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The Benefits of Learning Japanese

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Japanese > Why Learn Japanese: The Advantages

There are 128 million Japanese speakers, including 127 million native speakers. The language is ranked thirteenth among the most widely spoken languages in the world.

There are about 1 million Japanese diaspora with large populations in countries such as Brazil and the USA, but also countries colonized by the Japanese before 1945, such as Taiwan and Korea.

In addition, Japanese is taught in most schools in East Asia and Oceania, and often competes with those European languages also offered in school.

The land of the rising sun is fascinating in many ways. It has:

  • a very rich gastronomic culture
  • a multimillennial historical and cultural legacy
  • a powerful artistic culture
  • great industry (automotive, high technology)
  • expanding tourism (20 million travelers visited Japan in 2015)
  • a unique view on life (spirituality, Shintoism, respect)
  • a beautifully balanced contrast between tradition and modernity
  • breathtaking landscapes with different climates

Bruised and devastated throughout history and a victim to many natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons), Japan has always known how to rise from the ashes.

Learning a language is never easy.

But learning to speak this beautiful language in order to teach Japanese in your country, or go to Japan on a trip should become your target.

Here are the reasons why you will not be disappointed by taking Japanese lessons!

10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Japanese

We know that learning Nihongo might seem like an uphill task, and we know that being motivated is important for success. So we have put together a list of some of the many motives for studying this ancient language. Here are Superprof’s top 10 reasons for learning Japanese:

  1. Conquer a language and an alphabet far removed from English.
  2. Discover the incredible Japanese culture.
  3. Stroll through one of the craziest capitals in the world: Tokyo!
  4. Do as the Japanese do, and read mangas in their original form.
  5. Watch and appreciate Japanese cinema.
  6. Try something other than sushi and enjoy Japanese cuisine in all its diversity.
  7. Travel around the islands of Japan (6852 in total!)
  8. Go relax in the legendary temples of Kyoto.
  9. Find a job and live within the 3rd largest economy in the world.
  10. Master the famous Japanese calligraphy.

Throughout this article we will look at a few more of these in detail.

Japan, A Cultural Diamond

Japanese writing was invented by Chinese Buddhist monks in the 4th century AD.

As a result, many Japanese ideograms are derived from Chinese characters.

In linguistics, the Japanese language is said to be agglutinative: constitutive elements of a sentence are glued – agglutinated – together.

In Japanese, there are no articles, no genders, no numbers.

Most Japanese themselves do not know all the kanji as these hail from Chinese characters.

For this reason the Japanese language is called sinoxenic.

 

Japanese culture is rich and diverse So many elements of Japanese culture are amazing to explore!

Studying Japanese helps to understand the culture which will allow you to improve your understanding of all aspects of one of the most unique cultures in the world:

  • Japanese culture
  • mastering the Japanese alphabet: kanji, hiragana and katakana
  • perfecting your pronunciation
  • learning to read Japanese writing
  • passing your JPLT
  • translating Japanese words into English
  • making a long trip to Japan
  • understanding life in Japan
  • the history of Japan
  • the world of mangas and Japanese cinema
  • the whimsical world of Japanese video games
  • succumbing to the flavors of Japanese gastronomy (sushi, miso soups, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, ramens, bento, tonkatsu…)
  • a spiritual culture that inspires “zen attitude” and a respect for nature and the living kingdom

Learning to speak Japanese also means discovering the popularity of manga. The statistical figures of Japanese art production are astounding:

  • in 2008, 15 million manga were sold
  • a turnover of around 95 million euros
  • more than 300 video games from successful mangas
  • in 2002, the manga market accounted for 22.6% of the profits of the Japanese publishing industry
  • 38.1% of the books and magazines published in Japan were manga
  • nearly one in twelve Japanese reads at least a manga a week

When you learn Japanese through its literary, cinematographic, and video-game culture you begin:

  • to know life in Japan
  • memorize dialogues
  • repeat the words heard in a conversation
  • stimulate your understanding of the language

The mangas known to the general public are very numerous. We cannot make an exhaustive list as there are so many.

But we know (almost) all the masterpieces from H. Miyazaki and the legendary Akira, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto.

Taking Japanese Lessons in order to Visit Japan

In 2015, 20 million people traveled the to 6,852 islands that make up the Japanese archipelago, including the main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Learning Japanese to visit Japan is essential for many reasons.

Primarily, Japanese people don’t often speak English. This means communicating in the lands of the rising sun means you will have to speak a bit of the native tongue. But what’s more, speaking some Japanese before you travel to Japan means you can integrate yourself more effectively with Japanese society and the local people, thus enhancing the experience whilst you are there.

Immersion is the number one way to learn Japanese Completely immerse yourself in Japanese if you want to learn it effectively

Here’s how to learn Japanese before going to Japan:

  • select a method for learning the language
  • take classes with a native Japanese tutor
  • take a JLPT test at school
  • do a language exchange with a native Japanese student and learn Japanese for free
  • immerse yourself in the language: read manga, watch Japanese TV, listen to the Japanese radio
  • work in a Japanese company: perfect your Japanese vocabulary, acquire a business language
  • stay with a Japanese host family
  • get a Japanese roommate: this will help you speak Japanese on a daily basis and learn quickly

Once in Japan, you will discover the big Japanese cities–from Tokyo to Sapporo, Kyoto to Fukuoka.

In these gigantic conurbations exceeding one million inhabitants, knowing how to speak a few words of Japanese will give you the satisfaction of being able to interact with the Japanese:

  • understand traders
  • ask for directions in the street
  • choose from a Japanese menu
  • book a hotel in Japanese
  • understand Japanese television
  • rent an apartment to live in Japan
  • open a Japanese bank account
  • learn to read and write, as well as count in Japanese
  • know how to say hello (ohayo), wish someone good luck (ayakaru), say “thank you” in Japanese (arigato)
  • perfect your learning about Japanese culture
  • really truly get to know life in Japan

Finally, it is a good idea to let your brain rest after total linguistic immersion in your intensive Japanese classes: you could relax in a Japanese amusement park…there are hundreds of them all over the country.

Take a creative or spiritual excursion, such as a trip to Mount Fuji. Culminating at 3,776 meters above sea level, you can see and admire it from one of the five great lakes in the Fujigoko region.

How Japanese Courses Can Help You Take Advantage of the Close Ties Between Japan and the West

If at some point during your Japanese tuition you have thought that you could use the language professionally, then you are on the cusp of making a great decision.

Japan’s status in the world, coupled with the low proportion of the Japanese population that speak English means that having language skills in Japanese is a real asset. Close ties between Japan and the West means that speaking this ancient language can make you hugely employable.

You will struggle to find a job in Japan without the Japanese language Speaking Japanese is essential if you want to work in Japan

The close relationship between Japan and western countries has made speaking Japanese a professional asset. 

Why ?

  • Japan’s culture is loved around the world (manga, anime, sushi, video games etc)
  • Japan is an economic power house (3rd biggest economy in the world and a member of the G8)
  • It is one of the biggest investors in western countries
  • Japan is at the forefront of technological advances which are always important in western societies
  • It is strategically important in balancing Asia from a western point of view

Therefore learning Japanese is essential. You can use the Superprof website to find a personal tutor close to where you live, or the following websites allow you to learn Japanese online:

  • Minna no nihongo
  • I’m learning Japanese
  • Kanji to kana

When learning the Japanese language, whether your tutor is a native tutor, a second language Japanese speaker, or a graduate student, you will need:

  • to know the Japanese alphabet: some kanji, hiragana, katakana
  • to know how to read Japanese writing
  • know at least some words of vocabulary
  • say thank you in Japanese (arigatō)
  • say hello in Japanese (ohayō, ohayō gozaimasu, konnichiwa, konbanwa)
  • count in Japanese (to pay your bills!)
  • to write in Japanese
  • learn phrases from everyday life
  • know how to ask for directions
  • have conversations in Japanese to improve your pronunciation

The better your proficiency in the Japanese language, the better your employment opportunities will be. You will also need to know about Japanese culture, particularly about the Japanese rules of politeness and the basic gestures of respect. Learn a lexicon of words for everyday situations.

Japan has a draconian code of courtesy that you should respectfully respect as best you can.

Don’t worry–you’ll learn very quickly!

Learning Japanese in Order to Teach Japanese Classes in Your Country

It is very possible that an immersion course in Osaka is out of the question for you, more than likely due to financial or time constraints.

However, if you are fascinated by Japanese culture, you can learn Japanese to teach it in your country.

Western countries need more Japanese teachers Learn to transmit the Japanese alphabet and other aspects of the culture to young students!

Languages are becoming more and more important across the world, and Japanese is no exception to this. Therefore more qualified Japanese teachers are needed to teach it in schools and universities worldwide.

In most cases, Japanese teachers are native speakers, and if not they have studied to undergraduate level.

Japanese grammar, kanji, and hiragana katakana, Japanese vocabulary words, Japanese history, literature. and culture will all become familiar to you if you choose this path.

As a Japanese language teacher, countless organizations could potentially open their doors to you:

  • Asian and oriental language schools
  • Private associations
  • Japanese cultural centers
  • Universities
  • Private tutoring: thanks to specialized sites such as Superprof

Teaching Japanese classes is accessible to anyone who speaks the language thanks to Superprof. All you need to do is great an account on our website and you could become an in-home Japanese tutor, setting your own rates and organising your own working hours.

Learning Japanese is an Asset in the Business World

Learning Japanese for business purposes is one of the main reasons that people want to learn the language of Mishima. But why is this?

  • Japan has the 3rd largest economy in the world.

Japan is an extremely prosperous country with a very diverse economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, Japan has an annual GDP of almost $4.9 trillion.

The leading Japanese companies are also among the largest, most efficiently run, and most well-known firms in the world. Familiar names like Sony, Toshiba, Sanyo, Casio, Canon, Minolta, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, and many others have infiltrated the world market in a variety of sectors.

Whether you’re in the field of business, engineering, manufacturing, research, economics, or politics, chances are you will be competing with, if not working for, a Japanese entity.

  • Knowing Japanese brings business opportunities.

Japanese consumers spend 100s of billions of dollars each year on consumer goods and services like food, clothing, travel, and entertainment. In a world where a country’s top trading partners tend to be geographically close, half of Japan’s top 15 trade partners are located outside of Asia, in countries such as the USA, the UK, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Japan is both the world’s 4th biggest importer and exporter. In 2017, it imported almost $626 billion worth of goods, and it exported around $683 billion. This means that businesses are eager to tap into this financial goldmine which has a  domestic market of 128 million people.

Being able to communicate with potential customers in their own language is key to winning their business. In addition, when you learn Japanese, you become not only proficient in the language but also gain an inside view in to the culture. Understanding the Japanese work ethic, their business practices, and knowing which cultural faux pas to avoid can often make or break an important business deal.

  • Respect and politeness are essential in Japanese business practices.

To be successful in business in Japan, you need to know that it goes a lot further than just being a successful business person. Cultivating relationships is obviously essential in the business world, and there is a very specific way of doing this in Japan which learning the language can teach you.

You have to be respectful at all times. If you are not, you will cause offence which could sour an attempts to build bridges with a Japanese company. For example, there is a very specific way to introduce yourself, and to give and receive business cards.

Why not try searching for ‘japanese courses london‘ or lessons in your area?

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