I found this page on NHK about the news that received the most attention in Japan in 2017. I have decided to go through the 10 first results and see if I can understand what it is about. This implies to understand the titles in Japanese but also, to have followed the news in Japan last year, which I haven’t done regularly. Reading news in Japanese on a weekly basis is part of my 2018 study plan, so I should have no problem looking back at 2018 next year!
Let’s go through the 10 most viewed (アクセスランキング) news in 2017:
- 眞子さま 同級生とご婚約へ: The only difficulty here is the name: 眞子・まこ, that is Princess Mako, grandchild of Emperor Akihito. She announced her engagement with Komuro Kei (小室圭), a former classmate. As Komuro Kei is a commoner, Princess Mako will lose her royal status when she marries him.
- 「ＩＣＢＭ２回目の発射成功」: Here again, no difficulty as the title uses the term ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) instead of the Japanese word 大陸間弾道ミサイル. 発射・はっしゃ (launch) is a word I didn’t know before starting studying news in Japanese, but as it sadly appeared much too often, I remembered it without effort.
- グアム攻撃ではなかったが…: The word in katakana グアム is Guam. Last year, North Korea has shown that it had the ability to strike Guam at any time. The missile launched in September was not an “attack” 攻撃・こうげき as our title says, but a serious threat.
- 「６回目の核実験を強行」: Similar subject here with North Korea’s 6th nuclear test. The word 核実験・かくじっけん means “nuclear testing”. A difficult but essential word to read the news…
- 稲田防衛相が辞任の意向固める: This title refers to Inada 稲田・いなだ, who was Defense Minister 防衛相 until she resigned 辞任 this Summer when a cover-up scandal concerning her ministry was made public. This is typically the kind of article that I can’t read in Japanese, far too difficult!
- 天皇陛下 2019年4月30日退位: A date of abdication 退位・たいいof the present Emperor 天皇・てんのう has been decided. The word 陛下・へいか means “His Majesty”. I studied this subject on my blog.
- 総菜食べた女児死亡 Ｏ１５７検出: A tragic story of food poisoning where a child died after eating E-coli infected food at a local restaurant. The name of the bacteria is E-coli 0157. 検出・けんしゅつ means “detection” and 総菜・そうざい simply means “a daily dish”.
- 小林麻央さん死去: Death of Kobayashi Mao. Kobayashi Mao worked for the television. She decided to write a blog about her daily fight against breast cancer. She received much support and admiration but sadly died last year at the age of 34. I think that her blog is being translated into English now.
- 衝撃の映像 東名高速事故: the 東名高速道路・とうめいこうそくどうろ, the “doumei” highway, is the highway that links Tokyo 東京 and Nagoya 名古屋. On this highway, a violent impact 衝撃・しょうげき between a bus and a car was recorded by the camera of the bus, hence the evocation of an “image” 映像・えいぞう.
- 米韓合同軍事演習に反発して発射: Once again, North Korea… This time, about the opposition 反発・はんぱつ of Kim Jong-Un against America and South Korea 米韓・べいかん joint 合同・ごうどう military 軍事・ぐんじ exercises 演習・えんしゅう.
Among the 10 articles that received the most attention in 2017, 4 are about North Korea…
It was a very interesting exercise to me, to look back at 2017 through the most viewed Japanese articles. The NHK page gives a short summary for each article, so it is also a good way to catch up with things we may have missed and learn related vocabulary.
I feel very motivated to try to read more news article in Japanese this year!