Multilingual provision is cheaper than English-Only

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The business and self-help section of my local Kinokuniya bookstore is currently featuring shelves and shelves of Marketplace 3.0: Rewriting the rules of borderless business by Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Rakuten. I’m not a fan of books in the “how to improve your business” genre and mostly Marketplace 3.0 seems to be a (poorly written) run-of-the-mill text about empowering your business through KPIs. It is also the self-aggrandizing account of an egomaniac. However, the first chapter is absolutely unique to the genre as it is devoted to Rakuten’s language policy: entitled “Englishnization,” it describes how Mikitani decided in May 2010 from one day to the next, “without consulting anyone,” to change the company language from Japanese (and other national languages spoken in subsidiaries outside Japan) to English.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
PublisherLanguage on the move
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2013


Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
  • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)

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