30+ Reasons to Learn Japanese

By | October 17, 2022

I’ve written a large amount (probably several hundred) of articles about Japanese grammar on this blog, but for a change I thought I would write about a different topic, targeting a slightly different group of people: a list of reasons to learn Japanese.

This sort of list is inherently subjective, and perhaps some of these reasons don’t really interest you. But just maybe a few will, and help motivate you to start learning Japanese or help keep learning it. Some of these are specifically for Japanese language, and a few for learning a foreign language in general. I might even throw in a few tongue-in-cheek ones.

  1. Appreciate Japanese popular entertainment (manga, anime, novels, movies, dramas.) in their original form, avoiding any mistaken or omitted translations. This is especially important for Japanese, since translation technology from Japanese to English is still not that great compared to other language pairs.
  2. Be able to appreciate the nearly unlimited audio shows, short stories, and novels available online in audio form.
  3. Explore the wonderful country of Japan without the need of an English-speaking guide. This applies especially to more rural areas, where you will have more difficulty finding people fluent enough in English.
  4. Drastically increase your chances for certain openings in top Japanese technology companies (Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Nintendo, Sony, Casio, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, etc.)
  5. Be able to have private conversations with someone else so that others around you cannot listen in (and, depending on the area, there will be a low probability someone around you will be able to understand).
  6. Allow you to gain a fuller understanding of various Japanese martial arts (Aikido, Karate, Judo, Kyudo, etc.), and make it easier for you to train in Japan, where you can sometimes learn things not available in another country.
  7. Make it easier to learn other Japanese hobbies (not related to martial arts) like shodo (calligraphy), ikebana (flower arrangement), or shogi (Japanese chess).
  8. Get your mind working in a more pictographic way, a skill required to fully understand kanji. Also attune your ears more to pitches in language, required to master Japanese’s pitch accent.
  9. Having an enjoyable hobby you can do for years and years and never run out of things to learn. Like other popular world languages, much of Japanese can be learned online due to the many resources.
  10. Be able to have a much deeper understanding of Japan’s culture, and integrate yourself more fully (especially if you are living there). Doing these things are nearly impossible if you can’t speak the language. 
  11. Just being able to think and express yourself in another language can broaden the sorts of ideas you can have. 
  12. You can finally have a chance to realize your dream of speaking to Pikachu (or even better, Hatsune Miku) when you come across him on the streets of Japan. 
  13. Make a new you. Some people have reported they can have a different personality when speaking another language.
  14. Learning a foreign language generally makes it easier to pick up other foreign languages, especially those that are related (such as Chinese, where many of the characters are the same or similar as those in Japanese).
  15. Make yourself more marketable to work in interesting industries such as translation (manga, anime, etc.) and internationalization (software, etc.)
  16.  Make it easier to make friends (and more-than-friends) with people who speak Japanese.
  17. Make it possible for you to begin to appreciate and understand classical Japanese works, many which have not been translated and may not be for quite a long time.
  18. Showing the effort to learn and master a foreign language can look good on a resume, even for unrelated jobs. 
  19. Learn to speak in what is (arguably) a more efficient language, at least in the sense of words being omitted far more than in English, among other things.
  20. Having a variety of first-person pronouns to choose from (“watashi”, “boku”, “atashi”, “ore’, etc.), plus various sentence-ending particle or particle combinations (“no yo”, etc.) allows you to more freely express your individuality in writing, without having to rely on tone.
  21. Once you learn enough kanji, you will be able to grasp at least a vague meaning of some Chinese, which can be convenient.
  22. Actually be able to understand the meaning of tattoos in Japanese (both yours and other peoples’).
  23. It’s nice to be able to finally use The Vapor’s classic line “I think I’m turning Japanese” in a real meaningful way.
  24. Be able to understand Japanese comedy, at all its levels (or at least most of them). Generally jokes are difficult to translate, or at least there will be detailed translation notes required to fully understand things.
  25. Be able to impress your friends with tongue twisters like “ra-ri-ru-re-ro” that many of them cannot likely imitate.
  26. Have a better chance to communicate and get along with people in regions where there are many Japanese speakers (in particular, Brazil and Hawaii have a large number).
  27. Japan has a huge variety of unique, delicious, and nutritious foods. Being fluent means you will be actually able to know what you are ordering, and enjoy it that much more.
  28. Some studies have shown being bilingual can reduce the change of certain mental issues (such as dementia). While I can’t say for certain that applies to languages learned after a certain age, there’s a chance you will get some of these benefits.
  29. Japanese is considered by some sources as one of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers. While some people may put this on a list of ‘reasons not to learn’, personally I enjoy the challenge, and think it is that much rewarding to become fluent.
  30. The ability to speak in broken katakana-style English (as a joke) is a great way to get attention at parties!
  31. When buying packaged Japanese foods (whether in Japan, or around the world), you can actually read the ingredients and know what you are eating. (I’ve seen cases where the translations aren’t 100% complete.)
  32. If you are a content creator (youtuber, novelist, blogger, etc.) you can now produce content in another language (without relying on a translator), potentially drastically increasing the size of your audience.

Now if this wasn’t enough to convince you, then don’t worry because at least for Japanese literature Arigatai Books has you covered with works from a variety of genres including science fiction, women’s literature, and fairy tales. You can find our full set of books here.

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