Japanese was clearly the language of operation while we visited Honda's global headquarters in Tokyo last week, as well as its newest factory and principal test track. Chief executive Takanobu Ito (pictured above) spoke to us through an interpreter. But according to the latest reports, the Japanese language is being phased out at Honda in favor of English.

This according to Bloomberg, which points out that tire manufacturer Bridgestone and rival automaker Nissan have implemented similar measures, as have Japanese retail giants Fast Retailing Co. and Rakuten Inc. Honda's shift from Japanese to English comes as part of a shift in focus from central decision-making to a more regional model, but while English has clearly emerged as the international language of business, it's no coincidence that it's also the dominant language here in America. Bloomberg points out that over the 12-month period that ended this past March, North America accounted for a massive 47 percent of Honda's revenues worldwide.


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  • 49 Comments
      eyhkeyhk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like what Samsung does in the US. All meetings in English, and then the Koreans get back together on Saturday to meet for real.
      SpikedLemon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Europe uses English as the "common language" between countries. North America also uses English. It makes sense that using English, already common in business worldwide, becomes the offical.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      North America accounts for 47% of Hondas world wide revenues? So how come we never get any of the interseting cars? How come we are always stuck with the most boring, most vanilla sedans and bloated SCUVans?
        linuxaddict7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        That's they got.. You think Europe or others get some fancy ****?
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honda is ALWAYS behind the curve, just as we are embracing Spanish as our Lingua Franca here in USA they are moving to English.
      Jake
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an American engineer who works regularly with people in Europe and Asia, I have to say that it is so nice of the rest of the world to learn English so I can be lazy and not learn any other languages. Keep up the good work.
        mahalo5000
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jake
        You are so right. In many parts of the world, the local cultures are open enough to embrace other languages.....but not here.....we're just not that interested in learning.
        BahamaTodd
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jake
        Same here. We won't hire anyone in my company's Chinese operations unless they speak english.
      Tom DeFigueiredo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The bomb working its magic still
      Rob K
      • 1 Year Ago
      And GM will be switching to Mandarin.
      yoshiki2x
      • 1 Year Ago
      If Europeans usually talk 2 or 3 languages, why are we so lazy to learn a second language?
        timber
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yoshiki2x
        We do that because we have to. If I walk 200 km to the right I find people speaking in a different language. I would have no problem speaking only one language
        Jake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yoshiki2x
        Because if I drive or fly to another state, they speak English there. If a European goes far, they find people speaking a different language. The US is huge and English is spoken everywhere. I could learn Spanish, but I don't feel like I have missed out on any important conversations in my life by not speaking Spanish. And besides, we all agreed that everyone else in the world would just learn English.
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          No, and dont plan to.
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          Ever been to poorer areas of Miami?
          animekyoto89
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          Bulls*it.....
          Essende
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          @Jake, as they say: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? An American (same applies to math/science/reading comprehension) Reality is that most of the industrialized world has caught up to USA and in a lot of areas already surpassed us due to better education systems. USA doesn't lead in any category these days when it comes to education except total cost to acquire a degree. Most of the top notch designers/engineers that we have here are not of USA descent (usually immigrants with different values and raised on the superior educational systems of their homelands). Point is that this country has become extremely stagnant and lazy (always looking for a a short term easy way out). I am wondering what will your reaction be when GM will adopt Chinese as their official language....
          FuelToTheFire
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          >"Reality is that most of the industrialized world has caught up to USA and in a lot of areas already surpassed us due to better education systems. USA doesn't lead in any category these days when it comes to education except total cost to acquire a degree. Most of the top notch designers/engineers that we have here are not of USA descent (usually immigrants with different values and raised on the superior educational systems of their homelands). Point is that this country has become extremely stagnant and lazy (always looking for a a short term easy way out). I am wondering what will your reaction be when GM will adopt Chinese as their official language...." I'm sorry? Americans are stagnant and lazy? Then why the hell do you even live here, instead of in China? I have worked with many Asian immigrants , being a relative to a few, and I can tell you that they are much less insightful and innovative than their American counterparts. Many Asian students over here are caught cheating, which is what happened to 2 of my cousins (both of them now work at a convenience store.) Their educational system is far below the standards of ours: they are encouraged to cheat copy, and are taught how to take tests, not how to be productive. And the fact that we take the "easy way out" makes me proud to be an America: we don't need to dance to the tune of other countries.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          And you know what makes America great? The fact that we don't need to speak more than one language. We are greater and better people than those from the rest of the world. The fact that t is so easy and convenient for us, that we only need to learn one language, that we don't need to put up with the **** that the rest of the world puts up with, that we don't need to bow down to the low levels of the rest of the world, that the rest of the world needs to dance to our tune, is what makes us special, and frankly, is what makes me proud to be an American. I was raised by a family of Indian immigrants who made sure that the only language I knew was English. I ended up bending this a little bit, because the high school I went to required 2 years of Spanish for graduation. I will see to it that my kids don't learn any other language than English.
          Essende
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jake
          @FuelToTheFire, first off, who says that I live in USA? I travel a lot and I have been to a lot of places around the world and the only people who still believe that America is the greatest are Americans (especially those who do not travel anywhere outside of their own home state). Back in the day, when you said that you came from USA, everyone was admiring you, gave you respect, was jealous. These days, when you go to an industrialized nation and mention that you are from USA, people don't show the same respect and could care less. Second thing, why even compare Chinese educational system to USA (any way you look at it, except for few major cities, China is pretty much a third world country). Please compare USA to other first world countries such as Japan, Finland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, even South Korea and USA looks pretty bleak compared to them when it comes to education. I work with a lot of engineers from USA and Northern Europe and on average the Europeans could run circles around the USA educated ones, Americans like to talk a lot, make big deal out of little problems, but to get the real work done we always turn to the Europeans. Right now what is happening in the USA is they are lowering the educational system on purpose so that you "need" to go to college (spend a lot of money) to get the same level of education as you could get 20 years ago at a regular high school level. It's just another financial bubble.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @yoshiki2x
        Dude, you are also missing the point in that many European languages are related. Romantic languages or say Germanic or Slavic, if you know one you have the basic foundation to know related languages.
          Mr.Roadrage
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          Perhaps you aren't aware that English is also a European language, closeley related to other Germanic languages. Or do you think that it originated in America?
          axiomatik
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          English is most closely related to German, but it is still far different in both pronunciation and grammar. Compare that to Spanish/Portuguese/Italian which are much, much more closely related.
      The Other Bob
      • 1 Year Ago
      English? \'Merican is not good \'nuff for ya?
      john m
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too bad we can't do that here in the US :/
      lazybeans
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have no problem with people here speaking many foreign languages. I think it is beautiful thing. Every language is an influence of it's culture and to lose a language is to lose a culture. To have a world that only speaks one language will be a sad thing.
      Gene Mack
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not surprising for Honda - they have always been one of the best in making sure everyone understood each other in meetings. Every mixed meeting I've been to at Honda has included an interpreter and we would all wear headsets to hear the translations. I can never get used to speaking and hearing my words in Japanese, so I always take my headset off when I am speaking, or I just lock up trying to listen to the translation. :)
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