Thursday, August 7, 2014

和製英語: Black Companies (and Sukiya)

According to (that's 弁護士, "lawyer".com), a reporter recently asked the president of Zensho Holdings, the company that owns popular gyudon chain Sukiya, what he thought of critics labeling it a "black company."


The TV Tokyo reporter essentially asked "Are you just thinking that nothing can really be done about it being called a black company?"

First off, what is a ブラック企業 (or ブラック会社)? It doesn't sound good, does it? For words like this, I often like to do a Wikipedia search and see if there's a link to an English article, which will often provide a direct translation or at least some insight into the term. Literally translated as "black companies," these are workplaces that subject their workers to socially unacceptable conditions. Wikipedia's English page brings us to: "Sweatshop."

In case you're curious, the president basically responded that black and white are subjective determinations. Of course the company may have its problems to be addressed, but he thinks the term "black company" is being unfairly applied, and so do the companies' employees. And he gosh darnit wishes people would quit applying that label. The company cannot effectively defend itself, as detractors will simply disregard its protests, so he asks for everyone's understanding.


  1. I find it highly improbably that the employees are upset about the attention the label brings their situation ^_^;

  2. Yeah...well, big wigs spouting BS. Nothing new. =)

  3. "Black" in Japanese mean hard, bad and severe. I guess that foreign people don't understand it.
    Anyway, many Japanese companies are ブラック企業。