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Popular 'Kojien' dictionary rapped for definition of 'LGBT' in latest version

The seventh edition of Kojien dictionary, which was released on Jan. 12, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Iwanami Shoten, Publishers)

Major publisher Iwanami Shoten is considering whether to make a revision to its best-selling "Kojien" dictionary after calls that the definition of the term "LGBT" in its latest edition is wrong.

    In the seventh edition of Kojien, which was released on Jan. 12 as the first update to the popular dictionary in 10 years, the term "LGBT" is described as "People with sexual orientations that are different from those of the majority." The terminology was newly added to the dictionary in the edition.

    Iwanami Shoten, Publishers, based in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, is considering whether to revise the part in question.

    In the term "LGBT," L stands for lesbian, G for gay, B for bisexual and T for transgender. While the first three words point to sexual orientations, transgender concerns one's gender identity. Therefore, Kojien's description of the term is considered insufficient.

    The definitions of terms related to sexual minorities in dictionaries and encyclopedias have been corrected since around the 1990s after concerned groups called their original definitions discriminatory.

    Takeyoshi Iwamoto, associate professor at Kanazawa University, who is versed in human rights issues for sexual minorities, said, "The lessons haven't been learned. As Kojien in particular is highly influential, I want the dictionary to describe the term carefully based on experts' opinions."

    Mameta Endo, a transgender activist who raised questions about Kojien's definition of the term on the internet, said, "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."

    "We are aware of the claims," commented a representative of Iwanami Shoten's dictionary editorial department. "We are looking into the issue within our company, including whether to rectify the part and how to do it."

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