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Tweet of the Week #119: Akita Prefecture’s Entire Population Can Fit in Chiba City

Learn how to express “in order to" and "so that” in Japanese.

By 2 min read

It’s not news that Japan’s rural regions are dying fast. Towns and villages are vanishing more quickly than in any other country. Despite programs to develop work opportunities and financial incentives for young city-dwellers, local authorities fail to bring dying villages back to life.

Akita Prefecture, known for its natural scenic beauty, has been hit hard by rural flight and sadly holds the highest population decline rate for seven consecutive years.

Because images sometimes speak louder than words, Akita-based @hiroju5555 shared a powerful visual on Twitter as a way to raise awareness.

Akita’s Decline


“Because I feel we don’t communicate strongly enough the danger of Akita Prefecture’s population, I illustrated it so that even elementary school students could understand. Please check it.”

The image reveals that Akita Prefecture’s area is as big as Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama prefectures combined. However, Akita’s population (948,000) is less than the entire Chiba City population (982,000). User @hiroju5555 also adds that Akita Prefecture loses “10,000 people every year” and that projections indicate Akita will include only 700,000 people by 2040 and 370,000 by 2060.

How to use ように to express “in order to” and “so that”

nebou shinai youni, araamu o takusan kakemashita.

In Japanese, よう is a short word that often gives students a hard time. Indeed, よう is used in about 20+ grammatical expressions. The grammar dictionary どんなときどう使う日本語評文型辞典 counts no less than 14 pages dedicated to the subject.

This time, we focus on the easiest of them, built with a verb at the dictionary or negative form and ように. The expression translates “in order to” or “so that” to indicate the speaker’s expectation at realizing an objective by taking proper measures. Keep in mind that native speakers sometimes omit “に.”

  • 小学生しょうがくせいでもかるよう(に*)、あらわしました。= I represent this in an image so that even elementary school children can understand.
  • 風邪かぜはやなおるように、注射ちゅうしゃってもらいました。= I got an injection so that my cold would heal quickly.
  • まよわないように、地図ちずってきました。= I brought a map in order not to get lost.

Pay attention to each expression’s grammar pattern and practice regularly.

Is there an easy way to distinguish ように (“in order to”) from ように (“as follows”) or ように (“says to…”)?

Unfortunately, there’s no secret but hard work. The key to becoming a “よう master” is to pay attention to each expression’s grammar pattern and to practice regularly. The sentence’s context also helps in setting them apart.


Japanese Romaji English
いまいち Imaichi Not good enough, lacking
秋田県あきたけん Akita ken Akita prefecture
人口じんこう減少げんしょう Jinkou genshyou Population decline
危険感きけんかん Kikenkan Danger
つたわる Tsutawaru Be communicated, transmitted
小学生しょうがくせい Shyougakusei Elementary school student
かる Wakaru Understand
Zu Illustration, image, figure
あらわ Arawasu Represent, symbolize
確認かくにんください Go kakunin kudasai Please see, check

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