Why learn Japanese?
Wondering why Japanese culture has become so influential in the UK in recent times?
Interestingly, much of it has to do with childhood nostalgia. Think of many of the UK’s favourite Christmas toys over the past four decades, and many of them have a strong Japanese connection.
From Transformers and Tamagotchis to Power Rangers and more recently Pokémon, nearly every child growing up in the UK has a fond childhood memory of at least one Japanese cultural touchstone – so it’s little surprise that more and more people are choosing to explore Japanese as they grow older.
More recently, the growth in availability of Manga comics and the critically acclaimed films of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have helped continue the Japanese cultural phenomenon currently sweeping the UK.
Japanese food is amazing
Food is another leading factor in why Japan’s influence both culturally and linguistically is in the ascendancy. The rise of popular chain restaurants, and availability of healthy, convenient lunches for the busy Londoner have certainly played their part in growing the popularity of Japanese food in the capital.
Interestingly, many of the most famous Japanese chains that have popped up on streets across the capital only date back to the mid-1990s, and one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets recently revealed it now sells 90,000 packs of sushi a week.
This suggests the time where Japanese food was considered an ‘exotic’ meal choice for hungry Brits is now long past – it’s now a simple fact of many people’s daily routine.
Japanese industry is booming
The growing needs of the business world are another huge reason behind the Japanese language’s rise in popularity. Japanese companies employ around 140,000 people in the UK, so unsurprisingly, there has been a surge in uptake in people learning the language for career development over recent years.
Proficiency in Japanese is becoming particularly important for anyone who wants to pursue a career within one of the country’s ‘boom’ sectors – science, technology or robotics.
And finally, interest in Japanese culture and Japanese language courses showed no signs of letting up this year when Japan was at the centre of the world’s attention with Tokyo hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The games took place at multiple locations across the city and featured Intel drones, driverless cars and support robots, not to mention turning old mobile phones into medals, making the games the most ‘high tech’ of all time. Finishing 3rd overall in the medal table and 11th in the Paralympic medal table, the Olympics provided another example of Japan’s achievements in the field of technology, but also in the less talked about area of sport.