Bits of Japanese Knowledge

Language is JAPANESE

In Japan, standard language based on the Tokyo dialect is effectively used as the official language, but there are various local dialects in Japanese. The Japanese dialects varies greatly in all aspects among the regions, including vocabulary, grammar, phonology and accent. Even Japanese people often experience difficulties when they shift or travel to a different region.

For example, the standard term "Arigato (Thanks)" is "Taihen" in Fukushima, "Ohkini" in Kyoto, "Dandanna" in Kumamoto, and "Nihe-de-biru" in Okinawa. Such local unique terms are still used.


General Japanese sentences are written in a mixture of Kanji and Hiragana. Foreign words are expressed in Katakana, but some are written in Kanji. Hiragana/Katakana has a single pronunciation per character, but Kanji characters have several different pronunciations, and many Kanji characters have the same pronunciation.

Literature differs in terms of writing language (writing-style) and speaking language (speaking-style). In particular, there is a significant difference in literature at the end of the text. In addition to differences in two styles in the language, there are different forms and conversation styles according to social position/status, such as gender, age, and occupation of the speakers. Especially, the terms that show respect to others are unique, and Japanese are using the terms and phases constantly changing from one style to another.

Currently, the number of population using Japanese language is approximately 130 million. This number is considered to be within the top 10 in number of native speakers worldwide.