One of the most important assets you can have when looking for a job in Japan is Japanese language ability. Because many Japanese companies require Japanese ability as a condition for employment, an inability to speak Japanese can greatly limit your job opportunities. With its three alphabets—hiragana, katakana, and kanji—and thousands of characters, however, Japanese is a very difficult language to learn. Many people work hard to master the language, and yet still struggle.
So how did those expats who are working in Japan now learn the language? Daijob Global Recruiting Co., Ltd., which manages Daijob.com, a recruitment website for bilingual talent, conducted a survey of 300 non-Japanese businesspeople who work in Japan. Based on the results of the survey, we’d like to introduce you to some effective ways of studying Japanese.
Movies, TV dramas, anime, and manga as popular study tools among young people
The results of the survey show that the most popular method of studying Japanese among young people between the ages of 20 and 34 is through movies, TV dramas, anime, and manga. Effective and popular study methods also differed among age groups, however, with TV and radio being the most popular study method among Japanese language learners in their late 30s. Respondents in this age bracket also listed Japanese study materials and language schools in Japan as some of the more popular study methods.
The survey also asked those who originally started studying Japanese because of anime to name the series that sparked their interest. The top responses to this question were Naruto (31.7%), One Piece (29.3%), and Death Note (27.8%). The survey shows that many expats in Japan are studying Japanese through their favorite anime and manga.
Quantity matters when studying Japanese
Respondents were also asked to name the most important things to keep in mind when studying Japanese. The most popular response was, “Use Japanese as much as possible. Quantity is essential.” Approximately 40% of them agreed with this statement. This indicates that many foreigners who have mastered Japanese believe that actually using the language is the quickest way to improve.
The survey also asked which of the four major components of mastering Japanese—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—was the most frequently used at work. In response to this question, the highest number of respondents answered that they used their speaking skills the most often. It can, therefore, be said that honing your speaking skill is essential for mastering Japanese.
Choose a study method that works for you!
This survey revealed that using movies, anime, and manga can be an effective way of studying Japanese. What’s more, these things can also help you learn about Japan’s unique culture, and they are also recommended because images can make it even easier to remember than when studying with words alone.
Another important condition for improving your Japanese is to use the new Japanese words that you learn from movies, anime, and manga in daily conversation as much as possible. Try to find a story you enjoy, and use that to help you incorporate fun into your Japanese study methods.
［Referene］【Daijob.com survey of international business people on Japanese lerning】Movies, TV dramas, anime are useful learning methods for the young while Japanese study materials and language schools are also popular for those in their late 30s.