Why are you Studying Japanese? — 24 Comments

  1. My motivation is my family. My uncle (but really he is my cousin but he is 50) has a wife who is japanese and he has lived in Japan for 15 years because of the army. He told me that if I pay for the plane ticket he will take me to Japan. So I wanna be some what fluent before I go.

  2. My motivations for learning this great language, is that I love Japanese pop culture (anime, manga, video games etc.), Japanese people seem to be incredibly nice people to me and I’d love to make lots of friends, also like you mentioned Japanese music is excellent. Another motivation is that I’d like to live in Japan for a while.

  3. My motivation was first the prospect of gaining greater understanding of my world and the amazing Japan-experience. It then transformed into a goal to transform myself and become a better person. Then, I met my currently girlfriend in Japan and my motivations changed again to creating an incredibly interesting lifestyle in East Asia. Everyday, visualize and believe you can do it. Surround yourself with can-do-people and never lose sight of your goals!

  4. I want to learn Japanese because its just different then what a lot of people would pick as a second or even 3rd language. I know it will look great on resume and surprise people when you say “Yes I speak Japanese” and then proving your statement by speaking it. I also love it because I love the Japanese art. The old classic Japanese painting, I love them and as a artist myself I’m in aww of the art work. I will like to also learn more about the culture and be able to experience what Japan has to offer, like curtain books and movies that will never be in english and even if it was I would pick up the Japanese version just because I could. I would love to set this goal to be proud of myself and just knowing that I accomplished a difficult goal. That it was worth all the hard work and that it will be something I could use for the rest of my life.

  5. “You probably are motivated . . . for now. Motivation is a resource that is voraciously consumed at an incredible pace.”

    I wouldn’t say it’s the motivation that’s being consumed. Rather, it’s the drive that’s caused by the motivation. The motivation is constant; it doesn’t change. Perhaps it even grows larger, because you find more things you want to do in Japanese. But drive is different. It’s want makes you excited every day to learn Japanese. Sometimes, other hobbies get in the way of the drive (which is what happens to me). Other times, discouragement does (happened to me after taking the JLPT).

    For me, what fires up my drive is reminding myself what I enjoy to do in Japanese (like understanding a drama or anime). As I described in my recent blog post (, I regularly need to add oil to my fire. So while some people need to see the short-term and long-term goals that motivate them, that only motivates me a little. It’s the now that keeps me going. Using the Japanese I know now to have fun.

  6. Before I really used to need motivation. Not anymore though. Now I have a japanese environment every waking hour, and have been watching the tv show from Ayumi Hamasaki (favorite singer) and have been learning a lot. Also I LOVE the japanese language, I can’t see myself doing a job not related with the japanese language in the future.

    Now I’m on summer vacations finally, and will start downloading dramas with japanese subs again (like I used to like in october), but now I know I will understand quite a lot more. I can’t wait!

    Btw, I made a similar post on my blog.

  7. Still waiting and hoping for part two!! :D
    Thank you for the excellent blog.
    Although unrelated to this: I just visited China and bought a TV-series I thought had Japanese dub. but as it turned out only had Japanese sub. I watched it anyway and the subs really made a difference. When I accidentally turned them off I could hardly recognize the show! It just shows how focused you are on the subs and why you really should TURN OFF the ones not in your target language. As for the TV-show I would have prefered the Japanese dub and then without subs altogheter, but this way it feels like I still got some reading practice. I know I did in fact! :)

  8. Great list, Adshap. I’ve just discovered your blog and am very impressed with your content. It would be great to interview you for the Foreign Language Mastery podcast sometime if you’re interested.

  9. We are so fortunate to have the internet and technology now that makes learning so much easier. Being thirty something I remember how hard it was to get anything to read in Japanese at all, and it was not uncommon for looking up a single kanji to take 15 minutes or more. Since the advent of the iPod/iPhone and a content filled internet, thus far I feel naturally motivated by what feels like lightning speed learning this year compared to studying in my misspent youth. As I can understand more, I just want to become better.

  10. To answer honestly:
    -Don’t particularly like culture or people, just the media.
    -Enjoy Japanese media raw, specifically those which are region isolated.
    -In 1 year I plan (more like have) to give JLPT N1 (another big part of my motivation). Also play some games and watch anime subbed.
    -Reading and Listening. If I am asked to pick one, I’d say Listening.
    -I think I’d be able to enjoy everything I want within 1 year (goal is 6 months to reach ~11000 cards, then 6 months for practice and immersion). If I can’t make it to that number in an year,I will drop Japanese and move on to Spanish xD.
    -As many hours it takes…jk, I spend ~2 hours in Anki and making cards and 1-2 hours during immersion. So 3-4 hours/day sounds manageable.
    -I have substituted all my English media for Japanese ones(except Last Week Tonight and Daily Show). After some time, I’ll mix and match stuff for most enjoyment.
    – I am thinking of doing translation work on the side. I’ll start with fan-translations to get more experience. Just an idea though.
    -No. Maybe. Never crossed my mind.

  11. I think not knowing how to answer 3, 5, or 6 contribute a lot to my perpetual Japanese stagnation. Probably 7 as well. I’ve never been good at gauging my own progress, so I couldn’t realistically estimate how long or in what way I could achieve a fluency goal. That leads to me getting confused and eventually tapering off most Japanese contact for a few months until I start back up and repeat the cycle again.

    I can answer all the other questions, though!

  12. honestly going back to flash cards and the same crap that had me hating learning to spell in english as a kid to my whole out look on school and studing i have set myself to because of what i went threw in school make learning hard as all hell… and no idea how to change this habbit and not feel stupid studying…

  13. -Initially just Video Games and Anime, but I’ve since come to enjoy lots of other aspects, especially talking to people and really just finding it fun to learn.
    -Play games without waiting for localization. Help bridge the gap between Western and JP games and gamers. Appreciate media in its original form. See the world from a different perspective.
    -In the near future, just a lot of the stuff in the previous answer. After a couple more years, I’d like to be able to write well enough that it’s not obvious I’m a foreigner, and speak well enough that I can hold conversations comfortably.
    -Reading, as I think it’s the most efficient way to unlock all the other skills.
    -Already done. I’d say I started having fun in less than 6 months, though I was still pretty limited in what I could do. Now as I’m getting closer to 1.5 years, I can enjoy a much broader range of materials, including the story-heavy RPGs that got me excited to learn in the first place.
    -Pretty much indefinitely. I anticipate I’ll reach a level that could be considered “fluent” in another 1-2 years, but even then I don’t plan to stop improving.
    -Initially I was doing 2-3 hours/day mostly in Anki. I still average ~2-3 hours a day, but nowadays just 30-45m of that is “study” and the rest is active immersion – games etc.
    -I’ve mostly just substituted things I was already doing in English for Japanese equivalents. I’m also lucky to have a very understanding wife XD
    -Yes. I work in the game industry, and I’d love to interact with Japanese-speaking fans in an official capacity. In the more distant future, maybe I’ll even try my hand at working on one of those JRPGs I’m so fond of =)
    -I don’t have enough familiarity with the country to say for sure. At the very least, I want to go visit and explore.
    -Some excellent games, some wonderful friends, and really a whole world of fascinating things and people that’s only accessible with Japanese proficiency.
    -Not sure yet, besides what I said above, but I’m sure I have plenty of fun surprises to look forward to.

  14. 1. Anime, manga, and most aspects of the culture. I love the blend of old and new you find in the culture.
    2. My top priority is to understand media, but having conversations is important as well.
    3. Reading at a native(ish) level in 3 years I guess
    4. Listening
    5. Eh, I’m enjoying it now. A long way to go, but I am content at this temporary Japanese level.
    6. However long it takes, I can’t imagine stopping now even if it took 10 years.
    7. Maybe 7 for now, though I’d say it’s mostly 3 hours on average.
    8. By inserting Japanese anywhere in my life I can.
    9. In my career? If I’m only so lucky.
    10. Yes, though I need to spend enough time there to find out for sure though. I don’t care where, and probably right after college.
    11. That cannot be comprehended.
    12. I will find a connection to a people and culture truly wonderful. In so doing, I will gain new understanding of life. If that’s not life changing…

  15. My husband and I are heading to Nagoya for 2 years in March to volunteer for our Church. He did the same thing many years ago, so knows the language, but I don’t.

    I want to be able to converse with the Japanese people, to show them respect by having learned some of their language.

  16. I love anime and some YouTubers I watch are Japanese and I really want to learn Japanese do that I can enjoy their content and Anime in the original form

  17. I’ve been in love with anime and manga for years that I really want to learn にほんご just for them. I want to watch and read them without the need for subtitles and English translations in the future. There are also cool novels that Japanese people wrote and I want to read them without buying the English translation. Their culture is also amazing that I want to visit them someday.

  18. My motivation is simple: my best friend promised me that, if I survived cancer, then we would go and visit Japan for at least one month. I survived, so we plan to go in Spring 2024. Now I want to learn as much Japanese as I can in one year, to make the experience smoother and maybe to make friends. In such a context, listening and speaking are more important than reading which is more important than writing.
    I have been attracted to Japanese people, culture and language for most of my life. I love Japanese aesthetics (both classic and modern, across a wide range of expression) and I liked my first taste of the language (so alien yet logical), so I know that I will enjoy immersing myself in the material.
    However, I also know that I will not be able to devote countless hours to Japanese study. If I give it one hour a day (with off-days once in a while), my hope is that I will complete the N5 JLPT level by April 2024. Is it unreasonable?

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