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Publisher of the leading Japanese dictionary misunderstands definition of LGBT

First published in 1955, the “Kojien” dictionary – which translates literally as “wide garden of words” – saw its first update in a decade this month.

The publishers move to include the term LGBT in its new, seventh edition shows changes in social norms and acceptance of LGBT communities, however, the move has – to an extent at least – seemingly backfired.

In the brand new edition published on January 12 2018,  LGBT is defined as: “people who have different sexual orientations from the majority”.

Though this may be said to apply to the L, G and B, in the internationally used acronym, it seems the dictionary’s editors have failed to grasp the meaning of the T, which represents transgender communities.

Mameta Endo, a trans activist who brought attention to Kojien’s definition of the term on the internet, told Japanese news outlet The Mainichi:

“It would pose a problem if the inaccurate definition is spread by being quoted from Kojien. I want the publisher to correct it next time.”

A representative of the dictionary’s editorial department said:

“We are aware of the claims. We are looking into the issue within our company, including whether to rectify the part and how to do it.”

The publisher is yet to confirm which course of action they plan to take

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Danielle Mustarde

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