So you’re currently thinking about learning Japanese but you’re not yet convinced? Well we’re hoping after reading this, we’ll be able to convince you why Japanese is the language for you and why you should consider learning it. Have a look at our reasons as to why you should consider learning Japanese as your next language.
Reasons to learn Japanese
Lots of people speak Japanese
Approximately 128 million people speak Japanese making it the 9th language with the most native speakers in the world. This is an awful lot of people for you to practise with, and you don’t even have to go to Japan. With amazing websites like italki and apps like hellotalk, you should easily be able to find someone out of those 128 million people who you like practising with.
Learn Japanese to increase your career opportunities
Japan has the third largest GDP in the world, beating Germany and the UK and coming in only after the USA and China, though with the size of those countries that shouldn’t be a huge surprise. That means if you learnt Japanese to live in Japan, there are a lot of banks and big businesses where you could find a lucrative career for yourself.
But even if you want to stay in your own country, I can guarantee that there will be companies that want to trade or do business with Japan who will require Japanese speakers. As not many people speak Japanese as a second language this will make you very useful, and it will put you at an advantage in the job market.
Learn Japanese for travel
English levels aren’t that great in Japan, so if you did want to visit and travel around the country, then just getting by on English probably wouldn’t cut it. In other countries you can do this, most European languages have English levels that mean you don’t really have to learn much of the native language if you didn’t want to, but Japan’s not like that. English isn’t as widely spoken, and although in the tourist areas you’ll probably be fine, if you wanted to see other places you might struggle.
Also Japan is incredibly beautiful and definitely worth the visit. Four distinct islands provide you with different climates, different food and even slightly different customs. Whether you’re going for ski season, the see the cherry blossoms, the mega cities or the temples, Japan is a place that should be on your bucket list, and therefore learning a little Japanese should be too.
Make yourself stand out
A lot of native English speakers opt for languages like Spanish, French, German or Chinese. After those four, other languages become less popular, so if you chose to learn a language like Japanese you would putting yourself aside from the rest of the crowd. Not only in terms of how interesting you are, but also for employers. It’s definitely a skill that makes you different and makes you in demand.
Learn it for yourself
You don’t even need to have a practical reason to learn Japanese. If you want to learn a language and you’re not sure which one to choose, then choose the one that interests you the most. Learning a language is always a positive, even if you’re not quite sure what you’re going to do with it yet.
So if you don’t know what you want to do for a living, you don’t know if you want to go abroad let alone to Asia, but you want to learn a language because you find it interesting, and you like Japanese culture, then why not learn Japanese. Even if you just like to read manga, that could be a good enough reason to choose Japanese, and then you would be able to read your favourite books in their native language.
Open yourself to new culture
I know you can say this about any language, but Japan has a particularly interesting pop culture. Manga comics, Pokemon, anime films and Japanese pop have their own distinctly Japanese feel that sets it apart from other countries and cultures. If you learn Japanese you can open up this world for yourself and experience it in the language it was meant to be experienced in; Japanese.
Reasons not to learn Japanese
These are some of the reasons why you might want to reconsider learning Japanese. We personally don’t think these reasons are good enough but we want you to know what you’re getting into before you start learning. However, remember for every good reason to do something, there are always going to be a handful of reasons you shouldn’t. Sometimes you just have to ignore those reasons and go for it. Here are our two meagre reasons for not learning Japanese, but we hope this doesn’t put you off.
Because Japanese is only spoken in Japan, it is literally the only country where you would be speaking Japanese on a day to day basis. With other languages part of the draw is that you would be able to use it in lots of different countries, for example French, German or Spanish. But with Japanese, you’re pretty much limited to Japan, and unless you want to live in that country or you have a job that trades with Japan, there are definitely other languages that are more useful.
Japanese uses three different writing systems. Not only are you learning a writing system completely different from the roman alphabet but you have to learn three of them.
We hope we’ve managed to convince you to learn Japanese. It may not be as widely spoken as other languages, or as popular, but it is definitely a useful language to learn in the modern world and will set you apart from other people.
If you’ve had any experience learning Japanese, or you chose not to for a specific reason, then please let us know in the comments below. We’re always interested in hearing about your language learning experiences, especially with a language like Japanese, where less people are learning it than languages like Chinese or Spanish.
And if we have managed to convince you to learn Japanese then take a look at some of our recommended textbooks for the JLPT.