Learn Japanese

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About Japanese

Nearly all Japanese speakers live in Japan - only about 3 million live abroad. Japanese is a language isolate, unrelated to any other languages except a few on the Ryūkyū Islands, which are usually considered dialects of Japanese. Although they aren't in the same language family, up to 50% of Japanese vocabulary comes from Chinese. English has also supplied many words, which have to be altered to suit Japanese pronunciation rules: takushī is taxi and uwettosūtsu is wetsuit.

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Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?


People Talking

Number of speakers


Family Tree

Language family


Fun facts — Japanese

  • Japanese has a colour, mizu, which doesn't exist in all other languages - in English it might be called sky blue.
  • The Japanese compliment someone by calling them an egg with eyes - tamago gata no kao - meaning someone with a beautiful, oval-shaped face.
  • Research shows that Japanese is one of the fastest spoken languages in terms of syllables spoken per second.
  • The word 'futon' comes from Japanese.

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