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Dictionary publisher admits errors in definitions of 'LGBT,' 'Shimanami Expressway'

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

Iwanami Shoten, Publishers has admitted mistakes in the latest edition of its popular "Kojien" dictionary, after it caused a stir for omitting gender identity from its definition of "LGBT" and misidentifying the route of an expressway in southwestern Japan.

The publisher released corrected definitions for the terms "LGBT" and "Shimanami Kaido" (Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway) on its website on Jan. 25, as well as a commentary stating the definitions for those terms "have been found to be wrong, and we would like to offer a sincere apology."

The dictionary, which was released on Jan. 12, originally defined the term "LGBT" as an acronym referring to "people with sexual orientations that are different from those of the majority." However, "T" stands for "transgender" -- those whose recognition of their own gender is different from their anatomical sex. Observers pointed out that the dictionary's definition was incorrect as it omitted any reference to gender identity.

As the corrected definition for "LGBT," the publisher's website says it is a term referring to "those, in a broad sense, who are not heterosexual and those whose gender identity is different from their sex at birth."

For "Shimanami Expressway," the dictionary originally said that it was a section of a road connecting the Honshu main island and Shikoku island via several islands including "Suo-Oshima island" (officially Yashiro Island) in Yamaguchi Prefecture, but Suo-Oshima island has been corrected to "Oshima island" in the Ehime Prefecture city of Imabari.

A representative of Iwanami Shoten says the publisher is investigating how the wrong definitions came to be included in the dictionary.

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