Is Japanese Hard to Learn? (9 Things You Can Expect)

Languages are not easy to learn, and Japanese is no exception. Japanese is a complicated language to learn. This is because of its history and culture, which are unique to this language. 

Is Japanese Hard to Learn? 

Japanese could be one of the most challenging languages to master because there are three written scripts: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Historically, it belongs to the Japonic language family and is considered Category IV Level of difficulty. It’s not only hard to pronounce and write, but the grammar, context, counting words, speed, and sound combinations are also complex!

1. Three Writing System in Japanese

Currently, around the world, 130 million people speak Japanese. Native speakers claim it is the sixth most frequently used among all languages.

Japan is the only region where Japanese is the only official language. However, many people adopted it in other countries.

Additionally, the three Japanese styles of writing most frequently used are 

2. Japanese is the Most Challenging Language

While there is no debate that Japanese is a beautiful language, it is also one of the toughest to master.

Several elements of learning Japanese are challenging, particularly for a native English speaker. These include 

  • the complex writing system, 
  • the opposing sentence structure, 
  • the identical sounds, and 
  • the overwhelming speed of speech. 

However, if you examine English pronunciation, the Japanese language is considerably simpler than English linguistics, particularly the vowels.

Additionally, because Japanese does not differentiate word forms based on gender, students may learn nouns and adjectives quickly!

3. Japonic Language Family

According to one general concept, the Japanese dialect belongs to a group of Japonic languages.

People speak Japanese throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific, the USA (California and Hawaii), Brazil, and the Philippines.

In learning Japanese, the manner of reading Kana is always consistent. No exceptions exist. The pronunciation in Kana is the same once you read the text.

In addition, it may be simpler to learn accurate pronunciation and comprehend other people because the Japanese language lacks tonalities, unlike the Chinese language, which is tonal. 

4. Category IV Difficulty 

U.S. Foreign Service Institute states that Japanese is a Category IV complex and challenging language.

Thus, acquiring proficiency in Japanese typically requires 88 weeks or 2200 hours of training.

In addition, the Japanese writing system is tremendously complicated, and Kanji is where things get the most perplexing. You need to be acquainted with at least 2,000 different kanji characters because each has a tone and meaning.

As you can see, the Japanese language has the weakest information density despite being the fastest syllabic frequency. 

Overall, it is not always simple to understand the content for those of us who are just starting to learn Japanese!

5. Japanese Alphabet 

Japanese Alphabet

Learning the alphabet is the ideal place to begin while studying Japanese.

It’s also important to recognize that the Japanese have an entirely separate writing system that goes from top to bottom and even from right to left.

Tip: Master a few keywords. Afterward, look at the list of the most basic Japanese words. It will be highly beneficial if you ever take a trip to Japan.To learn more, you can also see our posts on

Lastly, Pimsleur Japanese, Japanesepod101, Kanji Study, Italki, and Anki are all useful apps for beginners to learn essential Japanese phrases and terminology. These apps range in price from $4 to $16 per month.

6. Meet New Acquaintances

Many students choose to study Japanese with the idea that it will open the way to other Asian cultures and languages. 

However, discovering Japanese culture allows you to move beyond your own and view it from a new angle.

Others believe that Japanese businesses can supply them with business prospects because they are among the world’s most outstanding and renowned companies.

Additionally, knowing Japanese can help you in living in Japan. So, naturally, conversing in Japanese will make your journey to Japan more manageable and delightful.

Tip: Consider interacting with native Japanese speakers and establishing new friendships. 

As a result, you may find new employment opportunities along with all the new friends you encounter.

7. Multiple Learning Avenues and Opportunities

You may use a flashcard with a particular Japanese word on it to assist you in remembering it. 

As well as that, to discover a Japanese-speaking language companion, choose any 1-on-1 video platform. 

In addition, engaging in the private sessions and tutoring offered by Preply, JapaTalk, and Sensei Shokai is a great way to advance your skill.

You can also read manga, magazines, and literature in Japanese, which is particularly useful for language students. 

Finally, you can fully immerse yourself by watching anime on YouTube and Netflix, including listening to podcasts!

8. Consider a Full-Time Career

Once qualified in the language, you can put your ability to communicate in Japanese competently to good use in two directions: 

  • to earn an income or 
  • establishing a successful full-time career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, interpreters and translators make an average annual salary of $58,400. Meanwhile, the average income for a multilingual Japanese paralegal is $54.565.

Additionally, you can have a decent chance of finding employment in Japan if you speak Japanese and English and have the appropriate technical prowess. 

There is incredible demand for Bilingual individuals in various industries, from manufacturing to marketing roles!

9. Immersive Learning and Rigorous Practice

You might speak at a level of fluency in Japanese after three months of thorough study and conversing for an hour daily. 

However, it would typically take several years to master, and you must take examinations and pass successfully to progress to the next level. 

Repetition is the most effective technique to enhance your ability to communicate in the Japanese dialect. 

Studies indicate that immersive language learning or the immersion technique has significant power. First, learn a new idea in Japanese abstractly, then practice it using some scenarios!

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Mandarin and Vietnamese.


As demonstrated, Japanese is hard to learn because it’s so different from English, and you must memorize thousands of Kanji.

However, speaking multiple languages is enormously valuable in modern business, and Japanese can help you reach your international business goals. 

Ultimately, learning Japanese will open doors to a whole new culture. It is also one of the most beautiful languages in the world, and to understand it is to take part in a cultural legacy!