Japanese 101

Many major universities throughout the world provide Japanese language courses, and a number of secondary and even primary schools worldwide offer courses in the language. International interest in the Japanese language dates from the 1800s but has become more prevalent following Japan's economic bubble of the 1980s and the global popularity of Japanese pop culture since the 1990s. About 2.3 million people studied the language worldwide in 2003: 900,000 South Koreans, 389,000 Chinese, 381,000 Australians, and 140,000 Americans study Japanese in lower and higher educational institutions. In Japan, more than 90,000 foreign students study at Japanese universities and Japanese language schools, including 77,000 Chinese and 15,000 South Koreans in 2003. In addition, local governments and some NPO groups provide free Japanese language classes for foreign residents, including Japanese Brazilians and foreigners married to Japanese nationals.

The Japanese government provides standardized tests to measure spoken and written comprehension of Japanese for second language learners; the most prominent is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). The Japanese External Trade Organization JETRO organizes the Business Japanese Proficiency Test which tests the learner's ability to understand Japanese in a business setting. See also British Association for Japanese Studies.

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