You are probably here because you’re contemplating studying Japanese and asked, “Is learning Japanese worth it?”
It’s normal to have our doubts first when learning about a language. If you are eager to know if Japanese is worth learning, read on to quench your curiosity. It might be a long journey, but learning Japanese is undeniably worth it. Despite being deemed a difficult language to learn, many people still aim to learn Japanese for different reasons. Some learn the language for business, academic, or personal purposes and reap more benefits than expected. Learning Japanese will open new doors for you and pave new paths for your personal development.
Keep reading below to find out what makes learning Japanese worth it.
Is Learning Japanese Worth It: The Essentials
Proficiency in another language gives you a global advantage. The world is increasingly becoming interconnected, and language skills allow you to connect with the world. The ability of a person to communicate internationally and across borders has become a valued skill. It enables them to form meaningful connections with other people and strengthen their values.
Language allows us to communicate effectively with others, build strong relationships, and have a sense of community. Imagine being proficient in Japanese, the language of Japan, a competitive and progressive country. Japanese language proficiency makes you a part of their society and equips you with the unique advantage of communicating with a wider range of people on a professional or personal level.
Moreover, language skills are among the top eight required skills in occupations. Individuals using a second language have a complete advantage in landing a job over their monolingual peers. It increases your professional value and offers limitless possibilities to advance your career. It proves your hard work and represents your efforts and willingness to go outside your comfort zone.
What Are The Benefits of Learning Japanese?
1. Learning Japanese will expand your mind.
Learning the Japanese language will not just improve your language skills but also your attitude toward learning. It shows that you are willing to learn outside the limitations of your field, achieve broader perspectives, and train your higher thinking skills to overcome challenges in the workplace.
The Japanese language is also a window to its culture. Your mind will be opened to different cultures, allowing you to experience their diverse uniqueness. Japan has been isolated in the past as an island nation. And you can learn more about its history and culture through its language. For instance, you won’t be able to directly translate some Japanese words into English or other languages, but if you know Japanese, you’ll know why, and this is because of the influence of Japan’s culture.
2. It helps you connect with others.
The connection you have with others largely defines your life, according to the famous talent manager Jerry Weintraub. Connecting with others in their native language is a marvelous gift. You can communicate with a wider range of people in their professional and personal lives.
Learning Japanese can also help you form valuable connections with different people- especially Japanese people. Japanese people are friendly, but they can be shy, and you will find that many of them are reluctant to initiate conversations. There’s nothing more wonderful than communicating with your Japanese friends, colleagues, and employers with clarity and mutual understanding. Learning Japanese could lead to new business, job opportunities, or even meaningful friendships. More importantly, you will gain the rewards of learning Japanese for many years.
3. It helps you become disciplined.
Learning a language takes work. It can take years of dedication and commitment to reach fluency. If you dedicate yourself to learning Japanese, it is a sign that you have self-discipline. It tests your patience and your willingness to put priorities first before self-gratification.
Having self-discipline is key to a successful and meaningful life. As a job-seeker, having self-discipline is important. When employers see that an applicant took the effort and time to learn a language, they perceive it as a positive trait beneficial for the company’s success. Employees showcasing discipline are fundamental to maintaining productivity in the company. If it’s indicated in your CV or resume that you know how to speak Japanese, rest assured that you have an advantage in landing your dream job because it portrays that you are disciplined.
4. It’s your gateway to Japan’s technology and pop culture.
The Japanese people are known around the globe as innovators. From Japan’s bullet trains, pocket calculators, android robots, and the blue LED light- it’s without question how great its technology is. If you are into technology, learning the Japanese language will open doors of opportunity for you. Even if you are not technically inclined- knowledge of Japanese will help you understand how its technology works and utilize it to your advantage. From being a consultant for immigration services to working in international logistics, Japanese language skills are always in demand since you’ll always deal with different business areas and creative media.
You’ll be able to understand movies, animations, variety shows, and any mainstream Japanese media. Following up on Japan’s pop culture, history, and current events allows you to connect deeper to its tradition and culture.
5. It makes you different.
Being able to speak Japanese will set you apart from the crowd, especially if you come from the Western hemisphere, where people tend to learn popular foreign languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, and German. These languages are more commonly taught in schools because they are closer to English and, therefore, easy to learn.
Studying a less-commonly learned language, which has a reputation for being challenging to master, gets you ahead of your peers. You may benefit from unique opportunities and be regarded as hardworking and adventurous.
6. It improves your decision-making skills.
Strong decision-making skills are key to a peaceful life and forming meaningful relationships. Taking the time to fully think of and explore the choices and possible outcomes of our decisions, including the reflections from others, results in better and deeper decisions. Learning Japanese will help you become logic-driven when making decisions. Studies show that decisions made by people in their second language are more logical and reason-driven than those made in their native language. When we deliberate in another language, we distance ourselves from the emotional biases associated with our native tongue. It results in clear-headed and systematic decisions based on facts.
7. Learning Japanese is a great confidence booster.
In learning a language, mistakes are inevitable. By learning the Japanese language and embracing mistakes, you are slowly putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Learning Japanese strengthens your cognitive abilities and will greatly help boost your self-esteem. You are exposed to social interactions when you initiate a conversation with others. You’ll have a great sense of achievement once you accomplish your learning objectives and converse fluently with native speakers or fellow Japanese language enthusiasts.
8. It will help you improve your language sensitivity.
To the insensitive and untrained ears, many Asian languages might sound the same. As beginners, there are situations where we can’t distinguish between the languages we hear and mistake them for the other. Exposing yourself to the music of a language develops your language sensitivity. Once you begin learning Japanese, you’ll be surprised how people can mistake it for Thai, Korean, or Chinese.
9. You can study abroad.
Schools in Japan have respectable standards of learning. If you want to study abroad and widen your network, Japan can be the perfect place for you. Of course, you can make the most of your learning experience in Japan if you know its language well. Knowing the Japanese language and its three writing systems (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji) is crucial before starting your learning endeavor abroad.
10. You’ll have more career opportunities.
Having more career opportunities is one of the greatest benefits of learning Japanese. Professionals who can communicate efficiently with customers and clients in new and expanding overseas markets are well-sought after by employers. Most employers admire people who challenge themselves with the constant pursuit of personal growth.
Multiple language proficiency is very useful in many international business and political sectors. As the world becomes increasingly globalized, having the ability to communicate effectively across borders is a valuable skill. The more experienced you are in a language, the better career options there are for you. You can also improve your networking skills, leading to more career opportunities.
11. Your professional value will increase.
Many people think it makes more sense to learn Spanish or French to expand their career internationally. But learning Japanese might be more advantageous as fewer people learn and speak Japanese as a second language. It means that you have less competition in jobs looking for Japanese-speaking applicants. For instance, if you want to become a state interpreter, there might be 700 other applicants who can speak French or Spanish. But in Japanese-speaking jobs, you have less competition. Learning Japanese will leverage your professional value in the job market.
12. You’ll gain a unique perspective on business management.
Japan represents the world’s third-largest economy. It’s a common practice to avoid using English or any other language when working and communicating with business transactions and documents. It’s crucial for people involved-especially foreigners- to have proficient knowledge of what is being said or written. Because of this, the need for Japanese-speaking specialists increases.
13. Establishing access to Japanese financial markets.
Japan has the world’s oldest businesses that are still operating today. Japanese companies are known for emphasizing sustainability rather than quick gaining of profit in their business. Taking part in Japan’s local trading platforms and financial markets is another reason to learn the Japanese language. In these fields, it’s important to know the language to communicate efficiently with local business specialists. You can ask about local business strategies and methods from them.
14. You’ll have a greater chance of working in Japan.
It’s not easy for foreigners to get a job in Japan. Though you can still find work without speaking Japanese, your options are limited. But if you showcase that you can speak their language, you are increasing your chances of landing a job in the land of the rising sun.
Think of this as a way of marketing yourself. If employers know that you spent the effort learning their language, it shows them you are serious about your application. It portrays that you can effectively work because you know their language. And more importantly, form great connections with your superiors, colleagues, and customers.
15. You might find love.
Learning Japanese doesn’t just open the doors to careers but might also open the doors of love for you. Talking is the first way to earn their hearts if you are attracted to a Japanese citizen. You’ll have greater chances of forming a bond with them if you speak in their language since most Japanese speak in their native language. Aside from this, it means that you are serious about your feelings.
Despite the popularity of dating apps in Japan, many still prefer to meet their potential partners in person. These can be through single meet-ups, mutual friends, or romantic blind dates. Aside from conversations, it’s also necessary to learn about the Japanese dating culture for your relationship to bloom.
Is learning Japanese worth it? Yes! Especially if you aspire to work and live in Japan. Learning the Japanese language will give you a deeper perspective on Japan’s history, entertainment, culture, arts, and social conduct. Knowing these societal aspects is important to adapt well in Japan and show appreciation and respect for their unique culture.
Now that you’ve known the benefits of learning Japanese, you’re probably convinced of its worth and have a greater desire to learn it. But there’s more to what you can get in learning the language.
What can I do with my Japanese language skills?
If you can speak Japanese proficiently, the sky is your limit! You can achieve your dream job and work in your dream country if you possess the right qualifications and requirements. Below are some jobs you can apply to with your Japanese language skills:
Teaching English is one of the most common jobs for foreigners in Japan. To be an English teacher in Japan, the first thing that you should have is a bachelor’s degree. You don’t have to worry about not finishing an English-related degree as you can present teaching certifications like the Teaching English as Foreign a Language (TEFL) certificate. Depending on your working preferences, you can be an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) or an Eikawa teacher.
Interpreter or Translator
Translating and interpreting is one of the most accessible jobs for foreigners who speak Japanese. As someone proficient in Japanese, you can be a translator, interpreter, or both. As Japan constantly expands its economy internationally, There’s a growing need for language service providers. You can work in multiple fields as a translator or interpreter. Some require translating services in the medical, technical, or literary field. Working as a translator or interpreter will be perfect if you have a background in one of these fields.
If you have an affinity for traveling and know how to speak Japanese, working as a flight attendant might be the one for you. As a flight attendant, it’s crucial to communicate with the passengers well so that you can tend to their needs efficiently. Some of the requirements for an international flight attendant is to speak a minimum of two languages. It is beneficial to aim for flights destined between your country and japan to increase your chances of getting hired.
If you work for the government and have fluent Japanese language skills, you can leverage your career by working as a diplomat. A diplomat is a representative appointed by a government or a state to conduct diplomatic activities with foreign nations or international organizations. They are fundamental in maintaining peace and promoting mutual understanding between countries. Learning Japanese can help you have wider opportunities to work as a diplomat in consulates/embassies in Japan.
The Japanese art industry is one of the largest in the world. Art enthusiasts- especially those in the visual art industry and entertainment- aim to work in Japan. You can work as an animator, illustrator, mangaka, or writer in Japan. But of course, if your target audiences are Japanese, you must know the Japanese language and culture. To incorporate metaphors and techniques in your work, you should know about Japan well to connect with the Japanese well. You can only move their hearts if you have engraved the spirit of their nation deep into your heart.
Is Learning Japanese Worth It: Final Thoughts
As it might be challenging to learn Japanese, it’s definitely worth your effort and sacrifices. Japanese is an interesting and unique language that can open new opportunities, enhance your travel experiences, and help you form strong connections with others.
There is more to the Japanese language other than language skills because you are also exploring one of the most unique and interesting nations of the world. When you are learning the language, you are not just strengthening yourself but also planting the seeds of success for your future.
Is learning Japanese worth it? The short answer is yes, and you should start learning it now.