If you’re wondering whether or not you should learn Japanese, this article is here to help.
The language is spoken by over 120 million people, the majority of whom live and work in Japan. Still, learning Japanese will benefit you no matter where in the world you live and these six reasons to learn the language will help you decide if Japanese is right for you.
1. Learning Japanese Will Help You Enter the Japanese Economy
Did you know that Japan has the third largest economy in the world after America and China? The World Economic Forum valued it at over 5 trillion dollars in 2018. To land a job in this economy, speaking Japanese will certainly help. Bilingualism can give you an edge with companies that work with Japanese businesses as well.
According to Japan Industry News, some of the biggest markets in the country are in driverless tech, artificial intelligence and robotics, and data science. So, if you’re looking for a career in any of these fields learning Japanese should be on your radar.
2. Learning Japanese Will Help You Stand Out
Whether you’re trying to get into your dream school or land your dream job, learning Japanese will help you stand out.
A survey from the US Census Bureau found that only around 460,000 people in the US speak Japanese. On the other hand, over three million speak Chinese and over 40 million speak Spanish. Finally, 229 million Americans speak English only. So, speaking Japanese will get you noticed and any job seeking a bilingual candidate with the language will have very slim competition.
To get started learning the language, most teachers recommend hiring a private Japanese tutor near you. This will help you understand the basics before stepping foot in a classroom.
3. Learning Japanese Can Help Keep Your Mind Healthy
The New York Times found that “Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.” Learning Japanese can help you become a better problem solver and even keep your brain healthy into old age.
4. Learning Japanese Can Help With Other Asian Languages
There is no doubt that Japanese is a difficult language to learn. The structure and symbols are very different from the English language and alphabet, but if you stick it out you’ll reap the rewards. Although Japanese is still different from the nearby Korean and Chinese language, learning it will help give you a small insight into the other languages as well.
Grammatically, Japan and Korea do share some similarities in their languages. Japanese is also based on the old Chinese alphabet, so while they’ve diverged over the years, a familiarity with the language can’t hurt if you decide to venture into Mandarin as well.
5. Learning Japanese Will Help You Connect With Locals
If you’re planning to live or work in Japan, speaking Japanese will help you immerse yourself in the local culture. The Language Proficiency Index from EF rates Japan as “Low Proficiency” in English. So, while getting around Japan is possible with little to no knowledge of Japanese, learning the language will help you bypass the language barrier and connect with others more deeply.
Forming friendships with locals, chatting with your neighbors, navigating the country, and getting a job outside of the common ESL teaching positions will all suddenly be much more possible in your day to day life if you speak Japanese.
6. Learning Japanese Will Help You Enjoy the Culture More
When you learn Japanese, you also open a door into one of the most prolific media producing countries in the world. In a list of “Cutting-edge centers of art, entertainment and fashion,” by US News and World Report, Japan comes in at a solid #6 in the rankings.
Often, outsiders to the country can only consume this media once it’s translated to their native tongue. However, if you speak Japanese you’ll have wider and earlier access to almost everything. Mastering the language will allow you to enjoy the music scene, read authors in their native tongue, watch movies without subtitles and much more.
So, Should You Learn Japanese?
Learning Japanese has many benefits. It will give you access to the third largest economy in the world and to the media in one of the most culturally influential nations. It will also help you stand out in school or job applications, become more familiar with other Asian languages and connect better with locals in Japan. Finally, being bilingual can even keep your mind healthy into old age.
There’s no doubt that learning Japanese can have a positive impact on your life, so start learning the language today!