History of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics with Photos

Establishment of the National Language Research Institute

Voices calling for the establishment of a National Language Research Institute

The defeat in World War II and the subsequent occupation period were a major turning point. There was a growing awareness that "it is necessary to rationalize the national language to increase efficiency in people's lives and develop the culture," and there was a growing demand for the establishment of an organization for comprehensive scientific research on the national language.

First, a proposal that "the National Language Council should consider the importance of Kokugo Kokuji Mondai and establish a large-scale basic research organization for their fundamental solution" was adopted at the general meeting of the eleventh National Language Council held on September 21, 1946 (Showa 21), and submitted to the Minister of Education.

The National Language Research Institute and Yuzo Yamamoto

Then, a "petition for the establishment of a research organization for Kokugo Kokuji Mondai" was submitted to the first Diet held in August 1947 (Showa 22).
This petition was adopted in the Upper House on November 26, then in the Lower House on December 9.


Founding of the National Language Research Institute

In response to these request from various quarters, the Cabinet decided to establish the National Language Research Institute the following year (April 2, 1948 (Showa 23)).

The Ministry of Education began preparations immediately after the Cabinet decision, organizing the Founding Committee. The committee met from August 17 to 19, discussing the nature of the institute, the law establishing it, personnel affairs, etc., and submitted a statement to the Minister of Education.

Purpose of the law

On November 13 of that year, the Bill for the establishment of the National Language Research Institute was submitted by the Cabinet to the Diet, and it was approved on November 21. A national research organization for the national language had been a matter of concern since the Meiji period, and it became a reality when the law was promulgated and took effect on December 20.

The Institute borrowed part of the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery at Meiji Jingu Shrine (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo) and started working immediately. Minoru Nishio, who had been involved in its establishment from early on, took office as the first Director-General. There were five staff members in the General Affairs Department and 30 investigators. It was a small start.

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