Japanese

The Japanese Language

Japanese Speaking CountriesAlthough the Japanese language (Nihongo, 日本語) is only official in Japan, it ranks 9th by the number of speakers, with 123 million of them estimated worldwide.

Its writing system is a nice mix of three character families:

Hiragana ( phonetic scripts )
Katakana ( phonetic scripts )
Kanji ( Chinese Characters )

In addition, there are two language forms of communication:

1. Schools teach Hyojungo (standard Japanese) and media, institutions and formal situations require it. It subdivides in Kogo (oral language) and Bungo (literary language).

2. People use Kyotsugo (common Japanese) in their daily communication.

In Hong Kong, there has been always a high interest in Japan’s language and culture. Moreover, the number of the Japanese population in the city tripled between 1981 and 1999. By that time it reached a similar size as other major (and bigger) cities, such as London and New York. Because of this, the number of companies from the land of the rising sun in the city also doubled during that time.

Nowadays, a significant number of them has left Hong Kong in favour of China or other countries. But, there are still 1,358 Japanese companies operating in Hong Kong (2014). Those Hong Kong professionals proficient in Japanese are highly valued by both Japanese companies in Hong Kong and by overseas companies in Japan. Hence, many people study Japanese in our city.

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