Japan Data

Worldwide Number of Students of Japanese Sees Slight Decline Amid Pandemic

Global Exchange Education World

The past few years have seen a decrease in the number of private institutions around the world teaching Japanese and the overall number of students.

A fiscal 2021 survey conducted by the Japan Foundation on overseas institutions teaching the Japanese language found that the number of such institutions fell to 18,272, a 2.1% decrease compared to the previous fiscal 2018 survey, while the number of their students declined by 1.5% to 3,794,714. The number of teachers also decreased slightly by 3.5%, to 74,592.

Although there were differences by region, the number of institutions, students, and teachers for Japanese-language education within school systems remained basically steady. Meanwhile, the number of private Japanese language schools and Japanese language courses at universities for non-enrolled learners fell in terms of both the number of institutions and students due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japanese Language Educational Institutions and Students

By country or region, China had the highest number of Japanese learners, at 1,057,318, an increase of 52,693 or 5.2% compared to the fiscal 2018 survey. In contrast, the number of students fell by 61,177 or 11.5% in South Korea, which ranks in third place.

Top 10 Countries/Regions by Number of Japanese Learners

The most popular two reasons for studying Japanese, mentioned respectively by 60% of the survey respondents, were an interest in the Japanese language itself or an interest in anime, manga, J-pop, or Japanese fashion. The next most popular reason was an interest in Japanese history, culture, or art, at 47.9%.

Top Reasons for Studying Japanese

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

Japanese language education