Saying Japanese know something we don't? That cuts both ways. Most of the rest of the world know the convenience and ease of a simpler writing system, even if they are not really book smart experts on such a subject. Most people are not, and cannot clearly label all or even most of the pros and cons. People who studied something don't want to abolish it? Yep. Who wants to change things in such a way that they spent potentially months of their life learning a now useless art. That would be like a skilled factory painter screaming "Bring on the robots!" And while pretty much all Japanese may use this system of theirs, they are the only ones in the entire world of 6 billion people that I know of currently using such a mixed up, inconsistent, confusing and time consuming system of writing. The only other people I know of with this much madness in their system was the ancient Egyptians, and we still would not be able to decipher that insanity if we never got the Rosetta Stone. Its both. Rote memorization plays a HUGE role. It gets easier over time, yes, but this is due to relations with what you learned through rote, which is massive. That's a pro. But the most insignificant pro ever and hardly fool proof, truly accurate or consistent. I think I pretty much summed that up with the factory painter analogy. Although I will say that kanji can be interesting and obviously took a lot of time to create and be made into what it is....but that is hardly a good basis for a written language. Yes we have heard the argument for change a million times. Yet nobody EVER suggested any other language adopt a similar strategy to the Japanese writing system. And while Japanese love to say that kanji is "hard", that is not at all the problem. What it is is an inefficient, time consuming pain in the *** just to learn how to read and write, something pretty much everybody else simplified a long time ago. Even the Chinese are consistent with their written language making it not so bad even if they use pictograms too. When I was in elementary school, adult encyclopedias were completely accessible to me, by myself, in the corner with a dictionary close by. Not for Japanese kids and that stifles learning. There is a boatload the Japanese can and should learn from outsiders. And that one also works in reverse. But we are talking about a people who seem to have not even learned the value of zero yet. When they make kids books, they use spaces but use them improperly because they don't disjoin articles from other words. They don't use or seem to have a proper kanji for zero, and as a fix, inserting the kanji for ten in numbering. They have not revalued the yen leading to huge numbers even for fairly regular purchases. Their counting system ignores the commas in numbers they use everyday and so every single one of them expresses confusion with these big numbers they are forced to use so much. In short, Japan needs few hard kicks in the *** from the boot of reform to the point its not even funny anymore. Kanji is just the biggest example. Hell, I have seen English speakers not be able to read the spellings of some names, but at least they could offer a close guess. Here in Japan I have seen so very, very many people, especially TEACHERS who should be the least confused, have no clue how to read a person's name, names being at the very CORE of human communication. And now, even old people can't remember how to write kanji because of smart phones. This dinosaur should have died long ago.