, consulting and marketing, has launched やさにちウォッチ Yasanichi Watch, a new media site that collects useful news and information from local governments, companies, organizations and groups across Japan and introduces them in やさしい日本語 yasashī nihongo, or "Easy Japanese."

Easy Japanese, as the term implies, is simpler and easier to understand than normal Japanese. It is used in many places such as local governments, schools, and medical institutions to communicate and convey information to foreign residents, but also to the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Specifically speaking, language is simplified, furigana (small syllabic kana characters, printed either above or next to kanji to indicate their pronunciation) are added above, and in some cases, spacing is added to make sentences easier to parse, in a style known as 分かち書き wakachigaki.

Yasashī nihongo was developed after the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake of 1995 in reaction to the plight of foreign residents who lacked access to vital information during the reconstruction efforts due to their limited command of the Japanese language.

About Yasanichi Watch

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of websites providing information in Easy Japanese, and in order to make that information available to as many people as possible, Alfasado Co., Ltd. decided to collect and organize this information in the form of a new media site called Yasanichi Watch. At the same time, they began providing services to assist companies and organizations seeking to publish information in Easy Japanese.

To create articles, they use their 伝えるウェブ "Tsutaeru Web" technology to automatically convert standard Japanese into Easy Japanese.

Just like Alfasado does with Yasanichi Watch, companies and organizations can use the content management system PowerCMS X and its easy-to-use Japanese editor to automatically convert text into Easy Japanese, divide long sentences into smaller ones, add furigana, format text in wakachigaki, and more.

Example of a screen in PowerCMS X with a button to automatically convert text to Easy Japanese.

A prototype application using this technology won the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Award in the 2nd Multilingual Speech Translation Contest Prototype (PoC) Contest sponsored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in March 2020.

In addition, in a survey of international students on the Easy Japanese converted through the Tsutaeru Web service, 85% answered that it was easier to understand.

Free trial available for companies and organizations

English text added by grape Japan

Now until the end of March 2022, Alfasado is conducting a free trial campaign for companies and organizations interested in providing Easy Japanese to their customers or users. For details see the campaign page here (Japanese only).

For more information on Alfasado Co., Ltd., visit their official website here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.