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Mastery over two or more languages is known to build, grow and sustain your cognitive abilities for a longer period of time than those who learn only one language in their entire lifetime. So, do not put off learning a new language in college. This article is dedicated to the Japanese language and hopes to answer the following questions:

  • What are the benefits of learning Japanese?

  • What are the job opportunities for people with Japanese language skills?

Benefits of learning the Japanese language

You will also learn about a new culture – Language and culture are deeply connected. Learning one leads into learning the other. So, when you choose to learn the Japanese language, you will also be learning about a new culture that is quite different from your own. Exposure to an entirely new culture can lead you to new perspectives and your outlook to life can undergo huge positive changes.

Learning the language will entail learning specific words and phrases regarding the social customs and even private rituals. You will learn a lot about the Japanese people and their rich history and heritage.

Learning Japanese is not difficult – English is, perhaps, one of the most difficult languages to learn and master. Learning any new language is not as difficult as it is different. Being different appears to make it difficult. So, if you were to shed inhibitions and learn with an open mind, learning the Japanese language is easy. All you need is regular practice.

Improved Job Opportunities – In this fast-shrinking world, geographical borders are disappearing even faster especially when it comes to job opportunities. If you are skilled enough, then employers from any country is willing to give you a job. Having knowledge of a second language gives you the flexibility to branch out and improve your chances of landing a good job.

And if you are looking at working either in Japan or in branches of Japanese companies in the US (and believe me, there are many lucrative options in these places), then learning Japanese is important. Else, you are bound to feel left out in the working environment. Moreover, if your resume includes knowledge of Japanese, then chances of getting jobs in these places improve significantly.

You will be able to clearly discern between similar sounding languages – For many Americans, all Asian languages sound very similar. Thai sounds just like Chinese which sounds just like Korean. But, when you learn Japanese, you will be more sensitive to the differences and hence will be able to clearly differentiate between the languages.

Knowing Japanese will prevent anything from getting 'lost in translation'- Today, there are so many Japanese TV shows and movies that have become extremely popular in the US. While there are subtitles or English-dubbed versions, you never know how much has been lost in translation. It is always better to know the original language to be able to fully grasp the meaning of any content.

Knowing Japanese will help build your social network – Today, many of us get the wrong impression that US engages in online content as much as any other tech-savvy country of the world. This is actually incorrect because Japan is known to be the country with the highest number of internet-savvy people.

However, internet users in Japan use Japanese websites more than they use English websites. So, if you learn and master the Japanese language, you will be able to browse through those sites as well and increase your social network significantly.

Learning Japanese will help you learn other Asian languages very easily – Once you have picked up Japanese, it will be very easy to learn other Asian languages such as Chinese, Korean, Thai, or Vietnamese. This will broaden your job horizon across other Asian countries as well.

Knowing Japanese in the US will give your resume a unique boost – Although Japanese cartoons and movies and video games are very popular in the US, most students in the country choose one of the European languages such as Spanish, French, German, etc.

The knowledge of Japanese on your resume will add uniqueness to it and impart a non-conventional approach to your personality. Many employers are keen on having employees who think out of the box and choosing Japanese as a second language reflects that attitude.

It will allow you the flexibility of choosing top-ranked Japanese universities for higher education – Many Japanese universities are ranked high in the list of the best universities of the world. If you learn the Japanese language, the chances of getting admission to these esteemed institutions are very high. In fact, if your intention is to get admission for graduate or doctoral courses to universities in Japan, it makes sense to take Japanese language courses in college.

Now, that you understand the benefits of learning the Japanese language, allow me to take you through the various job opportunities.

Job opportunities for people with Japanese language skills

There are times students question the need to learn a language that has no major economic benefit. This section of the article hopes to answer the question of job opportunities.

Japanese companies with branches in the US – While you may be familiar with top conglomerates like Nintendo, Toyota, and Toshiba, there are many more Japanese companies who have a huge presence in the US and who are keen on recruiting employees with knowledge of their languages. There are multiple job opportunities in these companies and your resume (with Japanese as a second language) will stand out and enhance your chances of landing these jobs.

Japanese Embassy or Consulate – If you are living in a big city, then you could have chances of working in the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in the city.

Translators and Interpreters – There are translation and interpreter jobs available in every field. There are the conventional jobs at embassies and Japan-based companies and there are fun unconventional yet well-paying jobs for people with Japanese language skills. Some of the fun and unconventional job opportunities include:

Baseball Player Interpreter – There are many high-level Japanese baseball players who need interpreters to help them have a conversation with coaches, teammates, etc. For this, you would also need to have a passion for baseball.

Wedding coordinator for Japanese couples in Hawaii – There are many rich Japanese couples who choose to get married at the top tourist destinations like Hawaii. Invariably, these people recruit a US citizen who knows Japanese as an interpreter to get the jobs and tasks for the wedding.

Nintendo Product Specialist – This large and extremely popular video game maker needs US citizens with Japanese language skills for a variety of jobs in their company. It could be simple translations of gaming instructions and/or manuals from Japanese to English or identifying characters that are likely to be more popular in the US or offers feedback about the game.

Japanese Football researcher – There are jobs like this wherein you will need to research and collate data on all aspects of Japanese football players and clubs.

Jobs in luxury cruise ships to help Japanese customers – This job entails traveling and getting paid for it. If you love traveling and know Japanese, there are many such jobs wherein you travel in the cruise ships and act as translator/interpreter for Japanese customers aboard those ships!

Final Notes

Learning Japanese is not as hard as you think it is especially for Native English speakers. There are a multitude of English words that have been borrowed into the Japanese vocabulary. Here are some examples:

  • Mic is 'maiku'

  • Table is 'teeburu'

  • Romantic is 'romanchikku'

  • Internet is 'intaanetto'

These are only examples and, of course, you will have to use the Japanese pronunciation correctly. Yet, this makes it easy for Native English speakers to easily recognize Japanese words. Unlike French and other Romance languages, there are no feminine, masculine or neuter nouns. There is no need for the verb tense to agree with the subject which is a very complex aspect of English Grammar!

So, you see the Japanese language is different from English. Being different does not mean it is difficult. All it needs is an open mind and a willingness to work hard. And considering the benefits, it does make sense to spend some resources towards picking up Japanese language skills.

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