Recently I talked about “fake dialects” of Japanese that are often heard in anime, which can add much to the personality of a given character. One example might be the “cat girl-speak” that almost any character with cat ears will use, adding nyan (Japanese for “meow”) to the end of each sentence, although this linguistic construction is no more real than the unique version of
Galactic Standard English that Yoda speaks. Another example of this kind of stylized pseudo-dialect could be called gaijin-ben, which is Japanese spoken with English-style intonation so that it sounds something like a foreigner speaking with an accent. Although this unique speech style is commonly used by a wide range of radio and TV personalities today, it’s said to have been invented by famous DJ Katsuya Kobayashi, who is something of a hero to Japanese students of English since he managed to master the language here, without living abroad. Japanese people seem quite fond of the blending of English and Japanese that Mr. Kobayashi invented, and I believe this is related to the general positive impression nearly all Japanese have of English. After all, the first foreigner a Japanese person usually meets is an exuberant English teacher who plays games with them, and there seems to be a kind of warmth that’s communicated by this unique speaking style.
Katsuya Kobayashi is a hero to Japanese ESL students.