That is to say, in Japan, at which point in time, was it declared that official documents had to be written in the Japanese language?

I am also looking for any additional information like where it was decided, how was is decided, who decided that, etc...

  • There are two votes to close, but we allow questions like how close Japan was to eradicating kanji, and this question is clearly within the same scope, so I don't think it should be closed.
    – Questioner
    Jun 15, 2012 at 1:49
  • Interesting question, could fit on history.stackexchange.com too. Jun 15, 2012 at 9:16
  • 2
    Also, every time I read the title, it makes me laugh. For those who might not be native English speakers, using "since when" is often used as a challenge, as if the speaker believes strongly that something is not the case. So the way this question is phrased, it's like saying "Japanese ain't the official language of Japan, unless you can prove otherwise!" :)
    – Questioner
    Jun 17, 2012 at 6:44
  • @DaveMG Feel free to edit the question to improve it. Or make a proposition and I will edit the question myself :)
    – Mesop
    Jun 17, 2012 at 7:11
  • @olchauvin: No, I like it the way it is ;) ! Seriously, though, it's not technically wrong in any way, it's just a subtlety that can be interpreted the way I described. So, I'm happy to leave it in your own words. I'm a believer that people should be left to express themselves their own way, and only edit if the meaning is actually unclear.
    – Questioner
    Jun 17, 2012 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


According to the wikipedia, there is no law that declares official documents should be written in Japanese, or stating that Japanese is the official language in Japan.

But there are some laws that requires the use of Japanese is certain situations, e.g. in court.

  • 2
    I would add that the reason there is no official law is because there is no need for one.
    – Jesse Good
    Jun 15, 2012 at 0:09
  • 3
    There is no official language in England either.
    – Ben
    Jun 21, 2012 at 15:10

I asked my Japanese teacher why there wasn't an official language in Japan. She asked me why there would be. HHhhmmm.... If you follow the wiki link you recover these facts (straight from the japanese gov')

日本の国語は日本語であるとか、公用語は日本語であるなどと定める条文はないんだ。 まあ、日本国内で普遍的に使用されている言語は、日本語しかないから、日本語が我が国の国語であり、また、公用語であるということになるよね。

So basically, yeah, there is no need. Except for the court-room-language clause:


All though whose to say what "日本語" is.

  • 1
    Well, there's not an official language of the United States either, or several other countries. Jun 27, 2012 at 21:19

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