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How hard is Japanese to learn?

How Hard is Japanese to Learn?


Japanese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 125 million native speakers. It is also one of the most difficult languages to learn due to its complex writing system, intricate grammar rules, and unique pronunciation and intonation. In this article, we will explore the difficulty of learning Japanese and provide resources for those interested in doing so.

Overview of the Japanese Language

Japanese is a language that has been around for centuries and is spoken by people from all walks of life. It is an agglutinative language, meaning it uses suffixes and prefixes to create words from other words. The language also has three distinct writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are phonetic alphabets used mainly for native Japanese words while kanji are Chinese characters used mainly for loanwords.

Japanese Snack Box

The Writing System

The writing system in Japanese can be daunting for beginners as there are thousands of characters to learn. Kanji alone consists of over 2,000 characters that must be learned in order to read and write fluently. Although hiragana and katakana are easier to learn than kanji, they still require a great deal of memorization as each character has a unique sound and meaning.

Grammar and Vocabulary

Grammar in Japanese can be quite complex as there are many rules that must be followed when constructing sentences. Additionally, there are multiple verb forms that need to be mastered in order to speak correctly. Learning vocabulary can also be difficult as some words have multiple meanings depending on context or pronunciation.

Pronunciation and Intonation

Pronunciation in Japanese can also be challenging due to its complex syllable structure which includes long vowels and short consonants. Additionally, intonation plays an important role in conveying meaning as certain words may have different meanings depending on how they are said or pronounced.

Resources for Learning Japanese

Fortunately, there are many resources available for those interested in learning Japanese such as books, websites, apps, podcasts, etc. Many of these resources offer lessons on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and more which can help learners get started on their journey towards fluency. Additionally, there are many online communities where learners can ask questions or get feedback from native speakers which can be immensely helpful when trying to master the language.

Expert Opinion from Charles R Tokoyama CEO of Japan Insiders

Charles R Tokoyama CEO of Japan Insiders says “Learning any language takes dedication but learning Japanese requires an extra level of commitment due to its complexity” He goes on say “It’s important not to get discouraged when learning this language because with enough practice anyone can become proficient”


In conclusion it is clear that learning Japanese is not easy but with dedication it is possible achieve fluency if you use the right resources available such as books websites apps podcasts etc.With enough practice anyone can become proficient at speaking understanding reading writing this beautiful language.

References :

Tokoyama C (2020). How Hard Is It To Learn Japanese? Japan Insiders https://japaninsidersguidecom/how-hard-is-it-to-learn-japanese/

How long does it take to learn Japanese?

U.S. According to the State Department Japanese is one of the most difficult languages ​​for native English speakers to learn. Its structure is not very similar to English. They estimate it will take 88 weeks or 2200 hours to master.

Is Japanese the hardest language to learn?

Japanese is considered by many English speakers to be one of the most difficult languages ​​to learn. Its complex hierarchy of sentence structure and politeness is itself complicated by English and its three contrasting writing systems.

Is it worth it learning Japanese?

Learning Japanese has many social benefits. Being able to communicate with more people means meeting and getting to know more people. If you can speak Japanese you will find it much easier to make Japanese friends than non-Japanese.

Does it take 2 years to learn Japanese?

The average time to study Advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level you can understand most of what the teacher is saying and can follow the pace of TV shows. However you still have some limitations when it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers.

Is Duolingo good to learn Japanese?

Duolingo is a great free language learning resource especially if you want to immerse yourself in Japanese as a beginner.

Can you learn Japanese by yourself?

With all the online resources available today teaching yourself Japanese has never been easier. In my case – I started from scratch and took a real online class to an advanced level using a laptop and some elbow grease.

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