Is the Japanese language worth learning?
Little is known of Japanese’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japonic languages have been grouped with other language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance. According to FSI [Foreign Service Institute], Japanese is the toughest to master for a native English speaker. With that said, it just requires more time, effort and dedication than other languages, at the same time, the benefits are always worth the effort.
Some benefits of learning Japanese include:
It raises your status in the workplace
Although this is quite obvious, it may not be in the way you think. Knowledge of Japanese for business will increase your value as a global employer and market player. Whether it’s business Japanese or just getting your foot through the door with basic greetings, your potential clients or business partners from Japan will greatly appreciate your efforts. Japanese business language might lack the conversational tone you are more used to, so more formality is required. It’s best to study exactly what is or isn’t allowed, and this will save you from committing any faux pas. Learning the basics helps get you started, and it helps you appreciate a foreign culture even more.
You will become more approachable
Japanese for business shouldn’t be your only goal. A little-known fact, unless you have lived in Japan, is that the Japanese do not speak much English. Not only that, a large majority of the population is reluctant to speak or use the English they do know. Even if you speak just a little bit of Japanese, will make a noticeable difference. It will prompt Japanese people to be friendlier and more welcoming — after all, you took the trouble to learn something about them instead of expecting them to do all the work.
You can further appreciate Japanese culture and entertainment
While we’re pretty sure you have tried sushi or ramen in your home country, there’s a lot more out there. Learning Japanese can help you understand the origins of ingredients, styles of cooking, and even converse with chefs. You may also be familiar with adorable animated characters such as Totoro and Hello Kitty. But do you know the thought and stories that go behind the creation of these beloved cartoons? Likewise, Japanese anime has taken over the entertainment world by storm. And take one of the most vaguely familiar aspects of Japanese culture: Sumo. Sumo wrestling is a sacred sport that originated during the Edo period. It’s extremely unique, and the reason for the sport may not be known to many. Sumo is actually a religious ritual, and to be a pro sumo wrestler is a difficult task. Wrestlers live with many limitations but are very well respected.
It’s a self-imposed challenge
In the workplace, many managers and supervisors give raises and promotions based on the work you produce. Many admire a person that challenges themselves with personal growth.
It opens up more doors and job opportunities
The Japanese have their own way of life, different laws and a unique way of doing things. This makes certain integration more difficult for some foreigners. However, the Japanese market is enticing to potential investors and organizations looking to extend their reach. The country is known to be very poised, educated, and tech-savvy, coming out with new and innovative technologies every year. This is a great reason to localize from a corporate perspective, and it’s a great reason to learn Japanese from a more personal perspective. The way business is done in Japan is quite different from the west. Business negotiations go down when the sun does. Having to go out after work for lengthy periods, and appealing to the client’s pleasures and preferences, work best. If you are not able to speak a lick of Japanese, it could make this tough to do.
I personally learnt Japanese to enjoy Anime, I love it so much. Even if you’ve never watched anime, I’m sure you’ve heard how popular Death Note, Attack on Titan and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is. If you really, really want to study Japanese and make it a significant part of your life’s work, then I’m 100 per cent behind you. Well, maybe like 90, but that’s pretty good anyway. You’re going to have to invest a considerable amount of time and effort, but it’ll be all worth it.
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