We all have some childhood memories of falling in love with the Pokemon cartoon series.
And some of you probably still dance to the famous tune of "Tokyo Drift."
None of us can deny getting intrigued by geishas, and most of you already got familiar with karate in school.
Still more, the special place of sushi in our hearts, admiration of ikebana, and the love for anime story-lines continuously bring Japanese culture into our daily lives.
Nevertheless, you are still missing a lot if you can’t speak or understand the language.
So, does this mean you need to join a Japanese language class? How will you ever learn an almost impossible language?
Is learning Japanese worth it? How hard is Japanese to learn?
Japanese aka Nihongo (日本語): The Important Facts
Before we move on to discover the pros of learning Japanese to answer "Is it worth learning Japanese?", let's look into some of its interesting facts first.
Origin and Birth
The origin of this East Asian Language dates back as early as the 8th century.
The birth of modern Japanese took place in the Edo Period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868.
This language is unique and bears no relation to other major languages.
Number of Users
International interest in Japan's national language grew in the 1990s, mainly after the advent of popular Japanese anime and video game culture.
Over 128 million natives speak it. It is the 9th most spoken language worldwide.
It's also the third-largest language spoken on the internet, after Spanish and English. Approximately almost 10% of internet users speak Japanese.
Number of Japanese Language Learners
Following Japan's economic bubble from 1986 to 1991, people started to study the Japanese language in great numbers.
In 2015, according to a survey report, about 3.6 million people worldwide studied this language. Among them, the majority belonged to East and Southeast Asia.
It also showed an increasing number of Japanese learners in Australia (20.5%), Vietnam (38.7%), the Philippines (54.4%), and Thailand (34.1%).
It has three writing systems, namely hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
Japanese is written in two formats; one is tategaki, in which it is written vertically and read from top to bottom.
The second format is called yokogaki, which is written horizontally and read from left to right.
Japanese uses loanwords from a vast number of languages like German and Portuguese, other than English.
Plus, it is one of the fastest languages spoken worldwide, at a surprising rate of 7.84 syllables per second!
Japanese uses honorifics, i.e., the use of suffixes in words to show numerous levels of respect. Special honorifics are used for teachers, elders, guests, children, and peers.
Is Learning Japanese Worth It: Brief Analysis
We have answered a few common questions that might pop up in your head if you are interested in this language.
They will help you find answers to "Is it worth learning Japanese or not?"
Is It Hard To Learn Japanese?
Before taking the big step, you probably want to know, "Is Japanese easy to learn or not?"
The list of 2000 alphabets in this language might make you dizzy at first, but the rest becomes easy once you learn them.
Some people think learning this language can consume your entire time and deprive you of social life.
But for others, it is fun and entertaining. So the question "How hard is Japanese to learn?" doesn't have a definitive answer.
It all depends upon your mother tongue, how much time and effort you put every day into your lessons, and somewhat also, on your memory and IQ level.
Its different phonetics, like つ (tsu) or づ (dzu), do seem difficult for English speakers.
So may the R sounds since they don't sound like r, but rather sound like L. But if you practice enough, you will become fluent in no time.
In terms of grammar, the and answer to "Is Japanese easy to learn?" is leaning more towards yes.
That is because the grammar is pretty simple, where you mainly have to learn the conjugation of verbs.
There are also no articles like a, an, the in the language, making it easier for foreigners to learn it.
What Are the Advantages of Learning Japanese?
To answer, "Is Japanese worth learning or not?", taking a peek at the advantages will help you decide better.
Some of the benefits of learning Japanese are:
Gateway To a Better Future
Becoming fluent in Japanese can help you find a career in Japan. Its economy is continually rising, giving birth to numerous job openings in every field.
You can teach English to Japanese students there or become a translator for the government.
Furthermore, Japanese language proficiency can get you a job promotion.
It can also increase your opportunity to get transferred overseas if you work in an international company.
Appreciation of the Japanese Culture
You will love dining in Japanese restaurants or joining a tea ceremony if you have a grasp of their language.
A trip to Japan would also become a hundred times easier and enjoyable.
Knowing their native language will make you appreciate Japan's diverse art, traditions, and cultural heritage at a deeper level.
Grasp of Japanese Technology
Whether it is consumer electronics, vehicles, medical devices, or robotics, Japanese technology outshines the rest.
Their advancement in the technology zone is the main reason behind their booming economy, where they rank the third-largest economy in the world.
So if you work in a technology field, learning Japanese will help you better understand their techniques.
Understanding Other Asian Cultures
Japanese writing systems share similarities with the Chinese, whereas the grammar closely resembles that of the Korean language.
The Japanese culture also shares a common belief system and ethics with other Asian countries like the multicultural nation of India.
Therefore, along your journey to acquire Nihongo proficiency, you will be gaining knowledge of several different Asian cultures.
Opportunity To Study in Japan
All undergraduate programs in Japanese universities teach in their native language.
To study there, you need to take a one-year course in the Japanese language before admission.
Also, if you are studying Japanese philosophy, culture, or history, learning the native language of Japan will help you better understand the subject.
Chance of Moving To Japan
If you know Japanese, moving to Japan is a good option for a better lifestyle. Japan is ranked as the eighth safest country in the world. So it is a great country where you can settle down or maybe retire.
It's not only safe; it's easy to live there. They have convenient stores everywhere, which remain open round the clock.
You can buy anything there, anytime, without the hassle of crowds or long waiting lines.
If you are fluent in Japanese, then you can start a business in Japan. It is an excellent place for beginners and a fruitful ground for business expansion.
Online retailing, social marketing, business advisory services, and call center business are a few examples that are bound to be successful in the land of Japan.
What Are the Best Ways To Learn Japanese?
Joining an institution is the best idea, but if you don't want to spend a lot of money, learn it online.
Rosetta Stone, LingQ, and Duolingo are some of the popular options available online.
Start by practicing hiragana and katakana first and then move on to kanji.
Make it a habit of listening to Japanese podcasts daily and watching Japanese anime and movies with subtitles.
Getting yourself children's books, Japanese comics, and manga might also help a lot.
Moreover, practicing kanji workbooks can make a lot of difference.
Writing in workbooks for 20 minutes daily will make it easier to learn kanji, which is the most challenging part of the course.
Also, using flashcards like wanikani can help to memorize kanji.
Is Learning Japanese for Anime Worth It?
Are you a die-hard anime fan? Do you spend hours watching your favorite series everyday?
Then you probably find watching it with subtitles pretty annoying.
Looking at subtitles kind of makes you miss what's going on the screen above, especially the facial expressions.
If you are still pondering, "Is Japanese worth learning or not in your case?", we suggest you start your lessons right away.
To enjoy your favorite anime series to the fullest, taking an online Japanese language course would be best for you.
In addition to anime, you will be able to take pleasure in manga and movies.
You will finally be able to rejoice in Japanese pop music.
Above all, you can also easily meet AKB48, a famous Japanese idol group, and have a memorable conversation with them.
Is Studying Japanese Worth the Effort?
Studying Japan's native language is not a piece of cake and something you can do unless you give it the appropriate amount of dedication and hard work.
It requires 2200 hours or 88 weeks to complete a Japanese language course since it is the most challenging language to learn, even harder than Arabic and Chinese.
You would get a hold on speaking it in a matter of months, but learning to read and write this language will take time.
So, "Is learning Japanese worth it?" Considering the vast number of career opportunities that await in Japan, it is evident that studying Japanese is worth it.