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Business Japanese (Tuttle Language Library) Paperback – 15 Mar 2006
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About the Author
"Reiko Suzuki, Are Hajikano, " and "Sayuri Kataoka" are veteran teachers of Japanese in the Tokyo area.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book will not teach you keigo or business conversation or how to communicate in a Japanese business environment. Rather than for learning "Business Japanese", as the title states, this book has apparently been written with the specific goal of helping the student to acquire the ability to read financial newspapers (i.e. Nihon Keizai Sinbun 日本経済新聞）and financial articles of newspapers in general in mind.
That being said, this book is not only useful for understanding financial newspapers and other related literature but also any business related literature and will also make reading general Japanese newspapers a lot less taunting task. And although the material is from the mid '90s, the language (not the business/financial information) is hardly dated.
This book is for anyone in a broad scale from just having completed a beginner's course (e.g. Genki I & II) up to (lower) advanced level. Even if you are fluent in Japanese you might find learning some financial terms and newspaper-specific vocabulary helpful in case you don't have a background in finance, although the book might not be ideal at the advanced level.
The book excepts the reader to have the knowledge of 130 kanji and about one to four words per kanji, which are listed in the beginning of the book (you can view this list on the amazon preview of this book) and grammar that appears in the example sentences throughout. So you will also need a grammar guide (for those not on the advanced level) and a Japanese and kanji dictionaries.
USING THE BOOK
As for using this book in individual study, the book is divided in 50 "steps", each with a list of new words, readings of the words and practice sentences, translations of the words and additional practice. The layout is quite effective with integrated review (the keywords learned in each lesson are repeated in the example and practice sentences and readings in later steps, minimizing the need for "cramming").
Having read through and understood the meanings of the vocabulary and the sentences it is up to the student to read and re-read the practice sentenced of each lesson for fluency.
The book is divided in two parts. The first part is divided in two sections and 50 steps. Part one is titled 語彙と読む練習 (Vocabulary and Reading Practice). The first section is titled 最重要語彙 (Most Frequently Used Vocabulary) and includes the first 20 steps. Having read just these 20 steps the student should be capable of understanding quite a bit of the Nihon Keizai Sinbun (Nikkei) newspaper. Section two is 重要語彙 (Frequently Used Vocabulary) and uses actual selections from Nikkei as the practice sentences.
Part two is titled 総漢字表 (Kanji Introduced in Part I and Additional Kanji). Kanji vocabulary listed by the 部首 (radical). For example ("..." implies abbreviation on my behalf, キソ means the kanji is introduced in the basic vocabulary section in the beginning of the book, st12 on step 12 etc., no markings means not introduced in the book, although might have come up in the sentences):
人 ジン・ニン ／ ひと person
1. 人口 じんこう (キソ)
2. 人材 じんざい (st39)
10. 人権 じんけん
18. 〜人 〜にん (キソ) (ex. 三人)
化 カ・ケ ／ ば(ける)・ば(かす) transform, bewitch
1. 化学 かがく(業種)
2. 化粧 けしょう
独 ドク ／ ひと(り) Germany, alone, only
1. 独 どく (st2)
10. 西独 せいどく (旧西ドイツ) (きゅうにしどいつ)
...and so on up to 99 radicals and many more kanji.
Then 補充漢字 (Additional Kanji), from the book:
"This supplement includes 174 kanji which are important and frequently used, following the kanji introduced in the main text of Part I and Part II of this textbook. With this supplement, this book covers more than 90 percent of all the kanji that appear in the newspaper articles written on finance and economics."
And the list follows the same format as the previous list.
To get most out of this book the student should ideally live in Japan or have other means to get their hands on Nikkei newspaper on regular basis. (As the practice sections are short, without access to Japanese newspapers the course is somewhat more difficult as it would otherwise be due to the practice sections being quite concise.) The student would familiarise themselves with the newspaper by scanning for any vocabulary they already know and trying to extract information from the newspaper while studying the first 20 lessons. From lesson 21 onwards the student should be getting more and more comfortable with reading the newspaper, until by lesson 50 the student should be able to progress to actually reading the newspaper with aid of the kanji/vocabulary lists in Part II.