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Avoiding B-word not enough to stamp out power harassment

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The evening edition of The Asahi Shimbun runs a daily four-frame cartoon titled “Chikyu Boei-ke no Hitobito” (Members of the Earth-defense family).

A recent episode featured an “ojisan” (middle-aged male) company worker struggling to come up with a politically correct alternative to the Japanese invective “baka” (you idiot), so he won’t be accused of power harassment in the workplace.

He wonders if something that sounds a bit tamer would work, such as “baka-a,” “baka-mon” or even “paka.”

I could fully relate to his dilemma, as I was an “ojisan” middle manager myself until a few years ago.


© The Asahi Shimbun