At the intermediate level, you can understand Japanese to some extent, so you can take it easy if you want to. However, in order to move up to the advanced level, more effort is required. Specifically, it is important to make efforts to improve your “accuracy” and “fluency.

I will explain them in detail in this order.

(1) Improving accuracy
Some people repeat wrong usage over and over again. In technical terms, this is called “fossilization of misuse”. It is a condition in which a language item or rule has been learned incorrectly and remains as such. It is most likely that you are not aware of the error, or you disregard the error, but to a native speaker, the error may be worrisome. Ask a native speaker or a Japanese language teacher to point them out and correct them.

(2) Improve fluency
You need to learn how to say and use things in a more native-like manner. The most effective ways to do this are to read more and shadow-wing. Expose yourself to what native speakers read and listen to as much as possible.

I have two pieces of advice for you.
(1) Learn the minimum amount of knowledge needed for language learning.
(2) Learn strategically.

The most important thing for a busy businessperson when learning Japanese is to clarify their own goals and create a study plan based on those goals. It is not effective to buy a textbook for beginners that you find on Amazon without any clear reason or rationale, or to take lessons from a Japanese person who has no Japanese teaching skills just because you know him/her. It is most likely a waste of money and time.
It takes longer to learn Japanese than it does to climb the world’s highest mountain. However, while most people make a plan for climbing a mountain, few people make a plan for learning Japanese. I believe this is the reason why so many people give up on learning Japanese.

(1) Learn the minimum amount of knowledge needed for language learning.
Information that is convenient or favorable to you is not necessarily correct. I was once involved in a level check test for a blogger who claimed that everyone could learn Japanese in three months. One of our experienced instructors who is also a certified ACTFL-OPI tester interviewed the person and determined that his level was second from the bottom out of ten. He could say a few phrases, but could hardly answer the instructor’s questions. It didn’t seem to matter to him whether or not everyone could really learn Japanese language in three months. His real aim was to increase the page views of his blog, generate affiliate income, and sell merchandise.
I think it would be great if we could master a language in three months. However, in reality, it takes much more time than that, as explained in another page.

(2) Learn strategically.
There is a saying in the Art of War by Sun Tzu, “If you know your enemy and know yourself, in a hundred battles you will never be defeated”. This would also apply to learning Japanese.
First, understand the characteristics of the language and the key points for learning Japanese. Then, after accurately understanding the resources you can invest, set a goal that is highly feasible. Then, create a study plan that suits your needs. If you do all these things, you will increase your chances of mastering Japanese.
I hope that my information will become similar to an art of war for Japanese learners
*For more details on the points of creating a study plan, please refer to another article.

The answer to this question is influenced by the speed and accuracy of technological innovation, but more than that, I think it is a question of how you think about communication. So here are my thoughts on the subject.

I believe that communication has two kinds of purposes. One is to accomplish a task, and the other is to build a relationship. The former includes reports and requests, for which automatic translation may be sufficient. Especially in text-based communication such as chat and email, automatic translation is becoming more and more accurate. But, for the latter, it is better to be able to understand the other person’s culture and their thoughts. And for that reason, learning their language is so beneficial and useful. This is why language is said to be such an important part of culture.

Therefore, for those who want to build a better relationship with Japanese people, I believe it is worthwhile to study Japanese, no matter how accurate the automatic translation becomes.

How many hours it will take varies from person to person. Specifically, the following factors affect it. Your ability to learn the language, how you learn it, the tools and training available to you, how different it is from your native language, etc.

It is difficult to say for sure because these factors have a complex impact. However, the following two pieces of information may be helpful.

(1) 900 hours to pass the highest level of the JLPT
The most famous Japanese language test is the JLPT. The administration of the JLPT changed slightly in 2010, but until then, the official website stated that “the time required to pass the highest level is about 900 hours.
The new official website doesn’t have any information about the study time required to pass the exam, but the difficulty level of the highest level is designed to be the same in the old and new administration, so 900 hours is still a good estimate even in the new administration.
*JLPT does not measure writing or speaking ability.

(2) FSI think it takes 2,200 hours to reach native level.
According to the Language Learning Difficulty for English Speakers compiled by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the U.S., Japanese is ranked as the most difficult language for English speakers, along with Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), and Korean, and requires 2,200 hours to become proficient in daily and professional communication.

In another article, I wrote that it is surprisingly easy to reach the intermediate level, but it still takes time to master.

People think that learning Japanese is difficult, but if you are aiming for a daily communication level, it is actually not that difficult. I will explain the reasons for this, along with the linguistic characteristics of Japanese.

The following are the main reasons why Japanese is considered to be difficult.
-There are three types of written characters: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.
-There is honorific language(Keigo*).
(*Note: These are expressions used to indicate respect for others such as when speaking with a person older than oneself or a person who has achieved a great accomplishment.)
-There are many words related to numbers and counting objects.
-The basic particles and order of words can change in a conversation.
-Verbs must be conjugated in order to use them correctly.

Conversely, Japanese also has the following characteristics.
-There are only 5 vowel sounds.
-There are no articles.
-There is no distinction between singular and plural nouns.
-Verbs do not inflect based on person.
-There is no distinction in syntax between male and female gender, or between people and objects.

It is hard to reach an advanced level in any language. However, if your immediate goal is “to be able to converse with phrases or sentences rather than individual words ” or “to be able to read and write”, then Japanese is a language that is easy to learn. Even if your goal is “to be able to understand about 60% of daily conversation among Japanese people,” it is not so difficult compared to other languages.

In other words, Japanese is surprisingly easy!

This blog aims to help busy businesspeople learn Japanese efficiently, and will explain strategic methods to learn Japanese.

Business people have a different environment for using and learning Japanese than students. Therefore, Koike Kei, the founder CEO of the world’s first online Japanese language school, will comment on the questions that many Japanese language learners have, based on cost performance, time management, and other perspectives, in addition to second language acquisition theory. If you know this information, your success rate of learning Japanese will increase dramatically.

For Koike’s profile, please click here.

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