Japan is called Nihon (日本) in Japanese. ‘Ni’ (日) meaning ‘sun’ and ‘Hon’ (本） meaning ‘origin’. Quite literally, that means, “land of the rising sun”, thus ‘Nihon’ (日本).
Japan is an island nation in East Asia located in the Pacific Ocean. It shares its borders with North Korea, South Korea, China, Philippines, Russia, North Mariana Islands, and Taiwan.
The map of Japan is shaped like a seahorse. Besides consisting of a whopping 6852+ islands, Japan contains four major islands—Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu plus 47 prefectures. Honshu is the largest island in Japan. Almost up to 80% of Japan is mountainous and over 100 volcanoes in Japan are active accounting to nearly 10% of active volcanoes globally.
Japan has a population of 126 million inhabitants. Tokyo is the capital city and the largest city in Japan with a GDP of ~$1.6 trillion.
Japan is a monolingual country. Japanese people are unified by a commonly spoken language, which has made it easier for the Japanese people to achieve political and cultural unity more quickly than other Asian nations.
Japanese writing system consists of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji (i.e. Chinese characters), and Romaji (Romanization of Japanese words).
Hiragana and Katakana (collectively referred to as kana) are syllabic writings. They are a phonetic syllabary for Japanese, as in each kana character represents a phoneme such as ぱ (pa), た (ta), て(te), も (mo), ら (ra) etc…One is not formal than the other. The main differences are that Hiragana is used for phonetically spelling out Japanese words besides being the most original writing system in Japan, and Katakana is used for writing foreign words. Katakana character strokes tend to be more straight while hiragana is more curvilinear.
Kanji is literally “Chinese character”. Kanji is not a phonetic syllabary. Instead, it is a set of characters that represent whole words. Kanji is ideographic writing, that is, each character represents a concept or an idea. For example, 水 means “water” while 朝 means “morning”. Kanji consists of about 2000 characters. For a foreigner learning Japanese, it is estimated that a full year of study is required to learn 1945 characters, and two years to become fluent.
Romaji is a system of romanized spelling used to transliterate Japanese.
The Japanese language is the third largest language on the Internet right behind English and Spanish. Even though Japanese speakers represent less than 2% of the world population (126 million people), the Japanese language makes up to almost 10% of the Internet populace. So, knowing the Japanese can get you connected with them in an instant.
Knowing Japanese is a doorway to lots and lots of business opportunities as Japanese consumers spend 100s of billions of dollars each year on consumer goods and services like food, clothing, travel, and entertainment. A typical household in Japan has over $100,000 in savings and a disposable monthly income of $3800.
Japanese language course is a gateway to other Asian languages and cultures. Asian cultures together share many similarities that differentiate them from Western ways and norms. So, the study of the Japanese language can open your perspective on the values that other Asian nations share with Japan.
Prepare for Japanese language proficiency test at Langma School of Languages
Approximately 3.6 million people of Japanese descent live outside of Japan with the largest number of Japanese living in Brazil (1.5 million), followed by US (1.2 million) as about 1/3 of the population in Hawaii is of Japanese descent. Other countries include Philippines (120,000), Peru (90,000), Canada (81,000) and UK (40,000).
Japanese is also an official language in Angaur in Palau.
When it comes to India, the largest oriental expatriate community in India is the Japanese. Approximately 8300 or more Japanese expatriates are living in India, according to the Japanese embassy. Japanese expatriate community in India constitutes close to 28% or nearly 30% of the overall foreign expatriate community living in India. Most of them live in cosmopolitan cities such as Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, and also Gurgaon now.
The career prospects are very bright for Japanese language translators in India. India’s large domestic market has been the main factor for investments by Japanese companies. You can work as a translator to translate books, legal documents or can join business people to interpret business prospects or can join hospitality industries. Teaching is another option to consider. Only in Tamil Nadu alone, nearly 525 Japanese industries are there searching for Japanese language specialists. In fact, there are lots of Japanese companies operating in India in software, electronic, automobile, and chemical industry. There is no dearth of Japanese language jobs. In India too, it is the most valued language with good careers. Its international importance is undisputed.