5 Reasons why learning Japanese is so popular
By Yumi Nakata
Despite being a difficult language to learn, Japanese is still one of the most popular foreign languages.
I recall Japanese courses offered in the community college that I attended almost always hit the Enrollment Capacity by the first registration deadline. I didn’t really think too deeply about why so many people were interested in learning my native language until I started tutoring Japanese during my senior year of college.
I was pleasantly surprised to meet so many enthusiastic leaners. Some of them were not just interested in learning some useful phrases for their upcoming trip to Japan but they wanted to find a job and live in Japan! Japan is a truly beautiful country with fascinating history and modern culture. I want to share five of the most common reasons why so many of my students are interested in learning Japanese.
The Popularity Of Manga And Anime
Definitely anime and manga have inspired many people to learn about Japanese culture and language. Almost all of my former students talk about their favorite Japanese anime and how it inspired them to pick up their first Japanese book. For instance, Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films are extremely popular overseas such as “Spirited Away”, which won an American Academy Award.
China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, but Japan’s influence on the global economy is still strong. Electronic and automotive companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Honda and Toyota are known for their excellent quality and efficiency. Non-Japanese speakers working for these companies are encouraged to learn Japanese as it definitely improves your chance of getting hired by Japanese companies if you know how to speak Japanese.
JPOP And TV Shows
Thanks to modern technology, you can watch Japanese music videos on YouTube and other websites. Singers like Namie Amuro and Utaga Hikaru are popular outside Japan and people want to know what they are singing. Also there are lots of Japanese dramas and TV shows available online. Foreigners who are interested in learning beyond a few phrases and Manga and JPOP are the most common reasons people whom I have tutored brought up as to why they wanted to learn Japanese.
Because It Is Interesting
It is fun to learn a different language! Japanese is especially fun because some words sound really funny and I remember my former students were getting a kick out of the word, “tokidoki”! They said it sounded like “okidoki!” Also, when you are learning a foreign language, you get to learn a lot about its culture and it is one of the most rewarding aspects of learning Japanese language.
Dating Japanese Women
This still seems to be one of the reasons as to why many foreign males are studying Japanese. They believe that a Japanese woman makes a good wife and the number of international marriages between Japanese women and foreign males is on the rise. If you are interested in dating Japanese men or women, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with Japanese culture and language.