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“English, England, the English People” by Kenichi Yoshida

These are the essays on England and the English language written by Kenichi Yoshida, who was a stellar essayist as well as a renowned translator. He’s the eldest son of the former prime minister Shigeru Yoshida. He was a polyglot, well versed in Latin, Greek, French, and English.

Yoshida provides eye-opening viewpoints here.


First of all, he insists that you can only write well after being exposed to first-rate prose. He strongly recommends that English learners read as many good novels as possible, and most importantly enjoy reading them. In addition, he emphasizes that languages should be learned through their literature. For not only the best forms of languages but their most lively expressions are represented there. These words strongly resonated with me. In Japan, literature departments at universities have been downsized. I still believe in literature-based classes.


If you had a decent command of Japanese, which writer’s prose would you like to read in Japanese to hone your language skills?

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